Some news and notes from around the crease…
Neuvirth to face Canucks
Braden Holtby will rest for the first time in six games on Monday as Michal Neuvirth gets the net against the Canucks in Vancouver.
Holtby sits with a 4-5-0 record with a 3.07 GAA and .913 save percentage, paving the way for Neuvirth — he of the 1-1-0 record with a 3.08 GAA and .893 save percentage — to make his fourth appearance of the season but second in as many games, as he came on in relief of Holtby in Saturday’s 5-2 loss in Calgary.
Neuvirth has one career appearance against Vancouver, a 7-4 loss in Oct. 2011 in which he allowed four goals on 26 shots in 40 minutes of relief action.
Budaj in for Habs
The Canadiens face a tall task in taking on the Rangers in their first game of the season at MSG on Monday, and they’ll do it with backup Peter Budaj in goal.
Budaj, 31, will play for just the second time this season and the first since a 4-1 win over Edmonton on Oct. 10, a game in which he stopped 27 of 28 shots.
Carey Price has been one of the league’s busiest netminders this season, so it’ll be interesting to see how the Habs do in front of a different face (and how Budaj fares after so much time off).
— As reported earlier, Henrik Lundqvist will return from a two-game absence to face the Habs tonight.
— Injured Carolina goalie Cam Ward will indeed miss 2-4 weeks with a lower-body ailment.
— Josh Harding’s minor injury won’t keep him from backing up Niklas Backstrom vs. Chicago.
In some ways, it really felt like their first-round series.
For all the talent on both ends of the rink with the Detroit Red Wings and Tampa Bay Lightning, each squad can really smother opponents defensively when things go that way.
Through two periods, the two teams were very quiet. Things really picked up when Justin Abdelkader unleashed a big hit, a moment that injected enough life into the proceedings for the Red Wings to eventually build a 3-1 win.
Maybe they’re slipping under the radar a bit compared to previous iterations of the team, but it’s interesting that the Red Wings are now undefeated in three games.
They’ve been impressive at times, too, outscoring opponents by a combined score of 11-4.
Call it a refreshing time after Mike Babcock or merely carryover from a subtly solid run last season, but either way, the Red Wings may just be able to keep up their end of a brewing rivalry.
Taking three games to score your first NHL goal isn’t a big deal, unless you’re someone like Connor McDavid.
The mega-hyped wunderkind must feel relieved to finally find the net, as he tied tonight’s Edmonton Oilers – Dallas Stars skirmish with a 2-2 deflection goal, which you can watch above this post’s headline.
To no surprise, there were plenty of reactions, including Pierre LeBrun’s tweet (which inspired part of this headline).
Of course, there were the inevitable Wayne Gretzky comparisons:
Interesting thing you might not consider: Stars fans will have to stomach this one even more frequently than that time Patrik Stefan biffed that empty-netter (also against the Oilers):
McDavid may have also delivered his first questionable check, too: