Author: James O'Brien

San Jose Sharks v Los Angeles Kings

Yup, it looks Kings will roll with five defensemen tonight


For most people, $160 is a big deal. It’s generally not something that NHL teams sweat, however, but Sportsnet’s Chris Johnston indicates that was gap between the Los Angeles Kings dressing five versus six defensemen tonight:

All signs point to the Kings only dressing five blueliners in part because of an injury to Robyn Regehr, as indicated yesterday.

The Kings did their best to put on a brave face to LA Kings Insider, even if head coach Darryl Sutter said, “Is it ideal? No.”

“I think the last time we had big minutes like this was Game 1 against Anaheim in the playoffs,” Matt Greene said, noting what ended up being a 3-2 overtime win. “I think Reg got banged up pretty quick and then a lot of guys played a lot of minutes. But it happens. You just have to go through what we can play here and that’s it.”

Expect a busy night for Drew Doughty in particular, as LA Kings Insider notes:

Still, Doughty has cracked the 30 minute plateau three times in the last five games and ranks second in the league with a 28:10 time on ice average. He was excellent in logging a season-high 31:46 during Tuesday’s win in Dallas and followed that up with nearly 30 and a half minutes in a shootout loss against the New York Islanders on Thursday.

That isn’t the only injury situation for the Kings, either, as Justin Williams appears to be a game-time decision against the Vancouver Canucks.

Panthers scratch Fleischmann for Huberdeau

Florida Panthers v New Jersey Devils

The Florida Panthers finally got Jonathan Huberdeau back in the lineup during Saturday’s game against the Calgary Flames. The most interesting note is who’s sitting to make room for him: winger Tomas Fleischmann.

Fleischmann, 30, has failed to score a goal so far in 11 games. All he has to show for the 2014-15 season at the moment is a measly assist, and he only has 20 shots on goal to boot.

He’s in the last year of a $4.5 million deal, and considering his production, one cannot help but wonder about his future in Florida.

Huberdeau, 21, has missed the last three games with the flu, as the Miami Herald’s George Richards notes.

One thing to watch beyond the game this afternoon: this is one of those especially tough dates as far as Panthers ticket sales go:

Goalie nods: Can Anton Forsberg snap Columbus’ slump?

Ottawa Senators v Columbus Blue Jackets

All the latest from the blue paint…

Challenging assignments

In the second start of his NHL career, Anton Forsberg draws the tough job of trying to end the Columbus Blue Jackets’ seven-game losing streak. To make matters worse, Forsberg faces a quality (and rested) Tampa Bay Lightning team while Columbus is coming off of an OT loss to Carolina from Friday.

At least the Lightning are gearing up for their own back-to-back. Evgeni Nabokov makes it a battle of the backups, even if Forsberg’s essentially the No. 3 guy.

Forsberg isn’t the only goalie with a serious hurdle in his way, though. Jhonas Enroth heads a Buffalo Sabres team coming off of last night’s frustrating loss against the Edmonton Oilers against the always-dangerous Pittsburgh Penguins (who will probably roll with Marc-Andre Fleury). On paper, that’s a blowout waiting to happen, yet Buffalo’s goalies have generally managed to keep things semi-respectable lately.

Elsewhere …

Flames at Panthers: Karri Ramo vs. Al Montoya

Rangers at Maple Leafs: Cam Talbot vs. Jonathan Bernier

Wild at Canadiens: Darcy Kuemper vs. Carey Price

Jets at Senators: Ondrej Pavelec vs. Craig Anderson

Avalanche at Flyers: Reto Berra vs. Steve Mason

Hurricanes at Capitals: Anton Khudobin expected for Carolina while Justin Peters will probably go for Washington.

Predators at Blues: Pekka Rinne’s likely to face Brian Elliott (the latter’s more of a sure thing).

Sharks at Stars: Another backup battle between Alex Stalock for San Jose and Anders Lindback for Dallas.

Islanders at Coyotes: Jaroslav Halak vs. Mike Smith

Canucks at Kings: Seems likely to be Ryan Miller for Vancouver and Jonathan Quick for Los Angeles.

Report: Tyler Ennis avoids suspension for run-in with official

Buffalo Sabres v Carolina Hurricanes

It looks like Buffalo Sabres forward Tyler Ennis avoided a fine or suspension for his exchange with an NHL linesman on Friday. The Buffalo News’ John Vogl reports that no supplemental discipline will come of it:

Ennis, 25, expressed regret for letting his frustrations get the best of him during the waning moments of last night’s loss to the Edmonton Oilers.

The Sabres face the Pittsburgh Penguins tonight.

Flyers expect seamless Coburn return: ‘He’s a freak that way’

New York Rangers v Philadelphia Flyers - Game Four

The Philadelphia Flyers will welcome defenseman Braydon Coburn back into the lineup as they face the Colorado Avalanche on Saturday.

Despite missing 12 games with what might have been a fracture in his foot from blocking a shot, Coburn is expected to be up to speed right away, at least according to what head coach Craig Berube told

“For us, playing a fast team like Colorado he can really skate and defend,” Berube said. “That’s how I look at it. He can fly. He’s out there skating and it looks like he hasn’t been off.

“He has that ability to really move no matter what. He is always in great shape. He’s a freak that way.”

Coburn, 29, will replace Carlo Colaiacovo. If the team skate is any indication, he’ll pair up with Luke Schenn.

Coburn averaged about 22 and a half minutes per night the last two seasons, so he could make a meaningful impact on a Flyers defense that doesn’t look very impressive on paper. Steve Mason will likely appreciate that, as he’s set to make his fourth consecutive start.