Some news and notes from the blue paint…
Hutton in for Rinne
With Pekka Rinne out for at least a month with a bacterial infection in his hip, the Preds will turn to backup Carter Hutton tonight against Winnipeg.
Hutton, 27, hasn’t played much this year — just two games — but does have experience against Winnipeg, thanks to a stellar 38-save outing in a 3-1 win over the Jets on Oct. 20.
After missing the last five games with a lower-body injury, Kari Lehtonen will make his return to the Dallas goal on Thursday against Calgary.
The Stars have gone 1-4-0 since Lehtonen got hurt, so his return is a welcome one — he was 2-1-0 with a 1.57 GAA and .953 save percentage prior to the lower-body ailment.
— After a rough outing against Boston on Saturday (a 5-0 loss), Ben Bishop will be back in goal for Tampa tonight against Chicago. It’s no surprise the Bolts are going back to Bishop — in his last game against the ‘Hawks, a 3-2 shootout win on Oct. 5, he stopped 37 shots in a game the Lightning were badly outplayed.
– Cory Schneider will make his third straight start for the Devils on Thursday against his old team, the Vancouver Canucks.
– Cam Talbot will make his NHL debut for the Rangers on Thursday against Philadelphia, in place of the injured Henrik Lundqvist.
– The Flames will go back to Karri Ramo on Thursday against Dallas. Ramo was in net for Monday’s 3-2 win over Los Angeles while Joey MacDonald was on the hook for Tuesday’s 4-2 loss to Phoenix.
This has been a tough postseason for Phil Kessel haters.
The supposed “choker” is on a team that’s in the Eastern Conference Final, but Kessel obviously isn’t just in for the ride with the Pittsburgh Penguins. He scored his 18th point in 17 postseason games by scoring the 1-0 goal against the Tampa Bay Lightning in Game 6.
(Watch that goal in the video above.)
It was a dramatic first period, with a Jonathan Drouin goal getting disallowed and Andrei Vasilevskiy making some huge saves on tough chances.
Can Pittsburgh protect this slim lead with 1-0 down one period? We’ll see, but either way, what a great postseason for Kessel.
To start the seemingly pivotal stretch, Andrei Vasilevskiy made an outstanding save on Evgeni Malkin on what sure looked like a scary chance.
The play swiftly shifted from the Tampa Bay Lightning’s end to the Pittsburgh Penguins’ side of the ice, and it seemed like Jonathan Drouin scored a big 1-0 goal in Game 6.
As it turns out, the goal was disallowed thanks to an offside goal review.
Here are a few viewpoints on that moment in GIF form … you can get a fuller view via the video above.
The general feeling among those who don’t have a horse in the race is that it was the right call. (Lightning fans were, uh, not happy.)
At some point, it will probably be kind of boring to hear members of the Tampa Bay Lightning organization praise Jonathan Drouin.
At least if Drouin re-signs with the Bolts after quite the affirming postseason and his ascension amid injuries.
These days? It’s still sort of entertaining.
In the latest case, Jon Cooper was asked to compare the development paths for Nikita Kucherov vs. Drouin. After empathizing with the pressure Drouin carries as a high-end pick (vs. Kucherov’s ability to come in under the radar), Cooper had some very positive things to say about No. 27.
” … So many people think, well, you’re just going to step in the league at 18 and be dominant,” Cooper said. “I truly believe Jonathan is going to be dominant in this league, but it’s hard to do at 18. He had to work through it, and that’s it.”
Drouin, now at 21, has 12 points in 15 playoff games.
In other Lightning news, it sounds like the team will roll with 11 forwards and seven defensemen, an alignment that has been working well lately and also came through at times during the 2015 postseason.
The Penguins, meanwhile, replace Beau Bennett with Conor Sheary.
Tonight could be the final game of the Eastern Conference Final between the Pittsburgh Penguins and Tampa Bay Lightning. You can catch Game 6 via the NBC Sports Group’s television and digital platforms.
Pittsburgh at Tampa Bay (8:00 p.m. ET)
The television broadcast of Game 6 is on NBCSN. To stream the game using the NBC Sports Live Extra app, click here. The Bolts lead the series 3-2.
Here’s some relevant reading material to get you ready for tonight’s game:
—Malkin guaranteed a Penguins win in Game 6
—Lightning coach doesn’t seem flustered by Malkin’s guarantee
—Kucherov continues to be clutch for the Bolts this postseason
—Marc-Andre Fleury: ‘I should have been better’ in Game 5