Mike Halford

New Jersey Devils goalie Cory Schneider reacts after allowing a goal in the second period of an NHL hockey game against the New York Islanders in New York, Sunday, Dec. 13, 2015. (AP Photo/Kathy Willens)
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Goalie nods: Schneider looks to rebound from stick-smashing loss

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Cory Schneider‘s last outing was arguably his most frustrating of the year.

In Tuesday’s 6-3 loss to the Flyers, Schneider allowed five goals for the first time this season and took out his frustrations on his goalie stick, right after Philly scored twice in a 50-second span in the third period.

The game was an aberration for Schneider, who’s probably been New Jersey’s MVP this season.

At 25-17-6 on the year with a 2.04 GAA and .928 save percentage, he’s in the conversation to become a Vezina finalist this season (along with the likes of Braden Holtby, Petr Mrazek, Ben Bishop and Roberto Luongo, one would assume.)

Tonight’s game is a big one for the Devils. They head into action sitting one point back of Tampa Bay in the chase for the Eastern Conference’s final wild card spot, but have played one more game than the Bolts (and two more than the Penguins, who are also on 66 points).

So, no surprise that Schneider’s in goal for the Devils tonight when they host the Islanders. New York will counter with Jaroslav Halak, who appears to be in a goalie duel with backup Thomas Greiss.

Elsewhere..

— Robin Lenher, who stopped 25 of 26 shots in a shootout loss to his former Ottawa team on Tuesday, is back in goal for Buffalo. The Jackets will start Joonas Korpisalo, who’s been fantastic over his last 12 starts (.942 save percentage).

Michal Neuvirth, who beat Schneider on Tuesday, will start again for the Flyers. The host Canadiens are going back to Mike Condon, who hasn’t played since allowing six goals against the Coyotes on Monday.

Jonas Hiller starts once again as the Flames host the slumping Canucks. Vancouver appears ready to give Jacob Markstrom the start after Ryan Miller lost to Anaheim on Thursday night.

— No confirmed starters from the San Jose-Carolina game yet, as both teams are in the second of back-to-backs.

No hearing for Stralman after hit that infuriated Maurice (Video)

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Tampa Bay blueliner Anton Stralman doesn’t have a disciplinary hearing scheduled for his big check on Winnipeg forward Bryan Little from Thursday night, an NHL spokesman confirmed.

The incident occurred late in the second period, forcing Little from the contest entirely. Stralman wasn’t penalized for the hit, but did receive a two-minute roughing minor (Jets forward Blake Wheeler, who went after Stralman following the hit, got a double minor).

Winnipeg head coach Paul Maurice was livid with the hit and the referee’s handling of the situation. He was given an abuse of official penalty at the end of the second frame, and was then ejected at the start of the third for continuing to voice his displeasure with the officials.

After the game, Maurice went off on Stralman:

Then on referee Francois St. Laurent, who was caught laughing and smiling after tossing Maurice from the game. From the Free Press:

Asked for a reaction to St. Laurent chuckling/smiling about the ejection, Maurice added this:

“You’re not doing me any favors here. I understand you’ve got a job to do, but I think that would then have been consistent with their overall demeanor regarding the whole incident. That’s fair.”

Tampa Bay is back in action on Saturday, when it takes on the Penguins in Pittsburgh. Winnipeg also plays on Saturday — in Florida — and Little did travel withe the team.

Trade candidate Purcell suggests Oilers could ‘get some prospects or a pick for me’

Edmonton Oilers Teddy Purcell moves the puck against the Chicago Blackhawks during first period NHL pre-season action in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, Sunday, Sept 28, 2014.  Blackhawks won 5-0.   (AP Photo/The Canadian Press, Liam Richards)
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Teddy Purcell knows the deal.

He’s been traded a few times in his eight-year NHL career — including once at the deadline — and now, as a pending UFA, the Oilers winger realizes he could be dealt by Feb. 29.

“If we were closer to the playoffs, maybe I wouldn’t be worried about it as much,” Purcell said of the upcoming trade deadline, per the Edmonton Journal. “But as a piece who has some playoff experience (in Tampa), maybe they can get some prospects or a pick for me.”

Purcell, 30, does have plenty going for him. There’s the aforementioned playoff experience — 18 points in 22 career postseason contests — a reasonable cap hit ($4.5 million) and the fact that, having played with Taylor Hall and Leon Draisaitl a bunch this season, he’s been pretty productive with 11 goals and 31 points in 59 games.

Purcell also noted he doesn’t have a no-trade clause, saying “it’s not like I’d be submitting a list of teams [to go to].”

A former 24-goal scorer, Purcell could be picked up by a team looking to add offense in its top-six forward group.

Florida GM Dale Tallon has said he wants to acquire a goalscorer by the deadline, and the Journal suggests the New York Rangers and New Jersey Devils could be in the mix for Purcell’s services.

All of which has Purcell a little nervous for the end of the month.

“Am I concerned about the trade deadline?” he asked. “If I said no, that would be a lie.”

Panthers recall prized d-man prospect Matheson

Frozen Fenway 2014: Notre Dame v Boston College
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Florida is on the verge of giving another talented youngster his NHL debut.

On Friday, the Panthers announced that defenseman Michael Matheson — along with forward Kyle Rau — was recalled from AHL Portland.

Matheson, 21, got the call after posting 14 points in 43 games in his first full American League campaign. He joined the Pirates on the heels of a strong career at Boston College — last year, he finished tied for third on the team in scoring, with 25 points, and led the Eagles in assists, with 22.

The 23rd overall pick in 2012, Matheson is just one of the numerous young talents Florida has stockpiled through the draft, along with the likes of Jonathan Huberdeau, Aleksander Barkov, Nick Bjugstad and Aaron Ekblad.

Ekblad is a name worth mentioning in relation to Matheson. In the summer of 2014, the club got a glimpse of what its future blueline would look like as Matheson and Ekblad played together in the club’s prospect development camp.

Matheson has yet to make his NHL debut, but could on Saturday when the Panthers host the Jets.

Habs lose Desharnais (broken foot) for three weeks

David Desharnais
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Not a strong team down the middle to begin with, the Habs suffered a blow on Friday as David Desharnais has been ruled out for the next three weeks with a broken foot.

Desharnais, fourth among all Habs forwards in assists this year, suffered the injury taking a Tom Gilbert shot to the foot in Monday’s 6-2 loss in Arizona.

The diminutive forward has been something of a lightning rod in Montreal this season, as he’s one of head coach Michel Therrien’s favorite forwards — but hardly a fan favorite. Desharnais averages over 16 minutes a night and is second on the club in faceoff duty, trailing only Tomas Plekanec.

With Desharnais out, the Habs will likely roll with Plekanec, Lars Eller, Jacob De La Rose and Torrey Mitchell as their centers moving forward.