News and notes from around the crease on an unusually busy Friday…
Budaj gets rare start
Montreal will turn to Peter Budaj tonight in Columbus, his first game since allowing three goals on 30 shots in a loss to Colorado on Nov. 2.
Though the Canadiens don’t often start Budaj — Carey Price has been a workhorse this season — the Slovak netminder has established himself as a reliable backup and posted great numbers this year, with a 1.33 GAA and .953 save percentage.
It’s unclear who’ll go for the Blue Jackets on Friday. Sergei Bobrovsky was in goal for Thursday’s 3-2 OT loss to Boston.
Flyers go back to Mason
Philadelphia will give Steve Mason the start tonight in Winnipeg.
The Flyers find themselves with a “good problem to have” in terms of choosing a starter, as both Mason and Ray Emery are on top of their games. Emery was fantastic in a 2-1 win over Pittsburgh on Wednesday, stopping 30 of 31 shots — but Mason has been equally good of late, winning each of his last two starts (including a 5-0 shutout of the Sens in Ottawa on Tuesday).
The Jets will counter with Ondrej Pavelec in goal tonight. Like Mason and Emery, Pavelec has been on fire lately, winning back-to-back games while stopping 41 of 43 shots in a 3-2 shootout victory over Detroit on Tuesday.
— Jonathan Bernier will get his second straight start for Toronto on Friday as the Leafs play in Buffalo. The Sabres will go with Ryan Miller in Ted Nolan’s coaching debut.
— Cory Schneider is the Devils’ starter tonight against the Kings. Los Angeles hasn’t made a goalie announcement yet, but it’s expected Ben Scrivens will start his second straight in place of the injured Jonathan Quick (groin).
— It’s Marek Mazanec vs. Marc-Andre Fleury in the Nashville-Pittsburgh game, and Braden Holtby vs. Jimmy Howard in Washington-Detroit.
— Elsewhere, Tim Thomas will face off against Josh Harding as the Panthers visit the Wild, while Tuukka Rask will go up against Craig Anderson in Ottawa as the Sens host the Bruins.
— No confirmation yet, but Viktor Fasth could make his return from injury tonight for Anaheim. He’s been out since Oct. 16th with a lower-body injury. If Fasth does go, he’ll be up against Justin Peters, who will get the ‘Canes goal tonight in Carolina.
— The Oilers have confirmed that Devan Dubnyk will start tonight at home against the Sharks. San Jose, who beat Vancouver in overtime last night with Antti Niemi in goal, are likely to go to backup Alex Stalock against Edmonton, but that hasn’t been announced yet.