NBCSN continues its coverage of the 2013-14 campaign tonight when the Detroit Red Wings host the Minnesota Wild at Joe Louis Arena at 7:30 p.m. ET. In addition to NBCSN, you can also watch the game online.
The Detroit Red Wings are looking for a much-needed weekend sweep of the Minnesota Wild while the Wild are hoping to build on their wild card lead in the Western Conference.
Detroit’s 3-2 win on Saturday at Xcel Energy Center came thanks to the play of Gustav Nyquist and Brendan Smith. Nyquist continued his hot play scoring the game-winning goal. Smith had a power play goal and an assist on Nyquist’s tally as well as strong play in the closing minutes to hold down the lead.
Nyquist’s play has been more than impressive lately. In the past four games he has five goals. His 21 goals lead the team and have picked them up when guys like Johan Franzen (no goals in seven) and Tomas Tatar (one goal, one assist in 10 games) have cooled off.
The win was all the more important for the Red Wings because it moved them into the second wild card spot in the East. A win tonight would get them to leapfrog the Toronto Maple Leafs for the first wild card and help keep the heat off the hard-charging Columbus Blue Jackets and Washington Capitals. Detroit has won four of the past five, two in a shootout.
Minnesota is in a weird state of comfort with how they’re doing. They have a four point lead on the Phoenix Coyotes for the first wild card out West, but the Dallas Stars are six back and playing well. The Wild have almost no shot to catch Colorado for third in the Central Division as the Avs have an 11 point lead.
All that means for the Wild is they have to take care of business and a berth in the postseason is likely theirs. Knocking off the Red Wings today would give them a six-point cushion and loosen the pressure. It would also help change up how things have been going lately.
The Wild are winless in seven of the past nine games but have three shootout losses and an overtime loss to New Jersey thrown in the mix. It’s all about points this time of year, so getting those points in losses is a good thing. That said, getting some wins would go a long way to securing a postseason berth.
On the upside, Ryan Suter has four points the past five games and doing that while playing the most minutes on the team makes his contributions huge. Getting a bit more out of deadline acquisition Matt Moulson (three goals in nine games) and Zach Parise (two goals in his past nine) would give them a needed boost.
Aaron Ekblad has been medically cleared by Florida Panthers doctors, according to TSN’s Darren Dreger.
That’s a big relief for everyone involved after Ekblad was injured while representing Team North America in the World Cup. The injury was originally reported as a “mild” concussion, though it was later called a neck injury.
The 20-year-old has since been back on the ice working out.
“Ekblad is going to be fine,” Panthers coach Gerard Galant said. “You see him out there skating already. I think it was a little scary, but he feels real good. He’s going to skate and see how he feels, but everything looks good.”
The first overall pick in the 2014 draft, Eklbad had already dealt with at least one concussion during his playing career. He suffered one in an international exhibition game during the summer of 2014, just prior to his outstanding rookie season with the Panthers.
It didn’t take long for one of the top picks at this year’s draft to be sent packing from training camp.
On Wednesday, Ottawa announced that Logan Brown — the 11th overall selection in June — has been sent back to his junior team in OHL Windsor.
Brown, the son of ex-NHL defenseman Jeff Brown, played in Monday’s exhibition win over Toronto and scored once. He didn’t play in Tuesday’s OT loss to Buffalo.
Though he wasn’t expected to make the team this season, Brown, 18, is considered to be a high-end prospect, which makes his early dismissal a bit curious.
At 6-foot-6 and 210 pounds, he has terrific size and the Sens wasted little time locking him in after the draft, signing him to a three-year, entry-level deal in August.
Related: Get to know a draft pick — Logan Brown
Dennis Seidenberg is expected to sign with the New York Islanders after the World Cup, according to TSN’s Darren Dreger.
It’s a one-year, $1 million deal, per Dreger.
Seidenberg is currently playing a significant role for Team Europe, a surprise finalist against the heavily favored Canadians.
The 35-year-old defenseman was unexpectedly bought out by the Boston Bruins over the summer. He had two years remaining on his contract, with a cap hit of $4 million.
Seidenberg was a key part of the Bruins’ Stanley Cup champion team in 2011, but injuries limited him to just 61 games last season, and his average ice time fell below 20 minutes for the first time since he was with the Hurricanes in 2007-08.
He’ll likely take on a bottom-pairing role with the Islanders, below Nick Leddy, Travis Hamonic, Johnny Boychuk, and Calvin de Haan. He may even be the extra defenseman, pushing the likes of Thomas Hickey, Ryan Pulock, Adam Pelech, and Scott Mayfield for a spot in the lineup.
Related: Seidenberg shocked by Bruins’ decision
New Jersey needed some blueline depth after this summer’s blockbuster Adam Larsson-for-Taylor Hall trade and now, they’ve addressed it.
On Wednesday, GM Ray Shero announced the club signed veteran defenseman Kyle Quincey to a one-year, $1.25 million deal.
Quincey, 31, spent the last four seasons in Detroit, emerging as a regular fixture on defense — but ’15-16 was hardly a positive campaign.
He missed 35 games with a serious ankle injury and, upon his return, never seemed to find his way into head coach Jeff Blashill’s good graces.
Blashill even scratched Quincey in Game 3 of Detroit’s opening-round playoff loss to Tampa, and didn’t provide a reason why — a pretty bold move for a player that, in ’13-14, appeared in all 82 games for the Red Wings, averaging nearly 21 minutes per night.
Overall, this move seems like a pretty reasonable gamble from the Devils. Quincey has his flaws, but the term is short and the money is relatively low.
(Especially considering Quincey’s coming off a two-year, $8.5 million deal that paid $4.25M annually.)
Shero could end up getting a nice return on his investment. Quincey projects to challenge for top-four minutes in New Jersey, looking to break into a group that features the likes of Andy Greene, Damon Severson, John Moore and Ben Lovejoy.
Jon Merrill, Steve Santini and Brandon Gormley are also in that mix, though likely to be challenging for spots on the bottom pair.