Three key players are set to miss time with injuries that are more serious than was initially reported by their teams.
The Blackhawks, losers of three-of-four, will have to break out of their slump without the help of Corey Crawford. Chicago's No. 1 stopper needs three weeks to nurse a groin injury suffered in Sunday night's win over Florida.
With Nikolai Khabibulin already on the sidelines, rookie Antti Raanta, the team's third stringer, steps into the breach, starting tonight in Dallas. He's been solid in limited exposure this season, going 3-0-1, including a 29-save effort in relief of Crawford on Sunday. Kent Simpson, who was Raanta's understudy with Rockford of the AHL, has been recalled by the Hawks to serve as the team's backup.
It's a tough break for Boston, which already has five players out of the lineup, including defenseman Adam McQuaid. The return of Johnny Boychuk, who suffered a back injury last week against Montreal, and the strong play of Kevan Miller, will help ease the burden.
In New York, the Rangers' hard-luck defenseman Marc Staal has been diagnosed with a concussion--again--but according to coach Alain Vigneault, doctors don't feel it is as serious as his last bout with head trauma. Vingeault says Staal already is "feeling better," but there's no timetable for his return. Few players have had a tougher run of late than Staal, so here's hoping for a quick recovery.