Tonight’s starting goalies – Sunday, November 7th

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.

5:00 pm

Philadelphia @ Washington

Philadelphia’s starter: Sergei Bobrovsky gets the start once again. This will make his seventh consecutive start for the Flyers. Safe to say the starting job is his in Philadelphia for the time being. Bobrovsky played great last night in Philly’s 2-1 win over the Islanders.

Washington’s likely starter: Rookie Braden Holtby appears likely to get the start for the Caps. For Holtby, it’ll be his first career NHL start, but he’s already got his first NHL win after coming in in relief of Michal Neuvirth the other night against Boston.

7:00 pm

St. Louis @ NY Rangers

St. Louis starter: Ty Conklin gets the start tonight. After Jaroslav Halak played brilliantly in Boston last night, it only makes sense that Conklin gives him a breather tonight. For the sparingly used Conklin, it hasn’t affected his play at all as he’s been outstanding this season. Perhaps great goaltending is contagious.

NY Rangers starter: Martin Biron gets the nod in goal for the Rangers. He’ll need to play better if he’s going to be able to spell starter Henrik Lundqvist with more regularity so King Henrik can get a break now and then.

Edmonton @ Chicago

Edmonton’s starter: Nikolai Khabibulin will start tonight for the Oilers. He’s their go-to guy no matter what and with not having played since Friday night against Detroit, it only makes sense that he goes tonight.

Chicago’s likely starter: Corey Crawford is shaping up to be the guy to get the nod tonight. Crawford hasn’t played since October 29th and with Chicago having played last night in Atlanta with Marty Turco getting the start there, it would make sense. We’ll update you once we get a confirmation either way.

Update: Tim Sassone confirms that Crawford gets the start.

8:00 pm

Nashville @ Anaheim

Nashville’s starter: Anders Lindback will get the start in goal for the road-weary Predators. Last night saw starting goalie Pekka Rinne have a hard time handling the Kings offensive attack and he was pulled in favor of Lindback. Tonight, Lindback gets to see what he can do for a full 60 minutes against the Ducks.

Anaheim’s likely starter: Jonas Hiller should get the start in goal tonight for Anaheim. The Ducks last played against Pittsburgh on Friday and Hiller played outstanding. He’s their workhorse in goal and there’s no reason to think he won’t get the start.

Some tough decisions await the Blues

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Yet again, the St. Louis Blues failed to achieve their ultimate goal.

And boy does it hurt right now.

“We’re all hurting,” coach Ken Hitchcock said last night after getting eliminated by the San Jose Sharks in the Western Conference Final.

“You don’t want this to be our best opportunity. You want this to be a building block. In this game, in this era, in this cap world, you don’t know where you’re going to be a year from now.”

Indeed, GM Doug Armstrong has some tough decisions to make this offseason.

At the top of the list is whether to bring Hitchcock back. Yes, the Blues did better than 26 other teams, and yes, they finally got past the first round. Still, there are people who believe this will be it for the head coach, that a new voice could help. Overall, Hitchcock has done a great job in St. Louis. But then, so did Todd McLellan in San Jose. Sometimes, change can be good.

Then there are the unrestricted free agents. Both captain David Backes and winger Troy Brouwer need new contracts. The former is 32, the latter 30. The former had seven goals in the playoffs, the latter eight. How much money will they want? How much term? The second question might be the most important.

On the back end, it’s Kevin Shattenkirk that will garner the most attention. He’s signed through next season before he can become an unrestricted free agent. Just 27 years old, and considering the demand for what he does, he’ll be very expensive to keep. And with the emergence of Colton Parayko, trading Shattenkirk could probably be justified, especially if the return is good. A team like the Boston Bruins might be willing to pay up.

Right now, the pain is still fresh for the Blues.

“It’s so hard to win in the league right now,” said Hitchcock. “It’s so hard to win a series. So hard to just get in the playoffs. When you get this far, you get this close, you think you got the opportunity.”

The challenge for Armstrong will be to give his team another opportunity next season. And with the draft less than a month away, all these tough decisions will need to be made very soon.

Goals of the Week get tougher as Cup Final approaches

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The Stanley Cup Final is almost upon us and picking the very best Goals of the Week is a tough task. See how we did on this edition!

Just for Men: Mike Commodore

RALEIGH, NC - JUNE 14:  Mike Commodore #22 of the Carolina Hurricanes warms up before game five of the 2006 NHL Stanley Cup Finals against the Edmonton Oilers on June 14, 2006 at the RBC Center in Raleigh, North Carolina.  (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)
Getty
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Maybe one would argue that time hasn’t been kind to the 2006 Stanley Cup-winning Carolina Hurricanes (at least compared to the pedigree of other winners), but Mike Commodore’s incredible red afro and beard rank as one of hockey’s most timeless combinations.

Seriously, just take a step back from your monitor* and bask in the splendor of that carrot-topped Commodore.

Even then-President George W. Bush remarked on Commodore’s bushy hair and beard (or its tragic absence) when the Canes visited the White House:

THE PRESIDENT: Thank you all for coming. Have a seat. It’s a pretty big deal for a guy that doesn’t know how to ice skate — (laughter) — to welcome the Carolina Hurricanes to the White House. We appreciate you coming. You know, I’m not sure what is prettier, the Stanley Cup, or Mike Commodore’s hair. (Laughter.) A little disappointed you got a haircut. (Laughter.) But, welcome.

Good stuff.

And it really is kind of disappointing any time you see Commodore relatively clean-shaven. It’s like Superman without a big “S” on his chest or Metallica with short hair or any number of not-quite-right sights.

* – If you’re doing the Rumsfeld-style “standing at your desk” thing then … kneel for a second maybe?

Here’s your Stanley Cup playoffs schedule for tonight

Stanley Cup
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There’s nothing better than a Game 7, especially when a spot in the Stanley Cup Final is up for grabs. The Tampa Bay Lightning and Pittsburgh Penguins will battle in a do-or-die game for the right to play the San Jose Sharks with Lord Stanley on the line. You can watch the game via the NBC Sports Group’s television and digital platforms.

Tampa Bay at Pittsburgh (8:00 p.m. ET)

The television broadcast of Game 7 will be on NBCSN. To stream the game using the Live Extra app, click here.

Here’s some reading material to get you ready for this one:

Penguins, Lightning prepare for ‘roller coaster’ Game 7

Penguins force Game 7 after holding off Lightning rally

Lightning lament Game 6 effort, Cooper doesn’t blame disallowed goal