Goalie nods: Slumping Smith goes for Phoenix

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News and notes from around the blue paint…

Smith looks to get back on track

Even though he was named to the Canadian Olympic team, Mike Smith has not played especially well this season. He’ll look to change that tonight when the Coyotes take on the Jets in Winnipeg.

Smith, who came on in relief of Thomas Greiss during Saturday’s 5-3 loss to Anaheim, is just 15-11-8 with a 2.89 GAA and .910 save percentage this season and hasn’t won a game since Dec. 21.

He’ll be going up against Ondrej Pavelec in the Jets goal as Paul Maurice debuts as Winnipeg’s new head coach.

Bishop back for Bolts

Ben Bishop, out since Jan. 5 with a sprained wrist, will be back in the Tampa Bay lineup tonight when the Bolts take on the Blue Jackets in Columbus.

Bishop will sit as Anders Lindback gets the nod, marking Lindback’s fifth straight start. The lanky Swede has been very good in a temporary No. 1 role and stopped 35 of 38 shots in a win over Philly on Saturday.

He’ll face a tall task tonight, though, as the Jackets will start Sergei Bobrovsky. The reigning Vezina winner has been brilliant since returning from injury, going 2-0-0 with a .962 save percentage.


Flames at Hurricanes: Karri Ramo in for Calgary. No word yet on who Carolina will start.

Canucks at Kings: Jonathan Quick likely for Los Angeles. Eddie Lack starts for Canucks.

Welcome back, Babs: Red Wings chase Bernier

Mike Babcock
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Mike Babcock admitted that there might be a painful transformation as he tries to fix the Toronto Maple Leafs.

His old friends made that abundantly, painfully clear on Friday.

As of this writing, the Detroit Red Wings are up 4-0 on the Buds. Justin Abdelkader just completed a hat trick with James Reimer in net, so the subplot isn’t just about Jonathan Bernier having another tough start.

The big story might just be Detroit’s varied new line of Abdelkader, Dylan Larkin (who scored his first career goal) and Henrik Zetterberg. At the moment, they’ve combined for seven points.

This post will be updated if Detroit’s tribute video to Babcock surfaces.

Really, though, this beating has been about as ugly as this blanket so far.

Blue Jackets’ Wennberg done for night with upper-body injury

Alexander Wennberg, Jay Bouwmeester
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It wouldn’t be a regular season game without a Columbus Blue Jackets injury, right?

OK, the Blue Jackets hope that 2015-16 looks different from the medically challenged mess of last season, but at least one player is banged up tonight.

Alexander Wennberg suffered an upper-body injury and won’t return on Friday, as the team noted.

There’s no word yet regarding how serious the issue might be. It looks like he might have suffered an injury thanks to a Chris Kreider check:

Naturally, the Blue Jackets must hope that this doesn’t begin another trend.