Andrew Hammond will return to the net for the first time since getting shellacked in a 5-1 loss to the Rangers last week; Craig Anderson, who started consecutive losses to Toronto and Florida over the weekend, will revert to backup status… for now.
It remains to be seen what head coach Dave Cameron will do for the remaining seven games of the regular season. Ottawa’s in a dogfight with Boston for the last wild card spot in the Eastern Conference and, at least for now, he’s going with Hammond, who has just one regulation loss in 17 appearances this season.
For Detroit, Petr Mrazek will start tonight — a decision that’s equally as compelling as the one in Ottawa. For more on that, click here.
Panthers at Bruins: Roberto Luongo vs. Tuukka Rask
‘Canes at Caps: Cam Ward vs. Braden Holtby
Devils at Jackets: Cory Schneider vs. Sergei Bobrovsky
Bolts at Leafs: Andrei Vasilevskiy (probable) vs. James Reimer
Canucks at Preds: Eddie Lack (apparently) vs. Pekka Rinne
Rangers at Jets: Henrik Lundqvist vs. Ondrej Pavelec
With Hedman questionable, Bolts recall ’12 1st-rounder Koekkoek
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.