The Tampa Bay Lightning could get a true defensive depth test tonight against Toronto.
Slater Koekkoek, the 10th overall pick at the 2012 NHL Entry Draft, has been recalled and could make his NHL debut this evening in place of Victor Hedman, who’s questionable after barely playing in the third period of Monday’s win over Montreal.
Should Hedman miss, he’d join fellow blueliners Jason Garrison and Braydon Coburn on the shelf. Garrison, who suffered an upper-body injury on a questionable hit from Detroit’ Justin Abdelakder over the weekend, is out 3-4 weeks; Coburn, who suffered a lower-body injury earlier this month, isn’t expected back until the playoffs at the earliest.
While those ailments have made for some tough times on defense, the Bolts have to be excited about Koekkoek’s arrival. The 21-year-old is enjoying a solid campaign with AHL Syracuse — 24 points in 66 games — and has some serious pedigree, the seventh d-man taken in first round absolutely loaded with quality defensemen (like Hampus Lindholm, Morgan Rielly, Jacob Trouba, Cody Ceci, Olli Maatta, Ryan Murray, Mathew Dumba and Derrick Pouliot.)
Andy or the Hamburglar? Sens mum on starting goalie
“Cameron” is, of course, Ottawa head coach Dave Cameron, who went with Craig Anderson in back-to-back losses this weekend against Toronto and Florida. The decision to start Anderson was made easier by the fact Andrew “the Hamburglar” Hammond was on the limp with a back injury but now, with Hammond declaring himself fit, the decision on who to start gets more complex.
The case for Anderson is based largely around the fact he’s got more experience and has played through playoff battles before (and the Sens are, to borrow a tired cliche, already in playoff mode.) He could hardly be blamed for only securing one of a possible four points this past weekend — the Toronto game was his first in 18 days, and he stopped 33 of 36 shots against Florida — even though people did blame him.
The case for Hammond? Well, I mean, his remarkable hot streak has been pretty well documented. It’s also worth noting that for a team that’s desperate for points, the Hamburglar has just one regulation loss in 17 appearances this season and, despite an ugly five-goal loss to the Rangers last Thursday, still boasts a 1.91 GAA and .938 save percentage.
The only thing for certain here is that we’ll soon know who’s starting in goal. The Sens take on Detroit at Joe Louis tomorrow, at which time Cameron will have to make his choice.
“Nobody really gives those kids any credit,” said Jagr of the young team in Florida. “How young they are, they’re so talented. They’re going to surprise the league in two years. They might win the cup the way and they’re going to get better and better. They don’t even have to do anything and they’re going to get better.”
Jussi Jokinen and Dave Bolland had the other Panthers goals while Dan Ellis made 25 saves for the win.
Florida has points in three straight games and five of their last six.
Senators captain Erik Karlsson scored his 20th of the season and Jean-Gabriel Pageau had the other for Ottawa. The Sens have lost three straight for the first time since Feb. 3-7.
Craig Anderson made his second straight start and made 33 saves in the loss.
Detroit Red Wings goaltender Jimmy Howard’s recent slump has been bad enough spark speculation about him potentially losing the starting job to 23-year-old netminder Mrazek. That debate only intensified after Mrazek posted a 23-save shutout against the Tampa Bay Lightning on Saturday.
Under these circumstances, Red Wings coach Mike Babcock has decided to start Mrazek against the New York Islanders despite the lack of rest. The only other time Detroit attempted to start Mrazek on back-to-back days this season, he allowed three goals on seven shots to the Buffalo Sabres before being pulled just 13:37 minutes into the second game.
There’s no word yet on who the Islanders will counter with.
Capitals at Rangers: Braden Holtby vs. Cam Talbot
Panthers at Senators: Craig Anderson will start for Ottawa; Roberto Luongo is the probable goaltender for Florida.
Bruins at Hurricanes: Tuukka Rask is expected to be fine for today’s game after dealing with dehydration issues on Saturday, so there’s a fair chance he’ll be between the pipes for Boston. Carolina will likely go with Anton Khudobin after using Cam Ward on Saturday, but that hasn’t been confirmed.
Flames at Predators: Jonas Hiller is confirmed for Calgary while there’s a fair chance Nashville will counter with Pekka Rinne.
Ducks at Devils: It’s not know who Anaheim will start, but Cory Schneider will be in goal for New Jersey.
Sharks at Penguins: Alex Stalock vs. Marc-Andre Fleury
Blackhawks at Jets: Corey Crawford vs. Ondrej Pavelec
Tyler Bozak netted his first career hat trick and added an assist while line mates Phil Kessel and James van Riemsdyk each had three assists in the win.
An Ottawa win would’ve vaulted the Sens back into the playoff picture. With the loss, the Senators remain a point back of the Boston Bruins for the second wild card spot in the Eastern Conference. Ottawa has one game in hand on Boston.
Anderson: "points are huge. You never know which point is going to cost you." #sens#leafs