James O'Brien

Florida Panthers goalie Al Montoya watches game action against the New Jersey Devils' during the second period of a NHL hockey game in Sunrise, Fla., Saturday, Oct. 11, 2014. (AP Photo/J Pat Carter)

Goalie nods: Montoya aims to guide Panthers to 12th win in a row


Al Montoya faces considerable pressure in attempting to keep the Florida Panthers’ winning streak alive, but he’s on a hot streak of his own.

Montoya’s currently on a four-game winning streak, only allowing a single goal in each of his past five appearances.

Roberto Luongo‘s been getting most of the reps this season, and with good reason, as the veteran netminder is on a personal-record nine-game winning streak of his own.

Montoya’s done a remarkable job of running with his chances this season, as he has a 6-1-1 record and fantastic .938 save percentage.

The Panthers hope to hit a 12th consecutive win in facing the Oilers in Edmonton tonight. Cam Talbot looks to be in the net opposite Montoya.

Elsewhere …

Sabres at Jets: Linus Ullmark vs. Connor Hellebuyck

Senators at Capitals: Andrew Hammond, with Washington’s starter unclear (Braden Holtby played on Saturday).

Avalanche at Blackhawks: Semyon Varlamov vs. Corey Crawford

Devils at Wild: Cory Schneider vs. perhaps Devan Dubnyk

Red Wings at Ducks: Petr Mrazek vs. perhaps John Gibson

Cheaper than a classified ad: Canucks announce interest in trading Higgins (Update)

Detroit Red Wings defenseman Niklas Kronwall (55) lands on Vancouver Canucks left wing Chris Higgins (20) in front of goalie Jimmy Howard (35) in the second period of an NHL hockey game Friday, Dec. 18, 2015 in Detroit. (AP Photo/Paul Sancya)

Here’s something you don’t see everyday/ever: the Vancouver Canucks generated a press release announcing their interest in trading Chris Higgins.

This is the full release, via GM Jim Benning:

“As part of our transition to a younger team, I can confirm we’re exploring trade options for Chris Higgins so we can create more roster space for our younger players to develop. Chris is a quality person who has been an important member of our team for nearly five seasons. Our focus has been on finding a positive new situation for him and we will continue to do so.”

That’s … pretty unusual.

Granted, this has been a week-or-so of trade rumors becoming unusually public (and sometimes resulting in an actual trade), so maybe this is just the next step?

Either that or the Canucks are desperate, as it might be tough to find takers on Higgins’ $2.5 million cap hit, which won’t expire until after the 2016-17 season.

Apparently he’ll be inactive while Vancouver looks for a trade, so this may very well be a way of announcing as much (as anything else):

Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman shed some more light on the Higgins situation:

Jets fans welcome Evander Kane back to Winnipeg with #TrackSuitNight

Evander Kane, Jared Cowen

We are mere hours away from Evander Kane‘s return to Winnipeg as a member of the Buffalo Sabres, and while Kane expects a hostile atmosphere, so far it’s more on the … humorous side.

Maybe such mockery is downright hostile, but either way, Jets fans seem to be having fun with #TrackSuitNight.

TSN’s Gary Lawless passed along some highlights, including these:

Kane, for his part, is playing the indifferent card.

… And that includes the subject of #TrackSuitNight.

For more fun, click here (for tracksuits) or here (for more from Kane).

Update: Literally a bumpy start for Kane.

Stars send Radek Faksa down to the AHL, again


The Dallas Stars demoted forward Radek Faksa to the AHL once again on Sunday.

There’s obviously still potential there as a 2012 first-rounder (13th overall), but Faksa hasn’t made much of an impact at the NHL level.

He’s played in four games in his most recent recall, managing an assist while averaging 8:35 time on ice per game.

It’s likely more beneficial to Faksa’s development to get more reps in the AHL, where he currently has 13 points in 19 games.

This also means that Ales Hemsky‘s likely to return to the Stars lineup soon.

Jakub Kindl clears waivers; Red Wings likely to send him to AHL

Detroit Red Wings defenseman Jakub Kindl (4) of the Czech Republic skates with the puck during the first period of an NHL preseason hockey game in Detroit, Saturday, Sept. 26, 2015.  The Bruins beat the Red Wings 4-3 in overtime.  (AP Photo/Jose Juarez)

Blame it on the price or some other factor, but Detroit Red Wings defenseman Jakub Kindl cleared waivers on Sunday, according to TSN’s Bob McKenzie.

During Saturday’s Headlines segment, Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman reported that the Red Wings would likely go all the way with demoting Kindl to the AHL.

On that price:

Now, perhaps the Red Wings could trade Kindl at some point, but apparently other teams didn’t want to take on the blueliner at that full cap hit.

It’s possible that Kyle Quincey‘s potential return (and the $4.25 million cap hit) is causing some of Detroit’s cap crunch, which necessitates this move … and maybe others?

Again, more on that here.