James Reimer will make his first start for the Maple Leafs since Dec. 3 tonight in Pittsburgh.
Update: No he won’t. Not long before puck drop, head coach Mike Babcock said Reimer woke up with tightness today, and the Leafs decided to shut him down immediately. So it’ll be Jonathan Bernier tonight instead, with Antoine Bibeau backing up on an emergency recall basis.
Reimer, who’s been sidelined for most of the month with an undisclosed injury, gets back into the starter’s role after Bernier was torched for six goals on 15 shots in Tuesday’s loss to the Islanders. Reimer came on in relief of Bernier and fared well, stopping all six shots faced.
Prior to getting hurt, Reimer was playing some of the best hockey of his career — the 27-year-old was 7-4-4 with a 1.96 GAA and .936 save percentage.
For Pittsburgh, Matt Murray will get the start in goal again.
— Braden Holtby will be in goal for the Caps after shutting out the Sabres on Monday. Buffalo will go with a different netminder in the rematch: Chad Johnson, who allowed three goals on 33 shots in a win over Boston on Saturday.
— Cory Schneider‘s in for the Devils tonight, while Ottawa counters with Andrew Hammond.
— Ben Bishop will start when the Bolts host the Rangers in a rematch of last year’s Eastern Conference Final. No word yet on a New York nod; head coach Alain Vigneault is expected to make an announcement within the next hour.
— Martin Jones goes for the Sharks against Philly tonight. No word yet on a Flyers starter.
Scott Gomez‘s time with the St. Louis Blues appears to be coming to an end.
The veteran center, who went unclaimed on waivers yesterday, has now been placed on unconditional waivers — “a vehicle to grant Gomez his unconditional release from the team,” the club announced on Wednesday.
Gomez, 36, appeared in 21 games for the Blues, posting eight points (one goal, seven assists) and four penalty minutes. He converted a training camp PTO into a one-year, two-way deal in early October but, with a number of St. Louis’ injured forwards having returned or nearing a return, Gomez became the odd man out.
He’s only played in five games this month, the last coming in Sunday’s 3-0 loss to Dallas.
It remains to be seen what the future has in store for Gomez. He could try to catch on with another club, possibly go the AHL route or try his hand overseas.
Good news, bad news sort of day in Columbus.
The good is that, after missing the last 10 games, No. 1 goalie Sergei Bobrovsky has been activated off IR and will be ready to play when the Jackets host Washington on Saturday.
The bad news? Matt Calvert suffered a lower-body injury after scoring in last night’s win over Dallas, and is out “indefinitely.” He’s been placed on IR.
But since things have gone so poorly in Columbus this year, let’s focus on the positive.
Getting Bobrovsky back will be a huge boon; without him, the club has been forced to rely on Curtis McElhinney and minor-league recall Joonas Korpisalo, and the results haven’t been great.
Columbus has allowed 39 goals over its last 10 games, going 3-6-1. Prior to getting hurt, Bobrovsky was playing some of his best hockey of the year:
As for Calvert, he plays around 15 minutes a night and chips in with the occasional goal — six in 39 games so far — meaning he will be missed.
Jared Boll and David Clarkson were both scratched against Dallas on Tuesday, so either could draw in as a replacement.
Timing. It’s everything.
Maybe Nic Deslauriers didn’t know who Buffalo’s next opponent would be after he nailed Justin Williams on Monday night, then whooped it up after beating Michael Latta in a fight shortly afterward.
Maybe he did.
Whatever the case, it’s set the stage for what promises to be a pretty compelling rematch tonight at Verizon, where the Caps host the Sabres after beating them 2-0 on Monday in Buffalo.
It’s pretty clear Washington didn’t think much of Deslauriers’ celebration. Head coach Barry Trotz said it was “karma” the Caps scored shortly afterward, adding that he thought Deslauriers “play[ed] it up a little bit.”
While Latta would no doubt like a rematch, he’s out of tonight’s game with an arm injury suffered in the fight. Another tough guy, Zach Sill, has been called up from the AHL to fill the void, but the real potential for fireworks could come from Wilson.
Regarded as one of the most dangerous hitters in the game, Wilson has a reputation as someone that takes the body to injure opponents — like he did during last year’s playoffs, knocking Isles d-man Lubomir Visnovsky out of the series.
Per a Sportsnet report from earlier this year, Wilson was the subject of complaints from rival GMs, who wanted the NHL’s Department of Player Safety to step in and warn him for his transgressions.
MORE: Wilson says ‘I’ve never been a dirty hitter’ after teams voice complaints
As for Deslauriers, he said he’s ready for anything.
“For sure, there could be some things going on out there — and it could be really quiet,” he said, per the Buffalo News. “We’ll just see. I’m here to play hockey. I’m not here to fight every single game. We’ll try to get a win down there.”
Three pretty stellar individual efforts highlight this week’s pack, with an absolutely outrageous goal from Carolina’s Kris Versteeg topping ’em all.