The Buffalo Sabres might be on their way to a big win against the Washington Capitals (currently 3-1 midway through the second period), but they might suffer a big loss too. Hard-shooting free agent acquisition Christian Ehrhoff suffered a lower-body injury and Mike Harrington reports that he won’t return tonight.
The Sabres defense could be in even bigger trouble than that, too, as Harrington reports that Andrej Sekera just recently needed to leave for the locker room.
If Sekera also misses the rest of Tuesday’s game, that means the Sabres will only have four blueliners on hand to hold off a desperate Capitals team with that 3-1 lead and a daunting 30 minutes remaining.
To make matters worse, it appears that troublemaker-forward Patrick Kaleta aggravated a right thumb injury by blocking a shot. The Sabres are positively dropping like flies on Tuesday.
The winner of tonight’s game will have at least a temporary hold lead on the eighth spot in the East, which is looking more and more like a two-horse race between the two teams. Losing Ehrhoff and/or Sekera for an extended period of time certainly won’t make that race easier for Buffalo.
You can call it a bad break for Minnesota’s Matt Cullen.
Michael Russo of the Star Tribune reports that Cullen will be getting his broken finger operated on thus ending his season with the Wild.
In a season that’s seen so many injuries and general misfortune, the Wild losing Cullen for the final few games is the final kick in the shins. With 14 goals and 35 points, Cullen was the Wild’s fourth leading point producer.
With Minnesota already officially eliminated from making the postseason, losing anyone productive makes playing the spoiler that much harder. At least the move to go “Stinko for Grigorenko” is finally in full effect.
The Philadelphia Flyers dominated large parts of their game against the Tampa Bay Lightning, but a few sloppy plays and some middling spans resulted in a 5-3 loss. That’s nowhere near the most confusing situation for Philly today, though, as the team is sending mixed signals about Ilya Bryzgalov’s health.
Sam Carchidi reports that Bryzgalov was limping in the Flyers locker room and underwent X-rays, yet Philly GM Paul Holmgren claims that he isn’t injured.
The Flyers are in that select group of teams whose playoff situation seems pretty clear at this point. Perhaps they can grapple for home ice advantage, but they’re likely more or less resigned to being in the fourth vs. fifth seed matchup.
With that in mind, Bryzgalov’s mysterious injury situation might remain cloudy, as Philly could easily lean on Sergei Bobrovsky even if Holmgren is telling the truth (or the partial truth). Breezy’s resurgence makes the Flyers an intriguing dark horse in the East, so it’s certainly a situation to watch – even if Philly deliberately confuses everyone along the way.
Here are highlights of the game:
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Tough news for a player with a spell-binding nickname: “Midget Wizard” Mats Zuccarello will be sidelined indefinitely with a broken wrist, according to Katie Strang.
Considering the scant amount of regular season games remaining, it’s probably safe to say that the New York Rangers won’t get him back until at least the playoffs. In fact, it wouldn’t be shocking if this is his last 2011-12 appearance.
With today’s game marking just his 10th game of the season, it’s hard to call this a major loss; he’s an undersized forward whose limitations might have been exposed in the grinding intensity of a playoff series. Still, he was starting to put his game together a bit; Zuccarello had two goals in two games on March 17 and 19.
Losing him won’t make or break the Rangers, but you never know when you might need a little wizard’s magic.
The Red Wings have had enough problems of late over the last month but after Jimmy Howard returned from his groin injury a couple weeks ago, they felt they could at least relax about matters in goal.
That is until today when Ansar Khan of Mlive.com reported that Howard’s groin is acting up again and that the team has put Ty Conklin on re-entry waivers. Khan reports from Wings GM Ken Holland that Howard’s injury is day-to-day and that it isn’t serious. If Conklin clears waivers, he will join the team in New York where they’ll take on the Rangers tomorrow night (7:30 p.m. ET on NBCSN).
The Wings were already dealing with Joey MacDonald being bothered by a bad back and have Jordan Pearce up in place of him already. With Conklin on the way back to the team and Howard out for any amount of time, it’s up to Conklin to try and keep the Red Wings in fourth place in the Western Conference. That’s an unenviable task for anyone.