Ryan Dadoun

MONTREAL, QC - APRIL 05:  Charlie Lindgren #35 of the Montreal Canadiens warms up prior to the NHL game against the Florida Panthers at the Bell Centre on April 5, 2016 in Montreal, Quebec, Canada.  The Florida Panthers defeated the Montreal Canadiens 4-1.  (Photo by Minas Panagiotakis/Getty Images)
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Goalie nods: NCAA standout Lindgren gets his first NHL start

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This has been a disheartening season for Canadiens fans and their goaltending has been a central part of that, but with the campaign drawing to a close, there is a potential silver lining on the horizon.

Charlie Lindgren is set to play between the pipes tonight in his NHL debut. The Canadiens netminder will be countered by Hurricanes veteran goalie Cam Ward.

At the age of 22, Lindgren only recently ended his tenure with St. Cloud State. He stood out in the NCAA this season with his 2.13 GAA and .925 save percentage in 40 games. That earned him a two-year, entry-level contract with Montreal on March 30.

“Lindgren was in our mind the best free agent goaltender available coming out of the US college level,” said Habs GM Marc Bergevin in a release at the time of signing.

In a best case scenario, he’ll develop into a strong alternative to Carey Price to both give Montreal a reliable backup and fill the void should Price ever deal with significant injuries again like he did this season. Of course, only time will tell if Lindgren will become that goaltender, but we’ll get our first glimpse into his future tonight.

Elsewhere…

Jimmy Howard will start for Detroit in a key contest against the Bruins. Boston will probably counter with Tuukka Rask, but that’s not confirmed.

Ben Bishop will face Keith Kinkaid as the Lightning take on the Devils.

— The battle of the Islanders and Rangers will feature Thomas Greiss and Henrik Lundqvist respectively.

Steve Mason will start for the Flyers for the second time in as many days. He’ll be up against the Toronto Maple Leafs, but it’s not known who will play for them. Jonathan Bernier seems like a decent bet though, given that Garret Sparks started in the Maple Leafs’ 5-1 loss to Columbus last night.

— Pittsburgh’s Matt Murray will face Washington’s Braden Holtby tonight. A victory for Washington would tie Holtby for the single season wins record.

Al Montoya and Craig Anderson will play against each other in tonight’s contest between the Florida Panthers and Ottawa Senators.

Mike Smith will get the nod for the Arizona Coyotes. Nashville’s goaltender isn’t confirmed, but it’s likely to be Pekka Rinne.

— Chicago will go with Scott Darling tonight. It’s not known who the St. Louis Blues will counter with, but with Jake Allen (lower body) out, Brian Elliott is probably a decent guess.

— No confirmations yet in the game between Colorado and Dallas, but Calvin Pickard and Kari Lehtonen are the likely goaltenders.

Joni Ortio will play between the pipes for Calgary. Vancouver will probably counter with Ryan Miller.

— It’s not clear who will start in tonight’s contest between Anaheim and Los Angeles, though it certainly wouldn’t be surprising if John Gibson and Jonathan Quick are between the pipes.

Ondrej Pavelec will start for Winnipeg while San Jose will counter with Martin Jones in tonight’s game.

Drouin ‘earned this callup’, gets top-six chance

Tampa Bay Lightning left wing Jonathan Drouin (27) celebrates after scoring the game-winning goal against the Florida Panthers in the third period during an NHL preseason hockey game, Saturday, Oct. 3, 2015, in Sunrise, Fla. (AP Photo/Alan Diaz)
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After wanting out of Lightning organization, could Jonathan Drouin play a key role in securing Tampa Bay the home-ice advantage in the playoffs?

His promotion this morning seemed like an improbable outcome back when Drouin was demanding a trade and suspended for refusing to play in the AHL, but times have changed. He’s not only been playing in the minors recently, but excelling at that level with nine goals in his last nine games.

His hard work seems to have turned heads. As Lightning coach Jon Cooper told Tampa Bay Times writer Joe Smith, “Drouin earned this callup.”

As it happens, he’s not only joining the Lightning, but being penciled in for an important role tonight against the New Jersey Devils. He’s set to serve on the second line with Alex Killorn and Vladislav Namestnikov, per Sportsnet. He’ll also get some power-play playing time.

It will be interesting to see if that ultimately leads to him getting meaningfully more ice time than the 14:06 minutes per game he was averaging with Tampa Bay earlier this season. The Lightning could certainly use his scoring touch now more than ever given Steven Stamkosabsence.

Stars first-rounder Dickinson will debut tonight

NEWARK, NJ - JUNE 30:  Jason Dickinson poses for a portrait after being selected number twenty nine overall in the first round by the Dallas Stars during the 2013 NHL Draft at the Prudential Center on June 30, 2013 in Newark, New Jersey.  (Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images)

Although not under ideal circumstances, the Dallas Stars will show off an important piece of their future tonight even as they work towards far more immediate goals.

The Dallas Stars announced that Jason Dickinson has been summoned on an emergency basis. The squad is adding an extra forward because Jason Spezza is battling an illness.

Dickinson will consequently draw into the lineup, per Mark Stepneski of the Stars’ official website.

At the age of 20, Dickinson is one of Dallas’ top forward prospects. He was selected with the 29th overall pick in the 2013 NHL Entry Draft. In 2015-16, he’s scored 20 goals and 50 points in 69 contests as a rookie with the AHL’s Texas Stars.

Thursday’s contest is an opportunity for him to make his NHL debut and thus give him a taste of what he’s working towards, but this game is also important for the Stars’ playoff picture. Dallas and St. Louis are tied atop the Central Division in terms of points, but the Stars have the edge thanks to the tiebreaker ROW. If Dallas beats Colorado tonight then that will go a long way towards securing not only the division title, but also the top seed in the Western Conference.

Related: Dallas has prospects ‘everybody wants,’ but Nill isn’t ‘giving them up’

Former NHL coach Jacques Demers suffers stroke

MONTREAL- NOVEMBER 22:   Former Canadiens head coach Jacques Demers speaks during the Patrick Roy retirement ceremony before the game against the Boston Bruins at the Bell Centre on November 22, 2008 in Montreal, Quebec, Canada.  The Bruins defeated the Canadiens 3-2 in a shootout.  (Photo by Richard Wolowicz/Getty Images)
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Former NHL coach and current Canadian senator Jacques Demers is in stable condition after suffering a stroke on Wednesday, according to CBC.ca

Demers, 71, is a two-time Jack Adams Award winner and led the Montreal Canadiens to a Stanley Cup championship in 1993. He served in 1,007 NHL games as a head coach between his stints with Quebec, St. Louis, Detroit, Montreal, and Tampa Bay from 1979 through 1999.

His life is a story of a boy born into bad circumstances and finding success in spite of that. He came from an abusive household and left school after Grade 8. He revealed in 2005 that he was functionally illiterate.

Roughly a decade after he coached in his last NHL game, he was appointed to the Canadian senate and continues to serve in that capacity.

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau took to Twitter this morning to wish Demers well.

Devils start hot, Dubnyk gets yanked for second time in four starts

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With just a single point separating Minnesota and Colorado in the battle for the second Wild Card spot, every game is vital. Perhaps that was part of John Torchetti’s motivation when he yanked Devan Dubnyk just 17 minutes into Thursday night’s game against New Jersey.

Then again, Dubnyk might have been pulled under far less urgent circumstances after allowing three goals on eight shots. Devils forward Tyler Kennedy outmaneuvered the Wild goaltender within the first minute of the game and while defenseman Marco Scandella attempted to bail out Dubnyk, that sequence eventually led to Devante Smith-Pelly finding the back of the net.

Mike Sislo beat Dubnyk less than a minute later for his first career goal. Nino Niederreiter cut the lead in half, but not too long after that New Jersey’s Reid Boucher capitalized on a rebound that ended the Wild netminder’s night. To be fair to Dubnyk, Darcy Kuemper wasn’t able to stop the Devils’ onslaught either as New Jersey beat him another three times on the first 10 shots Kuemper faced.

This is the second time Dubnyk has been pulled in his last four starts as he only lasted roughly 30 minutes against St. Louis. He stopped just 13 of 16 shots in that outing, though he bounced back in his following game as he limited Montreal to one goal on 31 shots.