Today’s Starting Goalies – November 24 (early edition)

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

Pittsburgh @ Buffalo

Likely Pittsburgh starter: Marc-Andre Fleury – Word is that Brent Johnson was going to get the start, but came down with the flu and is likely to play in the Penguins’ next game instead. (Source: Inside Pittsburgh Sports.)

Likely Buffalo starter: Jhonas Enroth – No Ryan Miller tonight. There’s a slight chance the Sabres might start former Penguins goalie Patrick Lalime, though. (Source: another Inside Pittsburgh Sports Tweet.)

Columbus @ NY Islanders

Likely Columbus starter: Mathieu Garon – The Blue Jackets have enjoyed the work of both of their goalies in their improbable month of brilliance, so don’t expect much – if any – drop off from Steve Mason to Garon. (Source: Aaron Portzline.)

Likely NY Islanders starter: Rick DiPietro – He actually looked pretty good in his last start, so maybe he can help the Islanders end their ugly losing streak? It won’t be easy against the road rugged Blue Jackets (7-1-0 away record). (Source: NY Islanders.)

Washington @ Carolina

Likely Washington starter: Semyon Varlamov – No guarantee at all, but my guess is that this means Braden Holtby’s days are probably numbered. (Source: Katie Carrera.)

Likely Carolina starter: Justin Peters – The Hurricanes have been up-and-down lately, but one common thread is that they’ve only won with Cam Ward. Peters will try to earn his first win of the season the hard way tonight. (Source: Canes Country.)

Detroit @ Atlanta

Likely Detroit starter: Jimmy Howard – He’s been a little off his game lately, but Howard is still the clear starter in Detroit. (Source: Winging it in Motown.)

Likely Atlanta starter: Ondrej Pavelec – It seems like he’s starting to take hold of the “1a” job in Atlanta. (Source: Chris Vivlamore.)

7:30 PM ET games

Los Angeles @ Montreal

Likely Los Angeles starter: Jonathan Bernier – Much has been made of the fact that this is a homecoming for Bernier. Will that mean a high-end performance or a pressure-packed meltdown? (Source: Rich Hammond.)

Likely Montreal starter: Carey Price – I almost feel a bit bad for Alex Auld; he’s actually a pretty good backup. Yet Price has played so well, it’s hard to argue with the Habs starting him once again. (Source: Habs Inside/Out.)

Dallas @ Ottawa

Likely Dallas starter: Andrew Raycroft – Smart move by the Stars, as Kari Lehtonen might have been getting a little worn down and the team has back-to-back games coming up this weekend. (Source: Defending Big D.)

Likely Ottawa starter: Pascal Leclaire – Makes sense after he helped Ottawa get a surprise win over the Kings. (Source: Silver Seven Sens.)

Calgary @ New Jersey

Likely Calgary starter: Henrik Karlsson – A rare non-Kipper start for the Flames. (Source: Roger Millions.)

Likely New Jersey starter: Johan Hedberg – It appears that Martin Brodeur isn’t ready to come back yet. (Source: Tom Gulitti.)

NY Rangers @ Tampa Bay

Likely NY Rangers starter: Henrik Lundqvist – Dare I call it the return of the Kings? Sorry, I guess I did. Not sure if it’s a guarantee he’ll be back, but I’d say the chances are pretty good.

Likely Tampa Bay starter: Mike Smith – Just when it seemed like Dan Ellis had a loose grip on the top job, Smith is now the not-quite-proverbial hot hand. (Source: Mike Corcoran.)

Boston @ Florida

Likely Boston starter: Tim Thomas (Source: Joe Haggerty.)

Likely Florida starter: Tomas Vokoun (Source: George Richards.)

Video: Johansen, Fisher join in Predators’ conference title celebration

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After reaching their first ever Western Conference Final, the Nashville Predators topped that in a big way, advancing to the Stanley Cup Final for the first time in franchise history.

There were a lot of firsts and rarities along the way.

In ousting the Anaheim Ducks with a 6-3 victory in Game 6, GM David Poile’s team advanced to the championship round for the first time in his lengthy time as an executive.

Peter Laviolette also became the fourth coach in NHL history to bring three different teams to a Stanley Cup Final. The Predators are also the first 16th seed to make it this far.

Yep, that’s a long list of milestones (and not a comprehensive one). And, to think, the Predators haven’t even been on the brink of elimination during the postseason yet.

It’s special stuff, so don’t be surprised by the boisterous celebration you can see in the video above this post’s headline.

P.K. Subban: No city in the NHL ‘has anything on Nashville’

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If there’s one thing we can agree upon about the Stanley Cup Playoffs, it’s that these months have really cemented just how hockey-mad Nashville has become for its Predators.

(Yes, you can call it “Smashville” if you’d like.)

The scene at Bridgestone Arena was as boisterous as ever in the Predators’ 6-3 Game 6 win against the Anaheim Ducks, with legions of fans packing and surrounding the building.

Sights like these have becoming resoundingly normal for a hockey market that was once questioned by media and other fan bases:

Yeah, wow.

As the Predators advanced to their first-ever Stanley Cup Final, plenty of people were making jokes at the expense of the Montreal Canadiens for trading P.K. Subban. Of course, Subban wouldn’t take a shot at the Habs during such a great moment, but his praise for puck-nutty Predators fans says a lot in itself.

“I played in an A+ market my whole career,” Subban said, via Jeremy K. Gover of the Nashville Predators Radio Network. “There’s not a city in the league that has anything on Nashville.”

Whether their opponent is the Pittsburgh Penguins or Ottawa Senators, we already know that Nashville will begin the Stanley Cup Final on the road. That’s OK … Predators fans might need some time to get their voices back and recover from celebrating, so waiting until Games 3 and 4 might be a blessing in disguise.

Ducks’ Cogliano just doesn’t think Predators were the better team

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The Anaheim Ducks battled their way to Game 6 of the Western Conference Final, but Colton Sissons and the Nashville Predators ended their season on Monday.

The Ducks are processing that disappointment – being just two wins away from a trip to the championship round – and some of their reactions might spark a little controversy.

Specifically, it sounds a bit like Bruce Boudreau believing that his Minnesota Wild were superior to the St. Louis Blues despite falling in that series.

Andrew Cogliano, it must be noted, was spurned by Pekka Rinne on some early chances in Game 6. He likely feels as frustrated as any Ducks player right now.

Sisson’s hat-trick goal, making it 4-3 before two empty-netters cemented the 6-3 finish, was the dagger that finally put the hard-working Ducks down.

One can understand some of those feelings from Anaheim, especially considering the frustration of a) getting over Jonathan Bernier‘s early struggles to make a very real game of this and b) occasionally carrying the play in a dramatic way, including in Game 6.

Still, the Predators got the right combination of great stretches of play from Rinne and strong work from the expected and the unexpected, such as Sissons.

For an aging star like Ryan Getzlaf – a player who produced some of his best work late in the season and during the playoffs – you have to wonder how many chances remain.

Predators eliminate Ducks, reach first Stanley Cup Final in franchise history

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Colton Sissons made a serious argument that the Nashville Predators do, indeed, still have a No. 1 center.

At least, he certainly played that way on Monday, generating a hat trick as the Predators eliminated the Anaheim Ducks via a 6-3 win, taking the series 4-2.

In doing so, the Predators advanced to their first Stanley Cup Final in franchise history.

That 6-3 score is very misleading. While Nashville managed 2-0 and 3-1 leads, there was plenty of drama in this one, as the Ducks did not go down easily. Cam Fowler tied it up 3-3 in the third period, briefly stunning a rowdy crowd in Nashville.

Sissons was up to the task, however, settling down a bouncing puck on an otherwise stupendous Calle Jarnkrok pass to score the game-winner, notching a hat trick in the process. Sissons continues to be an unlikely hero for a Predators team dealing with the absence of Ryan Johansen (not to mention Mike Fisher, Craig Smith, and others).

Two empty-netters inflated the score, and they also sapped drama from the closing moments, which must have been quite the relief considering how much resolve Anaheim showed.

Peter Laviolette distinguishes himself as one of the NHL’s most underrated bench bosses, becoming just the fourth coach in league history to take three different teams to a Stanley Cup Final. He couldn’t win it all with the Philadelphia Flyers, but he does have a ring thanks to his time with the Carolina Hurricanes. Perhaps he’ll take another one this spring?

It’s quite the moment for GM David Poile, too, after trading Shea Weber for P.K. Subban and Seth Jones for Johansen, among other pivotal moves.

The Ducks might wonder what could have been if John Gibson played instead of Jonathan Bernier. Bernier struggled early, allowing two goals on the first three shots he faced and generally having a tough Game 6. Pekka Rinne, meanwhile, maintained his mostly great run in the playoffs; he protected a Predators lead even when the Ducks dominated long stretches of play.

Now the Predators get a nice rest, as the Eastern Conference Final continues with a Game 6 on Tuesday (and possibly a Game 7 on Thursday).

They’ll limp a bit toward that final round, but the Predators seem to be embracing new territory. And sometimes new heroes.