Today’s Starting Goalies – October 21

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.

7:00 PM ET games

NY Rangers @ Toronto

Likely NY Rangers starter: Martin Biron – He’s not a game-breaker, but Biron played as a starter for a while and is possibly the best backup Henrik Lundqvist has had in New York … although I guess that’s not saying much. (Source for both: ESPN’s Pierre LeBrun.)

Likely Toronto starter: Jonas Gustavsson – Looks like “The Monster” will get the nod in net. (Also from LeBrun.)

Anaheim @ Philadelphia

Likely Anaheim starter: Jonas Hiller – Just a guess, on this one. (No confirmation here, but look at all the great comics from Earl Sleek here.)

Likely Philadelphia starter: Sergei Bobrovsky – Still seems like a pretty steady rotation in Philadelphia. (Source: official Philadelphia Flyers Twitter Feed.)

Washington @ Boston

Likely Washington starter: Semyon Varlamov – After dealing with injury problems, Varlamov finally gets a start after Michal Neuvirth lost his second game of the season. (Source: Katie Carrera of the Washington Post.)

Likely Boston starter: Tim Thomas: Sounds like it might be Thomas after all. (Update via James Murphy) Tuukka Rask – Stanley Cup of Chowder says Tim Thomas; Mike Giardi thinks it will be Rask. I flipped a coin and will therefore guess Rask. (Source: coin flip/Giardi.)

7:30 PM ET games

Calgary @ Detroit

Likely Calgary starter: Miikka Kiprusoff – It’s another toss-up, so when in doubt, go with Kipper.

Likely Detroit starter: Jimmy Howard – Not a big surprise, but it looks like Howard will get the start for the Red Wings. (Source: Winging it in Motown.)

NY Islanders @ Tampa Bay

Likely Islanders starter: Rick DiPietro – Dwayne Roloson has been pretty good so far, but they’ll start the guy who’s getting big money for a long time instead. (Source: Islanders Twitter feed.)

Likely Tampa Bay starter: Dan Ellis – Ellis was really awful against the Florida Panthers, but Mike Smith isn’t setting the world on fire either, so for now the team will keep the rotation going. (Source: Lightning Twitter feed.)

New Jersey @ Montreal

Likely New Jersey starter: Martin Brodeur – Ho hum. (Source: Fire & Ice.)

Likely Montreal starter: Carey Price – He’s been really impressive so far and Alex Auld knows his place in the universe as a solid (but clear) backup, so why not let Price get comfy as the dominant No. 1? (Source: Habs Inside/Out.)

Dallas @ Florida

Likely Dallas starter: Kari Lehtonen – The Stars lost, but Lehtonen keeps them in games (and helped them win four out five) so far. As long as Dallas think he’s healthy enough to start a lot of games, he will. They should be careful, though. (Source: Defending Big D.)

Likely Florida starter: Tomas Vokoun – Chances are, if you put together two straight shutouts, you’ll get to start again.

8:00 PM ET game

Pittsburgh @ Nashville

Likely Pittsburgh starter: Marc-Andre Fleury – They’ve been on a hot streak with Brent Johnson, but I guess the team might want to give Fleury a chance to get his groove back, Stella-style. (Source: Inside Pittsburgh Sports.)

Likely Nashville starter: Pekka Rinne – He’ll get his second start back against the Pittsburgh Penguins tonight. (Source: Joshua Cooper.)

9:00 PM ET game

San Jose @ Colorado

Likely San Jose starter: Antero Niittymaki – The other free Finnish free agent signing gets the start today, as things haven’t gone too well so far for Antti Niemi so far. (Source: David Pollak from Working the Corners.)

Likely Colorado Avalanche: Craig Anderson – He certainly gave the Sharks fits in the playoffs. (Source: Mike Haynes.)

9:30 PM ET game

Minnesota @ Edmonton

Likely Minnesota starter: Niklas Backstrom – No big surprise here, the $6 million man gets the nod over Jose Theodore. (Source: Michael Russo.)

Likely Edmonton starter: Nikolai Khabibulin – Well, it looks like someone with a foreign derivation of “Nick” will win tonight … (Source: Also Michael Russo.)

10:00 PM ET game

Los Angeles @ Phoenix

Likely Los Angeles starter: Jonathan Quick – Considering the fact that they’re playing back-to-backs, I’m going out on a limb in saying that Quick will probably get the start.

Likely Phoenix starter: Ilya Bryzgalov – Chances are, “Breezy” will be in net again, but that’s another one I’ll go out on a limb for.

Fights, hits and a blown kiss: Stars and Blues get nasty

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Things were getting out of hand between the Dallas Stars and St. Louis Blues on the scoreboard in an eventual 6-1 Blues win.

They were also getting a little raucous on the ice when it was clear that the Stars weren’t going to stage a comeback.

Jamie Benn was whistled for cross-checking Alex Pietrangelo, but it was Stephen Johns‘ hit from behind on Pietrangelo really revved up the violence.

Watch that hit and then the scrum that ensued in the video above, which included a scary display of an angry Ryan Reaves … who got creative at the end.

You may also want the kiss alone, so here it is:

Memo: rough stuff might not work so well against the Blues.

Read about that blowout here.

Blues bombard Stars, go up 2-1 in series

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Sometimes a final score is misleading. In the case of the St. Louis Blues’ 6-1 thrashing of the Dallas Stars, it might just be the start of the story.

Honestly, the most positive thing the Stars can say is “Well, at least it was just one game.”

It was one ugly game, however, and now the Blues hold a 2-1 series lead with a chance to really take control if they can win Game 4 at home.

The Blues dominated just about every category on Tuesday, firing more shots on goal, enjoying better special teams play and throwing more hits. They even blocked a higher number of shots, which often isn’t the case for the squad that carries play.

This leaves the Stars picking up the pieces, especially when it comes to their work in their own end.

Do you put greater blame on struggling goalies Kari Lehtonen and Antti Niemi or is this more about the Stars’ lax defensive coverage? The scary answer may be “Both,” and the Stars likely know that they need to find answers quickly.

On the bright side for Dallas, it is just one game … and the Blues were searching for answers of their own after Game 1.

We saw the Blues turn things around with these two straight wins, so now the Stars must show that they can gather themselves and play the attacking, out-score-your-mistakes style that got them here.

Granted, they may have to keep an eye out for supplemental discipline after some rough stuff toward the end of the game.

Predators smash Sharks to get back in series

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After a dispiriting 1-0 goal allowed by Pekka Rinne, things were looking bleak for the Nashville Predators for a moment there.

Nashville’s developed into a resilient group, however, and they stormed back for a commanding 4-1 win to shrink San Jose’s series advantage to 2-1.

The Predators saw some of their big names come up huge as the series shifted from San Jose to Nashville.

Pekka Rinne looked sharp following that first goal (and didn’t allow another). Their goals came from James Neal, Colin Wilson, Filip Forsberg and captain Shea Weber.

Weber’s tally was the game-winner, and it was downright thunderous:

Another promising sign: after a struggling to a 2-for-31 clip in previous playoff games, the Predators’ power play went 2-for-5 in Game 3.

Overall, the Predators really couldn’t ask for much more from this win, especially if Colton Sissons is indeed OK after a scary crash into the Sharks’ net.

Things could get really interesting if Nashville manages to “hold serve” with another home win on Thursday.

Stars’ goalie carousel goes around again: Lehtonen replaces Niemi

Dallas Stars goalie Antti Niemi (31) subs in for goalie Kari Lehtonen (32) during the third period of an NHL hockey game, Tuesday, Dec. 8, 2015, in Dallas. The Stars won 6-5. (AP Photo/LM Otero)
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It’s pretty tough not to make jokes about the Dallas Stars spending $10.4 million on their goalies at times like these, even if Dallas’ defense should shoulder plenty of blame.

After Kari Lehtonen was pulled from a Game 2 loss, the St. Louis Blues chased Antti Niemi early in the second period of Game 3 after Niemi allowed three goals on 12 shots.

Troy Brouwer‘s 3-1 goal was enough for Lindy Ruff to give Niemi the hook:

Unfortunately for the Stars, Lehtonen got off to a slow start as well, allowing an immediate Vladimir Tarasenko goal.

The Blues are now 4-1 and the Stars are searching for answers … and probably wishing Tyler Seguin was around to help them out-score their problems.