Milan Lucic

TGIF: Five NHL games to watch this weekend


Saturday: Pittsburgh at Boston (7 p.m. ET)

Even though he was invited to the summer orientation camp and leads the Bruins with 11 goals, Milan Lucic is probably a long shot to play for Canada at the Olympics. He’s not exactly the best skater in the world, and that could be an issue on the bigger ice. It’s worth wondering, though, if Mike Babcock will be tempted to take a big, physical winger — whether that’s Lucic or someone else, like Winnipeg’s Andrew Ladd — to play the kind of role that Brenden Morrow played so well in Vancouver. “He’s one of those guys that’s got real good hockey sense, but he’s satisfied to be a grinder on this team,” Babcock said of Morrow in 2010. “He’s added energy.”

Saturday: Anaheim at St. Louis (8 p.m. ET)

Big weekend for the struggling Ducks, who play in Chicago tonight before visiting the Blues tomorrow. Anaheim is just 3-4-4 since starting out 15-3-1. On Tuesday, the Ducks were outshot, 51-28, in a 3-2 shootout loss to the Kings. “We never had the puck,” coach Bruce Boudreau said. “They had the puck all the time and were doing all the shooting. They shot from everywhere. We got in the lanes and got a lot of blocks and everything else, but it’s just the whole … it’s the work ethic; the work ethic has got get a lot better.” We touched on the Ducks’ puck-possession issues in last week’s TGIF. Obviously there’s still room for improvement.

Sunday: San Jose at Minnesota (6 p.m. ET)

Ever since Zach Parise and Ryan Suter signed their mega-deals with the Wild, it feels like Mikko Koivu has become a bit of a forgotten man. This needs to change, because Koivu has been outstanding this season. No other Minnesota forward plays as much as the 30-year-old center, who’s averaging 21:22 of ice time and has 23 points to show for it. Having said all that, Koivu has just two points in his last six games, a stretch that’s seen the Wild go 2-3-1.

Sunday: Washington at NY Rangers (7 p.m. ET)

If the playoffs started today, the Caps and Rangers — currently second and third, respectively, in the Metropolitan Division — would meet in the first round. Which would be a nice break for each of them given they’re tied for the fewest points of the top eight teams in the Eastern Conference.


The winner of the Caps-Rangers series would then play the winner of the Pittsburgh-Toronto series, with the winner of that series advancing to the conference final.

Sunday: Colorado at Vancouver (8 p.m. ET)

Roberto Luongo made a great save Tuesday in Nashville to keep the game scoreless:

It was the kind of save, on a defensive breakdown, that Canucks coach John Tortorella had been calling on his goalie to make. The kind he failed to make last week versus Los Angeles:

Vancouver went on to beat the Preds, 3-1, finishing its four-game road trip with three wins.

Daniel Winnik was back at practice just two days after his ear got ‘chewed up’

WASHINGTON, DC - MARCH 04: Daniel Winnik #26 of the Washington Capitals skates against the New York Rangers at the Verizon Center on March 4, 2016 in Washington, DC. The Rangers defeated the Capitals 3-2. (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)
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Hockey players are known for their toughness, but Daniel Winnik is taking it to a whole new level.

The damage was done after Winnik blocked a shot against the Florida Panthers on Thursday night.

After the game, Caps head coach Barry Trotz said his forward had lost a piece of his ear, but it sounds like that wasn’t totally accurate.

“I wouldn’t say I lost a piece of it,” said Winnik, per the Washington Post. “I mean, it’s really chewed up, and obviously some scabs and all of that, but no visible missing piece…The puck hit basically half ear, maybe a little more ear than helmet. Very fortunate it wasn’t way worse.”

He didn’t need any stitches, but they did have to use some glue to patch him up.

To watch how his ear got “chewed up,” click here.

It doesn’t sound like the injury did enough to scare Winnik into putting on a visor or an earpiece.

“I mean, my face has been banged up a lot over the years, and I still haven’t worn a visor. I mean I’ve probably broken my nose like 15 times or something. I just can’t wear it, and the earpieces, I think you’re just used to wearing it for so long without it. I mean you take them out you’re like, ‘Why the hell was I wearing earpieces in the first place?’ But I guess this is kind of an indication on why guys do.”

‘We’ve got a lot of guys sick’: Some Predators players have been hit hard by food poisoning

SUNRISE, FL - SEPTEMBER 27: Head coach Peter Laviolette of the Nashville Predators talks to the players during a break in action against the Florida Panthers during a preseason game at the BB&T Center on September 27, 2016 in Sunrise, Florida. (Photo by Joel Auerbach/Getty Images)

Here’s a story you don’t see everyday.

Nashville Predators GM David Poile might have to scramble to put a roster together for tonight’s game against Pittsburgh because a few of his players are dealing with food poisoning.

During yesterday’s game against the Red Wings, both Ryan Johansen and Craig Smith were forced to exit early because of illness.

Now we know that the illnesses were caused by something the players ate (Poile believes it was chicken soup that caused this).

We still don’t know exactly how many players have been affected by this.

Playing two games in two nights is hard enough, but it sounds like it’ll be even tougher for the Preds tonight.

James Neal, Roman Josi and P.K. Subban are all fine, according to Brooks Bratten.

More details to come.

Lower-body injury will keep Ryan Pulock out for 4-6 weeks

NEW YORK, NY - OCTOBER 21: Ryan Pulock #6 of the New York Islanders skates against the Arizona Coyotes at the Barclays Center on October 21, 2016 in the Brooklyn borough of New York City.  (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)
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Well, this isn’t the start to the season Ryan Pulock was hoping for.

After playing six games with the Islanders during last year’s playoffs, many expected Pulock to make the team out of training, but that didn’t happen.

He didn’t spend much time in the minors (two games) because of the injury to Nick Leddy.

Pulock made his season debut in last night’s game against Arizona. Unfortunately for him, he suffered a lower-body injury after playing just 3:57.

On Saturday, the team announced that Pulock will be out anywhere between 4-to-6 weeks.

If Leddy can’t play on Sunday, the Islanders will have to recall another defenseman from the minors. Because they’re carrying three goalies, they only have room for six blue liners.

With Tuukka Rask banged up, Bruins recall Zane McIntyre on emergency basis

BOSTON, MA - SEPTEMBER 22: Zane McIntyre #50 of the Boston Bruins makes a save against the Washington Capitals during the second period at TD Garden on September 22, 2015 in Boston, Massachusetts.  (Photo by Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)

The Boston Bruins recalled goalie Zane McIntyre on an emergency basis on Saturday morning.

The call up was necessary because it doesn’t look like starter Tuukka Rask will be able to suit up against the Montreal Canadiens tonight.

Rask missed Friday’s practice with what head coach Claude Julien described as “general body soreness,” but it might be a little more serious than that if he’s forced to miss multiple games.

According to Julien, Rask is feeling better, but the prefer giving him the night off.

The Bruins selected McIntyre in the sixth-round of the 2010 Entry Draft.

He’s never suited up in an NHL game before.

The 24-year-old turned pro last year, after spending three years at the University of North Dakota.

He had a 14-8-7 record with a 2.68 goals-against-average and a .898 save percentage with Providence in 2015-16. This season, he has a 0.44 goals-against and a .977 save percentage in three games.

It’s interesting to note that the Bruins preferred McIntyre to former first rounder Malcolm Subban.

Subban has an 0-3 record in the AHL this year and he’s been pulled in two of his three outings.