Goalie nods: Luongo vs. Thomas, Lehner in for Sens

News and notes from around the crease…

Tuesday Tire Pump

Tim Thomas and Roberto Luongo will face each other for the first time since Game 7 of the 2011 Stanley Cup Final tonight when the Panthers take on the Canucks in Vancouver.

Thomas played extremely well in his last start, stopping 32 of 33 shots in a win over Colorado. Luongo, meanwhile, hasn’t been as good — he’s lost three straight and four of his last five, though could hardly be faulted for either of the two goals that beat him in a 2-1 loss to Dallas on Sunday night.

In case you’re wondering about Thomas’ mindset heading into tonight…

Lehner goes for Sens

Ottawa will turn to its young Swedish netminder on Tuesday, giving Robin Lehner the start against Philly over Craig Anderson.

Lehner has won three straight starts by boasting a 1.33 GAA and .958 save percentage, including a 26-save effort over the Panthers on Nov. 9. He’ll look to exact revenge for an Ottawa team that lost 5-0 last time out to Philly — in that game, Anderson was torched for five goals on 31 shots in one of his roughest outings of the season.

Lehner will square off with Steve Mason tonight. Mason stopped 36 of 38 shots in his last outing, a shootout loss to Winnipeg.

Elsewhere…

— Big goaltending matchup in Buffalo tonight as Ryan Miller will get the nod for the Sabres, putting him up against St. Louis No. 1 Jaroslav Halak. Halak will be looking for redemption after getting yanked (three goals on six shots) in a 4-1 loss to Washington on Sunday, while Miller will look to build on his 32-save effort in a win over Toronto on Friday.

— Kevin Poulin, the Islanders’ new No. 1, will go against the Maple Leafs tonight in Toronto. The Buds will counter with Jonathan Bernier, who hasn’t played since Friday’s loss to Buffalo.

— It’s Marek Mazanec vs. Jimmy Howard in the Nashville-Detroit game, and Corey Crawford vs. Semyon Varlamov in the Chicago-Colorado affair on NBCSN.

— Sergei Bobrovsky will face Devan Dubnyk in Columbus-Edmonton, and Ben Bishop will take on the white-hot Ben Scrivens in the Tampa Bay-L.A. game.

Josh Harding starts for the Wild tonight in Montreal, but there’s been no confirmation as to who’ll go for the Habs.

— Henrik Lundqvist is the man for the Rangers tonight at MSG, though it’s uncertain who’ll start for Boston. Chad Johnson seems probable, but it’s yet to be locked in.

Predators survive Blues’ big late push to win Game 1

Getty
1 Comment

The Nashville Predators’ 4-3 Game 1 win against the St. Louis Blues makes it difficult to use “perfect.”

You could get away with using that word, mind you, as the Predators followed up their surprising sweep of the Chicago Blackhawks by going up 1-0 against the Blues in St. Louis. Still, the ride was so bumpy in the third period, it’s probably wiser to focus on the fact that Nashville is unbeaten.

Because, yikes, that third period was a roller coaster for Nashville.

via Natural Stat Trick

P.K. Subban scored a goal and two assists in the first 40 minutes to help the Predators bring a 3-1 lead into the final frame. The Blues absolutely dominated play in the third, however, briefly tying the game as they put immense pressure on Pekka Rinne & Co.

Ultimately, the Predators received a game-winner from an unlikely source in Vernon Fiddler, gaining a 1-0 series edge.

Even so, few will talk about “mystique” after that shaky finish.

For one thing, both Rinne and Jake Allen allowed goals that they’d like to forget. Also, both squads experienced lopsided periods; Nashville dominated shots in the second (15-8) while the Blues almost doubled-up the Preds in the third (11-6).

Nashville also seems likely to play without rising rookie Kevin Fiala, who was hospitalized after an absolutely horrifying crash into the boards.

It was a weird and often wild – sometimes nasty – contest, with the Predators ultimately coming out on top. There’s plenty of intrigue heading into Game 2, which airs on NBCSN at 8 p.m. ET on Friday. (You can also watch online and via the NBC Sports App; here’s the livestream link.)

WATCH LIVE: Second round begins with Predators – Blues, Oilers – Ducks

Getty
1 Comment

Update: With both games likely to run simultaneously, note that Ducks fans can watch on NBCSN in the Anaheim market while the game is also available via streaming links below.

In addition to that, Ducks – Oilers is slated to begin on NHL Network.

This tweet explains it in additional detail.

***

The second round of the 2017 Stanley Cup Playoffs is set to begin on Wednesday, and the NBC Sports Group has you covered with wall-to-wall coverage.

We start with a battle of the hottest goalies in the postseason so far as Jake Allen and the Blues host Pekka Rinne and the Predators. The duo of Game 1’s wraps up when Connor McDavid and the Oilers take on Ryan Getzlaf and the Ducks.

Here’s what you need to know:

Nashville Predators vs. St. Louis Blues

Time: 8 p.m. ET

Network: NBCSN (Stream online here)

Edmonton Oilers vs. Anaheim Ducks 

Time: 10:30 p.m. ET

Network: NBCSN (Stream online)

Video: Austin Watson takes a shot at Vladimir Tarasenko

3 Comments

The St. Louis Blues and their fans showed class in how they reacted to Kevin Fiala‘s very, very scary injury during Game 1.

Still, these are two physical Central Division rivals, so you expect to see some nastiness here and there between the Blues and Nashville Predators.

One moment that will likely divide onlookers came when Predators tough guy Austin Watson got a shot in on Vladimir Tarasenko, at least briefly hurting the world-class sniper.

It’s unlikely to be a big deal since Tarasenko seems to be OK, but there may be some debate here. On one hand, there are those who believe Watson got away with a cheap shot; on the other, some seem to imply that there was some embellishment. Maybe it’s even a combination of the two?

Either way, the Predators enter the third period up 3-1, so St. Louis will likely ask Tarasenko to focus on getting revenge by scoring goals.

Blues just have no answer for P.K. Subban right now

3 Comments

In the first round, P.K. Subban was dominant against the Chicago Blackhawks, but mainly if you look at “fancy stats.” There’s nothing wrong with two assists in that sweep, but those aren’t jaw-dropping numbers.

You don’t need to dig deep to see his impact on Game 1 against the St. Louis Blues. A mere glance at the box score – or a chance to see his blistering shot – and you’ll realize that the Nashville Predators defenseman has been a nightmare for Jake Allen & Co. so far on Wednesday.

Subban seemingly scored his first postseason goal with the Predators to make it 1-0, but Colin Wilson was actually credited with the tally.

No bother there. Subban gave the Predators a crucial lift shortly after player resumed following Kevin Fiala‘s horrifying injury, getting that first Predators playoff goal with another booming shot.

Subban managed to draw a slashing penalty on Scottie Upshall and also sent another huge shot to set up a James Neal goal. There’s no mistaking that P.K. has played a huge role in Nashville going up 3-1 so far; the Blues need to find some answers, and fast.