Goalie nods: Bobrovsky gets rare night off, Halak starts second straight for Caps


News and notes from around the crease…

McElhinney goes for Jackets

Columbus will give starting netminder Sergei Bobrovsky a rare night off on Monday, as backup Curtis McElhinney will start for the first time since Jan. 28.

McElhinney has seen game action recently, mind you — he stopped 13 of 15 shots in relief of Bobrovsky during Thursday’s 6-1 thumping against Chicago. But it’s been a while since Columbus had to rely on McElhinney consistently, like it did when Bobrovsky went down to a groin injury in late November.

As for the goalie Columbus will be facing, Tim Thomas gets his first start as a member of the Dallas Stars tonight. He’ll be taking the place of Kari Lehtonen, who is sidelined by a concussion. Thomas came on in relief of Lehtonen during Saturday’s big 4-3 win over Minnesota, stopping all six shots faced.

(For more on the Blue Jackets and their playoff chase, click here.)

Halak back in for Washington

The Caps will go back to Jaroslav Halak tonight against Pittsburgh, after he stopped 31 of 33 shots for a win in his Washington debut on Saturday against Phoenix.

Acquired from Buffalo at the deadline in exchange for Michal Neuvirth, Halak has a real opportunity to win the No. 1 job in D.C. — Neuvirth is gone (obviously), Braden Holtby has struggled at times this year and Philipp Grubauer doesn’t seem ready to shoulder a full-time load in the NHL. The Caps need wins to keep pace in the Eastern Conference playoff chase, and they could turn to Halak to get them.

For the Pens, Jeff Zatkoff gets the nod tonight.


Predators at Senators: Pekka Rinne vs. Craig Anderson

Coyotes at Lightning: Mike Smith vs. Ben Bishop

Jets at Avalanche: Al Montoya vs. Semyon Varlamov

Kings at Flames: Martin Jones vs. Joni Ortio

Isles at Canucks: Evgeni Nabokov vs. Eddie Lack

Leafs at Ducks: Jonathan Bernier vs. Frederik Andersen

Scary moment: Carlo Colaiacovo hospitalized with ‘dented trachea’

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Buffalo Sabres defenseman Carlo Colaiacovo has experienced plenty of bad injury luck in his winding career, but Saturday presented one of his worst scares.

As you can see from the video above, Colaiacovo received a scary cross-check from Viktor Arvidsson of the Nashville Predators, who received a major penalty and game misconduct.

Sabres head coach Dan Bylsma said that Colaiacovo was hospitalized with a “dented trachea” yet is OK, the Buffalo News’ John Vogl reports.

Frightening stuff from an eventual 4-1 Sabres win.

PHT will keep an eye out for additional updates regarding Colaiacovo’s health (and a possible suspension for Arvidsson).

Comeback Kings: Gaborik pulls L.A. past Kane, Blackhawks

Jake Muzzin, Scott Darling

Patrick Kane set an American scoring record, and added another assist to make it more impressive, but the Los Angeles Kings just wouldn’t be denied.

In the end, Marian Gaborik‘s big night meant more than Kane’s; he scored the tying and then overtime game-winner, both assisted by Anze Kopitar, for a rousing 4-3 overtime Kings win.

Gaborik’s first goal:

And here’s video of the OT-GWG:

Noticing a theme tonight? Yeah, it’s been an evening in which it’s dangerous to assume a lead would stand.

With that, the Kings stick to the No. 1 spot in the Pacific Division, but Chicago shouldn’t feel all bad. The Blackhawks were able to piece together a decent run during their dreaded “circus trip.”

Patrick Kane’s streak hits 19 games, setting a new American record


When it comes to point streaks for U.S.-born NHL players, Patrick Kane now stands alone.

With a power-play goal early in Saturday’s Blackhawks – Kings game, Kane extended his streak to 19 games, breaking a tie with Phil Kessel and Eddie Olczyk (who finished with at least a point in 18 straight).

As of this writing, Kane has 11 goals and 19 assists during this 19-game streak. He also leads the NHL in scoring.

Bobby Hull’s 21-game point streak stands as the Chicago Blackhawks’ overall team record, by the way.

So, how would you protect a lead against the Stars?


You know what they say: it’s easy to bash a strategy in hindsight.

Slam that NFL head coach for going for it on fourth down … or settling for the field goal. Bury that MLB manager because he kept a pitcher in too long. And so on.

“Score effects” settle in during almost any lopsided hockey game, yet the Dallas Stars present quite a conundrum: what’s the best way to put a way a team with this much firepower?

Tonight may have presented the greatest evidence that this team won’t go away easy, as it seemed like the Minnesota Wild had the best of a tired Stars team* when they built a 3-0 lead.

Instead, the Stars scored three third-period goals while Tyler Seguin capped the comeback with an overtime-winner.

It was one of those bend-and-then-break moments for Minnesota. Dallas generated a 44-26 shot advantage, including a ridiculous 35-15 edge in the final two periods.

Does that mean that Mike Yeo may have tried to play too conservatively with a healthy lead? It’s a possibility.

On the other hand, would the Wild be wiser to try to run-and-gun with one of the most dangerous offenses in the NHL?

It sure seems like a pick-your-poison situation. Which way would you lean, though?

* – To be fair to Minnesota, each team was on back-to-backs.