<span class="vcard">Jason Brough</span>

Dustin Tokarski, Matt Duchene

Goalie nods: It’s backup night in the NHL

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Of the seven games tonight in the NHL, only one will feature two number-one goalies in starting roles.

Craig Anderson and Ben Bishop will face each other when the Senators and Lightning meet in Tampa Bay.

That’s the one game.


— Dustin Tokarski (in his first start of the season) for the Canadiens in Detroit, versus Petr Mrazek for the Red Wings.

— Philipp Grubauer for the Capitals in Florida, versus Al Montoya for the Panthers.

Michal Neuvirth for the Flyers in St. Louis, versus Brian Elliott for the Blues.

Scott Darling for the Blackhawks in Nashville, with Pekka Rinne likely for the Preds.

— Curtis McElhinney for the Blue Jackets in Winnipeg, versus Connor Hellebuyck for the Jets.

Chad Johnson for the Sabres in Calgary, versus Karri Ramo for the Flames.

I guess, technically, Johnson and Ramo could be classified as number ones, in that they lead their respective teams in starts this season. But you know what I mean. (No offense, Chad and Karri.)

After ‘very discouraging’ road trip, things are not looking so good for the Coyotes


Suffice to say, the Arizona Coyotes did not enjoy their five-game road trip through Nashville, Detroit, Buffalo, Carolina, and St. Louis.

In fact, they lost all five games.

In regulation.

By a combined score of 24-10.

But at least nobody got hit by a bus.

“It’s very discouraging going 0-5 on a road trip,” defenseman Michael Stone told the Arizona Republic. “I think that’s how everybody feels right now.”

After a surprisingly good start to the season, the Coyotes’ record has since fallen below .500 to 13-14-1. The goaltending has been poor. The skaters, both young and old, have been making way too many mistakes.

Basically, a lot of the stuff people expected from this team has started to occur.

That’s the bad news.

Here’s some good.

The Calgary Flames did exactly the same thing last year. They got off to a surprisingly good start, then lost eight in a row in December, leaving most people to think, Well, that was nice, but it’s over now. 

The Flames, of course, ended up making the playoffs, and even won a round.

For the record, that’s not what I’m predicting for the Coyotes. I think they’re far more likely to be in the Auston Matthews lottery, which is probably for the best anyway. Just imagine what a homegrown superstar could do for that franchise. Matthews grew up in Scottsdale. The Coyotes might be moving to Scottsdale, or at least close by.

Still, as badly as that road trip went, the Coyotes have only fallen two points out of a playoff spot. In the Pacific Division, a mere six points separate second from last. The Anaheim Ducks may believe they’re too good to miss out on the postseason, but hey, that’s what people said all last year about the Kings.

The Coyotes play their next six games at home, starting Friday versus Minnesota. They’ll need to bounce back sooner or later, but they’re not dead yet.

Daley: ‘I don’t think I’ve ever been that scared before’

In a fast and physical sport like hockey, lives can be altered in an instant. One play goes wrong and everything changes. Not just career-wise, life-wise. 

So you can imagine what Blackhawks defenseman Trevor Daley was thinking Sunday after falling forward and colliding with Winnipeg’s Chris Thorburn. Daley appeared to be badly injured, unable to get up. They even brought out a stretcher.

“It wasn’t a good thought,” Daley told the Chicago Sun-Times today. “I was pretty scared. I don’t think I’ve ever been that scared before.”

Fortunately, he wasn’t seriously hurt. He missed Tuesday’s game against the Preds, but he was able to skate today in Nashville. He could be back in the Blackhawks’ lineup shortly.

But you can bet he’ll remember Sunday for the rest of his life, thankful that things weren’t as bad as they looked, and felt.

“Every case is different. You never know,” coach Joel Quenneville told CSN Chicago. “You always hope for the best immediately. Sometimes it’s longer term but you get a pretty good idea right at the moment. This one … we were fortunate the way things all played out.”

Hudon to make NHL debut for Habs

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Another game, another NHL debut for a Montreal Canadiens forward.

This time, it’s Charles Hudon’s turn. He’s expected to play tonight in Detroit. The 21-year-old forward has 10 goals and 10 assists in 24 games this season for AHL St. John’s. He was a fifth-round pick of the Habs in 2012.

More from blog Habs Eyes On The Prize:

Hudon has been tearing up the AHL thus far in his professional career, and is considered one of Montreal’s top prospects. In his rookie campaign last season with the Hamilton Bulldogs, Hudon made the AHL All-Rookie Team and represented his team at the All-Star game. He was also second in the league for rookie scoring with 57 points (19 goals, 38 assists) in 75 games. This season he’s looking at surpassing those stats, putting up 20 points (10 goals, 10 assists) in 24 games, good enough for 12th in league scoring.

Daniel Carr and George “Bud” Holloway have also made their NHL debuts this season for Montreal (see their stories here and here, respectively).

Just ‘part of the learning process’ — Vasilevskiy sent back to AHL

Andrei Vasilevskiy

Andrei Vasilevskiy is headed back to the AHL for some additional seasoning.

The Lightning announced this morning that the highly touted 21-year-old goalie had been assigned to the Syracuse Crunch.

Vasilevskiy is 2-4-0 with a .910 save percentage this season. He hasn’t played a full game since Nov. 27. He was yanked in Sunday’s loss to the Kings, after allowing two goals on 10 shots.

“Not too many (goalies) jumped right in and grabbed the net and stayed in the net,” coach Jon Cooper said, per Joe Smith of the Tampa Bay Times.

“This is part of the learning process.”

Kristers Gudlevskis has been recalled to serve as Ben Bishop‘s backup.