Goalie nods: Bobrovsky vs. Mason, Miller won’t face Sabres

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News and notes from around the crease…

Bob and Steve

Some compelling storylines tonight in Philadelphia as two young goalies will face their former teams — ex-Flyer Sergei Bobrovsky gets the start for Columbus, while ex-Jacket Steve Mason goes for Philly.

Bobrovsky has been good lately, even though his record doesn’t show it. The Russian ‘tender has only allowed seven goals on his last 91 shots (.923 save percentage) but last lost all three of his last starts, including a 3-2 OT decision to Colorado on Tuesday.

Mason also lost his last start in a shootout — 4-3, to the Bruins — but played very well throughout the month of March, going 8-2-2 with a 2.48 GAA and .917 save percentage.

No Miller for Blues

Ryan Miller won’t get a chance to face his former Buffalo mates on Thursday, as the Blues will go with Brian Elliott tonight at Scottrade.

“It’s fine,” Miller said, per “There will be a lot of time to worry about that later. This year it’s pretty fresh leaving that situation, so maybe it’s just a full break, get [Elliott] in there.

“Hopefully I get to see some of the boys for dinner or see them around the rink, catch up and see how they’re doing.”

Elliott hasn’t played much since the Blues acquired Miller, but has been good in the limited chances he’s received. The veteran is 2-0-0 with a .088 GAA and .964 save percentage since Miller came aboard, and has a good shot at bettering those numbers against Buffalo’s anemic offense.


Stars at ‘Canes: Kari Lehtonen vs. Anton Khudobin

Bruins at Leafs: Jonathan Bernier for Toronto; no word yet on Boston’s starter.

Flames at Bolts: Karri Ramo vs. Ben Bishop

Wild at Blackhawks: Ilya Bryzgalov vs. Corey Crawford

Pens at Jets: Marc-Andre Fleury vs. Ondrej Pavelec

Rangers at Avs: Semyon Varlamov for Colorado; no word yet on a Rangers starter.

Kings at Sharks: Antti Niemi for San Jose, Jonathan Quick likely for L.A.


Panarin impresses ‘Hawks with his preseason debut

Artemi Panarin
AP Photo

Will Artem Panarin‘s overwhelming success in the KHL translate to North America? The 23-year-old forward has a lot to prove, but his first big test was a success.

Playing on a line with Patrick Kane and Artem Anisimov, Panarin made his preseason debut in Chicago’s finale on Saturday. He registered two assists while giving his teammates reason to be optimistic about him.

“For not being on the ice he looks really relaxed. He’s great with the puck, has nice moves and I think we’ll see a lot of this,” Marian Hossa told CSN Chicago. “He has unbelievable skill. People here in Chicago are going to have a good time watching this guy dangling.”

Blackhawks coach Joel Quenneville was impressed by Panarin as well and liked that line as a whole.

The fact that the trio seemed to hit it off quickly has to come as a relief after an upper-body injury prevented Panarin from getting the most out of this year’s training camp. At the end of the day though, the fact that he was able to at least get in one preseason contest is a big silver lining. How smoothly his adjustment goes from here is still a big X-factor, but at least now he’s going into the regular season with a better idea of what to expect.

Panarin is attempting to establish himself in the NHL after leading the KHL’s SKA St. Petersburg to a championship last year. He was the team’s scoring leader, topping ex-NHL star Ilya Kovalchuk.

Gustavsson secures one-year contract with Bruins

Jonas Gustavsson
AP Photo
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There was stiff competition for the backup goaltending job in Boston, but with a signing this afternoon, it seems likely that the matter has been resolved.

The Boston Bruins announced that Jonas Gustavsson has agreed to a one-year, $700,000 deal. It’s a one-way contract, according to the Boston Globe’s Amalie Benjamin.

That contract is still small enough that the Bruins could bury it in the minors if they so desire, but it does set him apart from his last competitor for the goalie position, Jeremy Smith, who has a two-way deal. The fact that Boston went this route seems to imply that Gustavsson will serve as Tuukka Rask‘s understudy, although both netminders attended Sunday’s practice.

In Smith, the Bruins would be getting a 26-year-old goaltender who was dominant with the AHL’s Providence Bruins last season, but has no NHL experience. By contrast Gustavsson, 30, has played in almost 150 NHL games.

Boston sent Zane McIntyre and Malcolm Subban to the minors last week, but an argument could be made that either one of them is worthy of the backup job. However, both of them have a lot of potential and it’s not surprising that the Bruins felt they were better served by staying in the minors where they can play regularly and focus on honing their game.