Anaheim Ducks

Goalie nods: Hackett goes for Sabres in McEichel Derby

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All the latest from the blue paint…

No Lindback for Buffalo

The NHL’s two worst teams — standings-wise, anyway — will do battle tonight when the Sabres host the Coyotes in Buffalo, and Buffalo will start little-used Matthew Hackett in net ahead of Anders Lindback, who’s been quite solid of late.

Hackett, 25, is 0-3-0 this year with a .893 save percentage and 4.34 GAA. He’s spent the majority of the season AHL Rochester, but was summoned to the Sabres after Chad Johnson went down to injury almost immediately after being acquired via trade.

In hist last outing, a 3-0 loss to Nashville, Hackett allowed three goals on 43 shots, good for a .930 save percentage.

For the Coyotes, Mike Smith will get the start in goal. Smith’s turnaround after a dreadful start has been one of the few bright spots in Arizona this season, and is worth mentioning — the veteran has been very good in nine games this month, allowing just 21 goals on 326 shots for a .936 save percentage.

Elsewhere…

Anaheim at Boston: Frederik Andersen vs. Tuukka Rask (probable)

Kings at Isles: Jonathan Quick (probable) vs. Jaroslav Halak

Devils at Caps: Cory Schneider vs. Braden Holtby

Pens at ‘Canes: Marc-Andre Fleury vs. Cam Ward

Preds at Bolts: Pekka Rinne (probable) vs. Ben Bishop

Sharks at Wings: Antti Niemi vs. Jimmy Howard

Rangers at Sens: Cam Talbot vs. Andrew Hammond

Panthers at Leafs: Roberto Luongo vs. Jonathan Bernier

Habs at Jets: Dustin Tokarski vs. Ondrej Pavelec

Avs at Canucks: Semyon Varlamov vs. (No Vancouver starter yet.)

Boll gets three games for illegal check to the head of Maroon

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Blue Jackets forward Jared Boll has been suspended three games for making an illegal check to the head of Ducks forward Patrick Maroon on Tuesday.

In making its case, the NHL showed that Boll “elevates into the hit, driving his right shoulder directly into the side of Maroon’s head, making it the main point of contact.”

Though Maroon was eligible to be hit, the league deemed that contact to the head was “avoidable.”

Boll’s disciplinary history was also cited; he’s been suspended once and fined twice (each fine for an illegal check to the head.)

Columbus’ Boll to have hearing for Maroon headshot

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Columbus forward Jared Boll has a disciplinary hearing for hitting Anaheim’s Patrick Maroon in the head on Tuesday night, the NHL’s Department of Player Safety has announced.

Here’s the hit in question, which occurred at 4:02 of the second period:

There was no penalty on the play and Maroon remained in the game, finishing with 15:23 TOI. In response to hitting Maroon, Boll subsequently fought Ducks d-man Clayton Stoner (pictured.)

Hartnell gets hat trick as Ducks can’t rebound from blowout

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The Anaheim Ducks might have first place in the Pacific Division all-but officially guaranteed at this point, but that doesn’t mean they aren’t interested in going into the playoffs on a high note. Anaheim went as far as to scratch defenseman Cam Fowler tonight in response to their 7-2 blowout loss to the Rangers on Sunday, but that wasn’t enough as Columbus came away with a 5-3 victory over the Ducks.

Anaheim gained a 2-0 edge tonight, but Scott Hartnell led the Blue Jackets with Columbus’ first hat trick at Nationwide Arena since 2012. He started that run with a power-play goal at 15:35 of the first period.

Hartnell’s final goal came on an empty netter and while those tend not to be glamorous, he did have to work hard for this one:

Columbus forward Ryan Johansen also had a big night with his 24th goal and 39th assist of the season. He’s on a five-game point streak.

Anaheim will attempt to bounce back on Thursday in Boston. Given how badly the Bruins need a win after Ottawa passed them in the Eastern Conference Wild Card race, the Ducks should have their hands full in that contest.

Goalie nods: Price versus Rinne in potential Vezina showdown

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All the latest from the blue paint…

Elite battle at Bridgestone

Two goalies most have penciled in as Vezina candidates will square off tonight in Nashville when Carey Price and the Habs take on Pekka Rinne and the Preds.

Price, widely considered to be the Vezina favorite, has been nothing short of brilliant all season long and heads into tonight’s action leading the NHL in wins (40), save percentage (.938), GAA (1.86) and shutouts (nine). The 27-year-old’s dominance has led to serious discussion about Hart Trophy consideration as league MVP.

Rinne, meanwhile, has been solid as well. He’s second to Price in both GAA (2.09) and wins (38), sitting fifth overall in save percentage (.927). What’s interesting about the two, however, is that Price has never been named a Vezina finalist over the course of his seven-year career; Rinne, who’s in his ninth NHL campaign, has been a finalist twice and fell just short of capturing the Vezina in 2011, when he finished a few votes shy of eventual winner Tim Thomas.

So with Price and Rinne likely to both be finalists this year, the conversation turns to who’ll be the third nominee. Right now, it seems like a three-horse race between New Jersey’s Cory Schneider, Washington’s Braden Holtby and Minnesota’s Devan Dubnyk.

Elsewhere…

Wild at Isles: Devan Dubnyk vs. Jaroslav Halak

Kings at Rangers: Jonathan Quick (probable) vs. Cam Talbot

Blues at Pens: Jake Allen vs. Marc-Andre Fleury

Ducks at Jackets: John Gibson vs. Sergei Bobrovsky

Coyotes at Wings: Mike Smith vs. Jimmy Howard

Panthers at Bolts: Roberto Luongo vs. Andrei Vasilevskiy

Jets at Canucks: Michael Hutchinson vs. Eddie Lack