Goalie nods: Bernier goes back-to-back, Crawford looks to rebound

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News and notes from around the crease…

Leafs roll with Bernier

Jonathan Bernier will start for the second consecutive game on Thursday as the Leafs take on the Preds in Toronto. Bernier stopped 35 of 37 shots against the Islanders on Tuesday, and that performance was good enough to keep James Reimer bolted to the pine.

It’s worth noting Bernier’s lone shutout this season came against Nashville on Oct. 10.

Speaking of Nashville, the Preds will give rookie Mark Mazanec his fifth straight start tonight. Mazanec’s been very good since taking the No. 1 gig from Carter Hutton, and shut out the Red Wings in Detroit on Tuesday.

Crawford back in for Chicago

After getting yanked in a 5-1 drubbing at the hands of Colorado on Tuesday, Corey Crawford will get a chance to make amends with a start tonight against Winnipeg.

There was some though rookie Antti Raanta would get the nod, but it’s possible the ‘Hawks are going with Crawford given his experience against the Jets — he’s posted a 2-0-0 record vs. Winnipeg this year with a 1.00 GAA and .962 save percentage.

As expected, the Jets will counter with Ondrej Pavelec on Thursday night.

Elsewhere…

Jaroslav Halak will be in for the Blues, two nights after stopping 23 of 24 shots in a win over Buffalo. He’ll be up against Tuukka Rask in the Boston goal, and Rask is coming off an even better performance after making 43 saves in a win over the Rangers last time out.

— It’s Ryan Miller vs. Ray Emery in the Buffalo-Philly game, and Justin Peters vs. Jimmy Howard in the Carolina-Detroit game. Peters is an interesting choice given Cam Ward is now healthy.

— Top-flight goaltending matchups in Dallas, Phoenix and L.A. tonight. Kari Lehtonen goes for the Stars, taking on Henrik Lundqvist in the Rangers’ net; Semyon Varlamov and Mike Smith will do battle in the desert; Cory Schneider goes up against Ben Scrivens in Hollywood.

— Devan Dubnyk will go for the Oilers tonight, no word yet on who the Panthers will start. It’s even foggier in San Jose, as neither the Bolts or Sharks have announced their starters for this evening.

Calm, then storm: Penguins, Senators trade Game 7’s goals in 20 seconds

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Here’s hoping that you didn’t take a poorly-timed break in the second period.

For much of Game 7, the Ottawa Senators have been able to slow down the Pittsburgh Penguins, resulting in a contest that went scoreless for what sometimes felt like ages.

Chris Kunitz changed that, long after missing on a golden opportunity shortly after Mike Sullivan decided to put him on Sidney Crosby‘s line. Kunitz finished a nice rush play to make it 1-0 9:55 into the second. Check out that goal below.

Guy Boucher didn’t have to deploy “attack mode” very long, as Mark Stone stunningly tied it up 1-1 just 20 seconds later. That surprising tally can be seen in the clip above this post’s headline.

Who’s playing for Penguins, Senators in Game 7

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We finally know the lineups for the Pittsburgh Penguins and Ottawa Senators in Game 7 of the Eastern Conference Final.

Pittsburgh’s tweaks are most interesting, which isn’t a huge surprising considering the consistent inconsistency bred by their injury issues.

The Penguins will get Conor Sheary and Justin Schultz back in the mix. Despite showing a lot of energy warming up, Patric Hornqvist isn’t good to go. Here are the full Penguins personnel notes; also realize that this is Matt Murray‘s birthday.

Ottawa places Chris Kelly back in, getting the nod over Tommy Wingels and Colin White. Kelly’s had some experience in these scenarios.

You can watch Game 7 live on NBCSN. The game can also be viewed online and via the NBC Sports App. Here is the livestream link.

Sabres confirm signing defenseman Antipin; Is his KHL teammate Lee next?

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The Buffalo Sabres announced the signing of defenseman Victor Antipin* on Thursday, confirming rumors that surfaced more than once this month.

Antipin, 24, enjoyed a solid season in the KHL with Magnitogorsk Metallurg. Even so, the signing might be interesting if it serves as an appetizer for the Sabres bringing in Antipin’s teammate from Metallurg, Chris Lee.

On one hand, Lee is 36 and couldn’t make the jump fromt he AHL to the NHL in previous opportunities (most reently with the Penguins’ farm system in 2009-10). On the other, he had an eye-popping 2016-17 season in the KHL: 65 points in 60 games as a defenseman.

Lee’s previous numbers aren’t as outrageous, but still quite good, at least form a scoring standpoint.

While Lee’s possible addition is a situation to watch, there’s some excitement about Antipin.

“Victor is a well-rounded defenseman who has played in all situations at the pro level,” Sabres GM Jason Botterill said. “His mobility and puck-moving skills make him a perfect match for what we’re hoping to build with our defense corps next season.”

Granted, there’s some debate about his ceiling.

Still, for a Sabres team that badly needs help on the blueline, this addition – or eventually these additions – could provide a nice boost.

* – The Sabres’ releases feature his name spelled “Victor.” Other outlets, including hockeydb, have it as “Viktor.”

WATCH LIVE: Ottawa Senators vs. Pittsburgh Penguins – Game 7

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Will it be the Ottawa Senators or Pittsburgh Penguins against the Nashville Predators in the Stanley Cup Final? We’ll find out after tonight.

Yes, it’s that time: a Game 7 to see who advances to the final round. The winner will also hold home-ice advantage in the Stanley Cup Final.

Could Erik Karlsson, Craig Anderson, and the rest of the Senators pull off an upset on the road, winning the franchise’s first Game 7? Can Sidney Crosby, Evgeni Malkin and the Penguins give Matt Murray a birthday present with another Game 7 win?

Find out on NBCSN. You can also watch online and via the NBC Sports App.

Here’s what you need to know:

Ottawa Senators vs. Pittsburgh Penguins (series tied 3-3)

Time: 8:00 p.m. ET

Network: NBCSN (Stream live here)

Check out the highlights from Ottawa’s 2-1 win in Game 6

Related:

Pretty or not, Sens aim to play their game vs. Pens in Game 7

Penguins prepare for another Game 7, this time as favorites

Modern-day Senators have never won a Game 7

It’s “reasonable” to expect Schultz and Hornqvist will play Game 7