Goalie Nods: Halak looks to bump slump vs. Sabres

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Halak gets the nod for the Isles

Jaroslav Halak will look to get back on track against the lowly Buffalo Sabres Saturday night. Halak has lost two of three starts while allowing 10 goals on 101 shots. He gave up three goals on 39 shots in the Islanders 4-3 shootout loss to Columbus on Thursday. New York has lost four of five, but can clinch a playoff berth with a regulation win tonight.

Andrey Makarov gets the start for Buffalo.

Elsewhere…

Penguins at Blue Jackets: Marc-Andre Fleury vs. Sergei Bobrovsky

Canucks at Jets: Eddie Lack vs. Ondrej Pavelec

Red Wings at Wild: Jimmy Howard vs. Devan Dubnyk

Devils at Rangers: Cory Schneider vs. Henrik Lundqvist

Lightning at Panthers: Ben Bishop vs. Roberto Luongo

Capitals at Senators: Braden Holtby vs. Andrew Hammond

Leafs at Bruins: James Reimer vs. Tuukka Rask

Stars at Predators: Jhonas Enroth vs. Pekka Rinne

Sharks at Coyotes: Antti Niemi (unconfirmed) vs. Mike Smith

Flames at Oilers: Karri Ramo vs. Ben Scrivens

Avalanche at Kings: Semyon Varlamov vs. Jonathan Quick

Luongo collects 400th win, but major milestone’s bittersweet

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Roberto Luongo is only the 11th goaltender in the league’s history to reach the 400-win mark and he earned that milestone in style tonight by turning aside 31 of 32 shots in a 6-1 win over Carolina.

Nevertheless, the timing of this event could have been better.

“I don’t take it for granted. I’m blessed to play this long in the NHL and something that I love, but at the same time I would’ve liked to have got it a few games earlier and maybe get a few more points in the standings,” Luongo told the Sun Sentinel.

Luongo’s point is that despite tonight’s win the Panthers are still likely to miss the playoffs. Had he earned his 400th victory on Tuesday against Boston, the Panthers would be in a better spot.

Nevertheless, this is a remarkable accomplishment for Luongo. He earned 252 of his victories with Vancouver and 141 with Florida. That split has provided him with the rare distinction of being the all-time leader for both franchises. His other seven victories came with the New York Islanders, which drafted him back in 1997, but traded him along with Olli Jokinen to Florida in 2000 in exchange for Mark Parrish and Oleg Kvasha.

Luongo is also just one win shy of Chris Osgood and 10th place on the all-time list.

Jagr now shares fourth on all-time points list with Ron Francis

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The Florida Panthers kept their faint playoff hopes alive on Thursday with a crushing 6-1 victory over Carolina. Along the way, Jaromir Jagr collected his 721st career goal and 1,077th career assist.

Those 1,798 points put him in a tie with Ron Francis for fourth place on the NHL’s all-time scoring leaderboard. Francis joined the Pittsburgh Penguins during Jagr’s rookie campaign with the franchise and the two played together until the 1998-99 campaign.

Jagr turned 43 on Feb. 15, but he has still managed to score 16 goals and 43 points in 73 contests in 2014-15. To put that in perspective, of players who were 42 or older by Feb. 1 of the applicable campaign, Gordie Howe is the all-time single season leader with 52 points. Jagr is just the fifth player to get at least 43 points in a season at 42 (again, by Feb. 1) or older along with Mark Recchi, Igor Larionov, and Mark Messier, per Hockey Reference.

It’s likely that his longevity will continue to be put to the test as Florida is interested in re-signing him for the 2015-16 campaign. The Panthers’ interest isn’t surprising given that he has 14 points in 16 games since joining the team from New Jersey.

His success with Florida also means this tie might not last long.

Goalie nods: Slumping Elliott sits, Allen starts for Blues

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All the latest from the blue paint…

St. Louis turns to Allen

With Brian Elliott having lost four straight and the Blues winning just once in their last six, Ken Hitchcock will turn things over to Jake Allen tonight for a tilt against Calgary.

Allen — who was in goal for St. Louis’ last win, a 3-2 OT decision over Pittsburgh — could potentially throw a wrench into the Blues’ plans of Elliott being their definitive playoff starter. Elliott hasn’t played well lately, going 1-3-1 with a .902 save percentage over his last five games, and Hitchcock did leave the door open slightly when asked if Ellliott could be usurped as the postseason No. 1.

“Obviously if [Elliott] doesn’t play well at all, then we’ve got to reassess it like any team does,” he explained, per the Post-Dispatch.

As for Allen, he’s gunning for his 20th win tonight and is coming off two pretty solid performances, stopping 24 of 26 shots in the aforementioned win over Pittsburgh, and 23 of 25 in a 2-1 OT loss to Detroit on Mar. 22.

For Calgary, Jonas Hiller will start in goal.

Elsewhere…

Isles at Jackets: Jaroslav Halak vs. Sergei Bobrovsky

Caps at Habs: Braden Holtby vs. Carey Price

Bolts at Sens: Ben Bishop vs. Andrew Hammond

Bruins at Wings: (No Boston starter yet) vs. Petr Mrazek

‘Canes at Panthers: Anton Khudobin vs. Roberto Luongo

Rangers at Wild: Henrik Lundqvist vs. Devan Dubnyk

Canucks at ‘Hawks: (No Vancouver starter yet) vs. Corey Crawford

Oilers at Kings: No starters for either team yet.

Johnny Hockey named NHL’s rookie of the month for March

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The NHL’s rookie scoring leader is also its rookie of the month.

On Wednesday, the league announced that Calgary freshman Johnny Gaudreau took home the honors for March after putting up 16 points in 15 games, keeping the Flames afloat in the Western Conference playoff chase.

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Gaudreau edged Ottawa Senators right wing Mark Stone (4-11—15 in 16 GP), Boston Bruins teammates Ryan Spooner (7-7—14 in 15 GP) and David Pastrnak (3-10—13 in 15 GP), Carolina Hurricanes center Victor Rask (3-8—11 in 15 GP), and Anaheim Ducks goaltender John Gibson (6-2-0, 2.50 GAA, .918 SV%) for the honor.

Gaudreau, a fourth-round selection (104th overall) by the Flames in the 2011 NHL Draft, recorded at least one point in 10 of his 15 March appearances, highlighted by four multi-point efforts. Those included his fourth career multi-goal game in a 6-3 victory over the Anaheim Ducks March 11 (2-0—2) and his fourth career game-winning goal in a 5-3 triumph over the Dallas Stars March 30 (1-1—2).

Gaudreau joins Tanner Pearson (October), Filip Forsberg (November), John Klingberg (January) and Anders Lee (February) as this season’s rookie of the month winners. He also looks to be a lock as one of this year’s three Calder Trophy finalists, along with Forbsberg and Aaron Ekblad.