News and notes from around the blue paint…
Jets turn back to Montoya
Winnipeg has made an interesting decision for Wednesday night’s game against Chicago, putting backup Al Montoya in for the second straight game.
Montoya, who relieved struggling starter Ondrej Pavelec during Saturday’s 5-1 loss to the Blackhawks, looked solid on Monday in a 4-2 win over the Red Wings. Though he hasn’t played much this season — just four games — Montoya does have good numbers, boasting a 2-1-0 record with a 1.69 GAA and .939 save percentage.
For Chicago, Corey Crawford will get the start in goal.
Varlamov gets second start post-arrest
Semyon Varlamov will make his second start for Colorado following Thursday’s arrest on allegations of domestic violence. The 25-year-old Russian is 8-1-0 on the year with a .944 save percentage and 1.78 GAA, and won his first start after the alleged incident by stopping 27 of 29 shots in a 3-2 win over Dallas on Friday.
Varlamov and the Avs will take on Nashville tonight. The Preds are expected to start Carter Hutton in goal.
— Big goaltending matchup on NBCSN’s Rivalry Night as Marc Andre-Fleury gets the nod for Pittsburgh, while the Rangers will counter with Henrik Lundqvist.
— It’ll be Mike Smith going for the Coyotes tonight against Anaheim, 24 hours after he recorded a shootout victory over the Canucks on Tuesday. For the Ducks, Jonas Hiller is in.
Shayne Gostisbehere is the proud owner of a new rookie record.
With his goal in the third period of Saturday’s 2-1 OT loss to the Devils, the 22-year-old extended his point streak to 11 games, which is a record for rookie defensemen in the NHL.
Gostisbehere has an incredible 10 goals and 30 points in 35 games this season.
Gostisbehere’s goal tied the game at one after Devils forward Joseph Blandisi scored this beauty in the first period:
Adam Henrique added the game-winning goal in overtime.
It’s the second straight 2-1 victory for the Devils, who also beat the Oilers by the same score on Tuesday night.
The Flyers have just one win in their last five contests.
To add insult to injury, Philadelphia lost Michael Del Zotto to an upper-body injury, per GM Ron Hextall.
Here’s an updated look at the Metropolitan division standings and Wild Card race:
CHICAGO (AP) Blackhawks forward Artemi Panarin is expected to play Saturday night against Anaheim after missing two games with an illness.
Panarin participated in Chicago’s optional morning skate, and coach Joel Quenneville says the rookie will be in the lineup against the Ducks.
The 24-year-old Panarin, who has played on Chicago’s second line with Artem Anisimov and Patrick Kane for most of the season, is second on the team with 34 assists and 52 points. The Blackhawks dropped both games while he was out.
Some good news/bad news for the Rangers.
Exactly one week after suffering a concussion against the Philadelphia Flyers, defenseman Ryan McDonagh returned to the ice with his teammates this morning.
The Rangers captain was wearing a non-contract jersey, but “looked good” according to coach Alain Vigneault.
McDonagh was hurt after taking a punch to the head from Flyers forward Wayne Simmonds (above).
The 26-year-old has missed each of his team’s last three games since suffering the injury.
McDonagh hasn’t been cleared for contact, but that could happen in the next few days according to Vigneault.
The news wasn’t as good for forward Rick Nash, who’s been dealing with a bone bruise in his leg.
Nash has missed each of New York last eight game’s and Vigneault admitted that he’s no longer considered day-to-day.
He’ll miss at least another week.
What a story Joseph Blandisi‘s been for the New Jersey Devils this season.
The 21-year-old played in his first NHL game on Dec. 11 and has stayed with the Devils ever since.
It took him five games to pick up his first career point, but he’s done a whole lot more damage since then.
Blandisi came into Saturday’s action with 10 points in his last 12 games and he added to that against the Flyers.
He opened the scoring with this beautiful between-the-legs goal on goalie Michal Neuvirth (top of the page).
That’s Blandisi’s fourth goal of the season.
Some Twitter reaction to the goal: