The injury to Brandon Dubinsky left Blue Jackets coach John Tortorella short on top-six centers.
That’s never a good thing to be in the NHL. And it’s doubly bad for a team that’s trying to climb out of a big hole.
But Tortorella had to plug someone in there. In the end, he chose captain Nick Foligno.
“We talked about a number of different people,” Tortorella told the Jackets’ website. “I think Nick can handle the change.”
Another candidate was Boone Jenner, who played center in junior. But Tortorella decided against that because of Jenner’s strong play on the boards.
“I just don’t want to screw around with Jenner’s game, because I think he’s doing so well on the wall,” said Tortorella. “Nick volunteered, he’s played it, he felt comfortable and that’s what we went with.”
The Jackets won their second straight on Saturday with a 5-2 victory over Arizona. They host St. Louis on Tuesday night.
Dubinsky is expected to miss 2-3 weeks.
Center Alexander Wennberg is also on IR with an injury (foot).
The return of Pavel Datsyuk has, predictably, led to a better Corsi rating for the Detroit Red Wings.
On Friday, the Wings dominated the Sharks in terms of possession, but fell 3-2 on the scoreboard. They had a little tougher time the next day in Boston, but overall played the Bruins reasonably close in a 3-1 loss.
What the Wings didn’t do very well against the B’s was hit the net. As a result, they were outshot, 31-21.
“The biggest thing here, especially in the last game, is we have to hit the net more,” coach Jeff Blashill told NHL.com. “We had 18 missed nets and that’s not counting blocks. If you turn half of those into shots, you’ve got 32 shots.”
In contrast, the Bruins only missed the net seven times.
The Red Wings will get a good chance to pad their shots stats tonight in Ottawa. The Senators have surrendered an NHL-high 34.6 shots per game.
As far as the top two lines go, Datysuk will center Dylan Larkin and Tomas Tatar, while Henrik Zetterberg will skate between Justin Abdelkader and Gustav Nyquist.
Dainius Zubrus has joined the San Jose Sharks on a tryout basis, CSNCalifornia.com has learned.
Zubrus, 37, is an unrestricted free agent. He had a tryout with the Blues last month, but was later released. He played 74 games with the Devils last season, scoring just four goals with six assists. His contract was then bought out.
So, does he have a chance to stick with San Jose?
Well, Sharks coach Pete DeBoer coached Zubrus in New Jersey, so there’s familiarity there. And San Jose’s bottom six has not produced this season, so it’s not like the competition is too stiff.
We’d say he’s got a decent opportunity.
The Sharks play the Bruins in Boston tomorrow.
Michael Hutchinson got the hook after just 12 minutes of Saturday’s 7-0 loss in Nashville. The 25-year-old allowed three goals on seven shots, before Ondrej Pavelec surrendered four more on 27 shots.
Hutchinson will start again tonight in St. Louis, where the Jets will try to halt a five-game winless streak — one in which they’re allowed 23 goals total.
That Hutchinson is being given another opportunity tells you all you need to know about Ondrej Pavelec’s play of late. After a decent October, Pavelec has registered an .875 save percentage in November.
Together, Hutchinson and Pavelec have given up 16 goals in their last three games. And while coach Paul Maurice isn’t hanging everything on his netminders, he’s certainly hanging some of it on them.
“When we’re God-awful in front of him, there’s always the chance, right, that (the goalie) can always keep the game tied,” Maurice said, per the Winnipeg Sun. “Everybody has got to pitch in.”
Jake Allen will start for the Blues.
— Anders Lindback for the Coyotes. Jaraslav Halak for the Islanders.
— Anton Khudobin for the Ducks. Eddie Lack for the Hurricanes.
— Jacob Markstrom for the Canucks. Mike Condon for the Canadiens.
— Jimmy Howard for the Red Wings. Craig Anderson for the Senators.
— Andrei Vasilevskiy for the Lightning. Roberto Luongo for the Panthers.
Anaheim’s Nick Ritchie will make his NHL debut tonight in Carolina, and the 19-year-old will do it on a line with Ryan Kesler and Chris Stewart.
So much for easing the rookie into The Show. That’s the second line.
“He’s a big guy and we want to see what he can do,” Ducks coach Bruce Boudreau told the club’s website. “If you bring up your prized rookie from the minors, you don’t want to play him six minutes. You want to see if he can play. He’s done a great job in the AHL, so we’re giving him the opportunity here.”
The 10th overall pick in the 2014 draft, Ritchie has nine goals in 12 games for AHL San Diego. He was called up Saturday, along with center Michael Sgarbossa.
The Ducks desperately need some more offense. They’ve scored an NHL-low 28 goals in 17 games.
Related: Nick Ritchie is looking to make the leap