Today’s Starting Goalies – October 16

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.

6:00 PM ET game

Pittsburgh @ Philadelphia

Likely Pittsburgh starter: Brent Johnson – Johnson is 2-0 while Marc-Andre Fleury is 0-3. I wouldn’t get too worried if I were a Fleury owner, as it’s early in the season and the Penguins simply want to turn things around. (Source: Inside Pittsburgh Sports.)

Likely Philadelphia starter: Sergei Bobrovsky – Bobrovsky was strong in his NHL debut against the Penguins, so the team should feel pretty about starting him against their cross-state rivals again. It might be wise to “hand cuff” Bobrovsky with Brian Boucher for the short-term future. (Source: Philadelphia Flyers Twitter Feed.)

7:00 PM ET games

Ottawa @ Montreal

Likely Ottawa starter: Brian Elliott – With Pascal Leclaire injured, Elliott has the opportunity to seize the No. 1 job. Again.

Likely Montreal starter: Carey Price – It’s been a nice start to the Unchallenged Carey Price Era. The team (and their young cornerstone goalie) could go 3-1-1 to start the season if they earn a win in this one.

Boston @ New Jersey

Likely Boston starter: Tim Thomas – If any backup could snare the No.1 spot, it would be Tim Thomas in Boston. Tuukka Rask burst onto the scene in the 2009-10 season, but the Bruins are paying Thomas big money so they have a vested interest in him succeeding. Even if it’s just to drive up his trade value. (Source: Boston Bruins Twitter Feed.)

Likely New Jersey starter: Martin Brodeur – He hasn’t had an outstanding start to the season (1-3-1 with a 3.00 GAA and 88.7 save percentage), but Brodeur will still receive a ton of starts this season. (Source: Tom Gulitti of Fire & Ice.)

Colorado @ NY Islanders

Likely Colorado starter: Craig Anderson – There are a handful of goalies who should get Brodeur-like workloads in net this year. Anderson should be one of them. (Source: Denver Post.)

Likely Islanders starter: Dwayne Roloson – This is a hunch, but an injury-prone goalie like Rick DiPietro probably isn’t likely to make back-to-back starts. Especially without earning a win.

Tampa Bay @ Florida

Likely Tampa Bay starter: Dan Ellis – It seems like Ellis might seize the 1a role in Tampa Bay, which probably won’t surprise many. The Lightning have a chance to go 4-0 if they beat the Lightning tonight. (Source: Raw Charge.)

Likely Florida starter: Tomas Vokoun – He’s coming off of a shutout, so the already highly likelihood of him starting increased even more. (Source: Florida Sun-Sentinel.)

8:00 PM ET games

Washington @ Nashville

Likely Washington starter: Michal Neuvirth – No sense in rushing Semyon Varlamov back when Neuvirth is doing fine in net for the Capitals. (Source: Mike Vogel.)

Likely Nashville starter: Anders Lindback – It sounds like Pekka Rinne might be on the way back, so this might be Lindback’s last start for a while. Then again, the Predators are 3-0 so maybe he deserves a chance. (Source: Joshua Cooper.)

Columbus @ Minnesota

Likely Columbus starter: Mathieu Garon – Steve Mason faced a 40-shot onslaught against the Chicago Blackhawks last night, so it makes sense that the Blue Jackets decided to give him a breather. (Source: Columbus Dispatch.)

Likely Minnesota starter: Niklas Backstrom – When you pay a guy $6 million per year, he better carry the load. (Source: Minnesota Wild Twitter Feed.)

8:30 PM ET games

St. Louis @ Dallas

Likely St. Louis starter: Ty Conklin – “Conkblock” is as solid as a backup can get, so why not give Jaroslav Halak a little break? (Source: Dan O’Neill of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.)

Likely Dallas starter: Kari Lehtonen – The Stars are going to take a backseat to the Texas Rangers as the baseball team plays in their first ALCS ever. Still, if Lehtonen helps them go 4-0, they might increase their relevance in the DFW area soon enough. (Source: ESPN Dallas.)

Buffalo @ Chicago

Likely Buffalo starter: Patrick Lalime – Might as well make Lalime the sacrificial lamb in this one. (Source: Mike Harrington of the Buffalo News.)

Likely Chicago starter: Marty Turco – Not a sure thing, but when in doubt in back-to-back situations, go with the fresher of the two. (Source: ESPN Chicago.)

9:00 PM ET game

Detroit @ Phoenix

Likely Detroit starter: Jimmy Howard – Chris Osgood was absolutely horrible in his last start against the Stars (four goals on only 15 shots), so it’s no surprise that Howard is the starter tonight. (Source: Ansar Khan.)

Likely Phoenix starter: Ilya Bryzgalov – I’d be very surprised not to see Bryzgalov in the Coyotes net after such a long layoff from their overseas jaunt.

10:00 PM ET game

Edmonton @ Calgary

Likely Edmonton starter: Nikolai Khabibulin – The Oilers have to put their best feet forward when they face their hated foes in Calgary. (Source: official Edmonton Oilers Web site.)

Likely Calgary starter: Miikka Kiprusoff – Going out on a limb with this one.

10:30 PM ET game

Atlanta @ San Jose

Likely Atlanta starter: Chris Mason (Source: Chris Vivlamore of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.)

Likely San Jose starter: Antti Niemi – Might as well make the crowd pleasing move for the team’s season opener. (Source: San Jose Sharks official Web site.)

Can there be parallels drawn between the 2016 Ducks and 2014 Sharks?

Anaheim Ducks center Ryan Kesler (17) takes the puck up ice on a breakaway with San Jose Sharks defenseman Marc-Edouard Vlasic, center, and Ducks center Nate Thompson, right, trailing on the play during the second period of an NHL hockey game in Anaheim, Calif., Tuesday, Feb. 2, 2016. (AP Photo/Alex Gallardo)
AP Photo
Leave a comment

The Anaheim Ducks might not have suffered a reverse sweep at the hands of one of their biggest rivals, but they seem to have reached a breaking point when it comes to playoff disappointments.

After firing head coach Bruce Boudreau, GM Bob Murray was highly critical of the team’s core, even noting that at this point he’s not a fan of long-term contracts. That was perhaps a swipe at how he feels Corey Perry and Ryan Getzlaf‘s eight-year $69 million and $66 million contracts have worked out thus far. Meanwhile Ryan Kesler‘s six-year deal worth roughly $41 million is about to begin.

After San Jose suffered its first round loss to the Los Angeles Kings in 2014, Sharks GM Doug Wilson said they were now becoming a “tomorrow team” and they began a cultural shift that included Joe Thornton losing the captaincy.

There are differences of course between the two situations. One notable one is that the Sharks’ guard was already starting to change hands in 2013-14. Joe Thornton and Patrick Marleau were entering their mid-30s, but Joe Pavelski and Logan Couture were on the rise. Anaheim’s core of Getzlaf and Perry is significantly younger, but while Anaheim also has some promising forwards like Jakob Silfverberg, that generation of players doesn’t seem ready to carry the torch for the Ducks.

“We don’t have a lot of young guys in the lineup. … Today’s a much different feeling leaving the rink,” Ducks forward Andrew Cogliano said, per the Los Angeles Times. “In those [previous] years there’s been a sense of hope. Today, there’s zero feeling like that.”

Perhaps the Anaheim Ducks will find hope by watching the rest of the 2016 playoffs. If the San Jose Sharks continue to succeed, they will be an example of a team that once underachieved, hit a critical low, but then managed to fix that in a relatively short time without a massive turnover in terms of on-ice personnel. While we’re at it, you could make a similar argument for the Washington Capitals.

Maybe Murray will look to those franchises for inspiration as he moves forward.

Capitals, Penguins nearly perfect at stopping third period comebacks

Pittsburgh Penguins center Sidney Crosby (87) and Washington Capitals defenseman Matt Niskanen (2) chase down the puck during the first period of Game 2 in an NHL hockey Stanley Cup Eastern Conference semifinals Saturday, April 30, 2016 in Washington. (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais)
AP Photo
3 Comments

Pittsburgh only won by a single goal in Game 2 on Saturday and that deciding marker came with 4:28 minutes remaining in the third, but that contest had the potential to be far more one-sided.

The Capitals were outshot 28-10 through 40 minutes and were consequently leaning on goaltender Braden Holtby to keep things close.

“First two periods, I thought they were way better than us,” Washington coach Barry Trotz told CSN Mid-Atlantic. Or has Justin Williams put it, the Capitals “were getting embarrassed out there” during the first 40 minutes.

Washington did rebound in the third period, though it wasn’t enough to prevent the Penguins from evening this series at 1-1. That puts the pressure on Washington to take at least one game in Pittsburgh before the second round’s over.

Starting the game off strong is always going to be important, but that’s particularly true when talking about the Penguins and Capitals. Pittsburgh was 39-0-0 in the regular season when leading after 40 minutes while Washington was 37-0-1. So far in the playoffs, both teams are 4-0-0 when they have the lead after two periods.

Hemsky finds his groove on third line

DALLAS, TX - APRIL 11: Ales Hemsky #83 of the Dallas Stars handles the puck against the Nashville Predators at the American Airlines Center on April 11, 2015 in Dallas, Texas. (Photo by Glenn James/NHLI via Getty Images)
NHLI via Getty Images
1 Comment

When the Dallas Stars inked Ales Hemsky to a three-year, $12 million deal, the hope was that he would be a valuable secondary scorer and help round out their top-six. Things haven’t gone as predicted, but Hemsky has emerged as a significant player for Dallas lately.

Hemsky is now playing on the third line with Radek Faksa and Antoine Roussel and he’s gone on to record 15 points in his last 16 regular season games as well as another four points in seven playoff contests.

“We had hard conversations about how I felt the game needed to be played, where I felt his game needed to go,” Stars coach Lindy Ruff told the Dallas Morning News. “Did it always go his way? No. But from his defensive responsibilities to really buying into shooting the puck a little bit more, I think he’s been a real good asset for us this year.”

The Morning News goes into much more detail about Hemsky and his resurgence, but taking a step back from that, having a third line that’s both impactful without the puck and capable of chipping in offensively is important, especially as we get deeper into the playoffs. There’s no question that the Stars have big time players on their roster, but that’s obviously not all you need in the playoffs.

A lot of the time when talking about the Stars’ areas of concern, their defense and goaltending come up and understandably so given that Dallas allowed more goals in the regular season than any other team that made the playoffs. But the value of a strong bottom-six shouldn’t be understated and perhaps Hemsky’s recent resurgence will play a role in the Stars having that going for them throughout the playoffs.

Dallas has taken a 1-0 lead over St. Louis in the second round and has an opportunity to build on that in Game 2 this afternoon (3:00 p.m. ET).

NHL schedules hearing with Orpik over Maatta hit

Maatta
18 Comments

Brooks Orpik‘s late hit in Game 2 on Saturday might keep him out of Monday’s contest.

At the very least, the NHL Department of Player Safety intends to discuss the matter with Orpik today, per the department’s Twitter feed.

The incident occurred early in the first period when the Capitals forward smashed into Olli Maatta. The Penguins blueliner collapsed and needed some assistance getting off the ice. He didn’t return to the game.

You can see that hit below:

“I thought it was a late hit,” Penguins coach Mike Sullivan told CSN Mid-Atlantic. “I thought it was a target to his head. I think it’s the type of hit everyone in hockey is trying to remove from the game.”

The Penguins didn’t have an update on Maatta’s condition immediately following the contest.