With the NHL playoff race getting down to the wire, we’ll be providing regular updates on each bubble team’s postseason push.
Bubble team: Buffalo Sabres
Where they stand: 11th in the East, two points back of eighth-place Winnipeg.
Games remaining: 17
SportsClubStats.com says: 14.1% chance of making the playoffs
Why they’ll get in:
They’re getting hot at the right time. The Sabres defeated Vancouver Saturday to improve their record to 6-0-1 in their last seven games. Goalie Ryan Miller has been brilliant during that stretch and was just named the NHL’s first star of the week. On paper, Buffalo is a playoff team. It’s battled injuries all season, but is healthy now.
Why they won’t:
A tough schedule that includes two trips to Boston and one to Madison Square Garden.
“We’re battling hard to get back in the picture. When you can beat a team that’s basically the first-place team in the league, it’s a big plus.” – coach Lindy Ruff after Saturday’s 5-3 victory over the Canucks.
Biggest game coming up:
Tonight in Winnipeg against the eighth-place Jets.
Like Frank Corrado (see here), Tomas Jurco (see here), Stanislav Galiev (see here), and Patrik Nemeth (see here) before him, Canadiens defenseman Jarred Tinordi is off to the AHL for a conditioning stint.
Tinordi, 23, has yet to play a single game for the Habs this season; however, because he’s no longer exempt from waivers, the former first-round pick has remained on Montreal’s roster.
It’s an issue that’s received a good deal of attention lately. Some believe the league should do something about it, lest more young players get “stuck” in the NHL.
Tinordi will only be allowed to spend two weeks in St. John’s, as per the rules of his conditioning loan.
Safe to say, if you’re an NHL general manager who thinks Tinordi still has potential, Marc Bergevin would welcome your best offer.
Kari Lehtonen will miss at least a few games with the upper-body injury he suffered the other night against Ottawa. The Dallas Stars announced today that they’ve placed the 32-year-old goalie on injured reserve, retroactive to Tuesday.
With Lehtonen out, Jack Campbell has been called up from AHL Texas to be Antti Niemi‘s backup. The Stars host Vancouver Friday, with a game at Minnesota Saturday.
Campbell, the 11th overall pick in the 2010 draft, has struggled in the AHL this season, going 3-3-0 with an .873 save percentage.
The Stars have also recalled defenseman Patrik Nemeth after the 23-year-old completed his 14-day conditioning assignment.
Related: Campbell credits ECHL stint for turning his game around
Tim Gleason has likely played his last NHL game. The 32-year-old defenseman has informed the Carolina Hurricanes that he no longer wishes to continue his professional tryout.
“Tim informed us today he wasn’t going to continue to pursue his tryout,” said GM Ron Francis, per the club’s website. “He looked and felt good physically, but didn’t feel up to the grind of the NHL mentally.”
Gleason started last season with Carolina before he was traded to Washington in February.
In his career, he’s played 727 NHL games, plus 32 more in the playoffs.
Ryan Strome has been called back to the New York Islanders, the club announced this morning.
The 22-year-old returns to the NHL after eight games with AHL Bridgeport Sound. He had been sent there three weeks ago, after a tough start to the season.
Strome had two goals and two assists during his stint with the Tigers.
The Isles’ next game is Friday at Florida.