Mike Halford

Patrick Eaves, Jonas Hiller

Stars put Eaves on IR after awkward fall versus Oilers

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Looks like the injury suffered by Patrick Eaves in Dallas’ win over Edmonton on Tuesday could be of some significance.

Eaves, who left last night’s game and didn’t return after crashing into the boards in the first period, has been placed on injured reserve with a lower-body injury, the Stars announced on Wednesday.

Per Stars Inside Edge, the injury is thought to be beyond a “day-to-day thing,”meaning Eaves could miss most, if not all, of Dallas’ upcoming four-game swing through Tampa Bay, Florida, Philadelphia and Pittsburgh.

With Eaves out, the Stars have recalled Curtis McKenzie from AHL Texas.

Losing the 31-year-old’s services will hurt. Eaves opened last night’s game on Dallas’ top line alongside Jamie Benn and Tyler Seguin, and is coming off a year in which he scored 14 goals and 27 points in just 47 games, missing time with a concussion.

Poll: Which of these 0-3 starts is most concerning?

Darryl Sutter
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First off — yes, we know it’s early.

Each of the teams we’re about to mention still has 79 games left to play, so plenty can change. Seasons can be salvaged. This isn’t the end.

Still, there’s something to be said for starting an NHL campaign 0-3, and it’s not something good.

Two years ago, Peter Laviolette was fired in Philly after going winless in his first three; this year, Columbus GM Jarmo Kekalainen blasted his team for going “off the rails” following a third straight loss to start the season.

So yeah, 0-3 is a bad place to be.

Here’s a look at the teams currently in that position, and their most glaring issue.

Pittsburgh: Just three goals for. Last year’s highest-scoring forwards — Sidney Crosby, Evgeni Malkin and Patric Hornqvist — have combined for one point.

Los Angeles: Even less offense — just two goals for — and all their losses came at home. Kings have already burned through 60 percent of their five-game home stand to open the year.

Boston: NHL-worst 16 goals allowed. Tuukka Rask‘s save percentage is .846. First 0-3 start in 16 years.

Columbus: Beaten soundly by the Rangers, twice, to open the year. Then gave up three power-play goals to Buffalo on Monday.

Edmonton: Like Pittsburgh, just three goals scored — except one of the Oilers’ goals was actually scored by the Blues (see here).

Carolina: Nobody expected the ‘Canes to be very good, so not a huge surprise. Still, this is a team that went winless in October last season and could be in danger of doing so again; Carolina has a big seven-game road trip coming up, with some very difficult stops.

New Jersey: Like Carolina, nobody expected the Devils to be very good. They’ve also been without No. 1 netminder Cory Schneider for the last two games, so there’s a built-in excuse at the ready. Still, the club can’t be pleased with scoring just two goals in its first two home games.

Anyway, go have yourself a vote.

Goalie nods: Lack to make ‘Canes debut

Eddie Lack, Stanislav Galiev
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Carolina fans will get their first regular-season look at Eddie Lack tonight when the ‘Canes host the Panthers at PNC Arena.

“[Lack’s] excited, and the guys are excited to play in front of him,” head coach Bill Peters said on Tuesday, per the club website. “He’s a good teammate, and they want to play hard in front of him.

“I think Eddie will be more than solid. He was good in the preseason, and I’m glad we’re able to get him in as soon as we have.”

The ‘Canes went with Cam Ward in their first two games of the season — both losses — and the results were a mixed bag. Ward was steady in the opener, stopping 23 of 25 shots, but wasn’t great against Detroit on Saturday, allowing four goals on just 19 shots.

Should he play well tonight, Lack could be in line for more starts in the near future. Carolina will embark on a seven-games-in-13-nights road swing later this week, which includes back-to-backs in Los Angeles and San Jose on Oct. 23 and 24.

For the Panthers, Al Montoya will get the start, giving No. 1 Roberto Luongo the evening off.

Elsewhere…

— New Jersey’s Keith Kinkaid will face Nashville for his first home start of the year, as Cory Schneider is away from the team following the birth of his son. Yann Danis has been called up from AHL Albany to back up. Pekka Rinne goes for the Preds.

Michael Hutchinson starts for the Jets in New York tonight. The Rangers will again roll with Henrik Lundqvist, who’ll play for the fourth time in six nights.

Carey Price is back in net for Montreal against Pittsburgh. Price watched Mike Condon get his first career NHL victory on Sunday against the Sens; for the Pens, Marc-Andre Fleury looks to get his first win of the year after opening with losses in Dallas and Arizona.

Martin Jones makes his third straight start for the Sharks, while Braden Holtby makes his second straight for the Caps.

Ben Bishop goes for the Lightning tonight in an opening-round playoff rematch against the Red Wings. Jimmy Howard goes for Detroit, after posting a shutout in the season opener.

Anders Nilsson will make his Oilers debut this evening in Dallas, taking over for Cam Talbot. For the Stars, Kari Lehtonen will get his first start of the year, and is looking to rebound from a shaky preseason.

Brian Elliott, who started the season opener, is back in goal for the Blues tonight for Calgary. The Flames will counter with Jonas Hiller, making his second straight start after Karri Ramo got the season-opener (a 5-1 home loss to Vancouver).

— No confirmations yet from either Vancouver or L.A. for tonight’s game at Staples. It’s likely that Ryan Miller will go — the Canucks have third-stringer Richard Bachman backing up with Jacob Markstrom (hamstring) injured — and it’s a good bet the Kings go with Jonathan Quick, given they’re 0-2 and need a win.

Related: Quick on save percentage: ‘Those numbers don’t mean nothing’

Hamburglar (groin) returns, Sens demote O’Connor

Andrew Hammond

Matt O'Connor‘s time in the Canadian capital was brief, but still noteworthy.

O’Connor, the losing netminder in Sunday’s “Battle of the Backups” against Montreal — Habs No. 2 Mike Condon got the win — has been sent down to AHL Binghamton to pave the way for Andrew Hammond‘s return from a groin injury, per the Sun.

The Hamburglar has been out since the preseason, but his return is earlier than expected.

He was originally supposed to miss the first two weeks, yet now sounds as though he’ll play one of Ottawa’s two games on an upcoming road trip through Columbus and Pittsburgh.

It’s going to be interesting to see if Hammond can replicate the success he had last season, when he came out of nowhere to go 20-1-2 with a 1.79 GAA and .941 save percentage, and finish seventh in Vezina voting.

Wild lose Graovac (groin) for 2-3 weeks

Tyler Graovac, Sam Reinhart,
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After making the Wild out of training camp, Tyler Graovac got some bad news on Tuesday — head coach Mike Yeo said Graovac would miss the next 2-3 weeks with a groin strain.

Graovac, 22, played just under 14 minutes in Minnesota’s crazy 5-4 comeback win over Colorado in the season-opener, but sat out Saturday’s win over St. Louis.

At 6-foot-5 and 200 pounds, Graovac was a notable physical presence in the Wild lineup, and is an intriguing prospect — he impressed with AHL Iowa last year, scoring 21 goals and 46 points in 73 games.