Darcy Kuemper

Goalie nods: Kuemper goes for Wild, Ellis makes Florida debut

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News and notes from around the crease…

Kuemper in for Minnesota

Darcy Kuemper will look to snap the Wild’s three-game losing skid on Thursday, as he gets the start against the Rangers at Xcel.

Minnesota heads into tonight’s game holding the first of two wild card spots in the Western Conference, but on the precipice of a tough stretch of games. As such, it’ll be interesting to see if Kuemper can reverse his recent fortunes — he’s allowed seven goals on his last 64 shot faced, a .890 save percentage — or if the Wild will be forced to turn to Ilya Bryzgalov, acquired at the trade deadline from Edmonton.

For the Rangers, Cam Talbot will get the nod tonight.

Ellis goes for Panthers

Dan Ellis will play his first game for Florida tonight when it takes on the Lightning in Tampa Bay.

Ellis, acquired from Dallas at the deadline, was 5-6-0 with a 3.04 GAA and .900 save percentage with the Stars before moving to the Eastern Conference. Playing him tonight puts Roberto Luongo on the bench tonight but on a collision course with ex-Canucks teammate Cory Schneider for tomorrow, as the Panthers and Devils will do battle in Florida on Friday.

For Tampa Bay, Ben Bishop will be in goal this evening.


Coyotes at Bruins: Mike Smith in for Phoenix; Chad Johnson likely for Boston.

Sabres at ‘Canes: Michal Neuvirth for Buffalo, no word yet on a Carolina starter.

Sharks at Blue Jackets: Alex Stalock vs. Sergei Bobrovsky

Oilers at Blues: Ben Scrivens vs. Ryan Miller

Leafs at Kings: No confirmations either way yet but, given the history at play, it’s highly likely Jonathan Bernier will be taking on Jonathan Quick.

Oilers get Kronwall’d – in more ways than one

Niklas Kronwall
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When someone gets clobbered by Niklas Kronwall, they get Kronwall’d.

(His detractors may insist that the definition require the words “dirty” or “illegal,” but that’s a debate for another day.)

It’s easy to get lost in those thunderous hits and forget that the  Swedish defenseman also brings some skill to the table.

He made a big impact – literally and figuratively – in Detroit’s 4-3 overtime win against the Edmonton Oilers on Friday.

First, the Kronwalling:

Next, Kronwall’s overtime-winner:

It hasn’t always been pretty, but the Red Wings are leaning on guys like Kronwall and Dylan Larkin to stick with it.

Tonight’s win extends their point streak to six games (4-0-2), with five of those contests going to overtime.

Dubinsky – Crosby’s nemesis – gets the last laugh on Friday

Sidney Crosby, Brandon Dubinsky

Brandon Dubinsky isn’t a household name like Sidney Crosby is, yet for all the hype that Crosby vs. Alex Ovechkin gets, Dubinsky is the sort of guy who truly rankles No. 87.

It’s been getting that spotlight since the Columbus Blue Jackets faced off against the Pittsburgh Penguins in a brisk playoff series, though it wouldn’t be surprising if the bad blood stemmed to Dubinsky’s days with New York.

To some, Dubinsky’s cross-check on Crosby will resonate far more than the end result of this game:

The bottom line is that he’ll get the last laugh, at least for now. (In-game, that moment merely drew a minor penalty.)

That’s because Dubinsky set up the overtime game-winner, and the cherry on the top of that spite sundae came with Crosby being on the ice when it happened:

They’re not just rubbing the Penguins the wrong way.

Even Dubinsky kind of sort of admits that he may have been in the wrong.


More and more, the Blue Jackets are looking like a nuisance … possibly one that will grind their way to an unlikely playoff berth. They improved to 8-4-0 in November after a disastrous 2-10-0 October.

In other words, there’s at least a chance that we may see these increasingly bitter rivals butt heads in another playoff series.

Eichel’s sweet snipe helps Sabres snap six-game skid

Jack Eichel
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The Buffalo Sabres probably deserved better during at least some chunks of their six-game skid, yet Jack Eichel swooped in on Friday to remind fans that there’s a light shining at the end of the tunnel.

You can watch his goal from tonight’s eventual 4-1 win against the Carolina Hurricanes in the video above.

That’s not necessarily the absolute height of his on-ice magic, yet it clearly gave his team a lift:

Call this a healthy reminder that Eichel has the ability to change games, something Buffalo fans hope to get used to.

Report: Likely no suspension for Matt Beleskey’s hit on Derek Stepan


Alain Vigneault went there in comparing Matt Beleskey‘s hit on Derek Stepan to the notorious check Aaron Rome delivered on Nathan Horton many moons ago, but the league seems to disagree.

While Rome sat through that memorable Stanley Cup Final between Boston and Vancouver, it sounds like Beleskey won’t face any further discipline, according to ESPN’s Pierre LeBrun.

In the unlikely event that anything changes, PHT will make note.

The next game between the Rangers and Bruins takes place at Madison Square Garden on Jan. 11. Will these bad feelings linger?