The Flames have a strong first line…Erik Karlsson’s success will cost the Senators…Jets’ Blake Wheeler returns to Boston…Vancouver’s Sami Salo could miss significant time to injury…Leafs playoff dreams depend on goaltending…Oilers need their veterans to step up…Jaroslav Halak returns to Montreal.
CALGARY SUN: The Flames first line of Olli Jokinen, Curtis Glencross and Jarome Iginla have been among the league’s best over the past 22 games.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: They’re also why the Flames remain in playoff contention at mid-season, and why Iginla won’t be shopped at the trade deadline.
OTTAWA SUN: Senators defenseman Erik Karlsson is on pace for a 78-point season, meaning he’ll also be in line for a significant raise, either from the Senators or another team this summer via offer sheet.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: I think it’s safe to say the Senators won’t allow another team to call the tune on Karlsson’s new salary.
WINNIPEG SUN: Jets forward Blake Wheeler returns to Boston, this time as a key member of one of the Jets top lines.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Wheeler struggled to fit into the Bruins lineup during his three seasons in Boston, but he’s looking comfortable as a Jet.
VANCOUVER SUN: The league suspended Bruins forward Brad Marchand for five games for his low-bridge hit on Canucks defenseman Sami Salo, but the latter could miss more time due to a shoulder injury suffered on the play.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Anyone else wanna see these two teams square off again in the near future? Or meet again in the Stanley Cup Final? Whole lotta hate between the Bruins and Canucks.
TORONTO SUN: The Maple Leafs playoff dreams will come down to the goaltending of James Reimer and Jonas Gustavsson.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: GM Brian Burke claims he’s not pursuing a goalie in the trade market, so Leafs fans best hope Reimer and/or Gustavsson can step up between now and April.
EDMONTON SUN: The Oilers need their veteran players to step up if they hope to revive their fading playoff hopes.
MONTREAL GAZETTE: Jaroslav Halak returns to Montreal for the first time since he carried the Canadiens to the 2010 Eastern Conference Final, as he and the St. Louis Blues face off tonight against the Habs.