Ilya Bryzgalov

Goalie nods: Bryzgalov back in, Luongo looks to ‘exorcise that demon’


News and notes from around the crease…

Bryzgalov goes again

Ilya Bryzgalov will get his second start coming off an injury when he takes on the Kings in Los Angeles tonight.

Bryzgalov, 33, returned to action on Sunday against Anaheim and stopped 31 of 34 shots in a 3-2 loss. The Russian netminder had been sidelined after getting bowled over against Dallas on Dec. 1.

Bryzgalov has very good numbers on the year — a 2.35 GAA and .932 save percentage — but is still looking for a few more wins, as has he has just one (a 3-0 victory over Nashville) thus far.

Martin Jones, the NHL’s reigning third star of the week, will get the nod for L.A.

Luongo starts at Xcel

History to be damned, says Canucks head coach John Tortorella. Roberto Luongo is starting tonight in Minnesota.

For more, here’s Mike Russo of the Star-Tribune:

Luongo gets the start for the Canuckleheads. He is 3-9-2 with a 3.56 goals-against average and .873 save percentage at the X, and that includes a 0-0 tie in his first-ever start at the X with Florida in 2000. Luongo has been pulled in his past three starts here and has just had such struggles here that former Van. coach Alain Vigneault didn’t play him in Minnesota since Oct. 19, 2010. Luongo joked yesterday to ask AV if he was playing.

“He’s going to exorcise that demon, I guess, if that’s what everybody thinks this is,” Canucks coach John Tortorella said. “He’s a pro. He needs to play.”

Josh Harding will start for the Wild.


Flames at Bruins: Reto Berra vs. Tuukka Rask

Jets at Sabres: Ondrej Pavelec vs. Ryan Miller

Panthers at Leafs: Scott Clemmensen vs. Jonathan Bernier (likely)

Lightning at Islanders: Ben Bishop vs. Evgeni Nabokov

Capitals at Flyers: Braden Holtby vs. Steve Mason

Ducks at Red Wings: Jonas Hiller vs. Jonas Gustavsson

Coyotes at Canadiens: Carey Price in for Habs. No word yet on who Phoenix will start.

Sharks at Blues: Antti Niemi vs. Jaroslav Halak

Blackhawks at Preds: Antti Raanta vs. Carter Hutton

Avs at Stars: Jean-Sebastien Giguere will go for Colorado. No word on a Dallas starter yet.

Measure of revenge? Red Wings bottle Lightning

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In some ways, it really felt like their first-round series.

For all the talent on both ends of the rink with the Detroit Red Wings and Tampa Bay Lightning, each squad can really smother opponents defensively when things go that way.

Through two periods, the two teams were very quiet. Things really picked up when Justin Abdelkader unleashed a big hit, a moment that injected enough life into the proceedings for the Red Wings to eventually build a 3-1 win.

Maybe they’re slipping under the radar a bit compared to previous iterations of the team, but it’s interesting that the Red Wings are now undefeated in three games.

They’ve been impressive at times, too, outscoring opponents by a combined score of 11-4.

Call it a refreshing time after Mike Babcock or merely carryover from a subtly solid run last season, but either way, the Red Wings may just be able to keep up their end of a brewing rivalry.

Hands of gold: Connor McDavid scores his first NHL goal


Taking three games to score your first NHL goal isn’t a big deal, unless you’re someone like Connor McDavid.

The mega-hyped wunderkind must feel relieved to finally find the net, as he tied tonight’s Edmonton Oilers – Dallas Stars skirmish with a 2-2 deflection goal, which you can watch above this post’s headline.

To no surprise, there were plenty of reactions, including Pierre LeBrun’s tweet (which inspired part of this headline).

Of course, there were the inevitable Wayne Gretzky comparisons:

Interesting thing you might not consider: Stars fans will have to stomach this one even more frequently than that time Patrik Stefan biffed that empty-netter (also against the Oilers):

McDavid may have also delivered his first questionable check, too: