It’ll be the battle of the backups tonight in Chicago when Nikolai Khabibulin gets the start for the Blackhawks and Kevin Poulin goes for the visiting New York Islanders.
Neither goalie has made an appearance so far this season.
For 40-year-old Khabibulin, it will be his first regular-season game in a ‘Hawks uniform since April 12, 2009, when he shut out the Red Wings at the United Center.
Poulin started four games for the Isles in 2013, going 1-3-0 with a .893 save percentage. Obviously, getting the nod on the road against the Stanley Cup champs is going to be quite the challenge for the 23-year-old with limited NHL experience.
On top of that, the ‘Hawks should be especially motivated after what happened Wednesday in St. Louis when the Blues scored in the final minute of regulation to win by a goal.
“We have to get that game to overtime,” coach Joel Quenneville said, per CSN Chicago. “Getting one point is one thing; the second is the bonus. Here we are, .500 (1-1-1), and we felt we played three pretty good games. But we have to get that to overtime and go from there, particularly on the road.”
Devan Dubnyk already showed signs of having a hot start to 2016-17, but Thursday made that point abundantly clear.
For the second straight game, Dubnyk generated a shutout, with the Minnesota Wild beating the Buffalo Sabres 4-0 in this instance.
It’s not as if Dubnyk is just leisurely turning aside the occasional chance, either; he made 38 saves to blank Buffalo and needed to stop 65 shots on goal considering the 27 he turned aside in a 5-0 win vs. Boston.
Ryan Suter said that Dubnyk bailed his teammates out during the second period, as the Minneapolis Star-Tribune’s Michael Russo reports.
He’s now allowed just 10 goals in six games so far in 2016-17, with Taylor Hall‘s overtime-winner being the last shot to beat him. That came on Sunday:
More often than not, Dubnyk’s been making those saves so far in this young season.
There are plenty of differences between Alex Ovechkin and Patrik Laine, including obvious things like one being from Russia and the other from Finland.
Still, there are moments when Laine inspires comparisons to his idol, even this early in his rookie season.
Thursday presented one of those moments. It wasn’t just that Laine fired a 3-0 goal home for the Winnipeg Jets against the Dallas Stars with such moxie; it was also that he showed some swagger with a celebration afterward.
This GIF captures the moment brilliantly, while you can also watch the goal in video form.
Sure, there will be some grumbles from the “act like you’ve been here before” crowd, but this is brilliant stuff for the rest of us.
Early this season, Dmitry Orlov delighted onlookers and angered Matt Duchene with a mind-blowing, throwback hip check. People really seemed to enjoy it.
While you’d struggle to top that hit, Philadelphia Flyers forward Sean Couturier must have sensed the void in checks that almost seem to flip opponents, doing so against Anthony Duclair during Thursday’s contest.
Rate this as you will:
Want another look at the Orlov one for comparison’s sake or to chuckle in disbelief? Why not:
As much as this Tampa Bay Lightning – Montreal Canadiens means right now, losing Nikita Kucherov would hang a dark cloud over any result for the Bolts.
There hasn’t been an update yet regarding whether Kucherov is actually injured – or if this is a minor vs. significant issue – but there are concerns after he fell into the boards during tonight’s game.
You can see the fall in video form above the headline and also in this GIF from Stephanie Hail: