The race for the bottom is still on. While the Carolina Hurricanes heavily outshot the Buffalo Sabres tonight, they still suffered a 4-3 loss.
Sabres goaltender Anders Lindback had his hands full, but he managed to turn aside 49 of 52 shots, including 23 consecutive shots in the first period. After struggling mightily with Dallas earlier this season, Lindback has a .923 save percentage in 14 games with Buffalo.
The Sabres entered the first intermission with a 2-0 edge and they continued to build on their early momentum in the second. Tyler Ennis scored his 20th goal of the campaign to make it 4-0 with just 3:12 minutes remaining before the second intermission.
That proved to be critical as Carolina clawed its way back into this game thanks to goals from Patrick Dwyer, Alexander Semin, and Eric Staal. Ultimately, the Hurricanes ran out of time though.
Buffalo will still clinch 30th place before its next game if Arizona beats Calgary on Tuesday or Vancouver on Thursday. Otherwise, the Sabres will have to wait until Friday when they play against Columbus to get their next shot at securing the best odds of winning the draft lottery.
Why Anders Lindback may become one of ‘the most reviled Sabres ever’
All the latest from the blue paint…
You can be their hero, Eddie
The Canucks had three goalies on the ice for this morning’s optional skate — Ryan Miller, Jacob Markstrom and Eddie Lack — but it’ll be the latter who’ll get the start tonight in a crucial tilt versus Los Angeles.
Lack hasn’t exactly been a hero over his last five games, going 2-2-1 with a .903 save percentage, numbers that have been skewed by tough outings in Winnipeg (five goals on 36 shots) and Nashville (four goals on 38). It’s also worth noting Lack’s seen an awful lot of rubber lately; he’s faced an average of 35.2 shots per game over his last five, including 40 in a overtime loss to Dallas last week.
With Miller getting closer to a return to game action, tonight’s tilt will prove huge for Lack’s future as Vancouver’s No. 1. Tonight’s tilt will also prove huge for Western Conference playoff jockeying, as the Kings head into tonight’s action just three points back of Vancouver in the Pacific, and one back of Calgary.
Speaking of the Kings, no official word yet on who’ll start, but it’s expected to be Jonathan Quick.
‘Canes at Sabres: Cam Ward vs. Anders Lindback
Blue Jackets at Rangers: Sergei Bobrovsky vs. Henrik Lundqvist
Jets at Wild: Ondrej Pavelec vs. Devan Dubnyk (“DUUUBS” — Halford.)
Stars at Sharks: (No Dallas starter yet) vs. Alex Stalock
Halak gets the nod for the Isles
Jaroslav Halak will look to get back on track against the lowly Buffalo Sabres Saturday night. Halak has lost two of three starts while allowing 10 goals on 101 shots. He gave up three goals on 39 shots in the Islanders 4-3 shootout loss to Columbus on Thursday. New York has lost four of five, but can clinch a playoff berth with a regulation win tonight.
Andrey Makarov gets the start for Buffalo.
Penguins at Blue Jackets: Marc-Andre Fleury vs. Sergei Bobrovsky
Canucks at Jets: Eddie Lack vs. Ondrej Pavelec
Red Wings at Wild: Jimmy Howard vs. Devan Dubnyk
Devils at Rangers: Cory Schneider vs. Henrik Lundqvist
Lightning at Panthers: Ben Bishop vs. Roberto Luongo
Capitals at Senators: Braden Holtby vs. Andrew Hammond
Leafs at Bruins: James Reimer vs. Tuukka Rask
Stars at Predators: Jhonas Enroth vs. Pekka Rinne
Sharks at Coyotes: Antti Niemi (unconfirmed) vs. Mike Smith
Flames at Oilers: Karri Ramo vs. Ben Scrivens
Avalanche at Kings: Semyon Varlamov vs. Jonathan Quick