Big night for Carolina’s Eddie Lack.
Lack, who has missed most of the season dealing with a concussion, will start for the first time since Nov. 6 when the ‘Canes take on the Caps at Verizon.
Though he made another appearance following that contest — a brief 28-second relief spot on Nov. 10 — Lack hasn’t played at all in nearly three months, save a conditioning stint with AHL Charlotte.
The injury really stretched the ‘Canes thin.
Equipment manage Jorge Alves was called into repeated practice duty, and even got into a game back in December. Veteran journeyman Michael Leighton and young prospect Alex Nedeljkovic were also thrown into the mix, but duties have primarily — and often — fallen to Cam Ward, who is among the league leaders in starts (44) and shots faced (1,197).
It’ll be curious to see how Lack fares tonight. It’s a tough matchup against a powerhouse offense like Washington but, if he can perform well, it could lighten Ward’s load down the stretch, and prevent him from getting fatigued as the ‘Canes try make the playoffs for the first time since 2009.
— Petr Mrazek, coming off a stellar 42-save shutout of Nashville, is right back in for the Red Wings. The visiting Blue Jackets didn’t have a morning skate, so no word on who starts.
— It’s Antti Niemi versus Curtis McElhinny as the Stars and Leafs do battle in Toronto.
— Jacob Markstrom gets his first start since Jan. 25 when the Canucks take on the Preds in Nashville. He’ll be up against Pekka Rinne, who is playing well lately (.932 save percentage over last six starts).