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Ray’s Ramblings: The Homer Surge
Ray Flowers

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Keith Kinkaid Headshot

Kinkaid will guard the goal in Friday's road game against the Islanders, Andrew Gross of The Record reports.

Kinkaid was sharp in his last outing Sunday against Dallas, turning aside 30 of the 32 shots he faced, but he ultimately didn't get enough goal support from his teammates to pick up his eighth win of the season, as the Devils fell to the Stars 2-1 in overtime. The American goaltender will hope to get more help from his teammates in a road matchup with an Islanders club that's averaging 3.13 goals per game at home this season, eighth in the NHL.
2:26 pm (EST)
Cam Ward Headshot

Ward will draw the start at home against the Blue Jackets on Thursday, the Raleigh News & Observer reports.

The tenured Hurricane will be looking for his 26th win after downing a Detroit team that finished off a grueling three-game stretch Tuesday. Ward is 25-20-11 on the season to go along with underwhelming peripherals of a 2.69 GAA and .905 save percentage, so it may be asking too much for him to make it three straight wins, particularly with Columbus and its ninth-ranked power play on tap.
2:23 pm (EST)
Jordan Patterson Headshot

Patterson was reassigned to minor-league camp Thursday, Nick Groke and Patrick Saunders of The Denver Post report.

The injury to Ian Desmond (hand) seemed to open the door further for Patterson to crack the Opening Day roster, but the Rockies opted to give him a bit more time to develop against Triple-A pitching. The 25-year-old did have plenty of success this spring, though, so a fast start back at Albuquerque could propel him back up to the majors. Patterson's demotion means that the candidates for the last spot on the major-league bench are Stephen Cardullo, Christhian Adames and Pat Valaika.
2:23 pm (EST)
Chris Hatcher Headshot

Hatcher was named one of the Dodgers' relievers to open the season, The Orange County Register's Bill Plunkett reports.

The 32-year-old struggled this spring, posting a 5.91 ERA over 10.2 innings. His lack of minor league options was presumably the reason behind his selection for the 25-man roster. Hatcher will serve as a middle reliever for the club to begin the season.
2:18 pm (EST)
Martin Jones Headshot

Jones is slated to start Thursday's game against the Oilers, Kevin Kurz of CSN Bay Area reports.

Jones, who has gone 1-1 over his last two starts, while allowing 11 goals in that span, will look to tighten things up Thursday against a surging Edmonton squad that has won three straight games and seven of eight tilts overall. Through 76 contests to date, the two teams are currently tied for second place in the Pacific Division, with 93 points each.
2:12 pm (EST)
Henrik Lundqvist Headshot

Lundqvist will start the Rangers' next three games, according to coach Alain Vigneault. First, he'll take on the Penguins at home Friday evening.

The bench boss said the King will be in his court for every game left in the regular season, save for at least one side of the back-to-back set scheduled at the tail end of the campaign. What a treat this is to Lundqvist owners now expecting a heavy workload for the veteran, despite his team already clinching a berth in the playoffs.
2:03 pm (EST)
Mookie Betts Headshot

Betts was hit by a pitch and replaced in right field during Grapefruit League action Thursday, Ian Browne of MLB.com reports.

The outfielder was playing having apparently gotten over flu-like symptoms recently. Jason Mastrodonato of the Boston Herald reports Betts was examined by trainers after the HBP but stayed in the game, at least until he came off the field the next half-inning. No details came from tweets so far on where he was hit, but more will become available soon. Obviously, fantasy owners will want to monitor the status of Betts, one of the top handful of picks in nearly all eligible fantasy drafts.
2:01 pm (EST)
Antti Niemi Headshot

Niemi will patrol the blue paint in Thursday's matchup with Boston, Mike Heika of the Dallas Morning News reports.

Niemi has not played since getting the hook March 14 after giving up five goals on 20 shots against the Oilers. Being pulled has been a frequent occurrence for the 33-year-old, which should be a red flag for fantasy owners.
1:59 pm (EST)
Luis Avilan Headshot

Avilan was one of seven relievers named to the club's Opening Day roster, The Orange County Register's Bill Punkett reports.

The Dodgers' left-handed middle relief job came down to Avilan and Adam Liberatore, and the latter's demotion to the minors exposed Los Angeles' plan. The veteran posted a 3.20 ERA with a 12.8 K/9 in 19.2 innings last season. He was actually more effective against right-handed batters last season, so expect Avilan to be used in a traditional middle relief role, as apposed to a left-handed specialist.
1:58 pm (EST)
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