All the latest from the blue paint…
Zepp goes for Flyers
Philly will turn to Rob Zepp for the fourth straight game when it takes on the Leafs in Toronto this evening.
Zepp, 33, has fared reasonably well in his first-ever NHL campaign. He’s posted a 5-2-0 record, though his GAA (2.80) and save percentage (.893) leave something to be desired.
At the same time, the Flyers need wins right now — they head into tonight’s action four points back of Boston for the final wild card spot in the Eastern Conference — and Zepp has provided those; he’s won two of his last three starts, which included impressive victories against the NHL-leading Predators and Washington, who currently holds the east’s other wild card.
For Toronto, Jonathan Bernier will be in goal.
Canucks at Sabres: Eddie Lack vs. Michal Neuvirth (more here)
Coyotes at Rangers: Mike Smith vs. Cam Talbot
Habs at Jackets: Carey Price vs. Curtis McElhinney
Hawks at Panthers: (No word on a Chicago starter yet) vs. Roberto Luongo
Blues at Jets: Brian Elliott vs. Michael Hutchinson
Wild at Preds: (Devan Dubnyk likely) vs. Pekka Rinne
Sens at Kings: (No word on an Ottawa starter yet) vs. Jonathan Quick
Wings at Sharks: (No word on a Detroit starter yet vs. Antti Niemi
Hammond looks for a second straight win
Andrew Hammond will make his second career start tonight when the Ottawa Senators play host to the Florida Panthers. Hammond made 42 saves in a win over the Montreal Canadiens Wednesday night in his first career start. It was the 27-year-old’s second NHL appearance. He carries a 2.96 G.A.A. and a .916 save percentage into tonight’s action.
Roberto Luongo gets the nod for the Panthers.
Ducks at Oilers: John Gibson vs. Ben Scrivens
Hurricanes at Devils: Anton Khudobin vs. Keith Kinkaid
Blue Jackets at Canadiens: Curtis McElhinney vs. Carey Price
Jets at Maple Leafs: Michael Hutchinson vs. Jonathan Bernier
Penguins at Blues: Thomas Greiss vs. Brian Elliott
Red Wings at Stars: Jimmy Howard vs. Kari Lehtonen
Lightning at Coyotes: Ben Bishop vs. Mike Smith
Kings at Sharks: Jonathan Quick vs. Antti Niemi
Sidney Crosby has endured a bit of a cold streak — at least by his high standards — so he tried to help his team out in a less conventional way tonight.
He dropped the gloves and had a spirited fight against the Blue Jackets’ Brandon Dubinsky, which you can watch below:
Crosby has now engaged in six fights over 604 career games.
This came after Crosby was denied by goaltender Curtis McElhinney on a golden opportunity earlier in the period:
The Penguins captain has been held off the scoresheet in two straight contests and Pittsburgh has lost both games. That by itself isn’t too big of an issue, but Pittsburgh is just 10-10-5 following its tremendous 26-6-4 start to the 2014-15 campaign. The Penguins have a particularly troubling 7-10-4 record in games against their Metropolitan rivals.
Pittsburgh and Columbus were tied at one through 40 minutes.
A couple of Olympic gold-medal winners will be between the pipes tonight in Montreal, where the Canadiens’ Carey Price will be staring down the Bell Centre ice at the Panthers’ Roberto Luongo.
Both Canadian netminders are enjoying excellent seasons. Price is a serious Hart Trophy candidate, while Luongo has helped keep Florida in the playoff race with a .920 save percentage in 46 appearances.
With a win, the Panthers would move to within one point of the Bruins for the final wild-card spot in the East.
So let’s hear those “Go Habs Go” chants, Boston sports fans!
Jaroslav Halak will look to rebound from a shaky performance versus the Rangers when the Islanders host the Predators, who are likely to go with Pekka Rinne.
Cam Talbot for the Rangers versus Ryan Miller for the Canucks.
Curtis McElhinney for the Blue Jackets versus Marc-Andre Fleury for the Penguins.
Ondrej Pavelec will see his first action in a week when the Jets visit Washington to take on Braden Holtby and the Capitals.
Michal Neuvirth for the Sabres versus Ray Emery for the Flyers.
Antti Niemi for the Sharks versus Kari Lehtonen (likely) for the Stars.
All the latest from the crease…
Who goes for New York?
The Islanders won’t announce their starting goalie until 5 p.m. ET today, so we don’t know if it’s Chad Johnson or Jaroslav Halak in net for tonight’s affair against Carolina.
Update: It’s Johnson.
One would suspect Johnson gets the nod, given tonight is the second of a back-to-back; Halak played last night, and allowed six goals on 42 shots in an emotional loss to the Rangers.
That said, head coach Jack Capuano could possibly be persuaded to let Halak try and bounce back; the 29-year-old Slovak looked rattled and a bit shaky as the Blueshirts made a concerted effort to get into his kitchen.
Related: The Isles are surrendering too many goals
“I want to get shots,” captain Ryan McDonagh said, per Newsday. “We wanted to make it more difficult on Halak tonight than in other past games. He’s been a big difference in why we haven’t been able to beat them in the past.
“We talked about getting in front of the net and making it tough on him, make him fight through screens. We were a lot hungrier in front of him for sure.”
No word yet on who’ll start in goal for the ‘Canes.
Blue Jackets at Flyers: Curtis McElhinney vs. Ray Emery
Caps at Pens: Braden Holtby vs. Marc-Andre Fleury
Sabres at Devils: Cory Schneider for New Jersey, Michal Neuvirth likely for Buffalo.
Panthers at Leafs: Roberto Luongo vs. Jonathan Bernier
Stars at Blues: Brian Elliott for St. Louis, Kari Lehtonen likely for Dallas.
Sharks at Preds: Alex Stalock for San Jose, Pekka Rinne likely for Nashville.