Goalie Nods: Halak looks to bump slump vs. Sabres


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

Saturday’s clinching scenarios: Isles, Caps eye playoff spots


The Washington Capitals and New York Islanders can clinch playoff spots with wins on Saturday.

Washington visits the Ottawa Senators in the second of a three-game road trip. The Capitals are looking to get back to the post-season after missing the playoffs for the first time in seven seasons last year.

The Capitals need a regulation win tonight to clinch.

A win in Ottawa won’t be easy though. The Senators are in a fight for their own playoff lives and sit three points back of the Boston Bruins for the second wild card seed in the Eastern Conference with one game in hand.

Washington won both meetings between the two clubs by identical 2-1 margins and will look for the season series sweep tonight.

The Capitals enter tonight’s action as the second seed in the Metropolitan Division.

A Washington regulation win coupled with a New York victory over the Buffalo Sabres will clinch a playoff spot for the Islanders.

The Islanders enter tonight’s action with just one win in their last five.

New York and Buffalo have split the first two games in the season series.

The Islanders are looking to clinch a postseason berth for the second time in three seasons.

New York is currently third in the Metropolitan Division.

The Minnesota Wild can clinch if they beat the Red Wings in regulation or overtime and the Flames lose in regulation.

If the Flames lose to Oilers in a shootout or overtime, the Wild would also require the Jets or Kings to lose in regulation. Minnesota can also clinch if the Jets and Kings lose in regulation and the Wild beat the Wings in regulation or overtime.

Minny can also clinch with a shootout win if the Flames lose in any fashion and the Jets or Kings lose in regulation. The Wild will also clinch with a shootout victory if both the Kings and Jets lose in regulation.

The Wild cannot clinch a playoff berth Saturday if they lose in any fashion.

Vancouver would clinch a playoff berth if they defeat the Jets in regulation and either the Flames lose in any fashion or the Kings lose in regulation.

The Canucks can also clinch if they beat the Jets in overtime and the Flames lose in any fashion and the Kings lose in regulation.

If the Canucks defeat the Jets in a shootout, both the Flames and Kings would need to lose in regulation in order for Vancouver to clinch.

Vancouver cannot clinch tonight if they lose to the Jets.

Ducks recall ’11 first-rounder Noesen, acquired in Bobby Ryan trade


After an incredibly unlucky run of injuries, Stefan Noesen could soon make his NHL debut.

Noesen, taken 21st overall at the 2011 NHL Entry Draft, has been recalled to Anaheim from AHL Norfolk, the club announced on Friday. The 22-year-old came to the Ducks from Ottawa in the Bobby Ryan trade of ’13… and has suffered through two major injuries and rehabs since.

Just a few games into the 2013-14 campaign, Noesen ripped up his knee — tearing both his ACL and MCL — which shelved him for all of the regular season and part of Norfolk’s playoff run. While he did return to get some postseason action, Noesen was again sidelined at the start of this season when he suffered a severed Achilles following a skate cut in mid-October.

Noesen only returned to the Norfolk lineup in mid-February, but made an immediate impact. He’s scored 10 points in 19 games since coming back and could provide a boost for the Ducks heading into the playoffs; Noesen has good size (6-foot-2, 205 pounds) and his playing style has earned comparisons to his new teammate, Corey Perry — from a fairly legit source in Ottawa GM Bryan Murray, who drafted Perry to the Ducks and Noesen to the Sens.

Video: Rookie Mark Stone stays red hot with 20th goal

When talking about the Ottawa Senators’ surge into relevancy in the Wild Card battle, the name that most often comes up is that of goaltender Andrew Hammond’s. That’s easily justifiable given the run he’s enjoyed since mid-February, but he’s far from the only cause of Ottawa’s late season success.

Rookie forward Mark Stone has been another major factor. Going into tonight’s game against the Tampa Bay Lightning, Stone had 11 goals and 37 points in 40 games since the start of 2015. He kept that incredible run going Thursday night with a goal just 5:03 minutes into the first period:

That was Stone’s 20th marker of the 2014-15 campaign. He’s emerged as a contender for the Calder Trophy, although Nashville’s Filip Forsberg and Calgary’s Johnny Gaudreau are still ahead of him in the rookie scoring race.

Ottawa is three points behind Boston in the battle for the second Wild Card spot, but the Senators have played in one less game.

Goalie nods: Slumping Elliott sits, Allen starts for Blues


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.


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.