Oil change: Edmonton trades Dubnyk to Preds for Hendricks

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The Edmonton Oilers made a significant shift in goal on Wednesday, sending Devan Dubnyk to Nashville in exchange for veteran forward Matt Hendricks.

Dubnyk, the club’s first-round pick (14th overall) at the 2004 NHL Entry Draft, has spent his entire five-year career in Edmonton, the last two as the club’s No. 1 netminder. He’s in the last of a two-year, $7 million deal and will be a UFA at season’s end.

Hendricks, part of Nashville’s big summer free agent spree, is in the first of a four-year, $7.4 million deal. The 32-year-old has two goals and four points in 44 games this year, but is regarded as an energy/checking guy that can win faceoffs, kill penalties, fight and score in the shootout (at least he did in Washington.)

Some ramifications of this deal:

— Are the Oilers setting things up for another move? Remember, GM Craig MacTavish moved Ladislav Smid just prior to acquiring Ilya Bryzgalov, so the precedent is there.

According to CBC’s Elliotte Friedman, the Oilers will retain half of Dubnyk’s salary.

— It’s now officially Ilya Bryzgalov’s net in Edmonton.

— What does the Dubnyk acquisition mean for the health of Preds No. 1 Pekka Rinne?

— Is Nashville in regret mode regarding all the money it dropped this summer? This was GM David Poile just seven months ago:

“We have never been this active in free agency and for sure (on) the first day, signing five players,” Poile said. “Free agency can be a whirlwind where people go a little bit crazy. I will let you judge that. We had a clear, definite plan going into this. We wanted to identify specific areas of need, and I think we signed players that fill specific roles for our hockey club.

“I think all the players that we signed today are going to make us better next year.”

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.