Goalie nods: Craig Anderson goes for his sixth win in a row

The Ottawa Senators are going to be without several players on Saturday night when they take on the Colorado Avalanche, including their top two goal scorers (Kyle Turris and Mark Stone) and a number of depth players.

What they will have is a red-hot goalie in Craig Anderson as he enters the games on a personal five-game winning streak as he continues to play some fantastic hockey for the seemingly playoff-bound Senators.

Along with his current five-game winning streak, the Senators are 7-1-0 in Anderson’s past eight starts dating back to Feb. 18, a stretch that has seen him record a .943 save percentage. When he has been with the team this season Anderson has been one of the league’s best goalies with a .931 save percentage that currently places him second in the NHL behind only Devan Dubnyk (among goalies that have appeared in at least 25 games).

On Saturday night he goes up against a Colorado Avalanche team that has won two in a row but remains the NHL’s worst team by a massive margin.

The Avalanche have announced their starter, but look for Calvin Pickard to get the call.

Elsewhere on Saturday…

— In the afternoon games it was Steve Mason vs. Tuukka Rask in the Flyers-Bruins game, while Martin Jones went against Jusse Sarros in the Sharks-Predators game.

— The Columbus Blue Jackets and Buffalo Sabres have not announced their starters for Saturday night’s game in Buffalo.

Andrei Vasilevskiy looks to lift an injury plagued Lightning team to a much-needed win against the Florida Panthers. Look for James Reimer to go again for Florida as they fight to keep their playoff hopes alive.

— After getting his first win since Feb. 4 on Thursday night, Cam Ward is back in net for the Carolina Hurricanes on Saturday when they host the Toronto Maple Leafs. No word yet from the Maple Leafs but look for Frederik Andersen.

— It will be Brian Elliott vs. Conor ¬†Hellebuyck when the Calgary Flames visit the Winnipeg Jets.

Cory Schneider goes for the New Jersey Devils when they visit the Arizona Coyotes, who will counter with Mike Smith.

Carter Hutton, who has allowed just one goal in his past three starts for the St. Louis Blues, gets the call on Saturday night when they host Thomas Greiss and the New York Islanders.

Ryan Miller is in the net for the Vancouver Canucks when they host the Pittsburgh Penguins. After Marc-Andre Fleury played a strong game in their overtime win in Edmonton on Friday night, look for Matt Murray to take his spot in the crease on Saturday.

— It is Jonathan Quick‘s turn to get the start on Saturday night when the Los Angeles Kings host the Washington Capitals. Look for Braden Holtby in the Capitals’ crease.

PHT Morning Skate: Ovechkin will be rocking incredible custom skates for Russian Heritage Night

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–With only a few weeks remaining in the regular season, we’re starting to get a better idea of who will be in and out of the playoffs. With that being said, The Hockey News put together a list of five players that could benefit from playing on another team. Devils goalie Cory Schneider is at the top of the list. Schneider’s been solid since joining New Jersey, but the team hasn’t had much success. (The Hockey News)

Erik Karlsson has always been known as an offensive defenseman, but this year, he’s made several defensive improvements to his game. The changes have made him so effective that his head coach, Guy Boucher, believes he should be in the running for a Hart Trophy. (Canadian Press)

–The Washington Capitals will be hosting a Russian Heritage Night tonight. During the pre-game warmup, Alex Ovechkin will be rocking these custom skates honoring his home land and his American home. He’ll be auctioning off the skates too. (CSN Mid-Atlantic)

–The New York Islanders trailed the Rangers 2-1 heading into the third period, but thanks to goals by Nikolay Kulemin and Andrew Ladd, they were able to come out on top. You can watch the highlights from last night’s “Battle of New York” by clicking the video at the top of the page.

–Vegas GM George McPhee chatted with Sportsnet’s Gene Principe about being able to build a team from scratch. McPhee called the experience “fantastic” and “really neat”. He also discussed his vision for the team and how he’s approaching the expansion draft. (Sportsnet)

–The Detroit Red Wings have been a model franchise for quite some time, but they’ve on the verge of going through some pretty big changes. First, Joe Louis Arena will be closing its doors and secondly, their long playoff streak will be coming to an end this season. Sports Illustrated takes a deeper look at the old barn and the third-longest playoff streak in pro sports. (Sports Illustrated)

–Many people feel like the Calder Trophy race will come down to Auston Matthews and Patrik Laine, but Bob McKenzie says there’s more than two worthy candidates because Zach Werenski has been equally good this season. But who is McKenzie leaning toward?

Ducks take control of second in Pacific after edging Oilers

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Connor McDavid was fantastic on Wednesday, but the Anaheim Ducks overcame his strong showing for a significant win in the Pacific.

McDavid scored a goal and two assists, yet Ryan Getzlaf was right there with him with three assists, helping the Ducks win 4-3.

With that, Anaheim is clearly ahead of Edmonton for second in the Pacific. The Ducks would hold home-ice over the Oilers if the playoffs began today, and better yet for them, a division title isn’t out of the question:

1. Sharks – 91 points in 73 games played
2. Ducks – 89 points in 73 GP
3. Oilers – 87 points in 73 GP
4. Flames – 86 points in 73 GP

As you can see, the Oilers aren’t exactly far ahead of the Flames for third, either.

Going forward, the Oilers have an interesting schedule: a mix of games against cellar dwellers (two apiece against the Canucks and Avalanche) plus two games apiece versus the Kings and Sharks.

The Ducks’ schedule includes two matches against the Flames, one against the Kings and one more match at Edmonton on April 1.

Long story short, the jockeying for position is far from over, but this was a pretty significant win for the Ducks.

Video: Connor McDavid shows off speed and skill (again)

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Connor McDavid‘s 26th goal of 2016-17 was a lot like many others: an impressive display of skill and speed. He didn’t blaze past the Anaheim Ducks like has against opponents on other occasions, but his rare wheels still came in handy.

Maybe more than sheer speed, this tally is a reminder that McDavid could do impressive things while losing little or no momentum. It’s one thing to have straight-line speed, but he has the hands and hockey IQ to take advantage of his swift skating.

McDavid already has two points in this one, pushing him to 84 points. He also extended his point streak to five games (three goals, six assists if he stays at one of each on Wednesday).

Islanders grab precious points by beating Rangers


The goal posts might move from time to time – now they’re chasing the Boston Bruins more than the Toronto Maple Leafs – but the bottom line is that the New York Islanders need to get it done to make the playoffs.

They still have some climbing to do, but Wednesday represented a step in the right direction with a tough 3-2 win against the New York Rangers.

The Rangers built 1-0 and 2-1 leads in the second period as John Tavares struggled with a “hat trick” of penalties, but Tavares & Co. wouldn’t give up. They managed two power-play goals in the third (one by Nikolay Kulemin, the winner by Andrew Ladd) to turn things around for a significant win.

Anders Lee was also a big part of the win, grabbing a goal and an assist. The biggest difference-maker may very well have been Thomas Greiss, who stopped 34 of 36 shots (including all 11 in the third) as the Rangers created a lot of offense.

The Islanders now have 80 standings points, placing them two behind the Bruins for the East’s final wild card spot.

The Rangers’ hold over the first wild card seems quite secure, but they do have to worry ever so slightly about their play at home. With this defeat, they’ve now lost seven straight (0-5-2) at Madison Square Garden.