Florida Panthers

Bernier bests Panthers as Luongo goes from injured (and in street clothes) to back in net

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It’s oddly fitting that a goalie shined the brightest in the Toronto Maple Leafs’ 3-2 win against the Florida Panthers on Tuesday, as netminders provided tons of drama.

Jonathan Bernier was absolutely brilliant in making 40 saves and ended Toronto’s 16-game road winless streak, but most eyes were on Roberto Luongo, Al Montoya and … Robb Tallas.

It started out with Luongo, who was hurt by a first period shot. Montoya then got hurt himself during the third period, yet with Florida in a huge bind, the backup goalie did his best to tough things out (eventually giving up the game-deciding goal as he could barely move properly).

All eyes were on the Panthers bench and walkway, as goalie coach Tallas warmed up in an emergency capacity. It only got weirder when Luongo was seen discussing the situation with Panthers GM Dale Tallon and other staffers in street clothes before coming back out in his gear to finish the game.

Luongo stopped all 19 of the shots he faced, suffer what seemed like a shoulder injury, and ended the night with a non-decision.

It was an absolutely surreal situation, yet it could have serious playoff implications if Luongo and/or Montoya are significantly hurt.

On the bright side for Florida, they do have an experienced goalie waiting in the wings in Dan Ellis. In less savory news, their goalies weren’t the only players to get banged up, as Nick Bjugstad was shaken up when he took a puck up high.

Yeah, not a great night for the Panthers, so they probably won’t get much of a kick out of these bits of information about Tallas:

Greedy folks wanted to see Jaromir Jagr in net, yet it felt like slack-jawed observers witnessed everything else in this one.

Luongo leaves game, Panthers in bind with Montoya also hurt

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The Florida Panthers are still keyed into a hopeful playoff run – their moves mainly cleared out guys with no future in Sunrise – so seeing Roberto Luongo take a puck to the head/neck one night after the trade deadline is especially distressing.

While he finished up the first period, Luongo’s night eventually ended earlier thanks to this moment against the Toronto Maple Leafs:

Yeah, not ideal.

Update: On the bright side, the Miami Herald’s George Richards provides an optimistic early outlook –

More interesting update: Al Montoya was banged up during the game, and for some time, it seemed like Florida would have to scramble to either dress a skater or improvise in some other way to get a third goalie in there. Montoya returned, however, but not before onlookers were entertained.

Goalie nods: Markstrom makes season debut for Canucks

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All the latest from the blue paint…

Vancouver goes with Markstrom

There’ll be plenty of eyes on the crease in Vancouver tonight as Jacob Markstrom makes his season debut against the Sharks.

Markstrom, a former touted prospect with Florida that came to the Canucks as part of the Roberto Luongo trade, has spent all of this season in AHL Utica and revived his career, going 17-7-2 with a 1.95 GAA and .932 save percentage, earning a spot in the All-Star Game.

Markstrom was recalled last week after Ryan Miller went down to injury, and served as Eddie Lack’s backup. Tonight, he’ll play in his first NHL game since April of 2014.

No word yet on who’ll start for San Jose. Alex Stalock played last night and shut out the Habs, so the Sharks could turn to Antti Niemi.

Elsewhere…

Preds at Devils: Carter Hutton (probable) vs. Cory Schneider

Flames at Flyers: Karri Ramo vs. Steve Mason

Caps at Jackets: Braden Holtby vs. Sergei Bobrovsky

Sabres at Bolts: Anders Lindback vs. Ben Bishop

Leafs at Panthers: Jonathan Bernier vs. Roberto Luongo

Sens at Wild: Andrew Hammond vs. Devan Dubnyk (probable)

Isles at Stars: Jaroslav Halak vs. Kari Lehtonen (probable)

Ducks at Coyotes: Frederik Andersen (probable) vs. Mike Smith

Kings at Oilers: Jonathan Quick (probable) vs. Ben Scrivens (probable)

Stewart to open with Vanek, Koivu in Minnesota

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Upon acquiring Chris Stewart from Buffalo yesterday, Wild GM Chuck Fletcher said the 27-year-old power forward would be able to play up and down the Minnesota lineup.

To start, though, he’ll be near the top.

Stewart will open on a line with Thomas Vanek and Mikko Koivu, head coach Mike Yeo told KFAN radio on Tuesday. The Zach Parise-Mikael Granlund-Jason Pominville line will remain intact, meaning the club’s other new forward — Sean Bergenheim — will play with Nino Niederreiter and Charlie Coyle (Bergenheim had debuted on the Koivu-Vanek line.)

It’ll be interesting to see how Stewart fits with his new running mates. It’s clear by both his and Fletcher’s comments that the goal is to provide a physical element and more size; it’s also likely Stewart will be a net-front presence and feed off the offense generated by Vanek (who has nine points in his last 11 games) and Koivu (12 in his last 14.)

“Adding my size and my physicality to that lineup, I think that’s something they’re looking for,” Stewart said, per the Star-Tribune. “I’m a big guy, a power forward, I have some pretty good speed and I like to play a hard-nosed game and get in the corners there and on the forecheck and create turnovers.

“It’s going to be a great challenge. I look forward to it.”

Winners and losers of the 2015 trade deadline

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The dust has settled on another trade deadline, so now it’s time for hasty judgments. Let’s name the winners and losers mere moments after everything happened, then. For all the moves, click here.

Winners

source: AP
Source: AP

Buffalo

Deride “tank jobs” if you must, but Buffalo Sabres GM Tim Murray (pictured) is doing a masterful job of amassing a staggering array of assets. It’s genuinely difficult to keep track of all the futures Buffalo now possesses, yet Evander Kane + Connor McDavid/Jack Eichel should make the Sabres fun to watch starting in 2015-16.

(Assuming Buffalo gets one of the top two picks, which is fairly safe.)

Arizona

The Coyotes shifted into sellers far more abruptly than the Sabres, yet their takeaway has been resounding. They landed an enviable haul for Antoine Vermette and Keith Yandle while “gently nudging” their way to the cellar by moving Devan Dubnyk before he won them too many games.

Anaheim

One of the biggest winners among the “buyers,” the Ducks reunited with James Wisniewski (pictured) while bolstering an already-young defense with an interesting piece in Simon Despres. They didn’t pay that big for a guy who may or may not help them in Tomas Fleischmann, who likely will get the benefit of the doubt from Bruce Boudreau thanks to their Washington days.

source: Getty Images
Source: Getty Images

Chicago

A reasonably healthy Kimmo Timonen could be a game-changer. Antoine Vermette may be the second-line center they were looking for. The big prices they paid might put them in the “losers” category in hindsight, however.

Flyers

A nice job of “reloading” if not fully rebuilding.

The Leopolds

Jordyn Leopold’s adorable letter went viral and Jordan Leopold gets a chance to maybe make an impact with a playoff team in the Minnesota Wild.

Sven Baertschi

He clearly saw his stock plummet with the Calgary Flames, but now he gets a new lease on life with the Vancouver Canucks. Perhaps he’ll get up a little bit more for each rivalry game, too?

Teams that tweaked like Montreal, Detroit

The Canadiens grabbed some depth and also an interesting defenseman in Jeff Petry. The Red Wings get an aging but skilled puck mover in Marek Zidlicky and a top-six forward in Erik Cole. Maybe they didn’t knock their moves out of the park, but good teams like these (and maybe the St. Louis Blues?) are better equipped for the postseason without blowing up their futures.

Olli Jokinen

He went from barely playing for the Nashville Predators to complaining about being a member of the Toronto Maple Leafs to getting a chance at his first-ever deep playoff run with the St. Louis Blues.

Relocated Sabres

Chris Stewart gets a chance to inflate his value as a free agent if he can score big goals for the Wild. Torrey Mitchell could barely contain his excitement about going home to Montreal. Michal Neuvirth is a Jaroslav Halak injury away from an interesting opportunity …

Everyone involved with David Clarkson

source:
Via Smashfest.ca

Sure, he was traded for the essentially retired Nathan Horton, but David Clarkson gets a desperately needed clean slate. Toronto gets crucial cap space and Columbus isn’t wasting its budget on a guy who cannot play. Everyone wins?

Days before the deadline

It’s becoming a trend that the days before the deadline contain the biggest deals. When you expand the scope to the likes of Evander Kane and Keith Yandle, all of a sudden the trade deadline has some solid star power.

Losers

Deadline day itself

That said, if you took a day off to follow the proceedings on March 2 … you only have yourself to blame.

Ottawa

Did they know that the deadline was today? (Cue bad term paper memories.) San Jose was pretty quiet, too.

Boston

The Bruins didn’t get help on defense and it remains to be seen if Brett Connolly and Max Talbot can give Boston much of a boost on the wings.

Edmonton

Pretty quiet deadline for a team in perpetual rebuild mode.

Rangers

OK, Keith Yandle definitely makes them an interesting team in 2014-15 (and isn’t a full-on rental) … but at some point you need to keep some first-round picks, right? GM Glen Sather isn’t being shy about going “all-in,” and we might look back at this and wonder what he was thinking.

(They’ll be a lot of fun in the short term, though.)

Pittsburgh

Penguins fans aren’t exactly thrilled about the return of Ben Lovejoy, at least for the price of a former first-rounder. Then again, if you count the David Perron trade, they’re among the bigger winners.

Chad Johnson

He was already struggling as a backup with the Islanders, now he’s going to get shelled in Buffalo, which could be a painful trial-by-fire. Not ideal for a guy who’s still trying to prove himself and stop people from making jokes about faded former NFL receivers.

Eric Brewer

Health hasn’t been on his side, and now he’s gone from being on a contender to playing out the string in Toronto.

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Who else would make your lists? Share your picks in the comments.