Cam Tucker

COLUMBUS, OH - DECEMBER 20:  Sergei Bobrovsky #72 of the Columbus Blue Jackets warms up prior to the start of the game against the Los Angeles Kings on December 20, 2016 at Nationwide Arena in Columbus, Ohio. (Photo by Kirk Irwin/Getty Images)
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Goalie nods: Bobrovsky starts for Blue Jackets, as they search for 15th straight win

The Columbus Blue Jackets on Saturday look for their 15th straight win (!!) and they will turn to their No. 1 goalie to help keep the streak alive.

While the Blue Jackets have been on a remarkable run, so, too, have the Wild, winners of 12 in a row, and tonight’s game is historical given their winning streaks.

The news shouldn’t come as a surprise given the stakes and the opponent, but Sergei Bobrovsky starts in goal for the Blue Jackets, per Tom Reed of the Columbus Dispatch.

Bobrovsky leads all goalies so far with 23 wins, and his solid .934 save percentage is tied for second with Jimmy Howard (among goalies with 10-plus games played). Only Devan Dubnyk of the Wild has been better in this category — and tonight’s game is shaping up to be a showdown of two goalies in the early conversation for the Vezina Trophy.

Per NHL.com, Dubnyk is expected to start for Minnesota.

Elsewhere…

— It looks like Marc-Andre Fleury will start in net for the Penguins when they host the Montreal Canadiens. Moved to the back-up spot with the rise of Matt Murray during the 2016 playoffs, Fleury now has a chance to string together some starts with Murray currently week-to-week with a lower-body injury.

— The Tampa Bay Lightning will look to close the gap in the Eastern Conference Wild Card race, and it appears they’ll turn to Andrei Vasilevskiy tonight against the Carolina Hurricanes. The Bolts are currently four points back of the Flyers for the final Wild Card spot.

— Playing against their California rivals from L.A., the San Jose Sharks are expected to start Martin Jones, after he was given the night off Friday, per CSN Bay Area. With Jones on the bench Friday, Aaron Dell recorded the shut out, but facing the Kings on New Year’s Eve, it looks like the Sharks will turn to their undisputed No. 1 netminder.

Bruins’ Marchand replies to Twitter user’s homophobic slur

OTTAWA, ON - MARCH 10: Brad Marchand #63 of the Boston Bruins prepares for a faceoff against the Ottawa Senators at Canadian Tire Centre on March 10, 2015 in Ottawa, Ontario, Canada.  (Photo by Jana Chytilova/Freestyle Photography/Getty Images)
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BOSTON (AP) Bruins winger Brad Marchand is standing up to a Twitter user who attacked him with a homophobic slur.

Marchand says the slur happened two days ago and he thought it important to go public and reply directly to the person who wrote it. The player says this struck home because he has a “few friends that are in same-sex relationships.”

In speaking to the media about this before Saturday’s home game against the Buffalo Sabres, Marchand said: “Nowadays it’s not right to go after people that way, so I figured I’d get it out there.”

Marchand says the person who used the slur also directed it at a teammate.

The Boston forward says he replied to the Twitter user, writing: “This derogatory statement is offensive to so many people around the world.”

Win some, lose some: Despite injuries, Bolts rally to defeat Habs in OT

TAMPA, FL - DECEMBER 28:  Tyler Johnson #9 of the Tampa Bay Lightning celebratesl with Jason Garrison #5 and Ondrej Palat #18 after his overtime goal against the Montreal Canadiens during the third period at Amalie Arena on December 28, 2016 in Tampa, Florida. (Photo by Mike Carlson/Getty Images)
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A two-goal deficit, facing Carey Price? No problem, apparently, for the Tampa Bay Lightning on Wednesday.

The Bolts rallied from a 3-1 deficit to force overtime with a pair of third-period goals before getting the overtime winner from Tyler Johnson, as he snapped a shot over the shoulder of Price, who earlier in the game had made a save-of-the-year candidate by robbing Ondrej Palat.

But, for the Bolts, the win came at a price.

Both Vladislav Namestnikov and Brayden Point were unable to finish the game, however, head coach Jon Cooper didn’t have updates afterward, per Joe Smith of the Tampa Bay Times.

Namestnikov was on the receiving end of a thunderous hit into the boards from Habs defenseman Shea Weber just before the midway point of the third period.

The Bolts also began the game without Valtteri Filppula, who reportedly missed a morning meeting and was subsequently benched.

“In the end, Val is an unreal pro. He made a mistake,” said Cooper.

Video: Fabbri hat trick leads Blues over Flyers

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The St. Louis Blues began a six-game home stand, which includes the Winter Classic next Monday, in style.

Facing the Philadelphia Flyers on Wednesday, the Blues recorded a 6-3 victory thanks to Robby Fabbri‘s first career hat trick, which included a terrific individual effort in the third period to give St. Louis some insurance and ultimately secure the win.

It wasn’t that long ago the sophomore forward was a healthy scratch, with Blues coach Ken Hitchcock calling on Fabbri to be more tenacious during his early-season struggles.

At the time, Fabbri had one goal and three assists in 14 games. That drought seems to be behind him. He’s now up to 11 goals and 23 points in 35 games following his performance versus the Flyers.

For Philly, that’s a particularly difficult way to come back from the holiday break.

The Flyers took a 3-2 lead early in the third period on a goal from Brayden Schenn. But then the Blues broke out for four goals — one of those being into an empty net — on five shots in the final 20 minutes.

Steve Mason takes the loss in net for Philly.

Video: Barkov hurt in Panthers shootout loss to Maple Leafs

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The youthful talent the Toronto Maple Leafs and Florida Panthers both possess was on display Wednesday.

Auston Matthews scored — again. The rookie forward is up to 17 goals on the year. William Nylander also scored for Toronto, while Vincent Trocheck, 23, and Jonathan Marchessault, 26, scored for Florida.

Unfortunately, though, for the Panthers, one of their top young players, Aleksander Barkov, was forced to leave the game early in the second period with an apparent injury.

Replays show Barkov was hit up high with the puck following an offensive zone faceoff. He finished his shift, which resulted in a scoring chance at the side of the net, but he was clearly in pain after the whistle went.

The Panthers forced overtime with a pair of third-period goals but lost 3-2 in the shootout, with Mitch Marner scoring the lone goal in the deciding breakaway contest.

There was no update on Barkov from coach Tom Rowe following the game.

“Losing him is like losing (Sidney) Crosby in Pittsburgh,” said Trocheck after the game.

Indeed, it would be a huge loss for the Panthers if Barkov is forced to miss time. He has nine goals and 27 points in 35 games, but is charging along with a 57.5 per cent Corsi For rating at five-on-five this season.