This article is part of our The Daily Puck series.
Around the Rink
The Ottawa Senators have the best record in the NHL over the past 20 games. Having gone 15-3-2 in their last 20 appearances, the surging Sens now sit just two points out of the final wildcard spot in the Eastern Conference.
Ottawa will look to grab another crucial two points Saturday as they take on the struggling Toronto Maple Leafs. The team will once again turn in goal to 27-year-old sensation Andrew Hammond, who is the first goaltender to earn at least one point in each of his first 13 NHL starts since Patrick Lalime do so in 1966-77.
While Hammond is quite the story, the team is being carried up front by one of the youngest core groups we have seen in a long time. Excluding the veteran Milan Michalek and the injured Clarke MacArthur, the average age of Ottawa's top-eight forwards is 23.3 years of age. The forwards included are Kyle Turris, Mike Hoffman, Mark Stone, Alex Chiasson, Bobby Ryan, Curtis Lazar, Mika Zibanejad, and Jean-Gabriel Pageau. Not to mention the team's defensive quarterback, Erik Karlsson, who is 24 years-old and is leading all NHL defensemen in scoring with 56 points. This team is going to be very good for a very long time.
With hamburgers being thrown on the ice and the young kids piling up points, it's hard to not to root for the young and exciting Ottawa Senators. With a 13-1-1 record in their last 15 games, Ottawa is simply SenSational.
Here's what you need to know for Saturday's NHL action.
Projected Goalie Starters (all times Eastern)
Blues (Brian Elliott) at Wild (Devan Dubnyk), 2:00
Blue Jackets (Sergei Bobrovsky) at Flames (Karri Ramo), 4:00
Canucks (Eddie Lack) at Kings (Jonathan Quick), 4:00
Capitals (Braden Holtby) at Jets (Michael Hutchinson), 7:00
Rangers (Cameron Talbot) at Hurricanes (Cam Ward), 7:00
Islanders (Jaroslav Halak) at Devils (Cory Schneider*), 7:00
Bruins (Tuukka Rask) at Panthers (Roberto Luongo), 7:00
Leafs (Jonathan Bernier) at Senators (Andrew Hammond), 7:00
Sharks (Antti Niemi) at Canadiens (Carey Price), 7:00
Sabres (Anders Lindback) at Predators (Pekka Rinne), 8:00
Blackhawks (Corey Crawford) at Stars (Kari Lehtonen), 8:00
Penguins (Marc-Andre Fleury) at Coyotes (Mike Smith), 9:00
Flyers (Steve Mason) at Oilers (Ben Scrivens), 10:00
For updates on the projected goalies later in the day, check out our Projected Goalies Grid.
Injury News For Teams Playing Saturday
Martin Erat, LW – Suffered an upper-body injury in Thursday's game against the Avalanche and will not return.
David Krejci, C (knee) – Krejci, who practiced Wednesday, will travel with the Bruins on the team's upcoming three-game road trip, the Bruins' official site reports.
Brett Connolly, RW – Connolly, who suffered a broken right index finger on March 4, has resumed skating with the Bruins, the team's official site reports.
Andrej Meszaros, D (hand) – Took part in Thursday's practice, Bill Hoppe of the Olean Times Herald reports.
Patrick Kaleta, RW (knee) – Was a full participant in Thursday's practice, Bill Hoppe of the Olean Times Herald reports.
Zach Bogosian, D – Coach Ted Nolan relayed Thursday that Bogosian (lower body) is progressing and could be back in the next few days.
Drew Shore, C – Will miss Thursday's game against the Flyers due to a minor undisclosed injury, Scott Cruickshank of the Calgary Herald reports.
Josh Jooris, RW – Will miss Thursday's game against the Flyers due to a minor undisclosed injury, Scott Cruickshank of the Calgary Herald reports.
Cam Ward, G – Coach Bill Peters relayed Wednesday that Ward (illness) is still feeling sick.
John-Michael Liles, D – Suffered a lower-body injury in Tuesday's loss to the Senators and has been ruled out for Thursday's game against the Canadiens, Chip Alexander of the Raleigh News and Observer reports.
Jack Hillen, D (concussion) – Has reported improvement with his condition and was on the ice for Tuesday's morning skate.
Rasmus Rissanen, D – Will miss 3-4 weeks with an MCL injury.
Ryan Murray, D – Will be held out of Thursday's game against the Canucks due to a lower-body injury, Aaron Portzline of the Columbus Dispatch reports.
Brandon Dubinsky, C (upper body) – Has flown back to Columbus and will not be available Thursday against the Canucks, Aaron Portzline of the Columbus Dispatch reports.
Boone Jenner, LW (back) – Isn't slated to return to action before Saturday's game against the Flames, Shawn Mitchell of the Columbus Dispatch reports.
Trevor Daley, D (knee) – Skated on his own prior to Tuesday's practice, Mike Heika of the Dallas Morning News reports.
Valeri Nichushkin, RW – Coach Lindy Ruff said after Tuesday's practice that Nichushkin (hip) is now being viewed as "day-to-day," Mike Heika of the Dallas Morning News reports.
Alex Goligoski, D – Missed Wednesday's practice due to an illness.
Luke Gazdic, LW (illness) – Will not play Wednesday against the Blue Jackets, Jack Michaels of the Oilers Radio Network reports.
Matt Fraser, D – Was officially diagnosed with a concussion after taking a blow to the head from the Maple Leafs' Nazem Kadri during Monday's game, Jack Michaels of the Oilers Radio Network reports.
Taylor Hall, LW (ankle) – Skated with the Oilers on Monday, the team's official site reports.
Jarret Stoll, C (upper body) – Will not take the ice for Wednesday's game against the Ducks, Lisa Dillman of the Los Angeles Times reports.
Ryan Carter, RW (shoulder) – Skated during the Wild's optional practice Wednesday and could return as soon as Saturday, the St. Paul Pioneer Press reports.
Nate Prosser, D – Coach Mike Yeo said Prosser's undisclosed lower-body injury is expected to sideline the blueliner for four weeks, Chris Miller of the Minneapolis Star Tribune reports.
Marco Scandella, D (upper body) – Is hoping to return by Saturday's game against the Blues, Chris Miller of the Minneapolis Star Tribune reports.
Brian Flynn, LW (upper body) – Skated as an extra at Thursday's morning session.
Jeff Petry, D (flu) – Was not at practice Thursday.
Nathan Beaulieu, D (illness) – Was scratched for Tuesday's game against the Panthers.
Torrey Mitchell, RW – The Canadiens announced Tuesday that Mitchell would miss about two weeks with a right arm injury, Renaud Lavoie of TVA Sports reports.
James Neal, RW (upper body) – Didn't participate in Tuesday's morning skate, the Preds' official site reports.
Patrick Elias, LW (back spasms) – Did not practice Thursday.
Lubomir Visnovsky, D (lower body) – Has been ruled out for Saturday's game against the Devils.
Nick Leddy, D (upper body) – Is a candidate to return to action Saturday against New Jersey.
Jaroslav Halak, G (lower body) – Practiced Thursday.
Mikhail Grabovski, C – Skated prior to the team's practice Wednesday, Arthur Staple of Newsday reports.
Henrik Lundqvist, G – Though Lundqvist (neck) has been cleared to practice, GM Glen Sather noted Wednesday that the goalie is a week to 10 days away from a return to action, NHL.com reports.
Martin St. Louis, RW – Will miss 10-14 days with a lower-body injury that he sustained Sunday against the Panthers.
Craig Anderson, G – Ottawa GM BRyan Murray said Tuesday that Anderson will miss at least one week after aggravating the hand injury he first sustained Jan. 21, Bruce Garrioch of the Ottawa Sun reports.
Matt Read, RW (paternity) – Isn't expected to rejoin the Flyers until the team heads to Edmonton for Saturday's game, Randy Miller of the Newark Star-Ledger reports.
Evgeni Malkin, C (lower body) – Will not join the Penguins for their two-game road trip beginning Thursday in Dallas.
Patric Hornqvist, RW – Will be out for about a week due to an unspecified injury that he suffered Sunday against the Red Wings.
Mike Brown, LW (leg) – Practiced Monday, Kevin Kurz of CSN Bay Area reports.
Peter Holland, C (lower body) – Is expected to miss the Leafs' next two games, Mark Masters of TSN reports.
Nazem Kadri, C – Was handed a four-game suspension Wednesday for his illegal hit on the Oilers' Matt Fraser during Monday's game, Nick Kypreos of Sportsnet reports.
Brad Richardson, C (ankle) – Was not on the ice for warmups, meaning he will miss Thursday's game against the Blue Jackets.
Ryan Miller, G – Coach Willie Desjardins said Thursday that Miller (knee) has resumed skating without gear.
Zack Kassian, RW (back) – Will not play Thursday against the Blue Jackets, Irfaan Gaffar of Sportsnet reports.
Tim Gleason, G – Is on track to miss Thursday's game against the Wild due to an upper-body injury, Alex Prewitt of the Washington Post reports.
Jay Beagle, RW – Coach Barry Trotz said Beagle (upper body) will miss the next two games, Chuck Gormley of CSN Washington reports.
Dustin Byfuglien, D – Coach Paul Maurice said that Byfuglien (upper body) will not play Thursday against the Blues, Sara Orlesky of TSN reports.
Bryan Little, C (upper body) – Took part in Wednesday's practice.
Paul Postma, D (unspecified injury) – Will miss a number of weeks, according to Paul Friesen of the Winnipeg Sun.
Jordan Eberle, RW, EDM – Eberle is red-hot right now, riding a six-game point streak in which he has compiled four goals and 12 points. Dating back to late-January, the 24-year-old has piled up 27 points in his last 22 games. He's simply rolling. While he's sporting a lackluster minus-20 rating on the season, the former 76-point-getter has found his offensive touch and is thriving alongside Ryan-Nugent Hopkins. With the Oilers already eliminated from playoff contention, Eberle can do his thing without any added pressure, making him a must-start every game right now.
Ben Bishop, G, TBL – Bishop tuned in another excellent outing Friday, stopping 30 of 31 shots in a victory over Detroit. Bishop has won four of his last five games and has allowed just seven goals in that span. The 28-year-old has suffered just one regulation loss in his past 10 appearances and has allowed two goals or less in nine of those games. He now owns an impressive 35-11-4 record on the season, making him one of the best fantasy goaltenders around. You can't stop him.
Derek Stepan, C, NYR – Stepan continues to struggle for New York, managing no points in 11 straight games. While he's struggle to put up points, Stepan has managed 10 shots on goal in his last three games, so he'll break out of this slump sooner than later. He's still got 43 points in 53 games and is playing on the top line with Rick Nash, so he's worth holding onto. Considering he'd been producing at basically a point-per-game pace before the slump it, it's only a matter of time before he gets back on track.
Cody Franson, D, NSH, – With just one assist in his last nine games, Franson is struggling to get on the scoresheet with Nashville. While he was averaging over 20:00 of ice time with Toronto, he's now seeing significantly reduced minutes with the Predators. Franson recently skated 13:12 this past Saturday against Los Angeles and just 12:02 the next night against Anaheim. With Shea Weber and Roman Josi the big offensive guns on the blueline in Nashville, Franson has taken a backseat. He's seeing barely any power-play time and has racked up just one power-play point in 14 games with his new team. Considering his reduce role, the 27-year-old likely won't get back to being the offensive force he was with Toronto at times earlier in the season.
Johnny Gaudreau, LW, CGY – Skating on the top line with Sean Monahan and Jiri Hudler, Gaudreau has racked up eight points in his last five games. The 21-year-old rookie is now up to 20 goals and 56 points in 70 games on the season. In his first full NHL season, he's already become a fantasy asset, notching seven power-play tallies, three game-winning goals and 141 shots on goal. While the Flames battle for a playoff spot, Gaudreau is worth grabbing, as he's producing points very consistently and possesses tremendous talent that has him sitting tied atop the NHL rookie scoring race.