CamTalbot

Talbot or Lundqvist? AV hasn’t said yet (Update: looks like Talbot)

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From Larry Brooks of the New York Post, ahead of tonight’s Rangers-Jets game at MSG, for which Blueshirts coach Alain Vigneault has yet to announce his starting goalie:

If it’s Henrik Lundqvist, it is dog bites man. If, however, it is [Cam] Talbot again, it becomes man bites dog in a Rangers’ universe in which The King has not sat for consecutive games when healthy since Feb. 5-7, 2011.

Talbot has been very good this season — in fact, Brooks calls the 26-year-old out of the University of Alabama in Huntsville a “revelation” — with a 6-1-0 record and .944 save percentage.

Lundqvist, meanwhile — the goalie many consider the best in the world, not to mention the one who can become an unrestricted free agent this summer — has been good, but not great, with a .917 save percentage in 19 starts.

“I know who I’m going with [but] I haven’t talked to the goaltenders yet,” Vigneault said Saturday, per the Post.

From the outside looking in, there’s no real controversy here. Lundqvist’s body of work as an NHL goalie (524 career starts) isn’t even comparable to Talbot’s (7 career starts). But if Talbot gets the nod tonight, it will still be the major topic of conversation around the team.

We’ll give the last word to Brooks:

You know, I can’t think of an analogous situation in the NHL where a team’s most valuable player has had this much trouble getting a new deal. Marquee guys get taken care of — and relatively quickly. This one seems odd. It has from the start that didn’t start nearly as early as it should have.

This isn’t offered as an excuse for Lundqvist, who not only has never sought one, but has held himself accountable all season. But there’s no one around who doesn’t wonder whether the contract — or lack thereof after this season—is playing a role in the goaltender’s uncharacteristic inconsistency.

Update: Literally right when we pressed publish on this post, Talbot left the morning skate first, a strong indication he’ll start tonight.

Video: On Hockey Day in America, Auston Matthews did this . . .

TORONTO, ON - NOVEMBER 11:  Auston Matthews #34 of the Toronto Maple Leafs skates against the Philadelphia Flyers at the Air Canada Centre on November 11, 2016 in Toronto, Canada. The Maple Leafs defeated the Flyers 6-3.  (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)
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Born in Scottsdale, AZ., Auston Matthews has taken the NHL by storm in his rookie season as an elite talent headlining an impressive freshman class.

Taken first overall last June, Matthews made history with four goals in his debut, surely a dizzying experience for Maple Leafs fans accustomed to heartbreak and frustration. And he really hasn’t slowed down since.

On Sunday against the Carolina Hurricanes — and on Hockey Day in America — the 19-year-old Matthews once again put on a show, scoring his 28th goal of the season. That gave Toronto a two-goal lead.

As he’s often done in his brief time in the NHL, this goal was of the spectacular variety, as he broke in off the left wing and, as he was getting hauled down to the ice, slid the puck five-hole on Cam Ward.

Related: Auston Matthews is having a rookie season for the ages

Video: After a slow start, Evander Kane is on a roll for the Sabres

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For about a month now, Evander Kane has enjoyed a particularly productive stretch for the Buffalo Sabres.

Kane scored with 5.6 seconds remaining in the first period of Sunday’s game versus the Chicago Blackhawks, converting on a nifty pass from Jack Eichel and going top shelf on Scott Darling.

He now has goals in three straight games, and 15 points in 14 games as the Sabres have fought their way back into the playoff race in the Eastern Conference.

Of course, this latest run comes just before the trade deadline, and Kane’s name has consistently been in speculation about a possible move — in addition to off-ice issues. While GM Tim Murray has said earlier this month that he’s not actively shopping Kane, he also didn’t absolutely rule out trading the 25-year-old left winger, now into his second season in Buffalo.

(Murray: “Is there a crazy deal that somebody could throw at me that would force me to do it? I guess there is.”)

Most impressive about Kane’s numbers — remember he missed time earlier this season with a rib injury and then had a slow start, which drew the ire of the coach — is that he’s done the vast majority of his scoring, 20 of 21 goals, at five-on-five.

WATCH LIVE: Bruins at Sharks

BOSTON, MA - FEBRUARY 9: Dominic Moore #28 of the Boston Bruins defends Brent Burns #88 of the San Jose Sharks during the first period at TD Garden on February 9, 2017 in Boston, Massachusetts. (Photo by Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)
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The Boston Bruins are back from their bye week, looking to continue a three-game winning streak since Bruce Cassidy took over as head coach from Claude Julien.

The Bruins can extend their streak Sunday, when they visit the San Jose Sharks (8:30 p.m. ET). You can check out the game on NBCSN or online with NBC Sports’ Live Extra.

CLICK HERE TO WATCH LIVE

Here are some links to check out for tonight’s game:

The NHL’s bye week experiment is still a work in progress

Pre-game reading: Are the Bruins and Avalanche on verge of trade?

Sharks have reason to wait on Thornton, Marleau extensions

Video: Trouba called for a hit to the head on Stone

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Jacob Trouba could be getting a call from the NHL Department of Player Safety for a hit to the head of Ottawa Senators forward Mark Stone.

The incident occurred during the third period of Sunday’s game, as Stone was passing the puck after he entered the zone. Trouba stepped up and delivered a high hit, resulting in only a minor penalty for an illegal check to the head.

Stone, who dealt with a concussion that was reported in September, remained down on the ice before eventually going to the dressing room.

As you can see from the video, Senators coach Guy Boucher was furious officials on the ice decided this was only worth a minor for Trouba.