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.
— 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
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
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.
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.