Detroit Red Wings goaltender Jimmy Howard’s recent slump has been bad enough spark speculation about him potentially losing the starting job to 23-year-old netminder Mrazek. That debate only intensified after Mrazek posted a 23-save shutout against the Tampa Bay Lightning on Saturday.
Under these circumstances, Red Wings coach Mike Babcock has decided to start Mrazek against the New York Islanders despite the lack of rest. The only other time Detroit attempted to start Mrazek on back-to-back days this season, he allowed three goals on seven shots to the Buffalo Sabres before being pulled just 13:37 minutes into the second game.
There’s no word yet on who the Islanders will counter with.
Capitals at Rangers: Braden Holtby vs. Cam Talbot
Panthers at Senators: Craig Anderson will start for Ottawa; Roberto Luongo is the probable goaltender for Florida.
Bruins at Hurricanes: Tuukka Rask is expected to be fine for today’s game after dealing with dehydration issues on Saturday, so there’s a fair chance he’ll be between the pipes for Boston. Carolina will likely go with Anton Khudobin after using Cam Ward on Saturday, but that hasn’t been confirmed.
Flames at Predators: Jonas Hiller is confirmed for Calgary while there’s a fair chance Nashville will counter with Pekka Rinne.
Ducks at Devils: It’s not know who Anaheim will start, but Cory Schneider will be in goal for New Jersey.
Sharks at Penguins: Alex Stalock vs. Marc-Andre Fleury
Blackhawks at Jets: Corey Crawford vs. Ondrej Pavelec
The Florida Panthers announced that Kyle Rau has agreed to an entry-level contract. The 22-year-old forward has completed his four-year stint with the University of Minnesota.
Rau was taken by the Panthers with the 91st overall pick in the 2011 NHL Entry Draft. Since then he’s gone on to have a very successful run with the Minnesota Gophers.
He has recorded at least 40 points in each of his NCAA campaigns, including 20 goals and 21 assists in 39 games this season. The Gophers captain is the first Minnesota player to accumulate at least 150 career points since Troy Riddle did it in 2004.
“We are very pleased to have agreed to an entry level contract with Kyle,” said Panthers GM Dale Tallon. “He played extremely well at the University of Minnesota, leading the Gophers to back-to-back Big Ten regular-season championships and four consecutive NCAA tournament appearances. He is another one of our young and talented prospects who is prepared to take the next step in his hockey career.”
He also has strong ties with another promising Panthers forward in Nick Bjugstad. The two played together with Minnesota and were roommates before Bjugstad began his pro career, per the Miami Herald’s George Richards.
After all, the Panthers are still trying to claw their way into the playoffs.
“This is too important a time; we’ll get to it when time is right,” Tallon told the Miami Herald.
“We’ll talk after the season. … He has interest [in staying] but is a free agent on July 1. He’ll make up his mind when he makes up his mind. From what I’ve seen and what has gone on, it would be tremendous to have him back here.”
Jagr has two goals and 10 points in 13 games with the Florida Panthers and has tried to be a mentor for his linemates, 21-year-old Jonathan Huberdeau and 19-year-old Aleksander Barkov.
Florida is four points behind the Boston Bruins in the battle for the second Wild Card seed with seven games remaining in each team’s schedule.