Pittsburgh, in the thick of the Eastern Conference wild card race, will turn to freshman netminder Matt Murray tonight when it hosts Carolina at Consol.
Murray, 21, is considered one of the best young goaltending prospects in hockey. He’s thrived at the AHL level and was one of three goalies selected to Team North America for the 2016 World Cup of Hockey, along with Winnipeg’s Connor Hellebuyck and Anaheim’s John Gibson.
Tonight’s start is Murray’s seventh in the NHL, and first at home since a 3-2 shootout loss to Toronto on Dec. 30. He’s since spent considerable time in AHL Wilkes-Barre/Scranton, but comes back into action with pretty solid big-league numbers on the year: 3-2-1 record, 1.82 GAA and .934 save percentage.
“We believe strongly that Matt gives us a good chance to win,” Pens head coach Mike Sullivan said, per NHL.com. “He’s played extremely well for us when he’s been in there. He’s a good goalie.”
For the ‘Canes, Eddie Lack‘s in goal.
— Keith Kinkaid continues to carry the Devils’ starting load with Cory Schneider out injured. Kinkaid will face the visiting Minnesota Wild tonight, and the Wild have yet to announce a starter.
— Petr Mrazek is sick, so Jimmy Howard starts against the Blue Jackets. Columbus is going with Sergei Bobrovsky.
— Roberto Luongo versus Jonathan Bernier as the Panthers take on the Leafs in Toronto.
— After J-F Berube played on Tuesday night, Thomas Greiss is back in goal for the Islanders. No word yet on who’s in net for the host Preds.
— Ben Bishop will go for the Lightning tonight, while it looks like Kari Lehtonen is in for Dallas.
— It’s Martin Jones versus Mike Smith as the Sharks take on the Coyotes in Arizona.
— Henrik Lundqvist is in for the Rangers tonight in Los Angeles. Jonathan Quick is likely for the Kings.
One of the longest-serving captains in Dallas history called it a career on Thursday, as Brenden Morrow hung up his skates after 15 seasons.
“The game of hockey has given me so many opportunities in my life,” Morrow said, in a statement released by the Stars. “Winning a gold medal for Canada at the Olympic Games and appearing in two Stanley Cup Final series are things that I only dreamed of growing up. Getting to perform on those stages is still surreal to me. To all my family, friends, trainers, equipment managers, coaches and teammates, thank you for supporting and pushing me throughout my career.
“Being able to put on an NHL sweater was something that I never took for granted, and it’s with a full heart that my family and I have decided that it’s time for me to officially retire from the National Hockey League.”
Morrow spent time with the Lightning, Blues and Penguins during his career, but it was with Dallas where he established himself as a tough, hard-nosed competitor with some good offensive upside. The club’s first-round pick (25th overall) in 1997, Morrow’s best year came during the 2007-08 campaign, when he posted a career-high 74 points, finishing seventh in Selke voting.
That effort came during the midst of his seven-year run as Dallas’ captain — only Derian Hatcher had a longer stint wearing the “C” since the club moved from Minnesota.
“Brenden exemplified what a captain should be,” said Dallas Stars President Jim Lites. “He left an indelible mark on this franchise, leading with heart and passion.
“There wasn’t a night where he didn’t give every ounce of energy he had, and we deeply appreciate all of his contributions to the game.”
Byron Froese, William Nylander, Brendan Leipsic, Kasperi Kapanen, Zach Hyman, Viktor Loov, Garret Sparks, Rinat Valiev, Nikita Soshnikov and now, Connor Brown — those are the 10 Toronto Maple Leafs that’ve made their NHL debuts this season.
Brown, lucky No. 10, has yet to technically make his — but it will happen tonight, as the Leafs take on Florida at the ACC. The 22-year-old’s debut is well deserved, as Brown, a sixth-round pick in 2012, made the AHL All-Star Game last season (his first year of professional hockey) and came back from a broken ankle this year to rack up 24 points in 28 games for the Marlies.
“He was our best kid in training camp for sure, could’ve made our team,” Leafs head coach Mike Babcock said, per the Globe and Mail. “He’s going to be a good NHL player for a long period of time.”
Brown’s debut comes at the expense of Leo Komarov, who’s banged up and will sit tonight. Brown is expected to skate on a line with Milan Michalek and Ben Smith.
Related: Leafs recall another — this time, defenseman Valiev
Flyers forward Chris VandeVelde will face a disciplinary hearing for his high hit on Chicago captain Jonathan Toews from Wednesday night, the NHL’s Department of Player Safety has announced.
VandeVelde was given a two-minute elbowing minor for the above infraction, which occurred late in the first period.
Toews briefly left the bench but returned to finish the contest, with just over 19 minutes of ice time.
VandeVelde, 29, has no history of disciplinary issues with the league.
Emotional week for Pittsburgh freshman Scott Wilson.
Wilson, who earlier this week scored a two-year, $1.25M extension for his good showing this season, will be out of the Penguins lineup as he needs surgery on an undisclosed injury, head coach Mike Sullivan announced on Thursday.
Wilson, 23, had five goals and six points in 24 games prior to getting hurt, averaging just over 10 minutes per night. He, along with fellow recent signees Bryan Rust and Tom Kuhnhackl, had done a nice job providing energy and a shot in the arm to Pittsburgh’s forward group — part of the reason all three were rewarded with contract extensions at the same time.
With Wilson out, it’s expected that Dominik Simon will get a more regular lineup spot. Simon, a fifth-round pick in 2015, has played in each of Pittsburgh’s last two games — both wins — and registered his first NHL point, an assist, in Sunday’s win over the Rangers.