Today's starting goalies – October 8

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Whether you’re interested for fantasy hockey reasons or just want to know which goalie your team is playing in a given day, we thought it might be helpful to share our best guesses (based on various previews from newspapers and Web sites plus our own instincts) on who might start each day.

12:00 PM ET game

Minnesota “at” Carolina

Likely Minnesota starter: Niklas Backstrom – While it’s a bit surprising that both goalies will play back-to-back games in Finland, it appears that will be the case today. (Source: Michael Russo.)

Likely Carolina starter: Cam Ward – Again, it’s a little unexpected (at least in my eyes) that both workhorse goalies will start again today, but I haven’t stumbled across anything that would indicate otherwise. I’ll keep an eye out for any late developments but it appears that this will be the case.

3:00 PM ET game

San Jose “at” Columbus

Likely San Jose starter: Antti Niemi – While he might share starts with his fellow Finn addition Antero Niittymaki, my guess is Niemi will get first dibs on the starting roll. It’s wise to “hand cuff” the two goalies by drafting/acquiring them both, if you can, though. (The Sharks Twitter feed confirmed Niemi will start this afternoon.)

Likely Columbus starter: Steve Mason – For better or worse, the Blue Jackets are putting all their eggs in the “Mason will snap out of it” basket. My money’s on “worse” but I hope I’m wrong. (The Columbus Post-Dispatch confirms the fact that Steve Mason will start for CBJ.)

7:00 PM ET games

Dallas at New Jersey

Likely Dallas starter – Kari Lehtonen – Lehtonen should receive the vast majority of the team’s starts … until his inevitable string of injuries, of course. I hate to be so sardonic toward a goalie whose skills are intriguing, but he’s basically the Marian Gaborik of goalies. (Source: Mark Stepneski of ESPN Dallas.)

Likely New Jersey starter – Martin Brodeur – No one logs minutes (nay, hours) quite like Devils work horse goalie Brodeur. The excitement over adding average backup Johan Hedberg was kind of amusing; expect Brodeur to flirt with 70 games played like usual as long as he stays healthy this season. (Source: Tom Gulitti of Fire & Ice.)

7:30 PM ET games

Washington at Atlanta

Likely Washington starter – Michal Neuvirth –  While we recently reported that Semyon Varlamov is on the verge of returning from the IR, Neuvirth might take every start until his tandem partner returns. Could he make enough of an impression to move from “1b” to “1a”? (Source: Washington Post.)

Likely Atlanta starter – Ondrej Pavelec – This is probably the closest thing to an “upset” so far, as I thought the Thrashers intended to add Chris Mason as a transitional starter while Pavelec gained seasoning. It might be a neck-and-neck race, but apparently Pavelec will get the first shot. (Chris Vivlamore of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported Pavelec would start.)

Anaheim at Detroit

Likely Anaheim starter – Jonas Hiller – After years of tight goalie battles (Hiller vs. J.S. Giguere, Giguere vs. Ilya Bryzgalov), this time around the Ducks have an obvious No. 1 and a weak No. 2. Hiller won’t be on easy street though, as that Anaheim defense is going to keep him very, very busy this season. (Source: OC Register.)

Likely Detroit starter – Jimmy Howard – The Red Wings have two reasonably capable goalies in Howard and Cup winner Chris Osgood, both of whom are in contract years. Howard played well last season so the job is his to lose, but he doesn’t have a ton of breathing room. (Source: Ansar Khan.)

Buffalo at Ottawa

Likely Buffalo starter – Ryan Miller – Miller is a no-brainer starter almost every night, unless you’re a member of Patrick Lalime’s family. (Source: Buffalo News.)

Likely Ottawa starter – Pascal Leclaire – I wonder if the Senators are going with “ceiling” over “actual results” here. Brian Elliott is the Jeff Garcia or Trent Dilfer of goalies; he won’t do anything sexy and won’t win many games by himself, but he’s awfully steady. Leclaire has been a flat-out mess the last two seasons, vacillating between being injured and being abysmal, but he’s been given a chance to earn his big contract this season. (Source: Senators Extra.)

Sharks swarm in the third period, take down Predators in Game 1

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For two periods, the San Jose Sharks couldn’t solve Pekka Rinne.

Maybe it was because of that black cat that found its way on to the ice prior to the start of Friday’s game, or the video review that didn’t go in San Jose’s favor in the opening period.

But that all changed in the final period. It started with Tomas Hertl on the power play finding room just under the glove of Rinne to get San Jose on the board. Joel Ward followed that up with a gorgeous deke, tucking the puck in behind Rinne just as he started to go behind the net, as San Jose was able to take advantage of a defensive breakdown.

Logan Couture added the eventual winner. Within the span of 13 minutes, the Sharks had completely taken over, cashing in on two Nashville penalties and a defensive lapse.

When the onslaught was over, the Sharks skated off with a 5-2 win in Game 1 of this second-round series with the Predators, who only wrapped up a seven-game series win over Anaheim on Wednesday.

Ryan Johansen made it interesting, cutting into San Jose’s lead with under two minutes remaining, but any further comeback attempt was quickly halted by a pair of empty net goals from the Sharks.

The game ended with a dust-up along the boards, before cooler heads did prevail.

Another North Dakota junior goes pro as Blackhawks sign Luke Johnson

Quinnipiac forward Tommy Schutt, left, moves the puck as North Dakota forward Luke Johnson, middle, checks Quinnipiac forward Travis St. Denis during the first period of an NCAA college hockey tournament game Friday, March 27, 2015, in Fargo, N.D. North Dakota won 4-1. (AP Photo/Bruce Crummy)
AP Photo
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Another day, another University of North Dakota player deciding to enter the professional hockey ranks.

This time, it was 21-year-old forward Luke Johnson who turned pro following his junior year, as he signed a three-year contract with the Chicago Blackhawks, the team that selected him in the fifth round of the 2013 NHL Draft.

In 43 games with the NCAA champs this season, Johnson scored 11 goals and 21 points, just shy of his college career high of 24 points set the previous year.

Johnson will forgo his senior year at North Dakota, making him the fourth member of that program’s junior class to turn pro since the end of the season. Keaton Thompson signed with the Anaheim Ducks, Troy Stecher inked with the Vancouver Canucks and Paul LaDue signed with the L.A. Kings.

Senior forward Drake Caggiula, now a free agent, has reportedly narrowed down his list of NHL suitors to six teams.

Brock Boeser, Vancouver’s 2015 first-round pick and coming off an impressive freshman year, will return to North Dakota for his sophomore year, as per Canucks general manager Jim Benning earlier this month.

Video: Black cat hits the ice before Sharks-Predators Game 1

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Perhaps it’s an ominous sign of bad luck to come, but for which team?

Prior to puck drop between the host San Jose Sharks and Nashville Predators in Game 1 on Friday, a black cat hit the ice at SAP Center, taking a nervous stroll along the boards.

Not sure exactly where it came from, although it’s possible someone was feeling extra superstitious before the start of this series.

Official update on the really important story of the evening:

Speed, skill help Stars score late victory to take series lead over Blues

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The Dallas Stars scored a late winner, held on in the final minute and eventually struck first in their best-of-seven second-round series with the St. Louis Blues.

Once again, it was the speed and skill of the Stars that proved to be the difference in the end. Radek Faksa scored with less than five minutes remaining in the third period, breaking the deadlock and giving Dallas a 2-1 victory and 1-0 series lead over their Central Division foes on Friday.

As he entered the zone on the rush, Faksa dished off to a flying Ales Hemsky, who was denied by Brian Elliott in alone. But Faksa followed up, jamming in the rebound to give the Stars the lead, as both St. Louis defensemen Jay Bouwmeester and Alex Pietrangelo were caught by the speed of the Dallas forwards on the rush.

The Stars held on from there, as the Blues made a late push to tie the game.

Kari Lehtonen stopped 31 of 32 shots for Dallas, while Elliott was busy throughout the night, stopping 40 of 42 shots.

Elliott was furious after the Stars opened the scoring in the second period, as Antoine Roussel tallied on a rebound after yet another nice Dallas passing play in the offensive zone.

Stars forward Patrick Eaves left the game early in the third period and didn’t play another shift after being hit in the lower part of his leg with the puck from a point shot.