Just over a week until the NHL playoff begin, and there are still a few spots to be decided. Maybe the most intriguing game on the schedule for tonight is Boston and Tampa Bay, still jockeying for position at the top of the Atlantic Division. Though neither first round series will be easy, the first place team will avoid playing the upstart Toronto Maple Leafs right away.
Charlie McAvoy will make his return for the Bruins tonight, while Steven Stamkos remains sidelined for the Lightning. While your eyes are on that game, we’ll keep track of all the other minor moves around the league.
- The Montreal Canadiens have sent Rinat Valiev back to the minor leagues, but he won’t be able to help the Laval Rocket reach the postseason this year. Laval is near the bottom of the entire NHL in their first season since relocation, and have mirrored the Canadiens’ inconsistency from the beginning of the year. Valiev, a restricted free agent this summer, should be able to help out that team in 2018-19 as he’s shown an ability to play at a high level in the minor leagues.
- Christopher Gibson’s emergency recall has been terminated, now that two other New York Islanders goalies are healthy enough to play. Thomas Greiss will start tonight, and will try once again to show that he can be counted on for the next two seasons of his current contract. The 32-year old goaltender hasn’t had a good season, and comes into tonight’s game with an .891 save percentage.
- With John Gibson sidelined with a minor injury, the Anaheim Ducks have recalled Reto Berra from the minor leagues. Berra has been one of the best goaltenders in the AHL this season, sporting a .925 save percentage with the San Diego Gulls.
- Daniel Taylor has been recalled by the Ottawa Senators as they deal with goaltending issues of their own. Mike Condon was injured in practice today, meaning Taylor could see some action down the stretch as the backup for Craig Anderson. The Senators play three games in four nights to finish the season including back-to-back contests on Friday and Saturday. If Taylor does play one of those games, it would be his Ottawa debut and only fourth career NHL appearance.
- Not to be outdone, the Detroit Red Wings have recalled goaltender Tom McCollum under emergency conditions. That means the Grand Rapids Griffins are without either of their starters as they finish out the regular season, already missing Jared Coreau since Petr Mrazek was dealt out of town. McCollum was actually a first-round pick of the Red Wings back in 2008, but has played just three NHL games in his career.
- The Washington Capitals have recalled both Travis Boyd and Madison Bowey, likely so that they can give a few regulars some rest over the last few games. The Capitals have clinched first place in the Metropolitan Division, and will play whichever team finishes in the first wild card position. That’s currently Philadelphia, but could easily change over the next few days.