Our five things to watch for tonight includes the return of Ryan Callahan to the Rangers line-up, while Karri Ramo visits his old employer.
It’s a slow night in the NHL with just four games on the schedule, but we’ve still got your five things to watch as Derek MacKenzie and Joffrey Lupul get set to have hearings this afternoon for their hits on Oliver Ekman-Larsson and Patrick Eaves respectively.
Ryan Callahan returns for the Rangers
Callahan will make his return to the Rangers’ line-up tonight in Pittsburgh. The Rangers’ captain suffered a left knee sprain against the Predators in early December and was supposed to be out 4-6 weeks, but he’s been practicing with heavy contact recently and is known for quickly recovering from injuries. The return of Callahan will be a big boost to a Rangers line-up that has won two straight.
Karri Ramo returns to Tampa
Ramo will get the start for the Flames tonight in Calgary as they get set to take on his former team, the Tampa Bay Lightning. The 27-year-old Finnish goaltender played in 48 games for Tampa from 2006-09 before departing for the KHL. Ramo is having a so-so season for a struggling Flames team posting a record of 6-6-3 with a .904 save percentage in 17 games.
Will this be Raanta’s final start?
Antti Raanta has been incredible filling in for the injured Corey Crawford, but tonight could mark his last start in Chicago for some time. The 24-year-old Finnish goaltender has been incredible for the Blackhawks posting a record of 10-1-3 with 2.21 goals against average with Crawford out. Chicago may want to continue to give him ample playing time and that wouldn’t be possible as a back-up, so a demotion to Rockford may be in his future. Demoting Raanta would leave Jason LaBarbera as Crawford’s back-up in Chicago.
Struggling Oilers take on dominate Ducks
The Oilers travel into Anaheim to play a Ducks team that is nearly unstoppable at home one night after getting walked all over by San Jose 5-1. Edmonton looked terrible against the Sharks last night getting outshot 36-24 and falling down 4-0 midway through the second before finally getting on the board thanks to a Nail Yakupov goal. Dallas Eakins even benched his top line of Taylor Hall, Ryan Nugent-Hopkins and David Perron at one point in the second period. Does Edmonton stand a chance tonight against a powerful Ducks squad, who are 15-0-2 on their home turf?
Wideman back in the line-up for Calgary
Defenseman Dennis Wideman will make his return to the Flames line-up tonight against Tampa Bay. The veteran from Kitchener, On. has missed 16 games thanks to a broken hand and should provide help on the offensive and defensive side of things for a Calgary team that ranks 26th in the league at 2.32 goals per game and 28th in the league at 3.10 goals against per game.