Even thought the Arizona Coyotes lost to the Edmonton Oilers Saturday, the team was still able to come away with a point and still retain the second wild card spot in the Western Conference. Their lead over Minnesota dropped to two points as the Wild won last night. However, with a legitimate shot a playoff berth this season, the Coyotes may get even better news if they can get in. According to AZ Central’s Richard Morin, there is a solid chance that goaltender Antti Raanta could be healthy enough to return for the playoffs.
That could create an interesting controversy, however, as one of the key reasons for the team’s success has been the recent play of backup Darcy Kuemper. The 28-year-old has been nothing short of outstanding since Raanta went down with a knee injury on Nov. 27, posting 20-11-3 record, with a .924 save percentage and a 2.40 GAA as the team’s starter. While Raanta’s return would change things in net, the team seems likely to stick with the hot hand.
“We have Darcy, who has been unbelievable for us and has given us a chance every night,” Coyotes goaltending coach Corey Schwab said. “He’s our guy, which means he’s our guy today and we’ll see what tomorrow brings. He’s done a great job at instilling confidence in the whole team. As far as how or when Antti Raanta is going to be back, nobody really knows. That’s a whole separate issue. It’s not even something for me to think about until we get there. Up until that point, there’s no question that Darcy has done enough to be the guy for us going forward.”
- The Vancouver Canucks head coach Travis Green reported that forward Sven Baertschi has been cleared for contact but is not expected to play Sunday. The 26-year-old has been injured for a large chunk of the season with a concussion, but was more recently diagnosed with post-concussion syndrome in early February. In total, Baertschi has only appeared in 22 games this season, although he has struggled with injuries his entire career. Baertschi has never played more than 69 games throughout his career.
- Sticking with the Canucks, Green also said that forward Nikolay Goldobin will be scratched Sunday and followed that with an interesting comment, according to TSN’s Jeff Paterson. ‘”You’ve got to bring something to the table,” said Green. “I just looked. He’s got 2+2 in the last 23 games. Those aren’t numbers that are really going to keep a guy in the league.”
- There were a few people surprised when Calgary Flames forward Sam Bennett was a scratch Saturday. However, Wes Gilbertson of the Calgary Sun writes that the word is that Bennett is day-to-day with an upper-body injury. “We were hoping when we got into Winnipeg, in the morning, it would be better,” Calgary head coach Bill Peters said. “And it went the other way. It was worse, so he couldn’t go.” Bennett is second on the team in hits with 120 and has 12 goals and 14 assists in 69 games.