Author: James O'Brien


Howard leaves Red Wings game with lower-body injury

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Detroit Red Wings goalie Jimmy Howard left Friday’s game against the New York Islanders with a lower-body injury for precautionary reasons.

That wording softly implies that this might not be a major issue, but who knows. Howard didn’t look too spry on the only goal he allowed tonight (a tally by Brock Nelson):

Howard, 30, came into Friday with a 13-5-7 record and .922 save percentage on the season.

Bryzgalov gets first Ducks start since 2007

Toronto Maple Leafs beat the Anaheim Ducks 6-2

Considering Frederik Andersen’s iron man streak, it’s been an even longer time coming, but Ilya Bryzgalov is finally getting the first start of his second tour with the Anaheim Ducks tonight.

By facing the Ottawa Senators tonight, Bryzgalov starts for the Ducks for the first time since Nov. 7, 2007; the team points out that 2,599 days have passed since that last happened. Perhaps such a gap in time explains the horrible/awesome/horrible-awesome pun the team’s Twitter feed trotted out to mark the occasion.

If any team has a reason to see the upside of the 34-year-old, it would probably be the Ducks (or maybe the Arizona Coyotes).

Bryzgalov showed some promise despite sparse work (70 regular season games played) during five seasons with Anaheim in his previous stay, as the Russian goalie played especially well in two playoff spurts (.944 save percentage in 11 playoff games in 2006 and a .922 mark in five games played during the 2007 championship year).

Bryzgalov already made one appearance for Anaheim this season, as he allowed two goals on seven shots in about 15 minutes of relief work against the Toronto Maple Leafs on Dec. 16.

Stomach flu makes Lightning’s Johnson a surprise scratch

Carolina Hurricanes v Tampa Bay Lightning
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The Tampa Bay Lightning must face the New Jersey Devils without their under-the-radar star Tyler Johnson tonight, as he’s a late scratch thanks to a stomach flu,’s Dan Rosen reports.

He might not be the household name that Steven Stamkos is, yet Johnson hasn’t been that far behind his elite teammate from a scoring perspective in 2014-15. Johnson has 33 points in 33 games so far, just two points shy of Stamkos, who is currently tied for fifth overall in NHL scoring.

Johnson, 24, had played in 115 consecutive games heading into Friday, so it must be a pretty rough belly bug. It’s weird to be optimistic when someone’s dealing with a stomach flu, yet considering what’s beguiled the NHL, here’s hoping it’s just that and not the latest in a disturbingly long line of mumps sufferers.

(At this point that’s a default concern, even if some cases seem more likely than others.)

Here’s how the Tampa Bay Times’ Joe Smith expects the team’s lines to look like without Johnson in the mix:

This comes right as the Lightning looked a little healthier heading into this game against the Devils, as Radko Gudas and Ondrej Palat (another underrated gem among Lightning forwards) seem primed to return from their injury issues.