Goalie nods: Stalock in for Sharks, Poulin goes back-to-back


News and notes from the crease…

Stalock gets second start

San Jose’s Alex Stalock will make just his second start of the season on Tuesday vs. Calgary.

“Last start was a very good one for us [vs. Ottawa], and he came in against Vancouver and played well,” Sharks head coach Todd McLellan explained. “He deserves the chance.”

The decision to start Stalock coincides with No. 1 goalie Antti Niemi struggling. The Finnish netminder has lost five straight while allowing 18 goals on 148 shots, a save percentage of .878.

What’s more, the Sharks are without a regulation victory since the aforementioned game against Ottawa, which they won 5-2.

Calgary will counter with Swiss netminder Reto Berra tonight.

Poulin goes again

The Islanders’ revolving goalie door has opened back up for Kevin Poulin.

Poulin will be in goal on Tuesday vs. Nashville, two nights after allowing four goals on 31 shots in a loss to Montreal on Sunday.

While he’s been splitting time with Evgeni Nabokov recently, Poulin will get consecutive starts for the first time this season, and that’s a big development. The Isles are clearly unhappy with Nabokov’s play thus far and are looking for something — anything — to snap them out of their current four-game losing streak.

Poulin will go up against Nashville’s Marek Mazanec on Tuesday. Mazanec will make his first NHL start in place of Carter Hutton, who has struggled recently.


— It’s an all-American matchup in Buffalo as Ryan Miller takes on Jonathan Quick in the Sabres-Kings game. Quick has played well recently, stopping 44 of 45 shots in his last two victories.

Martin Brodeur will go for New Jersey tonight at MSG. The Rangers will counter with Henrik Lundqvist, who has a 1.40 GAA and .949 save percentage in his last five games.

— It’s Sergei Bobrovsky vs. Braden Holtby in Washington for Jackets-Caps, and Semyon Varlamov vs. Justin Peters in Carolina for Avs-‘Canes.

Frederik Andersen will look to go 6-0-0 this year with the start against Florida tonight, while the Panthers will counter with Tim Thomas. It’s worth noting that Andersen is coming off a stellar effort against Vancouver, stopping 35 of 36 shots in a 3-1 win on Sunday.

— Ondrej Pavelec vs. Jimmy Howard in Winnipeg-Detroit, Steve Mason vs. Craig Anderson in Philly-Ottawa and Mike Smith vs. Jaroslav Halak in Phoenix-St. Louis.

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?