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.)

Patrik Laine to make highly anticipated preseason debut for Jets

BUFFALO, NY - JUNE 24:  Patrik Laine gives an interview after being selected second by the Winnepeg Jets during round one of the 2016 NHL Draft on June 24, 2016 in Buffalo, New York.  (Photo by Jen Fuller/Getty Images)
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Anticipation has been building since the Winnipeg Jets officially took Patrik Laine with the second overall pick in this year’s NHL Draft.

On Friday, Laine, the highly coveted Finnish forward, will make his preseason debut for the Jets when they play the Edmonton Oilers in Winnipeg, as the home fans get the chance to take in the occasion.

The Jets have done a nice job of amassing good young forwards in their organization. Laine, who has the gifts to be a prolific scorer in the NHL, is at the top of that prospect list.

Winnipeg’s roster tonight also includes forward prospects Kyle Connor, Nic Petan and Brandon Tanev, not to mention more NHL experienced forwards like Alex Burmistrov, Blake Wheeler and Mark Scheifele.

Laine enters this season with high expectations placed on him from fans and media, after coming to the NHL following a standout career in Finland as a teenager. He’s aware of the expectations, but toned down the hype with the usual statements of just playing his game.

“Just be brave on the ice and show everybody I will earn my spot on the team,” he told reporters.

Laine has already seen game action this month. Not with the Jets, but with Finland’s entry at the World Cup of Hockey.

Following offseason knee surgery, Laine wasn’t happy with his performance in Finland’s first pre-tournament game. In three tournament games, Laine failed to register a point, despite a team-best 10 shots on goal, as Finland was quickly eliminated in the round robin.

Related:

Looking to make the leap: Patrik Laine

Murray: Ristolainen’s good-faith gesture unlikely to sway talks with Sabres

BUFFALO, NY - JANUARY 22: Rasmus Ristolainen #55 of the Buffalo Sabres makes a pass during the game against the Detroit Red Wings on January 22, 2016 at the First Niagara Center in Buffalo, New York. (Photo by Tom Brenner/Getty Images)
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BUFFALO, N.Y. (AP) Buffalo Sabres general manager Tim Murray tells The Associated Press he doesn’t believe defenseman Rasmus Ristolainen‘s decision to join the team for practice without a contract will have any effect on thawing negotiations.

With a big laugh, Murray on Friday said the only way Ristolainen could speed up contract talks is if “he got all lovey-dovey” and elected to take the Sabres’ latest offer.

Ristolainen is a restricted free agent whose rights were retained by the Sabres in June. After representing Finland in the World Cup of Hockey, Ristolainen reported to the Sabres on Thursday in what was regarded as a sign of good faith.

Though he’s not allowed to play because he’s not under contract, Ristolainen is practicing with the team and also taking part in meetings. Ristolainen is not making himself available to reporters.

Murray says he didn’t see anything wrong with allowing Ristolainen to practice, saying he’d rather the player be in Buffalo than working out elsewhere.

Murray says the two sides are still negotiating.

In three seasons, Buffalo’s 2013 first-round draft pick has established himself as the Sabres’ top defenseman. Last year, Ristolainen led the team in averaging more than 25 minutes of ice time per game, and led Buffalo defensemen with 41 points (nine goals, 32 assists).

Contract coming? Rakell’s agent negotiating ‘frequently’ with Anaheim

ANAHEIM, CA - NOVEMBER 30: Rickard Rakell #67 of the Anaheim Ducks skates during a game against the Vancouver Canucks at Honda Center on November 30, 2015 in Anaheim, California. (Photo by Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images)
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More updates from Anaheim, the land of contractual impasses…

Rickard Rakell, the still-unsigned RFA forward, sounds as though he’s closer to an extension with the Ducks than teammate Hampus Lindholm, who’s working out in Sweden.

From the O.C. Register:

Rakell has yet to resume his training after being unable to play for his homeland in the World Cup of Hockey. But it is believed that while the Ducks would prefer to stay lower than Rakell’s six-year, $24 million asking price, they’ve made more headway with the center’s agent, Peter Wallen.

In an e-mail to the Register, Wallen confirmed as much while saying Rakell has slowly started to work out again and will need “a couple of weeks” to get back in top shape. “Back negotiating,” Wallen said. “More frequently now.”

Rakell finished fourth on the Ducks in scoring last year, with 20 goals and 43 points, and led the team in game-winning markers. His emergence over the last two seasons — he had 31 points in 73 contests in ’14-15 — his age (only turned 23 in May) and his versatility (can play center or right wing) are the big reasons why he’s angling for a significant payday.

For Anaheim, it’s one of those problems teams wish they had.

Though they’re stretched thin financially, the Ducks have an arsenal of good young talent up front that will eventually replace the likes of Ryan Getzlaf, Corey Perry and Ryan Kesler. Rakell is chief among them, and he’ll soon be followed by the likes of Nick Ritchie, Nick Sorensen, Julius Nattinen and both of the club’s first-round picks at this year’s draft — Max Jones and Sam Steel.

The key, of course, is keeping all those young guys in the fold.

And that starts with Rakell.

Related: Lindholm seeking eight-year deal from ducks, at least $6M per

Schwartz injury increases focus on Blues who could step up

CHICAGO, IL - JANUARY 24:  Ty Rattie #18 of the St. Louis Blues passes around Trevor van Riemsdyk #57 of the Chicago Blackhawks at the United Center on January 24, 2016 in Chicago, Illinois. The Blackhawks defeated the Blues 2-0.  (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)
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It was already going to be interesting to watch the St. Louis Blues without David Backes and Troy Brouwer.

Then came today’s news that they’ll be without Jaden Schwartz for at least the first two weeks of the regular season.

Now the focus really turns to players like Ty Rattie, the 23-year-old winger who’s piled up the points in the AHL but still has to establish himself as a regular NHLer.

Can he help fill the void?

“It’s him, it’s (Kenny) Agostino, it’s (Samuel) Blais, it’s (Magnus) Paajarvi,” said Blues head coach Ken Hitchcock, per In The Slot. “These are guys that, man, they can make our team be a little bit different here, quite a bit different and really be one of those teams where we’re dangerous right throughout our lineup if they can make the grade.”

Backes had 21 goals last season, while Brouwer chipped in 18. The Blues did partially answer their departures with the David Perron signing, but they’ll need others to step up as well. That includes veteran Alex Steen, whose goal totals have fallen from 33 to 24 to 17 in three consecutive seasons, and 20-year-old Robby Fabbri, who had 18 goals last season as a rookie, but has the talent to score more. Paul Stastny only had 10 goals last season. He can do better.

Schwartz, too, will need to stay healthy when he returns. He only played 33 games last season after fracturing his ankle in October. He has to be doubly frustrated after sustaining yet another injury in practice.

And, of course, Vladimir Tarasenko will need to keep scoring. He had 40 goals last season, the fourth most in the NHL. Any falloff there would hurt.

The Blues finished 2015-16 with 107 points, then made it all the way to the Western Conference Final for the first time since 2001. They still consider themselves Stanley Cup contenders.

But first things first, they have to get back into the playoffs.

“This is my sixth season in the Central Division and this looks like the most challenging year yet,” Hitchcock told The Associated Press yesterday. “The crunching between the top and bottom started last year, and it’s going to be closer this year.”