Mike Halford

You've heard the expression "let's get busy?" Well, Mike Halford is a blogger who gets "biz-zay!" Consistently and thoroughly.
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Goalie nods: Budaj makes Bolts debut in Pittsburgh

The Lightning will start their third different goalie in the last five games when they take on the Pens in Pittsburgh.

Peter Budaj, acquired in the Ben Bishop-to-L.A. swap, will make his Bolts debut at PPG Paints. The nod comes after Bishop beat Edmonton 4-1 in his final game with Tampa Bay back on Feb. 21, followed by three consecutive starts by Andrei Vasilevskiy.

Vasilevskiy’s latest, Wednesday’s 4-3 OT win over Carolina, pushed the Bolts to within four points of the final wild card spot in the Eastern Conference. Tampa Bay is surging a bit, having won six of its last nine — and a win tonight, coupled with regulation losses from the Isles and Leafs, would cut the deficit to two.

For the Penguins, Matt Murray‘s in goal.

Elsewhere…

— In Carolina, where there’s been some major goalie drama, Cam Ward gets the start against the visiting Coyotes. Louis Domingue will go for Arizona ahead of Mike Smith, who has really struggled lately.

Carter Hutton makes his first start since shutting out Detroit on Feb. 15 when the Blues travel to Winnipeg. Connor Hellebuyck is back in for the Jets after getting hooked in Tuesday’s loss to the Wild.

Corey Crawford goes for the ‘Hawks, while Jeff Glass will fill in for injured backup Scott Darling as Chicago hosts the Isles. No word yet on a New York starter.

— It’s Petr Mrazek against Brian Elliott as the Red Wings take on the Flames in Calgary.

Frederik Andersen wanted the start in his return to Anaheim but, after playing last night’s shootout loss to L.A., he’ll be sat in favor of Curtis McElhinney (he himself a former Duck). Jonathan Bernier will go for Anaheim (he himself a former Maple Leaf).

Darling hurt, so ‘Hawks recall AHLer Glass

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Not a ton of details right now, but we do know this — Scott Darling was hurt at the tail end of Chicago’s morning skate, and won’t be able to dress for this evening’s game against the Isles.

With Darling hurt, the ‘Hawks have recalled AHL Rockford goalie Jeff Glass, who will back up Corey Crawford.

Since we don’t know the severity of Darling’s upper-body injury, it’s too early to speculate how long he’ll be out for. Regardless, this is a loss. Darling has been terrific this season, arguably the NHL’s best backup, and is coming off a 36-save victory over the defending Stanley Cup champion Penguins on Wednesday night.

As for Glass, he’s had a decent campaign in Rockford — .910 save percentage, 2.62 GAA — and recently inked a two-year extension with Chicago, largely for expansion draft purposes.

Darling, a pending UFA, is expected to challenge for a No. 1 gig elsewhere next season.

Ducks re-sign Shaw — one year, $650,000

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Anaheim’s seen enough of Logan Shaw to keep him around for another season.

Shaw, acquired via trade from Florida in November, has agreed to a one-year, one-way extension worth $650,000, the club announced on Monday. The deal comes after Shaw appeared in 43 games for the Ducks, scoring five points while averaging just under 10 minutes a night.

The 24-year-old’s work on the penalty kill has drawn good reviews this season. And given Anaheim has the NHL’s fourth-best PK unit, it’s understandable why he’s earned a regular lineup spot under head coach Randy Carlyle.

“I take a lot of pride in that,” Shaw said, per the O.C. Register. “For me, that’s my role. I play sound defensively. I take a lot of pride in the penalty kill. Special teams, it’s a privilege to play on. You never take it for granted.

“It means a lot to get out there and help. It helps win games. And that’s my contribution.”

Hurricane Bill: Peters rips into Lack, tells him to ‘make a [expletive] save’

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Suffice to say Eddie Lack is in Bill Peters’ doghouse.

Two days after Lack allowed four goals on just 16 shots in a OT loss to Tampa Bay, the Carolina head coach — who, previously, had gone out of his way not to criticize his netminders — completely unloaded on Lack, in what made for an uncomfortable scene.

From the Raleigh News & Observer:

“Well, you’ve got to push,” Peters said. “One guy has played 10 games. Eddie has played 10 games and was poor in his last outing, let’s not kid ourselves, right? There were 16 shots, four went in. Not good enough. You look at his numbers in the league, they’re not good enough.

“So I don’t think it’s much of a competition. We’ve got a guy who’s well ahead of the other guy. That’s what I see and the numbers back that up.

“So when he gets in another game, you better play. You better earn some respect from your teammates. Your teammates are out there working their bag off. You better get some saves and a timely save at the right time wouldn’t hurt.”

Peters ended the media scrum by glancing down the hallway, in the direction of Lack’s locker stall, and saying, “Make a save.” There was another word in there but you get the idea: the coach was not happy with the player.

(Video here, minus the last “make a [expletive] save” part.)

This season’s been a borderline disaster for the 29-year-old Swede. Concussion problems have limited him to just 10 appearances, in which he’s gone 2-4-2 with a 3.33 GAA and .873 save percentage.

It’s certainly not what Carolina had in mind.

After acquiring Lack from Vancouver at the 2015 draft, the ‘Canes wasted little time in signing him to a two-year, $5.5 million extension. They actually gave Lack the deal before he played a single regular-season game for the club.

At the time, the idea was that Lack would work in tandem with Cam Ward and potentially take over the starting gig this year. But Lack failed to distinguish himself in ’15-16 — .901 save percentage, 2.81 GAA — and, as a result, GM Ron Francis opted to bring back Ward, who was set to hit free agency.

This year, Ward has been one of the NHL’s busiest workhorses. His 49 starts have him tied for seventh-most in the league.

How this situation plays out will be worth monitoring. There’s an obvious frustration level in Carolina over falling out of playoff contention, especially after a strong start in January that saw the club climb to 21-15-7, right in the thick of the wild card race.

Since then? Carolina’s gone 4-10-3.

As for Lack, one wonders if we’ll start to hear whispers about something that dogged him in Vancouver — that he didn’t take his job seriously enough. Last year, Iain Macintyre of the Vancouver Sun wrote “teammates hardly knew at times what to make of a goaltender who seemed as focused on his Twitter account off the ice as he was on stopping pucks on it,” noting that Lack’s best friend on the Canucks was the team’s online writer and social media coordinator.

Habs re-sign Terry, their leading AHL scorer

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Chris Terry’s banner campaign has paid off.

Terry, the 27-year-old winger that’s lighting up the American League, has agreed to a one-year extension with Montreal, the club announced on Friday.

Signed last summer to a one-year, two-way deal, Terry has been outstanding for St. John’s this season, racking up a whopping 50 points in just 38 games played. That puts him second in league scoring, trailing Blues farmhand Kenny Agostino.

Terry, originally a Hurricanes draftee, has also appeared in 14 games for the Habs this year, scoring four points.

Financial terms of the extension weren’t announced, but it’s safe to assume it’s in the ballpark of the $575,000 Terry’s earning on his current deal.