At this point, the odds are heavily stacked against the Dallas Stars in their fight to advance to the postseason, but at least they’re getting a key player back for the final stretch. Tyler Seguin returned from a knee injury Saturday night that was the result of a hit from Panthers’ defenseman Dmitry Kulikov on Feb. 13.
Seguin was originally projected to miss three to six weeks so the fact that he’s already good to play is a stroke of luck in favor of Dallas. Prior to being injured, Seguin had been one of the league’s top players this season with 29 goals and 59 points in 55 games.
Dallas was just three points shy of a Wild Card spot when he went down, but the team has gone 3-5-2 in his absence. Dallas consequently is eight points behind the Winnipeg Jets and the second Wild Card spot as a result.
The Stars are playing against the Tampa Bay Lightning tonight.
Michael Hutchinson gets the nod in Nashville
Michael Hutchinson will look to right the ship tonight in Nashville. The Jets’ goaltender allowed three goals on 17 shots in a loss to the Senators on Wednesday. Hutchinson has lost three of his last five games while posting a 2.57 GAA and .906 save percentage. The Jets have not won in Nashville this season and will look to avoid a third straight loss to the Preds.
Pekka Rinne, who has lost four in a row, gets the nod for Nashville.
Blues at Leafs: Brian Elliott vs. Jonathan Bernier
Stars at Lightning: Jhonas Enroth vs. Andrei Vasilevskiy
Islanders at Panthers: Michal Neuvirth vs. Dan Ellis
Sabres at Capitals: Anders Lindback (unconfirmed) vs. Braden Holtby
Avalanche at Blue Jackets: Semyon Varlamov vs. Curtis McElhinney
Canadiens at Coyotes: Carey Price vs. Mike Smith
Penguins at Kings: Marc-Andre Fleury (unconfirmed) vs. Jonathan Quick (unconfirmed).
Canucks at Sharks: Eddie Lack vs. Antti Niemi
The Dallas Stars could have forward Tyler Seguin in the lineup tonight when they visit the Tampa Bay Lightning.
Seguin has missed 10 games with a knee injury.
“He’s a possibility,” Stars’ coach Lindy Ruff told Mike Heika of The Dallas Morning News. “We’ll have him go for warm-up and make him a game-time decision.”
The 23-year-old has not played since Feb. 13 after taking a low hit from Flordia Panthers defenseman Dmitry Kulikov.
The Stars have gone 3-5-2 in his absence.
Seguin had 29 goals and 59 points in 55 games prior to the injury.
The Lightning won the only other meeting between the two clubs 5-3 in Dallas on Feb. 5.
Goaltender Chad Johnson didn’t even get into a game for the Buffalo Sabres yet his season could be over.
The 28-year-old, who was acquired by the Sabres from the New York Islanders on Monday, suffered a lower body injury during the team’s morning skate on Friday and did not dress against the Ottawa Senators.
“Chad, unfortunately, hurt something lower body and he’ll be out for a while,” coach Ted Nolan said per The Buffalo News. “Not day-to-day, it’ll be for a while.”
The Sabres recalled Andrey Makarov and the 21-year-old backed-up Anders Lindback in the 3-2 loss to the Sens.
With 17 games left in the season, could Johnson’s injury be season-ending?
“It possibly could be,” Nolan said. “We’ll get our doctors to look at him, and we’ll see what happens.”
Johnson was 8-8-1 with a 3.08 G.A.A. and an .889 save percentage in 19 games with the Islanders prior to the trade.
Ottawa Senators forward Matt Puempel didn’t get the greatest shot off, as he was falling to his stomach. But he did manage to sweep the puck back toward what appeared to be a wide open net, only to be denied a goal after a desperation stick save from Buffalo Sabres goalie Anders Lindback.
The save occurred during a scramble in front of the Buffalo net late in the first period, with the Senators trailing by a goal.