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.

McDavid will center Hall and Slepyshev

1 Comment

ST. LOUIS (AP) Edmonton Oilers rookie Connor McDavid said he didn’t have any trouble falling asleep on the eve of his professional debut.

But when he woke up on Thursday he said it finally hit him.

“In the days leading up I wasn’t really thinking about it too much,” McDavid said. “Kind of when I woke up this morning, I guess that’s kind of when it hit me that I’ll be playing in my first NHL game. I think that’s when I first realized.”

When the Oilers play at the St. Louis Blues on Thursday night, all eyes will be on the 18-year-old McDavid, the No. 1 overall pick in the draft and the most hyped player to enter the NHL since Sidney Crosby of the Penguins made his debut a decade ago.

Speaking in front of a crowd of reporters on Thursday following his team’s morning skate, the soft-spoken rookie admitted to having some butterflies but said he felt pretty good and was excited to get going.

“It’s just special,” McDavid said of his NHL debut. “I’m living out my dream, so there’s nothing better than that. I’m just really looking forward to tonight.”

McDavid will be centering the Oilers’ second line against the Blues with Taylor Hall on the left wing and Anton Slepyshev on the right. Hall was the No. 1 overall pick in the 2010 draft, while Slepyshev will also be making his NHL debut on Thursday night.

“We all see what he can do in practice and the games,” Hall said of McDavid. “It’s important to remember he’s 18. I’m 23 and I still have bad games. Sidney Crosby is the best player in the world and still has bad games. There’s going to be some trials and some errors, but I think that he’s in a position to succeed and it’s going to be fun to watch him grow.”

Oilers coach Todd McLellan, hired in May after spending seven seasons with the San Jose Sharks, has already gotten accustomed to receiving questions about McDavid.

The first few questions McLellan was asked on Thursday were about the NHL’s most popular newcomer.

“What I’ve found with him is he’s working really hard to just be himself and fit in,” the coach said. “He doesn’t want to be special, he doesn’t want to be treated any differently but he obviously is. He’s trying to adapt to that and he’s doing a very good job of it personally and collectively I think our team has done a good job around him.”

McLellan said there are three levels of pressure surrounding him.

The first is McDavid’s individual expectations, which he is sure are extremely high. The second comes from the rookie’s teammates, coaching staff, organization and city of Edmonton.

“But where it really changes is the national, international and world-wide eyes being on him,” McLellan said. “How does that compare to some of the other players I’ve been around? I haven’t been around an 18-year-old who has had to deal with that. It’s new to all of us.

“I did spend some time talking to Sid (Sidney Crosby) about his experience and even since then the world’s really changed as far as media and social media and that type of stuff. This is a new adventure for everybody involved. I know Connor has the tools to handle the pressure and we’ll do everything we can to help him.”

Bruins’ second line officially goes under the microscope


While much has been written about the Boston Bruins’ depleted defense, there’s also a good amount of intrigue about the forward group, which will look dramatically different tonight compared to last year’s season opener.

Here are the Bruins’ expected lines versus the Jets:

Brad MarchandPatrice BergeronLoui Eriksson
Matt BeleskeyDavid KrejciDavid Pastrnak
Jimmy HayesRyan SpoonerBrett Connolly
Chris KellyJoonas KemppainenZac Rinaldo

The line most under the microscope may be that second one. In today’s Boston Globe, there’s a lengthy story on Krejci. The 29-year-old center with the big contract only played 47 games last season due to injuries. He finished with just 31 points.

So, where is Krejci’s game now?

Then there’s free-agent addition Matt Beleskey, a.k.a. Milan Lucic‘s replacement. Prior to scoring 22 times last year for the Ducks, the 27-year-old Beleskey had never tallied more than 11 goals in a season.

So, is Beleskey a legitimate top-six forward?

On the other wing, it’s David Pastrnak, the 19-year-old who, somewhat surprisingly, emerged as one of the top rookies in the league last year.

So, can Pastrnak take another step forward?

“It’s been a good three plus weeks where we’ve been able to kind of work individually, as a group, as a line, with different players and different personalities,” said coach Claude Julien. “We’re pleased with it. We’re optimistic and we just have to let things work themselves out too.”