Today’s Starting Goalies – October 20

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.

Chances are, tonight’s games won’t provide us with discussion fuel quite like last night’s unforgettable incident. Still, there are four contests on the slate and in the fantasy realm, they count just as much as Tuesday’s matches. So let’s take a look at the likely starters.

7:00 PM ET games

Anaheim @ Columbus

Likely Anaheim starter: Jonas Hiller – The days when Hiller had to trade starts with the likes of J.S. Giguere are clearly long gone. He’s a solid-to-great goalie, but can he handle such a work load? I guess we’ll find out this season. (Source: OC Register.)

Likely Columbus starter: Steve Mason – Mathieu Garon played pretty well in his last start, but the Blue Jackets are betting big on Mason. I think they made a mistake by giving him a contract extension this summer, but they made their shaky goalie bed, so now they have to sleep not-so-soundly in it. (Source: Columbus Dispatch.)

Buffalo @ Atlanta

Likely Buffalo starter: Ryan Miller – No surprise after Patrick Lalime’s recent start. (Sources for both: Dan Kamal of the Atlanta Thrashers.)

Likely Atlanta starter: Chris Mason – Ondrej Pavelec is practicing again, but expect Mason to get at least the next couple starts, if not more. (Also from Dan Kamal.)

9:00 PM ET game

Vancouver @ Chicago

Likely Vancouver starter: Roberto Luongo – Despite a horrid game against the Minnesota Wild last night (and a track record of being regularly befuddled by the Blackhawks), it sounds like Luongo will get the chance to redeem himself tonight. Start him at your own risk, although anger might make him a little extra focused tonight. (Source: Nucks Misconduct.)

Likely Chicago starter: Marty Turco – Turco’s starting to find his rhythm in net for the Blackhawks, which must be a relief to those who lack belief in Corey Crawford. (Source: Chris Kuc.)

10:30 PM ET game

Carolina @ Los Angeles

Likely Carolina starter: Justin Peters – Cam Ward gets a rare night off tonight, although it might be a wise plan in a back-to-back games against strong California opponents. (Source: Canes Country, which is also includes some explanation for the start.)

Likely Los Angeles starter: Jonathan Bernier – Jonathan Quick earned the chance to be the top guy because of his strong play last season and has been even more effective so far in 2010-11. That being said, Bernier has a bright future so the Kings need to give him his reps. (Source: Los Angeles Kings Twitter page.)

PHT’s second-round playoff predictions, featuring the red-hot Random Thing Picker

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It was a tough first round of the Stanley Cup Playoffs for many of the so-called experts of the world.

Upsets included the Predators over the Blackhawks and the Blues over the Wild. The Rangers over the Canadiens was a quasi-upset, too.

Here at PHT, it was a mixed bag. Mike Halford and Cam Tucker each went an impressive 6-2. And so too did the Random Thing Picker, which as its name suggests, picks random things. (And picks them rather well, apparently.)

Of note, the Random Thing Picker and James O’Brien were the only ones to pick the Preds over the ‘Hawks. So congratulations to both robotic lifeforms on that bit of soothsaying.

Rounding out the rest of the first-round results, Adam Gretz and Joey Alfieri went 4-4, while at 3-5, O’Brien and yours truly couldn’t even crack .500. (Stupid Jake Allen.)

On to the second round!

Washington versus Pittsburgh (Stream Capitals-Penguins)

Brough: Capitals in 7
Halford: Penguins in 6
O’Brien: Capitals in 7
Gretz: Capitals in 7
Tucker: Capitals in 6
Alfieri: Capitals in 7
Random Thing Picker: Capitals

New York versus Ottawa (Stream Rangers-Senators)

Brough: Senators in 6
Halford: Senators in 7
O’Brien: Rangers in 7
Gretz: Rangers in 6
Tucker: Rangers in 6
Alfieri: Senators in 6
Random Thing Picker: Senators

St. Louis versus Nashville (Stream Blues-Predators)

Brough: Predators in 6
Halford: Blues in 7
O’Brien: Predators in 6
Gretz: Predators in 6
Tucker: Predators in 7
Alfieri: Predators in 6
Random Thing Picker: Blues

Anaheim versus Edmonton (Stream Ducks-Oilers)

Brough: Ducks in 7
Halford: Ducks in 6
O’Brien: Ducks in 6
Gretz: Oilers in 7
Tucker: Oilers in 6
Alfieri: Ducks in 6
Random Thing Picker: Ducks

Feel free to add your picks below…

Auston Matthews to skip Worlds

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Auston Matthews is going to take some time off.

As such, the 19-year-old star forward won’t be heading overseas to represent the United States in the upcoming World Championship.

You can hardly blame him. Matthews just finished his rookie season in the NHL, playing all 82 games for the Toronto Maple Leafs, plus six more in the playoffs.

Oh, and he also played in the World Cup for Team North America.

Matthews did participate in last year’s Worlds. He had six goals and three assists in 10 games on the way to a fourth-place finish.

Related: Gaudreau, Eichel commit to USA Worlds roster

Blackhawks fire their AHL head coach

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Yesterday, the Chicago Blackhawks fired longtime assistant coach Mike Kitchen.

Today, it was longtime AHL coach Ted Dent who got the ax.

Dent has been the head coach of the Rockford IceHogs the past six seasons, and he was an assistant coach for Chicago’s AHL affiliate the previous five seasons.

“The Chicago Blackhawks thank Ted for all of his contributions throughout his tenure with the organization,” GM Stan Bowman said. “He played a major role in helping a number of players reach the NHL level with the Chicago Blackhawks, many of whom became Stanley Cup champions. We wish Ted and his family the best.”

The IceHogs missed the playoffs this season, finishing last in the AHL’s Central Division with a record of 25-39-12.

Related: A furious Bowman addressed the Blackhawks’ postseason failure

Report: Canucks close to naming Travis Green head coach

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The Vancouver Canucks are reportedly set to announce Travis Green as their next head coach.

According to TSN’s Bob McKenzie, the announcement will be made in the next couple of days.

Green, who played over 1,000 games in the NHL including the playoffs, has been the head coach of the Canucks’ AHL affiliate in Utica the past four seasons. Under his watch, the Comets have played mostly winning hockey in spite of some rather depleted lineups.

Ever since Willie Desjardins was fired at the end of the season, Green has been the leading candidate to take over in Vancouver. The only question, really, was whether he’d be a candidate for another NHL head-coaching vacancy, perhaps with the Florida Panthers.

Assuming no last-minute hiccups, Green will take over a transitioning Canucks team that has finished 28th and 29th overall in its last two seasons, respectively.

“We’re going to be young,” president of hockey ops Trevor Linden said. “Young players make mistakes. There’s going to be some growing pains. We need a coach that understands exactly where we are.”

Related: In farewell to Vancouver, Desjardins defends his approach to young players