SAT Injury Report: Alfredsson, Neuvirth, Garrison, Torres Suspended
(4/21/12) With 5 games on the schedule, Saturday will be the busiest night of playoff action yet. The games get under way at 3pm EST/12pm PST.
First back in Boston, Michal Neuvirth will return to the Washington line-up, but he will play the back-up role only. Braden Holtby is on fire and the Caps are going to ride him into the sunset. Our opinion: Holtby has been the Capitals' best goaltender for the past 2 years, but the team simply refused to give him his just dessert because of commitments made to Varlamov (now in COL) and Neuvirth. There was a time period in 2010-11 when Holtby was called up to fill in for both Neuvirth and Varlamov. He went 10-2-2 on the year with 2 shutouts. Keeper advice: look for Holtby to finally get his shot in 2012-13. Tomas Vokoun's contract expires at the end of the 2011-12 season.
At the other end of the ice, Boston back-up Tuukka Rask (groin) is close to returning, and it is Anton Kudobin - not Marty Turco - who the Bruins have decided to dress as their emergency back-up. Tim Thomas appears destined to play every minute for the Bs in these 2011-12 playoffs. This series is tied 2-2.
At 6:30pm EST/3:30pm PST, Florida and New Jersey meet in Game 5 back in Swamp Cat territory. Keaton Ellerby, who replaced Jason Garrison (LBI) in Game 4, is now dealing with his own LBI and is not expected to play. Garrison remains day-to-day, and could play tonight. If Garrison can not go, Tyson Strachan is the next D-man on the depth chart - he only played 15 games this year.
Half an hour later, Ottawa will reconvene in New York against the Rangers. Game 5 is obviously a pivotal contest, with the winner needing just one more victory to seal the series win. The big news here is that Daniel Alfredsson did not even travel to New York due to the concussion he suffered on the hit from Carl Hagelin in Game 2. Hagelin will serve the final game of his 3 game suspension and should be back for Game 6.
Back in St. Louis at 7:30pm EST/4:30pm PST, the Blues look primed to advance to the second round. All they need is one more win to accomplish the feat; it's been 10 years since the Blues won a playoff series. Jaroslav Halak (foot) remains out, so rookie Jake Allen continues to dress as the back-up - Elliott will play every minute until Halak returns.
Finally, at 10pm EST/7pm PST, the Coyotes will attempt to ground the Hawks for good this season. All they need is one more win to clinch the series after stealing the two previous games in the Windy City. Martin Hanzal (LBI) and Lauri Korpikoski (UBI) remain out - although there have been rumblings that Hanzal is close to returning, perhaps even tonight. Marian Hossa (suspected concussion) remains out and did not travel to Phoenix.
As for Raffi Torres, his suspension has come down and it is a whopping 25 games. As a repeat offender, the NHL is clearly sending its message that Torres' style of play is unwelcome in the game.
Grab the remote, man your fantasy website, and track the stats - enjoy the full slate of Saturday games! The action is almost non-stop today.