Minnesota Wild v Anaheim Ducks

Goalie nods: Wild go back to Harding, Bernier gets second straight

News and notes from around the crease…

Harding goes again

Josh Harding will be back in goal for Minnesota on Tuesday against Nashville and, at this point, one has to wonder if he’s making a legit push for the No. 1 gig.

While incumbent starter Niklas Backstrom expects to return from a knee injury in a matter of days, Harding is one of the NHL’s hottest goalies at the moment.

Through seven games he’s posted a 3-2-1 record with a 1.11 GAA and .948 save percentage, carrying a Wild team that’s only scored five goals in its last four games.

The Wild have a busy week ahead, including a home-and-away series against the defending Cup champs Chicago on Oct. 26 and 28. It’ll be interesting to see how head coach Mike Yeo handles his goalies for those two contests.

Bernier back in

Jonathan Bernier will start for Toronto tonight against Anaheim, the first time Leafs coach Randy Carlyle has faced the Ducks since getting fired during the 2011-12 campaign.

Bernier, 25, has come back to earth a bit recently after his white-hot start to the season. He’s lost three of five, including Saturday’s 3-1 defeat to Chicago — though Bernier did stop 37 of 40 shots in a game largely dominated by the ‘Hawks.

Elsewhere…

Cory Schneider will get his second straight start tonight against Columbus. The Devils’ netminder shut out the Rangers in his last appearance, and will be up against reigning Vezina winner Sergei Bobrovsky this evening. Bobrovsky gets back in the Blue Jackets’ net after Curtis McElhinney starred in Sunday’s win over Vancouver, stopping 37 of 38 shots.

— On the injury front, Rangers goalie Henrik Lundqvist is day-to-day with a “minor issue.” In Carolina, Anton Khudobin is expected to miss at least another week with a lower-body ailment.

Report: Coyotes shut down Vitale (concussion) for the season

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Joe Vitale will not play again this season.

The Arizona Coyotes have shut Vitale down for the remainder of the 2015-16 campaign due to “concussion-related issues,” according to a report from Sarah McLellan of azcentral sports on Wednesday.

Vitale, a 30-year-old veteran center, appeared in only one game for the Coyotes this season. That was back on Oct. 17, when he suffered a concussion and broken orbital bone in a fight with Kevan Miller of the Boston Bruins.

Sens announce Frattin, acquired in Phaneuf deal, will stick with AHL Marlies

Matt Frattin
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Matt Frattin was traded by the Leafs to Ottawa yesterday as part of the Dion Phaneuf blockbuster.

But for now, he’s staying in Toronto.

On Wednesday, Sens GM Bryan Murray announced that Frattin will remain with the Leafs’ AHL affiliate — the Toronto Marlies — on loan, but will be available for selection should Ottawa require his services down the road.

Frattin, 28, has spent all of this season with the Marlies, scoring nine goals and 22 points in 47 games. His last NHL appearance came during the ’14-15 campaign, with the Leafs.

Prior to that, the former North Dakota standout had spent time in Los Angeles and Columbus.

 

Gaudreau, Monahan, Bouma express remorse after benching

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One day after getting benched for showing up late for practice — following an “epic” Super Bowl party, per Sportsnet — Calgary forwards Johnny Gaudreau, Sean Monahan and Lance Bouma apologized for their actions.

“We want to apologize to the organization, the coaches, our team especially, and the city of Calgary and the fans,” Gaudreau said, per the team’s Twitter account. “For us not to show up like that, and miss a game like that, it’s not professional on our part.”

“I’m a young guy and I’m a leader on this team,” Monahan added. “I’ve got to step up and take that back and earn that respect again.”

More on what transpired at Tuesday’s practice, from Sportsnet’s Mark Spector:

Calgary Flames head coach Bob Hartley did his best to keep an epic Super Bowl party under wraps. But two of his players — Lance Bouma and Sean Monahan — arrived at the Saddledome at 10:15 am for a 10:30 Monday morning practice, and those two barely beat Johnny Gaudreau in the Saddledome doors.

Then practice started, and in the words of Calgary winger David Jones: “It’s a little embarrassing when we’re not (making) five-foot passes.”

“I think (Hartley) was pretty pissed off.”

The trio was then subsequently benched for last night’s game against Toronto, which the Flames won 4-3.

Afterward, Hartley downplayed the incident, saying “it’s not like they robbed a bank,” before adding “they’re great kids.”

WATCH LIVE: Rangers at Penguins on Rivalry Night

New York Rangers v Pittsburgh Penguins - Game Three
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Tonight, the New York Rangers are in Pittsburgh to take on the Penguins at Consol, in a rematch of the ’14 and ’15 playoffs (the Blueshirts eliminated the Pens from each of the last two postseasons, you’ll recall.)

You can catch the game at 8 p.m. ET on NBCSN, or watch live online with NBC Sports’ Live Extra.

CLICK HERE TO WATCH LIVE

Some relevant linkage for tonight’s tilt:

NHL on NBCSN: Rangers, Penguins renew acquaintances on Rivalry Night

Rangers ‘are doing a lot of good things’

‘I wonder if that’s Crosby, what happens?’ — AV upset after McDonagh concussed by Simmonds

Malkin (lower body) to miss rest of week

Crosby, Karlsson and Trocheck are NHL’s three stars of the week