Minnesota Wild v Vancouver Canucks

Goalie nods: Wild go back to Kuemper, Zatkoff in for Pens


News and notes from around the crease…

Kuemper gets another shot

One night after getting yanked in a loss to Vancouver, Darcy Kuemper will be back in goal for the Wild.

Kuemper will start tonight against St. Louis, looking to rebound for a poor effort in which he allowed three goals on 12 shots against the Canucks before getting pulled in favor of Ilya Bryzgalov.

The 23-year-old Kuemper has been good this year, posting a 12-7-4 record with a .919 save percentage and 2.32 GAA. That said, the pressure will only increase from here on in and it’ll be interesting to see how he responds, especially against the NHL’s top team tonight.

For the Blues, Ryan Miller will get the start in goal.

Pens turn to Zatkoff

It looks to be a battle of the backups tonight in Pittsburgh when the Pens host the Kings.

Jeff Zatkoff is already confirmed as Pittsburgh’s starter tonight — he’ll face the organization that drafted him in 2006 — and it looks as though L.A. will go with Martin Jones.

Zatkoff will play for the first time since stopping 21 shots in a 4-3 OT win over Tampa Bay. Jones hasn’t played since Mar. 15, when he allowed two goals on 20 shots in a loss to the Ducks.


Blackhawks at Bruins: Corey Crawford vs. Tuukka Rask

Coyotes at Devils: Thomas Greiss vs. Martin Brodeur

Habs at Red Wings: Carey Price vs. Jimmy Howard

‘Canes at Panthers: Anton Khudobin vs. Roberto Luongo

Isles at Lightning: Evgeni Nabokov vs. Ben Bishop

Sabres at Preds: Matthew Hackett vs. Carter Hutton

Canucks at Avs: Semyon Varlamov for Colorado; Eddie Lack likely for Vancouver.

Jets at Sharks: Al Montoya vs. Antti Niemi

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?