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.
Just three points out of a playoff spot and in the mix to be a deadline buyer, the Florida Panthers will be interesting to watch as Mar. 2 draws closer.
But to hear head coach Gerard Gallant explain it, any potential deal won’t involve the Panthers’ young prospects.
“I don’t foresee that happening,” Gallant said, per CBS Radio Miami. “We’re staying the course. We’re going to play our young guys, because our young guys are playing real well and they’re a big part of our team.
“I’d be shocked if anything like that happens. You’d have to get an unbelievable offer, but we’re planning on doing this for the long haul.”
It’s easy to see why Gallant was asked about parting with his young stars. Florida’s current position in the standings and reports that the club was interested in Toronto’s Phil Kessel kicked things off — and, obviously, the Panthers have enough tantalizing young assets to pull off a blockbuster. Their three leading scorers are 22-year-old Nick Bjugstad, 19-year-old Aaron Ekblad and 21-year-old Jonathan Huberdeau while the likes of Aleksander Barkov (who’s 19), Alex Petrovic (who’s 22) and Erik Gudbranson (who’s 23) are key contributors as well.
The club’s AHL affiliate in San Antonio also loaded. Promising prospects like Vincent Trocheck, Rocco Grimaldi, Jonathan Racine and Connor Brickley have played well this year and could be knocking on the NHL door sooner rather than later (Trocheck, Grimaldi and Racine have all made their big-league debuts already.)
Despite this seeming surplus of talent, Panthers GM Dale Tallon sounds loathe to part with any of his youngsters. Instead, veterans like Sean Bergenheim and Tomas Fleischmann are being dangled, in part to open up more spots on the active roster for young players.
“The young guys are coming up,” Gallant explained. “I don’t anticipate anybody being traded — any of our young players. We’d be shocked.”
PHT’s Morning Skate takes a look around the world of hockey to see what’s happening and what we’ll be talking about around the NHL world and beyond.
Nearly 40 lots worth of items owned by the late coach Herb Brooks will be up for auction, including memorabilia related to the Miracle on Ice. (NHL.com)
Editor’s Note: Pro Hockey Talk’s partner FanDuel is hosting a one-day $50,000 Fantasy Hockey league for Wednesday’s NHL games. It’s just $25 to join and first prize is $5,000. Starts Wednesday at 7:00 p.m. ET. Here’s the FanDuel link.
Alex Ovechkin was doused in beer by a Pittsburgh Penguins fan during Tuesday’s game. Capitals coach Barry Trotz shrugged it off saying, “He was probably thirsty anyway.” (CSN Washington)
Devan Dubnyk recalls his time with AHL Hamilton last season and his return to grace. (Calgary Sun)
Here are the highlights from New Jersey’s 2-1 shootout win over Buffalo:
The argument against the Edmonton Oilers trading Jeff Petry. (Lowetide)
St. Louis coach Ken Hitchcock is approaching the 700-win milestone. (Dallas Morning News)
Dave Bolland is having fun in his first season with the Florida Panthers. (Toronto Star)
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.
The Globe and Mail’s Eric Duhatschek has a column today about the upcoming NHL trade deadline, and how it’s shaping up to be a buyer’s market.
In it, Duhatschek lists a number of potential rental defensemen, including the “Coyotes’ Zbynek Michalek, the Carolina Hurricanes’ Andrej Sekera, the Edmonton Oilers’ Jeff Petry or the Maple Leafs’ Roman Polak, a player coveted by the Kings.”
We presume Duhatschek, a well-respected hockey reporter, isn’t just pulling those last six words out of thin air and that the Kings do, indeed, have an interest in Polak.
It wouldn’t be a surprise if they do. Polak, 28, is a rugged, right-shooting defender that could add depth and experience to a Kings’ blue line that no longer has Willie Mitchell and may not have Slava Voynov for a while, or even ever again.
Polak, Toronto’s leader with 183 hits, is signed through next season for a cap hit of $2.75 million. He was traded to the Leafs by the Blues in June.