NHL News and Notes April 7

NHL News and Notes April 7

Hockey Today - April 7
Sat, Apr 7, 2007
By Associated Press

SCOREBOARD
Saturday, April 7

Montreal at Toronto (7 p.m. EDT).

A victory would give the Canadiens the final Eastern Conference playoff spot.

STARS

Friday

-Vladislav Nagy, Stars, scored the winning goal in the shootout and added an assist to give Dallas a 2-1 victory over Anaheim.

-Eric Belanger, Thrasher, had a goal and an assist to help Atlanta beat Carolina 4-1

-Ville Peltonen, Panthers, set up three goals as Florida blew past Tampa Bay 7-2.

CLINCHED

Atlanta defeated Carolina 4-1 on Friday night to captured its first division title. The Thrashers, who clinched the Southeast Division when Tampa Bay lost 7-2 to Florida, will be making their first postseason appearance in the franchise's seven seasons.

NO DEFENSE

Carolina's 4-1 loss to Atlanta Friday night was its fifth in the last six games. The Hurricanes, who were eliminated from the playoff race earlier this week, are the third defending Cup champion to miss the postseason and first since New Jersey in 1996. With Edmonton also out of the postseason, this marks the first time both Stanley Cup finalists failed to make the following year's playoffs.

SIGNED

Detroit signed center Pavel Datsyuk to a seven-year contract extension on Friday. Datsyuk, who would have been an unrestricted free agent July 1, leads the Red Wings with 87 points (27 goals and 60 assists) this season.

SPEAKING

''That's why we're all here. The regular season is good, but I personally have never played in the playoffs. I was waiting for that, and finally we're there.'' - Atlanta forward Ilya Kovalchuk after the Thrashers defeated Carolina 4-1 and clinched their first division title on Friday night.

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Re: NHL News and Notes April 7

Saturday, April 7, 2007

The goalies below have been confirmed by a source:

Marc-Andre Fleury, Pittsburgh Penguins - Fleury is the probable starter for Saturday's game against the Rangers, reports the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.

Henrik Lundqvist, New York Rangers - Lundqvist is the probable starter for Saturday's game against the Penguins, reports the Lower Hudson Journal News. Thanks to reader Chris V. for the note.

Ilya Bryzgalov, Anaheim Ducks - Bryzgalov is the probable starter for Saturday's game against the Blue Jackets, reports the LA Times. Jean-Sebastien Giguere will not be with the team once again as he is back in Anaheim with his wife and newborn son, who has a "non-life threatening" illness.

Kari Lehtonen, Atlanta Thrashers - Lehtonen is the probable starter for Saturday's game against the Lightning, reports the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. We thought this game might mean a whole as far as the Atlantic division champion goes, but the Thrashers already have that title wrapped up.

Cristobal Huet, Montreal Canadiens - Huet is the probable starter for Saturday's game against the Maple Leafs, reports the Montreal Gazette. It will be his first start in months and what a game for it to happen in as the Canadiens' playoff lives practically depend on it.

Tim Thomas, Boston Bruins - Thomas is the probable starter for Saturday's game against the Senators, reports the Boston Globe.

Patrick Lalime, Chicago Blackhawks - Lalime is the probable starter for Saturday's game against the Red Wings, reports the Chicago Sun-Times. Nikolai Khabibulin, who made 56 saves in a 3-2 victory over the Wings and apparently lost 15 pounds in the process, will start the season finale on Sunday against the Stars.

Chris Osgood, Detroit Red Wings - Osgood is the probable starter for Saturday's game against the Blackhawks, reports the Detroit Free Press. Dominik Hasek was originally expected to start, but he'll sit this one out due to a minor thigh injury. He probably suffered the injury standing throughout Sunday's Wrestlemania 23. Hasek says the the thigh injury will not hinder him once the playoffs start.


The goalies below have not been confirmed by any sources:

Tomas Vokoun, Nashville Predators
- Vokoun is the probable starter for Saturday's game against the Avalanche.

Peter Budaj, Colorado Avalanche - Budaj is the probable starter for Saturday's game against the Predators. The Avs are still in the hunt for the final playoff spot in the West and must hope for the Flames to lose against the Oilers to bring things to a final Sunday showdown between the two teams.

Fredrik Norrena, Columbus Blue Jackets - Norrena is the probable starter for Saturday's game against the Ducks.

Johan Holmqvist, Tampa Bay Lightning - Holmqvist is the probable starter for Saturday's game against the Thrashers. It really sums up the Lightning season that just a day after finally being officially named the #1 goalie in Tampa, Holmqvist went out last night and allowed 4 goals on 12 shots en route to being replaced by Marc Denis.

Craig Anderson, Florida Panthers - Anderson is the probable starter for Saturday's game against the Hurricanes.

John Grahame, Carolina Hurricanes - Grahame is the probable starter for Saturday's game against the Panthers.

Andrew Raycroft, Toronto Maple Leafs - Raycroft is the probable starter for Saturday's game against the Canadiens. While he's had an inconsistent season, Raycroft certainly has been serviceable this season - much to the surprise of a lot of people.

Wade Dubielewicz, New York Islanders
- Dubielewicz is the probable starter for Saturday's game against the Flyers. He has really raised his stock the last few games replacing an injured Rick DiPietro and an ineffective Mike Dunham, and should be in contention for a backup spot with the Islanders next season. However, with DiPietro's immense contract on the books, if he wants to be a starter, it will have to be on another team.

Martin Biron, Philadelphia Flyers - Biron is the probable starter for Saturday's game against the Islanders. He proved a bigtime stabilizing force for the Flyers in goal after the implosions of both Antero Niittymaki and Robert Esche. Biron will see a heavy workload next season as the team's #1 goalie and we suspect Niittymaki will be retained to serve as the backup.

Ryan Miller, Buffalo Sabres - Miller is the probable starter for Saturday's game against the Capitals.

Olaf Kolzig, Washington Capitals - Kolzig is the probable starter for Saturday's game against the Sabres.

Curtis Joseph, Phoenix Coyotes - Joseph is the probable starter for Saturday's game against the Kings. He's two wins away from Terry Sawchuk and fourth place on the all-time wins list so the final two starts could be his in an effort to attain that mark.

Mathieu Garon, Los Angeles Kings - Garon is the probable starter for Saturday's game against the Coyotes. Garon or Sean Burke - does it really matter who will start? Not really as both goalies will have surely played their last game as a member of the Kings after tonight. It's expected that Dan Cloutier will take over starting duties next year...sigh...and Jason LaBarbera will be placed on the active roster right away so he can challenge and probably steal the job from Cloutier within a couple of months.

Roberto Luongo, Vancouver Canucks - Luongo is the probable starter for Saturday's game against the Sharks. He's sitting at 46 wins with two games left while Martin Brodeur is at 48 wins with one game left.

Vesa Toskala, San Jose Sharks - Toskala is the probable starter for Saturday's game against the Canucks. Coach Ron Wilson stated last week that Toskala would start one game over the final two weeks and that hasn't happened yet. That's the only reason we're picking Toskala to get the nod this afternoon, but it could very easily be Evgeni Nabokov once again.

Martin Gerber, Ottawa Senators - Gerber is the probable starter for Saturday's game against the Bruins.

Dwayne Roloson, Edmonton Oilers
- Roloson is the probable starter for Saturday's game against the Flames.

Miikka Kiprusoff, Calgary Flames - Kiprusoff is the probable starter for Saturday's game against the Oilers.

Curtis Sanford, St. Louis Blues - Sanford is the probable starter for Saturday's game against the Wild.

Nicklas Backstrom Minnesota Wild - Backstrom is the probable starter for Saturday's game against the Blues.



Year-to-date: 2299 / 2422 = 94.9%

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