Cam Ward missed the past two games with a lower-body injury, but he is expected to start Tuesday night after backing up Justin Peters. Ward is undefeated in regulation in his last five games, and has respectable stats with 17 wins, a 2.55 GAA and a .925 SV%. Peters hasn’t been very good this season, allowing three or more goals in nine of ten appearances. Even though he has won three of his past four games, expect a heavy dose of Ward, as the last two games started by Peters was the only two-game starting streak he’s had all season.
Columbus Blue Jackets
Steve Mason has been dealing with a groin injury and missed the Jackets’ last game on Saturday. He’s allowed eight goals in his past two games – both losses – and has had a pretty bad season overall. While Mathieu Garon went on a hot streak earlier in the season, he has allowed 19 goals in his past four starts and at least four goals in each of those games. Garon is just 1-8 in his past nine decisions, so AHL call-up David LeNeveu will probably get his chance to prove he deserves some time while Mason is out.
New York Islanders
The Islanders goaltending situation seems to change by the day. Rick DiPietro hasn’t appeared in a game since last Monday when he was removed for precautionary reasons (this time his groin, not his ailing knee). Nathan Lawson has started two of the past three games for the Isles, and played pretty well until his last two starts – a 5-0 loss to Chicago on Monday although he did make 40 saves, and a 2-1 loss to the Oilers which he was yanked five minutes in after allowing two goals on three shots. Another rookie, Kevin Poulin got his first NHL win, allowing three goals and making 34 saves in a 4-3 overtime win against the Avalanche on Saturday. The Isles could experiment with these young rooks to see who they like more for the future, although with Ricky D’s contract, they might have to wait awhile until they play regularly.
Niklas Backstrom could be out for a while with a hip injury, and he has already missed the past five games. Jose Theodore has played very well in his absence, going 4-1 with a .930 SV% and a 2.31 GAA while earning Third Star of the Week honors. This should surprise no one, as Theodore ended last regular season on a 20-0-3 run over his past 23 games (not including the playoffs). If Backstrom is out for a while, Theodore will see most of the starts, with recent callup Anton Khudobin getting the nod in some back-to-back situations or when Theodore needs an off day.
For those of you with Chris Osgood on your team, he will be out 6-to-8 weeks with a groin injury. Joey MacDonald has been recalled to back up Jimmy Howard.