Lupul joins Kadri in Leafs’ doghouse


Joffrey Lupul and Nazem Kadri are stall mates in the Leafs’ dressing room, which is fitting since they both currently find themselves sitting in the team’s doghouse.

Kadri was a healthy scratch for a second game Wednesday night for disciplinary reasons and will miss a third game Friday.

Interim head coach Peter Horachek chose to bench Lupul during the Leafs’ 4-3 shootout victory over the Buffalo Sabres.

Lupul, who has just two assists and no goals in 16 games, had a costly turnover in the second period, which led to the Sabres’ second goal of the game.

Lupul played the final 1:32 of the second period, but watched the first 12:09 of the third period and did not play in overtime.

“I think Joffrey turned the puck over a few times and he let the guy go on the back-check going back to the net, gave him a chance,” said Horachek outlining the reasons for Lupul’s benching. “The guy could’ve scored, he basically shot it wide and hit the side of the net.

“There was two, three, four things that I didn’t think was up to his standards. Tonight I didn’t think that he was on top of his game.”

Lupul was dropped from his line alongside Peter Holland and Richard Panik to the fourth line. David Booth replaced Lupul on Toronto’s second power play unit.

Lupul, who averaged 15:44 in ice time this season entering Wednesday’s game, finished with 13:09 in time on ice.

Related: Lupul on Kadri: ‘This stuff happens — it happened in Winnipeg’

Goalie nods: Red-hot Talbot goes back to back


News and notes from around the crease…

Rangers to back to Cam

Just one night after stopping 29 of 30 shots in a crucial win over the Islanders, Cam Talbot will be back in goal Wednesday when the Rangers take on the Caps on Rivalry Night on NBCSN.

Talbot, the NHL’s reigning third star of the week, has been brilliant over his last seven games, allowing just 10 goals while posting two shutouts. His finest work, though, has come over the last four games — against a quartet of playoff teams (Nashville, Detroit, Chicago, NYI), Talbot has gone 3-0-1 with a .966 save percentage.

For the Capitals, Braden Holtby will be in goal.


Sabres at Leafs: Anders Lindback vs. Jonathan Bernier

Ducks at Flames: (no Anaheim starter yet) vs. Karri Ramo

Lupul on Kadri: ‘This stuff happens — it happened in Winnipeg’


Toronto winger Joffrey Lupul was front and center today in the wake of the Nazem Kadri situation, and offered up an interesting parallel when discussing Kadri with reporters.

“This stuff happens — it happened in Winnipeg,” Lupul explained, per TSN. “They were able to get away from it just fine, and control it.”

Lupul is, of course, referencing the Evander Kane situation in Winnipeg, which is a dicey example to throw out. Kane was alleged to have gotten in a dispute with teammates — specifically, Dustin Byfuglien — before reportedly no-showing for a game in Vancouver. That was followed by Kane’s decision to have season-ending shoulder surgery, which was then followed by the Jets shipping him to Buffalo.

Kadri’s situation in Toronto sounds a lot different.

The Leafs forward was made a healthy scratch on Monday after oversleeping and missing Sunday’s team meeting. That was followed by today’s announcement, in which team president Brendan Shanahan tacked on two more games to Kadri’s punishment, saying “there’s more to this, obviously” than just a missed meeting.

Unlike Kane, Kadri looks as though he’ll return to the Toronto lineup this season. And also unlike Kane, Kadri seems to have the backing of teammates, at least publicly — in addition to Lupul, Leafs captain Dion Phaneuf also vowed his support.

Winnipeg hardly showed similar unity in the aftermath of shower-gate; Byfuglien and Blake Wheeler were pretty outspoken in stressing the need for professionalism and following rules, but never said anything about welcoming Kane back, or how good a guy he was.

Based on today’s comments, Lupul and the Leafs genuinely like Kadri.

“Just so the story’s not blown out of proportion, he’s a good guy and a good teammate,” Lupul explained. “It’s not like he’s ever created any problems in here or anything.

“He’s a good guy and one of my good friends, and everyone in here will say the same thing.”

Goalie nods: Neuvirth starts second straight for Isles


All the latest from the blue paint…

Don’t call it a controversy

The Islanders will start Michal Neuvirth for the second straight game tonight against the Leafs — but it isn’t a sign of potential goalie drama.

Tonight is the first of the Isles’ back-to-back set, which culminates tomorrow with a crucial tilt against the Rangers. Jaroslav Halak will face the Blueshirts, a team he’s fared well against this season, going 3-1-0 with a 2.51 GAA and .935 save percentage. Tomorrow’s game also represents the fifth and final meeting of the season between the two New York-based clubs, and a chance for the Isles (and Halak) to beat the Rangers in four of the five meetings.

As for Neuvirth, tonight’s game gives him a chance to make up for his debut — a shootout loss to the Panthers on Saturday, in which he allowed three goals on just 18 shots.

For Toronto, Jonathan Bernier will be in goal.


Oilers at Red Wings: Ben Scrivens vs. (no Detroit starter yet)

Ducks at Canucks: (no Anaheim starter yet) vs. Eddie Lack

Preds at Coyotes: (no Nashville starter yet) vs. Louis Domingue

Pens at Sharks: (no Pittsburgh starter yet) vs. Antti Niemi

Avs’ marked man McLeod scores vs. Wild, fights Stewart


Patrick Roy vented on a Minnesota sportswriter for discussing Cody McLeod’s agitating presence against the Minnesota Wild, yet it didn’t take long for the tough Colorado Avalanche forward to operate as expected.

It’s obviously been a catalyst for Colorado tonight, too, as they’re off to a 3-0 lead in part thanks to McLeod’s efforts.

Less than a minute into the game, he fought his old pal Chris Stewart:

Later in the first period, he scored the Avs’ first goal:

If these two teams meet in the playoffs again anytime soon, fans of chaos would probably want McLeod involved.