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Goalie nods: ‘He’s our guy, you’ve got to stick with him’ — Blues go back to Allen after rough outing

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Yesterday, while examining St. Louis’ goaltending situation, Brough wondered if Carter Hutton might be in line for tonight’s start against the Devils, after Jake Allen was hooked in Tuesday’s 6-3 loss to Nashville.

Nope. Not happening.

“[Allen’s] our guy, you’ve got to stick with him,” head coach Ken Hitchcock said today, per the News-Democrat. “These are the adversity and growing pains you go through as a young starting goalie. You’ve got to learn to fight through this stuff, you’ve got to learn to battle through this stuff.”

Allen’s had a strange year. He sits among the league leaders in wins, with 14, but his .906 save percentage is low for a workhorse ‘tender on a good team. The league average is .914.

Allen’s also in a unique situation. For the duration of his time in St. Louis, there’s always been one other goalie (or, on occasion, two) vying for the No. 1 job. It meant Hitchcock never had to anoint a starter, or publicly declare who “his guy” was. But that’s all changed. Allen’s the man, and Hutton is there to serve as his backup. And even if there was an opportunity to steal Allen’s job, Hutton hasn’t capitalized on it — he’s gone 2-4-1 with an .889 save percentage this year.

So that’s the situation in St. Louis. For the Devils, Cory Schneider is in goal.

Elsewhere…

— Looks like Jonathan Bernier gets the start as Anaheim takes on the Bruins in Boston. No word yet on a B’s starter, but Tuukka Rask did play in last night’s 4-3 OT loss to the Pens.

— The red-hot Scott Darling is in for Chicago, as the ‘Hawks visit Brooklyn. Thomas Greiss, riding a personal three-game winning streak, gets the call for the Isles.

— It’s Mike Smith versus Frederik Andersen as the Coyotes take on the Leafs in Toronto.

Jeff Zatkoff, who came on in relief of Peter Budaj in Tuesday’s loss to Buffalo, appears to be going for the Kings. He’ll be up against Jimmy Howard, who had a tough loss against the Coyotes (four goals on 19 shots) last time out.

— No surprises from the Wild, as Devan Dubnyk starts yet again. Nashville has yet to confirm a starter.

— After allowing five goals, getting yanked and smashing his stick in frustration on Tuesday night in Minnesota, Roberto Luongo goes for the Panthers in Winnipeg. He’ll square off against Connor Hellebuyck.

Antti Raanta‘s run of four straight starts is over, as Henrik Lundqvist gets the call for New York in Dallas. The Stars are going with Antti Niemi.

Ducks take control of second in Pacific after edging Oilers

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Connor McDavid was fantastic on Wednesday, but the Anaheim Ducks overcame his strong showing for a significant win in the Pacific.

McDavid scored a goal and two assists, yet Ryan Getzlaf was right there with him with three assists, helping the Ducks win 4-3.

With that, Anaheim is clearly ahead of Edmonton for second in the Pacific. The Ducks would hold home-ice over the Oilers if the playoffs began today, and better yet for them, a division title isn’t out of the question:

1. Sharks – 91 points in 73 games played
2. Ducks – 89 points in 73 GP
3. Oilers – 87 points in 73 GP
4. Flames – 86 points in 73 GP

As you can see, the Oilers aren’t exactly far ahead of the Flames for third, either.

Going forward, the Oilers have an interesting schedule: a mix of games against cellar dwellers (two apiece against the Canucks and Avalanche) plus two games apiece versus the Kings and Sharks.

The Ducks’ schedule includes two matches against the Flames, one against the Kings and one more match at Edmonton on April 1.

Long story short, the jockeying for position is far from over, but this was a pretty significant win for the Ducks.

Video: Connor McDavid shows off speed and skill (again)

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Connor McDavid‘s 26th goal of 2016-17 was a lot like many others: an impressive display of skill and speed. He didn’t blaze past the Anaheim Ducks like has against opponents on other occasions, but his rare wheels still came in handy.

Maybe more than sheer speed, this tally is a reminder that McDavid could do impressive things while losing little or no momentum. It’s one thing to have straight-line speed, but he has the hands and hockey IQ to take advantage of his swift skating.

McDavid already has two points in this one, pushing him to 84 points. He also extended his point streak to five games (three goals, six assists if he stays at one of each on Wednesday).

Islanders grab precious points by beating Rangers

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The goal posts might move from time to time – now they’re chasing the Boston Bruins more than the Toronto Maple Leafs – but the bottom line is that the New York Islanders need to get it done to make the playoffs.

They still have some climbing to do, but Wednesday represented a step in the right direction with a tough 3-2 win against the New York Rangers.

The Rangers built 1-0 and 2-1 leads in the second period as John Tavares struggled with a “hat trick” of penalties, but Tavares & Co. wouldn’t give up. They managed two power-play goals in the third (one by Nikolay Kulemin, the winner by Andrew Ladd) to turn things around for a significant win.

Anders Lee was also a big part of the win, grabbing a goal and an assist. The biggest difference-maker may very well have been Thomas Greiss, who stopped 34 of 36 shots (including all 11 in the third) as the Rangers created a lot of offense.

The Islanders now have 80 standings points, placing them two behind the Bruins for the East’s final wild card spot.

The Rangers’ hold over the first wild card seems quite secure, but they do have to worry ever so slightly about their play at home. With this defeat, they’ve now lost seven straight (0-5-2) at Madison Square Garden.

Video: Rick Nash scores 20th goal in sprawling style

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Rick Nash has his critics stemming from his playoff struggles in the past, but for those who support him, moments like these are satisfying.

Why? Because you’d be absurd to discredit how hard he tries when Nash scores goals like he did for the New York Rangers against the New York Islanders on Wednesday.

Nash went all-out for his 20th goal of the season, sprawling after scoring against Thomas Greiss. It’s quite a sight, and Getty Images really was on top of that one.

via Getty Images

The Rangers may need more from him tonight, however, as the Islanders just went up 3-2. Watch the remainder of the contest on NBCSN.