A costly win for the Penguins over the Stars…Ryan Miller backstops Sabres over the Ducks…Blackhawks down Maple Leafs…Eric Stall refocused…Henrik Tallinder out longer than expected…Rangers rest Ryan Callahan…Avalanche riding two hot goalies…Sharks hope for improved defense and health…Lightning remain in playoff chase.
POST-GAZETTE: The Pittsburgh Penguins edged the Dallas Stars 4-3 in a shoot-out but it was a costly win, losing Kris Letang and Steve Sullivan to injuries.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Eric Nystrom’s hit on Letang which knocked the latter out of the game, is tough to call as an illegal hit, as Nystrom doesn’t appear to deliberately target Letang’s head. Should be interesting to see the league’s decision. Hopefully Letang, who missed considerable time this season to concussion, won’t be sidelined for long.
BUFFALO NEWS: Sabres goalie Ryan Miller made 43 saves on route to a 2-0 shutout of the Anaheim Ducks.
CHICAGO TRIBUNE: The Blackhawks pulled Corey Crawford after a wild first period, which seemed to provide a much-needed spark, as they downed the floundering Toronto Maple Leafs 5-4.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: For a while there, the first period of that game looked like the Battle of the Misfit Goalies.
NEWSOBERVER.COM: Carolina Hurricanes captain Eric Staal, like his team, has been on a resurgence since early January.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: A coaching change and the improved health of brother Marc Staal are the two biggest reasons for Eric’s improvement.
NJ.COM: Devils defenseman Henrik Tallinder could miss the rest of the season to a blood clot in his lower left leg.
NEW YORK DAILY NEWS: The Rangers are taking no chances with captain Ryan Callahan (bruised foot), allowing him to skip practice to recuperate.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Rangers position in the standings makes it possible for them to rest a key player like Callahan when they’re nursing an injury. It might not be a bad idea to let him skip a game or two if needed. Better to go into the playoffs with their captain healthy than hobbled.
DENVER POST: Semyon Varlamov and J.S. Giguere have given the Avalanche solid goaltending of late.
MERCURYNEWS.COM: The San Jose Sharks playoff quest will hinge on their defensive play and the health of key players down the stretch.
TBO.COM: Despite having shaken up their roster with recent trades, the Lightning remain in the playoff race, currently only five points out of eighth overall.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Sometimes these trades where the GM appears to have run up the white flag on the season can have a motivating effect upon a team, snapping it out of its funk. Remains to be seen how long the Lightning can keep this up, but their playoff chances are much better now than they were about three weeks ago.