Could we see at least a mild goalie battle for the Anaheim Ducks, albeit a few months later than expected?
Going into the season, it seemed like John Gibson and Frederik Andersen would trade starts on a playoff-caliber team. Anaheim’s remained a playoff team, but Andersen ran with the top job when Gibson got hurt. Now Gibson seems like he’s taking advantage of the opportunity he received when Andersen was injured.
The interesting wrinkle is that Andersen seems ready to play again, yet as the OC Register’s Eric Stephens notes, head coach Bruce Boudreau is going with the “winning hand” in Gibson.
While Andersen’s record (29-8-5) towers over that of Gibson (7-5-0), his .916 save percentage is only slightly shinier than Gibson’s .914 mark. Perhaps Boudreau will merely ride the hot/winning hand for the rest of 2014-15, then?
Sunday serves as a good opportunity for another win for Gibson – at least on paper – as the Ducks face the struggling Dallas Stars with Jhonas Enroth in net.
Kings at Jets: Likely Jonathan Quick, while Michael Hutchinson is a safe bet.
Blue Jackets at Penguins: Curtis McElhinney vs. Marc-Andre Fleury.
Lightning at Panthers: A good chance of Ben Bishop, while Al Montoya is confirmed.
Leafs at Capitals: Leaning toward James Reimer vs. Braden Holtby, but neither team has confirmed those choices.
Steve Mason will make his first start since Feb. 8 tonight when the Flyers play host to the New York Rangers. Mason allowed one goal on nine shots in relief of Rob Zepp on Thursday night. Mason is 0-2-0 with a 2.59 G.A.A. and .914 save percentage in two starts against New York.
Cam Talbot, who has shutout the Flyers twice this season, gets the nod for the Rangers.
Hurricanes at Islanders: Cam Ward vs. Chad Johnson
Devils at Blue Jackets: Cory Schneider vs. Curtis McElhinney
Coyotes at Bruins: Mike Smith vs. Tuukka Rask
Maple Leafs at Canadiens: Jonathan Bernier vs. Carey Price
Wild at Avalanche: Devan Dubnyk vs. Semyon Varlamov (unconfirmed)
Blues at Oilers: Brian Elliott vs. Ben Scrivens (likely)
Senators at Sharks: Andrew Hammond vs. Antti Niemi
“What happened was [Dave Nonis] called me and asked if we’d be interested in talking about [Clarkson],” Murray told the Sun. “I think [Clarkson] will be better elsewhere and there’s no question that what happened in Toronto was not a good thing for him or the team.
“I threw some names at [Nonis] and he said he would take their contracts and I said, ‘It has to be more than that and you’d have to eat some money too.’ We just talked one day and I told him I’d think about it.”
Ottawa’s interest in the forward is not all that surprising. The Sens were reportedly interested in the 30-year-old’s services when he was an unrestricted free agent two summers ago.
In the end Murray was concerned the Leafs wouldn’t retain enough of Clarkson’s salary to make the deal worthwhile.
“I just called back [two days later] and said it doesn’t work,” Murray said. “When he played in New Jersey, I always thought he was a competitive guy. I didn’t think he was worth quite the contract that he got [from Toronto].
“We talked [to] him before he went to Toronto. I think he’s competitive and he plays with grit. I watched us play [Los Angeles Thursday] and I thought we need that grit in our lineup, a guy who can stand up for our players, but it wasn’t him.”