Mike Green’s injury won’t force the Caps to make a trade… for now

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Just because the Capitals have lost defenseman Mike Green for the next four to six weeks, don’t expect the team to make any knee-jerk moves to fill the void. Washington’s general manager George McPhee explained that he’s in no hurry to make a trade to replace Green in the short-term. Instead, he hopes that a couple of young blueliners that are already on the roster will be able to step-up their games and make the most of their opportunities.

“It’s interesting how things go,” McPhee said to CSN Washington. “Mike [Green] went down early, we gave Orlov a chance and he’s exceeded our expectations. We thought he would need a full year in Hershey, and he’s sort of expedited his development process and he’s playing very well for us. Kundratek is in the same sort of situation right now. We’ll see how he comes along.”

Before you think Orlov and Kundratek are in the clear, he also added that he doesn’t know how things will be in six weeks and he’ll “just have to wait and see.” For now, it’s the youngsters chance to show what they can do with added responsibility.

Green’s teammates were talking about the surgery as well. Karl Alzner noticed that the midseason sports hernia surgery has a silver lining. “It’s good and bad,” Alzner explained. “It’s a good thing he’s getting this done, and hopefully it’s said and done and nothing else will come up. Now we know he’s not going to be back [for four to six weeks] and you have to get over it.”

That’s right—the Caps know they’ll be without their most productive defenseman for around a month and a half. They’ve proven to be a different team in with Green in the lineup despite their current three-game winning streak. They’re 9-1-0 when Green is on the ice; they’re 15-16-2 without the former Norris Trophy finalist.

McPhee sounds confident that his team will be able to weather the storm with the players who are already in Washington. But if things start heading south in the next six weeks, the general manager has proven in the past that he won’t hesitate to make a move to fill the void.

Lightning give Vasilevskiy the (brief) hook after very rare Jurco goal

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By just about any measure, Monday’s been lousy to Tampa Bay Lightning goalie Andrei Vasilevskiy.

He was pulled with a few minutes remaining in the first period after Chicago Blackhawks built a 3-1 lead, scoring those three goals on just eight shots on net.

You could summarize Vasilevskiy’s awful start by those numbers, or by how rare the 3-1 goal was for the scorer.

Tomas Jurco failed to score a goal or an assist in 16 games with the Red Wings, then went pointless in nine more games with Chicago before finally scoring his first goal of the season on Monday.

Now, Jon Cooper didn’t pull Vasilevskiy because Jurco scored that tally. Still, it rubs a little extra salt in his wounds all things considered.

Here’s the Jurco goal:

Patrick Kane‘s 2-1 goal might have hurt the most, actually, as it quickly dissolved a tying tally by Ondrej Palat:

Update: The Lightning decided to put Vasilevskiy back in net to begin the second period. Interesting.

Coach Q thinks Anisimov will be back by playoffs for Blackhawks

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The bad news is that Artem Anisimov seems likely to miss all – or at least most – of the regular season for the Chicago Blackhawks with his lower-body injury.

The good? Blackhawks head coach Joel Quenneville believes that Anisimov will be ready once the playoffs swing into motion, as the Chicago Sun-Times’ Mark Lazerus reports.

Anisimov was hurt when he got tangled up with Canadiens forward Alex Radulov on March 14:

The Blackhawks have been filling Anisimov’s typical spot alongside Patrick Kane and Artemi Panarin with Ryan Hartman and Nick Schmaltz lately. There have been flashes of brilliance with Schmaltz, but Chicago would probably feel most confident with Anisimov back in his familiar place.

Chicago’s Central lead is pretty secure over the Minnesota Wild at the moment, which likely reduces motivation to rush Anisimov back before he’s truly ready. The Blackhawks close out their regular season on April 8, so there’s still time for him to heal up.

Ducks demote Enroth, so Gibson’s close to a return

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The Anaheim Ducks are flying high – er, waddling with some swagger? – right now thanks to Jonathan Bernier‘s somewhat shocking turnaround, but the pending return of John Gibson is promising.

(Especially since the Ducks will likely want him to shake off some rust before the playoffs begin.)

While it’s not clear if he’s exactly 100 percent healthy just yet, the Ducks sending Jhonas Enroth back to the AHL is a strong sign that Gibson is close.

Enroth actually never got a shot to start for the Ducks, as his last NHL appearance came on Nov. 30, closing off his ill-fated run with the Toronto Maple Leafs.

Considering that Enroth was once a fairly hot commodity as at least a promising backup, it will be interesting to see how his 2017-18 season pans out. Will he get more or less of a chance than he received this season?

Bernier, meanwhile, is richly rewarding the Ducks for sticking with him.

He’s provided them with a Vezina-caliber March: 9-1-1, 1.71 GAA and .943 save percentage with one shutout. You almost wonder if there’s at least some potential for a goalie controversy if Gibson stumbles whenever he gets back into action … but hey, having two good goalies to choose from is better than none.

(Which was the scenario that must have scared the Ducks when Gibson got hurt in the first place.)

WATCH LIVE: Chicago Blackhawks at Tampa Bay Lightning

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The Tampa Bay Lightning almost certainly haven’t faced the Chicago Blackhawks in a game this important since the two teams were vying for a Stanley Cup.

While the Blackhawks have already punched their ticket to the postseason and are merely trying to pad their lead in the Central Division, the Bolts are fighting for their playoff lives. At the moment, they rank three points behind the Boston Bruins for the final spot in the East. With a game in hand, they can make up a lot of ground tonight.

With all of that in mind, it should be an entertaining contest. You can check it out on NBCSN, watch online or via the NBC Sports App.

Click here for the livestream.