Goalie nods: Back-to-backs for Lehner, Ward

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News and notes from the crease on a light Sunday of action …

Lehner inches in on Anderson?

Craig Anderson may still be considered the No. 1 guy big picture-wise for the Ottawa Senators, yet the team is going with Robin Lehner in back-to-back games after he defeated (and noted the swimming abilities of) the Detroit Red Wings on Saturday.

Lehner has only played in 10 games versus Anderson’s 15, yet he’s just one win behind (4 vs. 5) with a vastly superior .940 to .900 save percentage. Those numbers make it painfully obvious who head coach Paul MacLean should start, but how much leash will Lehner receive?

Speaking of back-to-backs, the Carolina Hurricanes opted to start Cam Ward after he suffered a loss to the Boston Bruins on Saturday. That’s not really an earth-shaker, though.

The Monster remerges

The Detroit Red Wings haven’t won with Jimmy Howard in net since Nov. 1. It’s not fair to stack all the blame on him, yet it’s surprising how infrequently they’ve turned to Jonas Gustavsson. “The Monster” will face the Buffalo Sabres on Sunday after Howard lost again on Saturday (while Gustavsson ended their seven-game streak on Thursday).

Could the big Swede start to get a better look if he tops the Sabres?

Speaking of which, all signs point to Ryan Miller in net. We’ll keep an eye out for last-minute changes, however.

Video: Josh Ho-Sang’s creativity gives Islanders a shot in the arm

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Honestly, after 10 games, the question shouldn’t be “can Josh Ho-Sang stick with the Islanders full-time?” Instead, the feeling is … what took so long for him to get this chance?

For all the grumbling about Ho-Sang sporting number 66, he’s provided serious bursts of brilliance and creativity for the Islanders, whether he’s been supporting or even setting up John Tavares.

The video above is some really good stuff, as it walks through his confident comments – and undeniable uncertainty – during the night he was drafted, all the way through him getting his chance with the Isles this season. Some of the best stuff comes from Doug Weight, who raves that Ho-Sang is a “five out of five” from an offensive standpoint.

Auston Matthews’ 33rd goal includes a dash of comedy (Video)

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This wouldn’t have been worth a chuckle if not for the correction. (Well, maybe a chuckle at Auston Matthews‘ expense.)

On the 33rd goal of his brilliant rookie season, Auston Matthews made it 2-0 for Toronto on the power play. Crusty “act like you’ve been there” types might grumble that he actually celebrated before a goal really happened, only to tap it in for real the second time around. The rest of us, again, get a mild chuckle.

William Nylander‘s pass was nothing to laugh at, however. That one just gets a big thumbs up.

Hnnngmgghh indeed.

That goal could end up being key as the Blue Jackets quickly scored to start the second period, shrinking Toronto’s lead to 2-1 on Wednesday.

Video: Leafs’ Carrick delivers thunderous hit on Blue Jackets’ Anderson

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Both the Columbus Blue Jackets and Toronto Maple Leafs have motivation to win their Wednesday game, but the Maple Leafs need it more.

So far, it shows, too.

The Maple Leafs have raced off to a 2-0 lead, with Auston Matthews scoring his 33rd goal of the season. If generating such offense didn’t highlight the urgency, Connor Carrick‘s huge hit on Josh Anderson makes a compelling argument. Witness that big impact in the video above.

There was also another high-impact moment when Nick Foligno went crashing into the boards:

Ouch, Blues consider Paul Stastny out week-to-week

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The St. Louis Blues announced that Paul Stastny is out week-to-week with a lower-body injury.

Stastny was limited to less than four minutes of ice time during last night’s 4-2 win against the Colorado Avalanche. Initially, head coach Mike Yeo indicated that the issue wasn’t serious.

There are only about three weeks left in the regular season, so it’s tough to tell if “week-to-week” would mean that the Blues will be without Stastny for any playoff time.

With Stastny out for an expended period of time and other injuries affecting Blues forwards, it sounds like Nail Yakupov gets another chance to prove himself:

Stastny generated 18 goals and 40 points in 66 games so far this season. He has played more of a defensive role this season (46.2 offensive zone start percentage after being closer to 50 earlier in his Blues days) and has been impressive in the dot, winning 53.8 of his faceoffs.