Goalie nods: Pickard replaces injured Varlamov; Roy says start would be ‘unfair’ to Berra

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All the latest from the blue paint…

Pickard starts, Berra backs up

Having gone 8-3-0 in their last 11, the Avs are on the fringe of playoff contention and —  with a win against Los Angeles and a Jets regulation loss in St. Louis tonight — would be just five points back of the final wild card spot in the Western Conference.

As such, Patrick Roy is replacing injured No. 1 netminder with AHL recall Calvin Pickard, rather than backup Reto Berra.

“It’s very simple. Reto’s been practicing really well and the three games he came in for relief he did a good job for us, but he hasn’t started a game since Nov. 25,” Roy explained, per the Denver Post. “It’d be unfair to put him in a situation like this, such an important game for us.

“All the games Calvin played for us, he played really well. He’s one of the reasons why we’re in the position today of still having a chance to make the playoffs.”

Pickard, 22, is 6-6-3 this year for Colorado, posting  a .936 save percentage and 2.18 GAA. Berra, who has spent most of the season in Roy’s doghouse, had a couple of decent relief outings in February — stopping 22 of 23 shots against the Coyotes and Predators — but didn’t look great in Sunday’s 3-2 win over Minnesota, allowing one goal on four shots after Varlamov left with a lower-body injury.

No word yet on who’ll start for the Kings tonight.

Elsewhere…

Rangers at Isles: Cam Talbot vs. Jaroslav Halak

Stars at Flyers: Kari Lehtonen (probable) vs. Steve Mason

Jackets at ‘Canes: Sergei Bobrovsky vs. Cam Ward

Bolts at Habs: Ben Bishop vs. Carey Price

Bruins at Sens: Tuukka Rask vs. Craig Anderson

Jets at Blues: Michael Hutchinson vs. Brian Elliott

Devils at Wild: Cory Schneider vs. Devan Dubnyk

Tricks and tanks: Hurricanes win wild one against Oilers

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Look, in the grand scheme of things, the Carolina Hurricanes beating the Edmonton Oilers 7-4 on Sunday doesn’t mean much.

Still, when 11 goals are scored (including a hat trick per team) and the squad that was up 3-0 ends up losing, it’s probably at least worth noting.

Ryan Nugent-Hopkins scored two of the Oilers’ first three goals to build up that lead and eventually nabbed a rare hat trick in defeat. Here’s video of his third tally:

Elias Lindholm was the true standout, however, generating a hat trick plus two assists. He thanked Eric Staal for passing to him on his empty-netter hat trick goal, but that’s a heck of a night either way. Here’s footage of his second goal:

With the win, Carolina now has 57 standings points in 64 games played, moving them ahead of the Toronto Maple Leafs and possibly (eventually) ahead of the Columbus Blue Jackets when it’s all over. To some extent, cynical fans will believe that they did the Oilers a favor, as Edmonton remains two points behind the Arizona Coyotes for second-to-worst in the NHL.

Really, if you’re not playing for much at this point in the season, you might as well generate a ton of goals rather than deploying a watching-paint-dry style, right?

Video: Canes’ Semin scores after being taken down

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With Hurricanes trailing the Edmonton Oilers 3-0 in the second period, Alexander Semin got Carolina on the board in highlight-reel fashion Sunday afternoon.

Semin was hauled down by Rob Klinkhammer, but still managed to beat Richard Bachman for his fourth of the season.

Have a look:

Goalie Nods: Anderson returns for Ottawa

Anderson makes his first start in over a month

Craig Anderson will make his first start since Jan. 21 when the Ottawa Senators play host to the Calgary Flames tonight. Anderson suffered a bruise to his blocker hand during a 4-3 win over the Toronto Maple Leafs and hasn’t played since. The 33-year-old is 13-11-7 this season to go along with a 2.37 G.A.A. and a .927 save percentage.

Karri Ramo gets the nod for the Flames.

Elsewhere…

Oilers at Hurricanes: Richard Bachman vs. Cam Ward

Flyers at Devils: Steve Mason vs. Keith Kinkaid

Avalanche at Wild: Semyon Varlamov vs. Devan Dubnyk (unconfirmed)

Rangers at Blackhawks: Cam Talbot vs. Corey Crawford

Goalie nods: Dubnyk to make 23rd straight start

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All the latest from the blue paint…

Devan stays busy

More of the same for Minnesota tonight — Devan Dubnyk will start when the Wild take on the Hurricanes in Carolina.

Tonight will mark Dubnyk’s 23rd straight start, a stretch in which he’s showed zero signs of fatigue or slowing down. He’s gone 17-3-1 during his time with the Wild, posting a 1.62 GAA, .939 save percentage and five shutouts.

At this stage — given his stellar play and heavy workload — one has to wonder if Dubnyk could slide into Vezina contention as one of the three finalists. The only category he’s not among the league leaders is wins (26), but is tied for 10th overall, which isn’t too shabby.

For Carolina, Anton Khudobin will be in goal.

Elsewhere…

Jackets at Devils: Sergei Bobrovsky vs. Cory Schneider

Sabres at Sens: Chad Johnson vs. Andrew Hammond

Flames at Wings: Jonas Hiller vs. Jimmy Howard

Oilers at ‘Hawks: Ben Scrivens vs. Corey Crawford

Pens at Ducks: Marc-Andre Fleury (probable) vs. Frederik Andersen (probable)