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
It appears the L.A. Kings could be without defenseman Andrej Sekera for the remainder of the regular season as they look to lock down a post-season berth.
According to a report from Lisa Dillman of the L.A. Times, Sekera is not expected to return to the Kings lineup during the regular season due to injury.
The 28-year-old blue liner was hurt during a loss to the Chicago Blackhawks on Monday. It was reported this week there was speculation the injury he sustained wasn’t minor, either.
That could be a big loss, considering the Kings paid a heavy price for Sekera, a pending unrestricted free agent who L.A. acquired just prior to the trade deadline for a first-round draft pick and prospect Roland McKeown.
That first-round pick could be in the 2015 draft, provided the Kings make the playoffs.
Since joining the Kings, Sekera had four points in 16 games.