Now that the Flames are into the playoffs, their only concern is which division winner to they get as a wild card entry. That was enough to start the lineup rotation, ahead of the playoff race, which saw Dennis Wideman come back into the lineup and Michael Stone coming out for a rest. The Flames are in San Jose for their final game on Saturday night, it's hard to say which lineup they'll dress, but I would imagine we'll see Wideman in the lineup again on Saturday.
Not much to report here... Wideman was a return for Grant and Stone was an exit for Grant... so, it's a wash.
Now you know the Chicago Blackhawks are just phoning in the rest of the week, when they have the ability to rest Jonathan Toews, Marian Hossa and Brent Seabrook on top of already having Duncan Keith sitting and Niklas Hjalmarsson away on a personal leave. The Blackhawks have already clinched home-ice through the Western side of the playoffs and they can't go any higher, so why risk their top talent or at the very least, give them a chance to heal up some bumps and bruises ahead of the playoffs.
The three new Blackhawks on the list don't have any money implications to speak of, as Toews belongs to Wilton, Hossa belongs to Stacey C. and Seabrook belongs to Jeremy. All three are heading to the weekend empty-handed.
The Nashville Predators were at least kind enough to say that they were resting a couple of extra bodies, due to healing some lower-body injuries on Thursday night. Both Mike Fisher and Ryan Ellis were both held out of the game against the Dallas Stars for that reason, while tough guy Cody McLeod didn't have any tough guys to tussle with on the other side, so he spent the game up in the press box. The Predators were not short on offense against the defensively deficient Stars, racking up 7 goals.
McLeod was the only player of the three here that had any association to a money race, as he was missing from Troy's attempt to track down Marcie's team in the PIM pool. Fisher belongs to Stacey C. and Ellis belongs to Tony. Stacey's team has been making a run, but they are still way too far behind to come close.
The Pittsburgh Penguins were fortunate enough to welcome Trevor Daley back to their lineup after his knee injury, so they made good use of the extra healthy body, by giving Mark Streit a night off, as they move closer to the playoffs. The Penguins were able to clinch 2nd place in the Metropolitan Division with a win on Thursday, so they are clear for the weekend to rest up and heal up those bodies in need and for a guy like Daley to shake off some rust without any worry of losing ground in playoff races.
The return of Daley to the lineup is a boost to Dale B.'s defense of the lead, which now stands at 3 points after Thursday night's action, but the resting of Streit is a let down to Scott's team, which doesn't have much left to play for, but it would probably be nice to see his play through.
Now that the Tampa Bay Lightning are out of playoff contention, there really is no need for Tyler Johnson to over extend himself and he can now worry about healing his lower-body injury, which has obviously been nagging him for quite some time, actually costing him some time in the lineup down the stretch. On Thursday night, he was scratched from the lineup against the Maple Leafs and I would think it's doubtful for him to return to the lineup over the weekend.
Johnson was certainly a disappointment for Jeremy's pool team, as he only appeared in 66 games for the Bolts and registered 45 points, which isn't great among his peers taken in the 5th round of the draft. Jeremy was probably thinking that he was getting one hell of a bargain, but he was only 14th best in the round, taken 101st overall and is currently ranked 144th in pool scoring.
The Winnipeg Jets are also looking towards the future, as they called up prospect goaltender Eric Comrie for Thursday night's start against the Columbus Blue Jackets and he performed admirably, making 34 saves in a 5-4 win in his NHL debut. In order to fit him in, Michael Hutchinson was the odd-man out, as the healthy scratch in the press box and I would think there's a pretty good chance that Comrie might get the start in the last game of the year as well.
It's hard to call it a missed start for Hutchinson, as there probably wasn't much consideration for him to get the start anyways, meaning that Grant's keeper was pretty much hooped from the start. I wouldn't expect him in the lineup on Saturday either.