Goalie Nods: Ben Bishop expected to start for Kings against Canucks

When the Los Angeles Kings acquired Ben Bishop from the Tampa Bay Lightning they said they wanted a situation where they could have a No. 1 goaltender in their net every single night, whether it be him or Jonathan Quick. After Quick backstopped the Kings to a come-from-behind shootout win against the Toronto Maple Leafs on Thursday, thanks to a stunning behind-the-back save in the shootout, it will be Bishop’s turn to take his place in the crease on Saturday against the Vancouver Canucks.

Bishop stopped 28 out of 30 shots in his debut with the Kings this past week and has been on a bit of a roll in recent weeks after a tough start to the season.

Going back to his time with Tampa Bay just before the trade, Bishop has allowed just seven goals in his past six starts, and never more than two during that stretch. He has a .949 save percentage in those games.

The Kings enter the game with points in four consecutive games and own a one-point lead over the St. Louis Blues for the second wild card spot in the Western Conference.

The Canucks will go with Ryan Miller as he looks to snap a personal four-game losing streak.

Elsewhere on Saturday…

— The Colorado Avalanche and Winnipeg Jets did not announce their starters for Saturday’s game.

Craig Anderson is in net for the Ottawa Senators when they host the Columbus Blue Jackets. No word yet from the Blue Jackets for their starter but look for Sergei Bobrovsky.

— With Roberto Luongo sidelined James Reimer goes for the Florida Panthers when they host the Dallas Stars. Reimer has been playing great in recent weeks and looks to keep it going against Kari Lehtonen.

— The Lightning look to bounce back from a 5-2 loss in Pittsburgh on Friday and will be going with Andrei Vasilevskiy against the Buffalo Sabres. The Sabres are starting Robin Lehner.

— No word from the Rangers and Canadiens but it would be a stunner if Carey Price and Henrik Lundqvist were not between the pipes for their respective teams.

Anton Khudobin goes for just his fourth win of the season when the Boston Bruins turn to him against Cory Schneider and the New Jersey Devils.

— After stopping 39 out of 40 shots on Thursday Steve Mason is back in net for the Philadelphia Flyers on Saturday when they visit the Washington Capitals. It will of course be Braden Holtby in net for the NHL leading Capitals.

— Jusse Saros starts for the Nashville Predators when they host the Chicago Blackhawks. No word yet from the Blackhawks on who gets the call. Corey Crawford started on Friday and with Scott Darling sidelined he might get both ends of the back-to-back.

Petr Mrazek is in for the Detroit Red Wings when they visit the Edmonton Oilers, who will naturally be going back to Cam Talbot for his league-leading 58th start of the season. This is already a new career high for him in terms of appearances.

The Buzzer: Night of the goalies

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Players of the Night:

Andrei Vasilevskiy, Tampa Bay Lightning: The Lightning needed Vasilevskiy to play like the NHL All-Star that he is and that’s exactly what he gave them, stopping 40 shots to help the Lightning to a 2-0 win over the Chicago Blackhawks. The win was important for Tampa, who regained the top spot in the NHL standings and ended a three-game slide in the process. Vasilevskiy’s league-leading seventh shutout of the season ties a franchise record.

Petr Mrazek, Detroit Red Wings: Mrazek fielded 37 shots from the New Jersey Devils on Monday night and handled each and every one of them for his second shutout in as many starts.

Nick Cousins, Arizona Coyotes: Cousins got the ball rolling for the Desert Dogs in the first period, giving them a 1-0 lead. After the Islanders tied the game in the third, Cousins put the final stamp on the game with a goal 2:21 into overtime to give Arizona their second straight win.

Comeback of the Night:

Jason Zucker, Minnesota Wild: Zucker got drilled in the head with a slap shot in the first period and had to be helped off the ice. Miraculously, Zucker returned a short time later and went on to score the game-winning goal at the 4:59 mark of the third period, breaking a 1-1 tie in the Wild’s 3-1 win against the Ottawa Senators.

Highlights of the Night:

Granlund and Dumba:

Mrazek made plenty of saves on Monday and perhaps none better than this one (Brian Boyle‘s reaction is priceless):

Ottawa Senators fans will like this, even if the end result wasn’t great:

Auston Matthews had the celebration of the night:

Factoids of the Night:


Avalanche 4, Maple Leafs 2

Red Wings 3, Devils 0

Wild 3, Senators 1

Lightning 2, Blackhawks 0

Sabres 2, Flames 1 (OT)

Coyotes 3, Islanders 2 (OT)

Scott Billeck is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line at or follow him on Twitter @scottbilleck

Lightning end three-game skid with 2-0 win over Blackhawks

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Jon Cooper called declared that his team was “out of sync” prior to Monday night’s game in Chicago.

It’s three words that haven’t been used at all this season to describe the Tampa Bay Lightning who, up until Sunday, was known as the best team in the NHL.

The Lightning came into Monday night nursing a three-game losing streak, another foreign concept for a team saw four of its players elected to the NHL’s All-Star Game this coming weekend.

But just as quickly as they dropped out of the top spot in the NHL — the Vegas Golden Knights assumed that throne for 24 hours after a win on Sunday night — the Lightning snatched it back in a 2-0 triumph over the Chicago Blackhawks in the Windy City on Monday.

For a team that perhaps forgot how to play with one another, they looked comfortable in each other’s company against the Blackhawks.

The game was tight for the most part, and it took the Blackhawks being caught napping shorthanded to break a 0-0 deadlock late in the second period as Chris Kunitz took advantage of a defensive mishap. 

Jake Dotchin’s wrister sailed wide, but Kunitz was allowed to waltz behind the net, pick up the loose puck and put it behind Jeff Glass, nearly untouched through the whole process.

The NHL’s top goalie once again lived up to the distinction as Andrei Vasilevskiy turned aside all 40 shots that came his way.

The Blackhawks put up 10 or more shots in each of the game’s three periods, including 17 in the second frame. But the All-Star netminder played and exceptional game, including stopping 10 out of 10 on the power play to keep Chicago 0-for-6 on the power play.

Yanni Gourde sealed the game late in the third with a blast to make it 2-0.

It’s a win Tampa needed, especially after finding out they’ll miss forward Ondrej Palat indefinitely.

The struggles continued for the Blackhawks, meanwhile.

Chicago has now been shutout twice in their past three games and is on a three-game skid with a 4-5-1 record in their past 10.

The Lightning could afford their losing streak. They’ve earned an opportunity to slide a little bit.

For the Blackhawks, another loss means another chance missed trying to survive in a deeply competitive Central Division.

The Blackhawks are hanging by a thread and time is running out quickly.

Scott Billeck is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line at or follow him on Twitter @scottbilleck

The Colorado Avalanche’s win streak hits double digits

Associated Press

The streak is now in double digits.

The Colorado Avalanche won their 10th straight game on Monday night, taking down the Toronto Maple Leafs 4-2.

Yes, that’s 10 wins by the team that ended last season with an NHL-worst 48 points.

Hockey is wonderful, isn’t it?

The Avalanche have been pretty darn good during that streak, outscoring opponents 41-16 during that span. Scoring four goals per game on average will win you more than it won’t.

And the Avs have had success on the back end. Jonathan Bernier has been completely lights out during the streak. He is on a streak of his own with nine straight wins, becoming the third netminder in franchise history to win nine in a row after Stephane Fiset (9) and Patrick Roy (11).

Colorado’s streak is also an NHL-best this season and it’s the second longest streak in Avs history (they won 12 straight during the 1998-99 season).

The Avs are sitting on 57 points, good for the second wildcard spot in the Western Conference.

Scott Billeck is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line at or follow him on Twitter @scottbilleck

Jason Zucker takes a puck to the head (video)

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How in the world did he get up?

Too many players have been getting drilled in the head lately by slap shots. It’s an ugly site to behold whenever it happens

Somehow, however, Jason Zucker of the Minnesota Wild was able to pop right back up and head directly to the dressing room. No passing GO on this one.

The puck hit him so squarely in the helmet that it ricocheted back toward the Thomas Chabot, who uncorked the shot in the first place.

Even more insane is that Zucker was able to return to the game.

Talk about hard-headed.