Carolina Hurricanes

Lindback makes 49 saves to keep Sabres from clinching 30th place

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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.

Related:

Why Anders Lindback may become one of ‘the most reviled Sabres ever’

Goalie nods: Canucks sticking with Lack, who wants ‘to be the hero again’

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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.

Elsewhere…

‘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

Goalie nods: Slumping Elliott sits, Allen starts for Blues

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All the latest from the blue paint…

St. Louis turns to Allen

With Brian Elliott having lost four straight and the Blues winning just once in their last six, Ken Hitchcock will turn things over to Jake Allen tonight for a tilt against Calgary.

Allen — who was in goal for St. Louis’ last win, a 3-2 OT decision over Pittsburgh — could potentially throw a wrench into the Blues’ plans of Elliott being their definitive playoff starter. Elliott hasn’t played well lately, going 1-3-1 with a .902 save percentage over his last five games, and Hitchcock did leave the door open slightly when asked if Ellliott could be usurped as the postseason No. 1.

“Obviously if [Elliott] doesn’t play well at all, then we’ve got to reassess it like any team does,” he explained, per the Post-Dispatch.

As for Allen, he’s gunning for his 20th win tonight and is coming off two pretty solid performances, stopping 24 of 26 shots in the aforementioned win over Pittsburgh, and 23 of 25 in a 2-1 OT loss to Detroit on Mar. 22.

For Calgary, Jonas Hiller will start in goal.

Elsewhere…

Isles at Jackets: Jaroslav Halak vs. Sergei Bobrovsky

Caps at Habs: Braden Holtby vs. Carey Price

Bolts at Sens: Ben Bishop vs. Andrew Hammond

Bruins at Wings: (No Boston starter yet) vs. Petr Mrazek

‘Canes at Panthers: Anton Khudobin vs. Roberto Luongo

Rangers at Wild: Henrik Lundqvist vs. Devan Dubnyk

Canucks at ‘Hawks: (No Vancouver starter yet) vs. Corey Crawford

Oilers at Kings: No starters for either team yet.

Johnny Hockey named NHL’s rookie of the month for March

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The NHL’s rookie scoring leader is also its rookie of the month.

On Wednesday, the league announced that Calgary freshman Johnny Gaudreau took home the honors for March after putting up 16 points in 15 games, keeping the Flames afloat in the Western Conference playoff chase.

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Gaudreau edged Ottawa Senators right wing Mark Stone (4-11—15 in 16 GP), Boston Bruins teammates Ryan Spooner (7-7—14 in 15 GP) and David Pastrnak (3-10—13 in 15 GP), Carolina Hurricanes center Victor Rask (3-8—11 in 15 GP), and Anaheim Ducks goaltender John Gibson (6-2-0, 2.50 GAA, .918 SV%) for the honor.

Gaudreau, a fourth-round selection (104th overall) by the Flames in the 2011 NHL Draft, recorded at least one point in 10 of his 15 March appearances, highlighted by four multi-point efforts. Those included his fourth career multi-goal game in a 6-3 victory over the Anaheim Ducks March 11 (2-0—2) and his fourth career game-winning goal in a 5-3 triumph over the Dallas Stars March 30 (1-1—2).

Gaudreau joins Tanner Pearson (October), Filip Forsberg (November), John Klingberg (January) and Anders Lee (February) as this season’s rookie of the month winners. He also looks to be a lock as one of this year’s three Calder Trophy finalists, along with Forbsberg and Aaron Ekblad.

Goalie nods: Hamburglar goes for Ottawa

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All the latest from the blue paint…

Hammond over Anderson

Yesterday, the Ottawa Senators were mum on who’d start in goal for tonight’s key tilt against Detroit.

This morning, they made it official — Hamburglar gets the nod.

Andrew Hammond will return to the net for the first time since getting shellacked in a 5-1 loss to the Rangers last week; Craig Anderson, who started consecutive losses to Toronto and Florida over the weekend, will revert to backup status… for now.

It remains to be seen what head coach Dave Cameron will do for the remaining seven games of the regular season. Ottawa’s in a dogfight with Boston for the last wild card spot in the Eastern Conference and, at least for now, he’s going with Hammond, who has just one regulation loss in 17 appearances this season.

For Detroit, Petr Mrazek will start tonight — a decision that’s equally as compelling as the one in Ottawa. For more on that, click here.

Elsewhere…

Panthers at Bruins: Roberto Luongo vs. Tuukka Rask

‘Canes at Caps: Cam Ward vs. Braden Holtby

Devils at Jackets: Cory Schneider vs. Sergei Bobrovsky

Bolts at Leafs: Andrei Vasilevskiy (probable) vs. James Reimer

Canucks at Preds: Eddie Lack (apparently) vs. Pekka Rinne

Rangers at Jets: Henrik Lundqvist vs. Ondrej Pavelec