Goalie nods: Elliott goes for Blues, Lehner for Sens, Harding for Wild

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Some news and notes from the blue paint…

Elliott starts for St. Louis

The Blues will give Brian Elliott just his second start of the season on Friday as they take on the Panthers in Florida.

Elliott, who had been in a timeshare with Jaroslav Halak over the last two seasons, has been demoted to No. 2 this season as Halak (7-1-1) has carried the load. Elliott’s lone start this season came in a 4-3 shootout loss to Winnipeg on Oct. 15 — his only other action this season came three days prior, in relief of Halak during a 6-2 loss to San Jose.

Ottawa rolls with Lehner

Robin Lenher will make his second start of the season as well on Friday when Ottawa takes on the Islanders.

Lehner, 22, hasn’t played since a 3-1 loss to Edmonton on Oct. 19, in which he stopped 18 of 20 shots. The Swedish netminder has watched from the bench a lot this season as the Sens have gone almost exclusively with Craig Anderson, though that might change given the latter’s mediocre efforts as of late.

Anderson is in the midst of a three-game losing streak and gave up 11 goals in his two most recent losses to Chicago and San Jose. On the year, he has a 4-4-2 record with a 3.16 GAA and .911 save percentage.

FYI, Evgeni Nabokov will start for the Islanders tonight in Ottawa.

Harding back for Minnesota

Josh Harding will see his first action in over 10 days as the Wild take on Montreal at Xcel Energy Center tonight.

Harding, 29, has put forth a tremendous campaign this far, going 5-2-1 with a 1.00 GAA and .953 save percentage, challenging Niklas Backstrom for the Wild’s No. 1 gig.

Speaking of Backstrom, it’s interesting to see him being sat after a rough outing against Chicago on Monday. The ‘Hawks burned the veteran netminder for five goals on 28 shots.

(For the Canadiens, Carey Price will get the start.)


Jacob Markstrom goes for Florida against St. Louis. Do note that the last time these two played, the Blues laid a 7-0 whipping on the Panthers.

— As we reported earlier, Semyon Varlamov will start for the Avs tonight in Dallas. Kari Lehtonen goes for the Stars.

— It’s Jimmy Howard vs. Joey MacDonald tonight in Calgary for the Red Wings-Flames game. Worth noting that Howard’s backup, Jonas Gustavsson, is dealing with a sore neck and might not be able to go tomorrow night against Edmonton. If that’s the case, AHL Grand Rapids call-up Peter Mrazek will get the start.

— Braden Holtby vs. Steve Mason in Philly for Caps-Flyers.

— Sergei Bobrovsky vs. Marc-Andre Fleury in Pittsburgh for Jackets-Pens.

— Ben Bishop vs. Justin Peters in Carolina for Bolts-‘Canes.

Oilers get Kronwall’d – in more ways than one

Niklas Kronwall
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When someone gets clobbered by Niklas Kronwall, they get Kronwall’d.

(His detractors may insist that the definition require the words “dirty” or “illegal,” but that’s a debate for another day.)

It’s easy to get lost in those thunderous hits and forget that the  Swedish defenseman also brings some skill to the table.

He made a big impact – literally and figuratively – in Detroit’s 4-3 overtime win against the Edmonton Oilers on Friday.

First, the Kronwalling:

Next, Kronwall’s overtime-winner:

It hasn’t always been pretty, but the Red Wings are leaning on guys like Kronwall and Dylan Larkin to stick with it.

Tonight’s win extends their point streak to six games (4-0-2), with five of those contests going to overtime.

Dubinsky – Crosby’s nemesis – gets the last laugh on Friday

Sidney Crosby, Brandon Dubinsky

Brandon Dubinsky isn’t a household name like Sidney Crosby is, yet for all the hype that Crosby vs. Alex Ovechkin gets, Dubinsky is the sort of guy who truly rankles No. 87.

It’s been getting that spotlight since the Columbus Blue Jackets faced off against the Pittsburgh Penguins in a brisk playoff series, though it wouldn’t be surprising if the bad blood stemmed to Dubinsky’s days with New York.

To some, Dubinsky’s cross-check on Crosby will resonate far more than the end result of this game:

The bottom line is that he’ll get the last laugh, at least for now. (In-game, that moment merely drew a minor penalty.)

That’s because Dubinsky set up the overtime game-winner, and the cherry on the top of that spite sundae came with Crosby being on the ice when it happened:

They’re not just rubbing the Penguins the wrong way.

Even Dubinsky kind of sort of admits that he may have been in the wrong.


More and more, the Blue Jackets are looking like a nuisance … possibly one that will grind their way to an unlikely playoff berth. They improved to 8-4-0 in November after a disastrous 2-10-0 October.

In other words, there’s at least a chance that we may see these increasingly bitter rivals butt heads in another playoff series.

Eichel’s sweet snipe helps Sabres snap six-game skid

Jack Eichel
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The Buffalo Sabres probably deserved better during at least some chunks of their six-game skid, yet Jack Eichel swooped in on Friday to remind fans that there’s a light shining at the end of the tunnel.

You can watch his goal from tonight’s eventual 4-1 win against the Carolina Hurricanes in the video above.

That’s not necessarily the absolute height of his on-ice magic, yet it clearly gave his team a lift:

Call this a healthy reminder that Eichel has the ability to change games, something Buffalo fans hope to get used to.

Report: Likely no suspension for Matt Beleskey’s hit on Derek Stepan


Alain Vigneault went there in comparing Matt Beleskey‘s hit on Derek Stepan to the notorious check Aaron Rome delivered on Nathan Horton many moons ago, but the league seems to disagree.

While Rome sat through that memorable Stanley Cup Final between Boston and Vancouver, it sounds like Beleskey won’t face any further discipline, according to ESPN’s Pierre LeBrun.

In the unlikely event that anything changes, PHT will make note.

The next game between the Rangers and Bruins takes place at Madison Square Garden on Jan. 11. Will these bad feelings linger?