Carolina Hurricanes

Goalie nods: Halak vs. Fleury in battle of All-Star replacements

All the latest from the blue paint…

Halak to face Fleury

Interesting sidebar to tonight’s Penguins-Islanders game at Nassau — Marc-Andre Fleury and Jaroslav Halak, named as replacement All-Stars for Pekka Rinne and Jimmy Howard yesterday, will square off in a key Metropolitan Division showdown.

The Isles head into tonight’s action one point up on the Pens, and much of that has to do with Halak’s play this year; he’s won nine of his last 11 starts and has been very good against Pittsburgh this season, posting a 1.52 GAA and .954 save percentage through two head-to-head matchups.

Fleury has been equally strong this season, especially against the Isles — he’s secured three of a possible four points with a 2.40 GAA and .929 save percentage.

Elsewhere…

Canucks at ‘Canes: Cam Ward for Carolina, no word yet on a Vancouver starter.

Rangers at Jackets: Henrik Lundqvist for New York, Sergei Bobrovsky likely for Columbus.

Caps at Preds: Braden Holtby vs. Carter Hutton

Jets at ‘Hawks: Corey Crawford for Chicago, no word yet on a Winnipeg starter.

Devils at Ducks: Cory Schneider vs. Ilya Bryzgalov

Video: Lindholm’s shootout goal helps the Canes edge the Avs

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Elias Lindholm showed off his sweet hands in the shootout helping the Carolina Hurricanes edge the Colorado Avalanche 3-2 Tuesday night.

Victor Rask also scored in the shootout while Matt Duchene and Nathan MacKinnon were stopped by Anton Khudobin.

The Canes have now won two of three.

Jordan Staal scored his first of the season to open the scoring and Patrick Dwyer had the other Hurricanes regulation goal.

Khudobin made 28 saves to improve to 3-8-2.

Duchene and John Mitchell had the Avs’ regulation goals while Calvin Pickard made 44 saves in the loss.

Video: Jordan Staal opens the scoring with his first of the season

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Jordan Staal netted his first of the season tonight giving the Carolina Hurricanes a 1-0 lead over the Colorado Avalanche after 20 minutes.

It was Staal’s first goal since March 22, 2014.

The 26-year-old of course missed the first 35 games of the season after breaking his fibula during the preseason.

Staal now has a goal and three assists in seven games since returning.

Should the Lightning be worried about Ben Bishop?

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Ben Bishop is 28 years old and has had one impressive season as a starting NHL goalie.

That, of course, came last season, when he went 37-14-7 with a .924 save percentage for the Tampa Bay Lightning. And for that, he was deservedly named a Vezina Trophy finalist.

But before last season he remained very much unproven. The 85th overall pick in the 2005 draft, he’d only started 38 NHL games in five seasons for the Lightning, Senators, and Blues.

Which is why he came into 2014-15 still somewhat unproven.

“I had one really good year this year — I think I’ve still got to prove myself,” Bishop said, per the Tampa Bay Times. “I want to be consistent year in and year out. I don’t want to be a one-hit wonder.

“I want to be even better this year.”

Except he hasn’t been. After 33 appearances, his save percentage sits at .910, ranking him in the bottom half of regular starters.

Moreover, at even strength, among the 29 goalies that have played at least 1,000 minutes, his save percentage ranks better than just four of his counterparts — Cam Ward, Ben Scrivens, Darcy Kuemper, and Mike Smith.

Those last three goalies — Scrivens, Kuemper, and Smith — in case you haven’t been reading PHT on a regular basis, have probably been the most maligned in the NHL this season. And at the moment, Bishop is a lot closer to them in terms of his stats than he is to the likes of Pekka Rinne and Carey Price.

Now, look, we’re not here to suggest that Bishop is going to become the next Jim Carey. All goalies go through rough patches. But, in all likelihood, Bishop will need to be better if the Lightning are going to make an impact in the playoffs. Currently, Tampa Bay ranks first in goal-scoring (that’s really good) and 15th in goals-against (that’s pretty mediocre).

The Lightning are in Boston to play the Bruins this evening. They’ve yet to announce a starting goalie.

Related: Flyers chase Nabokov as veteran’s struggles continue

Goalie nods: All-Czech matchup for Hasek night in Buffalo

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All the latest from the blue paint…

Czech affair

A fitting goaltending duel in Buffalo tonight as the Sabres retire Dominik Hasek’s No. 39: Michal Neuvirth will go up against Petr Mrazek as two of the NHL’s three active Czech goalies battle it out.

Mrazek, back with the Red Wings after injuries to Jimmy Howard and Jonas Gustavsson, has posted a 5-3-1 record with a 2.29 GAA and .916 save percentage this year. He did allow two goals on just 12 shots in relief of Howard on Saturday against Washington, though.

Neuvirth, meanwhile, will look to build on one of the finest performances of his career. He was brilliant in Friday’s 2-1 loss to Tampa Bay, making 45 saves on 47 shots for a .957 save percentage. While the 26-year-old’s numbers on the year aren’t great — 3-11-1, .909 save percentage, 3.36 GAA — Neuvirth has had a couple good outings lately, which included stops on 31 of 33 shots in a loss to Florida on Jan. 2.

Elsewhere…

Bolts at Bruins: Tuukka Rask likely for Boston, no word yet on a Tampa Bay starter.

Isles at Rangers: Jaroslav Halak vs. Henrik Lundqvist

Wild at Pens: Niklas Backstrom vs. Marc-Andre Fleury

Avs at ‘Canes: Calvin Pickard vs. Anton Khudobin

Panthers at Jets: Roberto Luongo vs. Michael Hutchinson

Canucks vs. Preds: Eddie Lack for Vancouver, Pekka Rinne likely for Nashville.

Oilers at Blues: Ben Scrivens vs. Jake Allen

Sens at Stars: Robin Lehner for Ottawa, Kari Lehtonen likely for Dallas.

Sharks at Coyotes: Devan Dubnyk for Arizona, Antti Niemi likely for San Jose.