Calgary head coach Glen Gulutzan made a noteworthy decision over the weekend, opting to sit No. 1 netminder Brian Elliott against his former team, the St. Louis Blues, in favor of backup Chad Johnson.
The move didn’t pay off. Calgary lost 6-4, with Johnson allowing five goals on 39 shots.
So now, Elliott is back in goal was the Flames take on the ‘Hawks tonight at the United Center.
Acquired to fix the goaltending issues that plagued Calgary all of last season, Elliott has gone 0-3-0 with an .839 save percentage and 4.72 GAA.
Not good, obviously — especially for a 31-year-old pending UFA that’s looking to score a contract extension.
The Flames will hope that Elliott’s former goalie partner, Jake Allen, is something of a psychic. Over the weekend, Allen predicted that Elliott “will find his game very soon,” and tonight would be a good night for that to happen — Chicago’s offense has been firing over the last four games, finding the back of the net 16 times.
That said, the ‘Hawks are facing issues of their own.
They’ll give Corey Crawford the start tonight.
— Just one other game on the ledger, as the Flyers will take on the Habs in Montreal. Philly is going with Steve Mason, who allowed three goals on 30 shots in a win over Carolina on Saturday. The Canadiens are going with Carey Price, who allowed two goals on 21 shots in a win over Boston on Saturday.
The Maple Leafs continued their early roster tweaking on Monday, with a pair of moves — veteran winger Milan Michalek was placed on waivers, and the club claimed forward Ben Smith from Colorado.
First up, Michalek.
The 31-year-old — acquired, along with other spare parts, in the Dion Phaneuf-to-Ottawa trade — had appeared in all five games for the Leafs this season, scoring two points while averaging 14:16 TOI per night.
So needless to say, he was a fairly regular contributor.
Today’s transaction is clearly a move to give younger players a bigger opportunity on the team. Michalek was a veteran presence on a club filled with kids, but that apparently wasn’t enough to justify his roster spot any longer.
Per head coach Mike Babcock, Michalek will report to the AHL Marlies if unclaimed. He’s in the last of a three-year, $12 million deal that carries a $4M average annual cap hit.
As for Smith, he joins the Leafs after signing a one-year contract with Colorado in mid-August, then appearing in four regular season contests. He averaged just under 11 minutes per game for the Avs, without doing much of anything — no goals, no assists, one shot on goal and two attempted.
Babcock said Smith will draw into the lineup tomorrow against the Lightning, and will bolster Toronto’s penalty kill and faceoff prowess.
Another of Toronto’s early-season waiver claims, former B’s forward Seth Griffith, is still waiting to make his team debut.
Off to a disappointing 1-4-0 start in which they’ve allowed 21 goals, the Coyotes made a roster move on Monday, placing blueliner Jamie McBain on waivers.
McBain, 28, signed with the Coyotes on the second day of free agency, after scoring nine points in 44 games for the Kings last season. The former Hurricane and Sabre also played in four postseason games for the Kings, averaging just under 11 minutes per night.
McBain was a prominent fixture on the Arizona defense to start the year, dressing for the club’s lone win — over Philadelphia in the opener — and subsequent losses to Ottawa and Montreal.
He actually played a season-high 18:49 against the Habs.
With McBain out, head coach Dave Tippett has gone with a six-man defensive unit of Oliver Ekman-Larsson, Alex Goligoski, Connor Murphy, Luke Schenn, Michael Stone and Jakob Chychrun.
Stone returned from a knee injury two games ago, which pushed both McBain and Kevin Connauton to the sidelines.
With nearly 350 games on his resume and a reasonably cheap pricetag ($650,000 cap hit), McBain could be a candidate to get plucked off waivers, tho it seems highly unlikely.
Teams have been loathe to add blueline help via waivers thus far, with the likes of Mark Barbeiro and Cody Goloubef passing through unclaimed.
The injury bug that’s sweeping NHL creases has hit Boston.
Ahead of Tuesday’s home tilt against the Wild, the Bruins — without the services of Tuukka Rask and Anton Khudobin — goalie recalled Malcolm Subban from AHL Providence.
It wasn’t immediately clear what happened to Khudobin, who played in Saturday’s 4-2 loss to Montreal. Rask, who hasn’t suited up since Thursday’s win over New Jersey, was absent from practice with no clear word on what his ailment is.
All this points to Subban, 22, potentially making his second career start tomorrow night against Minnesota. The former first-round pick’s had a nightmare start to the year in Providence, going 0-3-1 with a 4.50 GAA and .846 save percentage.
“I don’t know if he’s where he wants to be or where we want him to be,” head coach Kevin Dean said, per the Journal.
As mentioned above, Boston isn’t the only team dealing with goalie injuries at the moment. The L.A. Kings are without Jonathan Quick and Jeff Zatkoff, forcing No. 3 netminder Peter Budaj into the starting role.
The Coyotes have listed injured starter Mike Smith as week-to-week with a lower-body ailment, the Penguins are still without Matt Murray (hand) and Nashville had to play without Pekka Rinne on Saturday night, as he dealt with a bout of food poisioning.
After attending training camp on a PTO, Steve Bernier has signed with the Isles.
On Monday, the club announced Bernier had agreed to a one-year, two-way deal, which gives him a second go-round with the club. Last year the veteran forward caught on with the club and proceeded to score six points in 24 regular-season games, and appear in six playoff contests.
A former first-round pick, Bernier’s deal comes with the Isles dealing with a few injuries up front — Shane Prince is currently week-to-week with a lower-body injury, and Mikhail Grabovski is out indefinitely with post-concussion symptoms.
The Bernier deal could also give the Isles flexibility with their two 19-year-old rookies, Anthony Beauvillier and Mathew Barzal, as both are eligible to be returned to junior (and the Isles would prevent “burning” a year on their entry-level deals if they do it before the nine-game threshold.)
That said, Beauvillier is off to a terrific start, with five points through five games. Barzal has been less effective, dressing just once.