Here are four things to know for Wednesday night's NHL games:
It’s not the plan the Ottawa Senators had in mind as they fight to stay in contention for a playoff spot. But injuries to their top two goalies, starter Craig Anderson (hand) and Robin Lehner (undisclosed), have forced 27-year-old Andrew Hammond and backup Chris Driedger, 20, into Wednesday’s lineup against the visitingMontreal Canadiens.
It will mark the first NHL start and third appearance for Hammond, nicknamed “The Hamburglar,” who allowed two goals on five shots in a relief effort in Monday’s 6-3 loss to Carolina.
Hammond won’t have to go save-for-save with Carey Price, the league leader in GAA (1.93) and save percentage (.935) among netminders with more than 15 appearances, as he’s expected to give way to Dustin Tokarski and start at home Thursday for Montreal versus Florida.
What do you do if you’re Minnesota head coach Mike Yeo and game-planning for a critical matchup against a team you’re chasing for a playoff berth? Break up your top forward line? Why not?
Yeo is expected to give Zach Parise, Mikko Koivu and Jason Pominville different linemates when the Wild visit the unbeatean-in-two Calgary Flames, who are seventh in the Western Conference, four points up on No. 10 Minnesota, which has a game in hand. Otherwise, Flames coach Bob Hartley, with the last line change at home, would simply sick Norris Trophy candidate Mark Giordano and partner T.J. Brodie (NHL-best plus-24 rating) on them.
The Wild are 3-0-1 in their past four trips to Calgary and 9-4-1 in the last 14 visits.
No rest for ailing Oilers
Edmonton returns from a 2-3-1 road trip with bumps, bruises and little time to heal as it opens a three-games-in-four-nights stretch Wednesday against Boston. Questions remain about the health of tough guy Luke Gazdic (cut on chin) who left Monday’s 5-4 shootout loss to Winnipeg. Goalie Ben Scrivens has been activated off injured reserve (hamstring) while the 16-32-10 Oilers will be without Taylor Hall (cracked bone in foot), Nikita Nikitin (shoulder), Tyler Pitlick (spleen) and Viktor Fasth (lower-body injury) against the Bruins, who are winless in four (0-3-1) but have won 13 straight over Edmonton.
There was talk that Bruins goaltender Malcolm Subban, whom Boston drafted in the first round in 2012, could make his NHL debut in Edmonton. The younger brother of Montreal defenceman P.K. Subban was recalled from the American Hockey League on Monday and some believe he could be showcased for a possible trade with the Oilers, who could use a potential franchise netminder.
Valuable points available
Chicago looks to continue its successful eight-game homestand when the rival Detroit Red Wings pay a visit. The Blackhawks have picked up four points halfway through the home stretch (2-0-2) and are 4-0-2 in their past six contests, allowing them to keep pace with the two teams above them in the Central Division, Nashville and St. Louis.
A win Wednesday would enable Chicago to extend its lead over idle Winnipeg in the West standings to six points with a game in hand. The Blackhawks are 13-5-1 against the East this season, and Detroit arrives having not won in three starts.
Elsewhere on Wednesday, the defending Stanley Cup champion Los Angeles Kings attempt a sixth consecutive win when they visitColorado at 10 p.m. ET. The Kings are fifth in the Pacific Division but only three points behind second-place Vancouver.