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.)

Looks like Laine, Jets are heating up

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Big breaks can be really nice for NHL teams, but sometimes you wonder if the timing is all wrong. It will be interesting to see if the Winnipeg Jets (and Patrik Laine) feel that way about their upcoming breather.

The Jets had really been cooking after shaking off a tough start from Steve Mason (the Jets dropped their first two games in ugly fashion). By edging the Minnesota Wild 4-3 on Friday, the Jets have now won four of their last five contests.

As you can see from the video above, Laine played a significant role in that win, showing that he might have some potential from “Alex Ovechkin‘s office” on Winnipeg’s power play. Laine doubled his 2017-18 goals total from two to four with that effort, pushing him to six points in seven games.

Laine was unleashing that lethal shot with aplomb last night, too, firing eight shots on goal.

(Last night’s edition of The Buzzer notes that it was a milestone night for Paul Maurice and Blake Wheeler, who collected his 200th assist in sending the puck to Laine’s wheelhouse.)

The Jets have high hopes for 2017-18, and Laine’s a big part of that excitement, so it was nice to see him unleashed.

If it’s a matter of rhythm, then this break is a bummer. Their next game doesn’t take place until Thursday, making for almost a week off, just when they were really sizzling. It’s a tough haul for the next while, so maybe they’ll take advantage of the break (or get rusty?):

Thu, Oct 26 @ Pittsburgh
Fri, Oct 27 @ Columbus
Sun, Oct 29 vs Pittsburgh
Tue, Oct 31 @ Minnesota

November isn’t a breezy month for the Jets, either, so Winnipeg has to hope that they can carry over some of this momentum.

For more Jets-related fun, check out this interesting NHL.com piece about how Connor Hellebuyck is changing things up.

James O’Brien is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line at phtblog@nbcsports.com or follow him on Twitter @cyclelikesedins.

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Look at what Rangers are up against right now

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You have to really squint to find bright sides to look on if you’re the New York Rangers.

The Rangers are currently on a five-game losing streak and have one shabby win to show for their first eight games of 2017-18, and they’ll shortly face a challenge in the Nashville Predators, who are riding a five-game point streak (4-0-1 after losing their first two games).

With six of those eight games coming at home, the Rangers are really squandering opportunities in the malicious Metro. About the only positive things you can say boil down to: a) scrapping two “loser points” out of the past two games and b) the team at least saying the right things, as Rick Nash notes according to the New York Post’s Larry Brooks.

“The bad teams I’ve been on, guys get away from the game plan, they don’t give the effort and there’s finger-pointing, whether in the room between guys; from the coach; or in the media. That’s what happens when things get away from you as a team.

“None of that is happening here,” Nash said. “We’re together and we’re focusing on taking this one step at a time.”

They might be wise not to look at the divisional standings. Just consider some of the teams they’re up against:

Devils (12 points in 8 games): New Jersey currently has a perfect road record and a fleet of young legs, something the transitional Rangers must envy. Even if they’re likely to slip (being blanked by the Sharks could be an early sign of regression), the Devils figure to be a tougher out this season.

Penguins (11 points in 8 games): Not much needs to be said, though it’s worth noting that they’ve won three in a row.

Blue Jackets (10 points in 7 games): All signs point to former Rangers coach John Tortorella’s group being very much the threat that once surprised us.

Capitals (9 points in 8 games): Finding ways to win, and scrappy in particular on the road so far (3-1-1 away record).

Flyers (8 points in 7 games): Might be better than their record indicates, at least judging by their +9 goal differential. Philly has the potential to at least be a pesky “bubble” team.

Hurricanes (7 points in 5 games): Light early schedule might keep them under the radar, for now.

Islanders (7 points in 7 games): Mixed results might not help the Islanders retain John Tavares, but a competent Isles team would only make it tougher for the Rangers.

Yeesh, kind of discouraging, right?

The Rangers currently sit at four points in eight games played, and like this post argues, they really need to wake up soon. They’ve already played six home vs. two road contests, and they face a similar saturation of MSG going forward.

Counting today’s game hosting the rising Predators, the Rangers play the next three in a row at home. After that, they play three of four on the road, but then enjoy a three-game homestand.

So, by Nov. 11, they’ll have played 13 games at home and just five on the road.

One gets the sense that the seat is getting hotter for Alain Vigneault by the day. Fair or not, it might feel like it’s boiling if the Rangers are still a wreck in mid-November.

(If he still has a seat at the table, at all.)

James O’Brien is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line at phtblog@nbcsports.com or follow him on Twitter @cyclelikesedins.

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Devils fans help singer who forgot words to national anthem (Video)

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The biggest save of the night at Prudential Center on Friday didn’t come from either goaltender, but rather New Jersey Devils fans in attendance for their game against the San Jose Sharks.

Lauralie Mufute began singing the national anthem but midway through forgot the words. That’s when the crowd of 14,381 picked up where the 14-year-old left off and finished the song.

A great job by the crowd in what certainly was a terrifying moment for the young performer.

These flaps happen, as we’ve seen many times before in different situations. It’s always good to know the crowd can act as backup singers in times of need.

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Sean Leahy is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line at phtblog@nbcsports.com or follow him on Twitter @Sean_Leahy.

The Buzzer: Ovechkin’s blast lifts Capitals in OT, Sheary speeds by Panthers

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Player of the night: Alex Ovechkin, Washington Capitals

Alex Ovechkin has already reached double digits in goals scored in this new campaign. The Capitals’ star recorded his 10th goal of the season on Friday and it counted as the overtime winner against the Detroit Red Wings.

The Capitals trailed late in the third period, but T.J. Oshie scored the tying goal and Ovechkin won it on a power play less than two minutes into the extra period, as he deployed that famous one-timer slap shot from his off-wing. This time, Petr Mrazek was victimized by the wicked slapper.

Ovechkin is now only two goals behind the entire Montreal Canadiens team — in the same amount of games.

Highlight of the night:

What a weapon speed is in today’s National Hockey League. Conor Sheary illustrated that once again, as he saw a little bit of room down the left side and flew around Alex Petrovic before making a move to the backhand on James Reimer. That goal counted as the eventual winner, as the Penguins defeated the Panthers 4-3. Earlier in the third period, Sheary and Roberto Luongo came together near the Florida net, causing Luongo’s right hand to get caught against the post, injuring the Panthers’ netminder.

Factoid of the night:

It was a milestone night in Winnipeg for Blake Wheeler and coach Paul Maurice.

Scores:

Vancouver 4, Buffalo 2

San Jose 3, New Jersey 0

Washington 4, Detroit 3 (OT)

Pittsburgh 4, Florida 3

Winnipeg 4, Minnesota 3

Anaheim 6, Montreal 2

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Cam Tucker is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line at phtblog@nbcsports.com or follow him on Twitter @CamTucker_Sport.

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