In the wake of three straight regulation losses for the Winnipeg Jets in which they surrendered 15 combined goals, it sounds like Michael Hutchinson will get the nod tonight in Calgary.
It’ll be Hutchinson’s third consecutive start. The 24-year-old rookie has been excellent overall this season, going 14-6-2 with a .927 save percentage. However, there was reason to wonder if Ondrej Pavelec might get the nod tonight against the Flames after Hutchinson surrendered five goals on 32 shots in Saturday’s 5-2 loss to Dallas and four goals on 31 shots in Thursday’s 5-2 loss to Philly.
To be fair to Hutchinson, four of the five goals the Stars scored against him came on the power play.
Jonas Hiller will be in goal for Calgary.
Roberto Luongo versus Henrik Lundqvist as the struggling Panthers take on the Rangers.
Antti Niemi gets the call for streaking San Jose against the Oilers, who haven’t named a starter.
So let’s see here…
That’s four road games against good teams* and four home games against good teams.
In fact, it’s unlikely that the Panthers will be favored in any of those eight games. Especially considering their record of late.
Saturday in Newark, the Panthers lost for the fifth time in six tries, falling 3-1 to the Devils despite limiting New Jersey to just 14 shots.
“We have to score some ugly ones,” said forward Brandon Pirri, per the Associated Press. “We’re an ugly team. Scoring one goal just is not good enough. It’s not going to get any easier from here.”
Florida hasn’t been all that great defensively either. And goalie Roberto Luongo, so outstanding earlier in the season, hasn’t been able to bail his teammates out, surrendering 20 goals in his last seven appearances and getting pulled twice.
The Panthers’ slide, combined with the resurgence of the Boston Bruins, has left them eight points out of a playoff spot. With such a tough schedule to start the month, that deficit could easily grow larger.
*Yes, we’re counting Dallas and Minnesota as “good teams.” The Stars are 13-6-2 in their last 21 games, and the Wild actually have goaltending now.
Jaromir Jagr is up to goal No. 715 for his NHL career in the regular season.
The 42-year-old winger opened the scoring for the New Jersey Devils on Saturday, ripping a wrist shot from the slot over the left shoulder of Roberto Luongo to the top corner. That’s Jagr’s first goal and point since Jan. 3, when he recorded a hat trick — becoming the oldest NHL player to do so — against the Philadelphia Flyers.
Jagr had been battling a flu and the mumps, which caused him to miss a portion of the Devils’ schedule this month.
All the latest from the blue paint…
Smith seeks better showing against Ottawa
Arizona Coyotes goaltender Mike Smith surrendered five goals on 33 shots on Jan. 10 against the Senators, but he’ll be back between the pipes tonight in Ottawa. Smith has started in every game since Devan Dubnyk was traded to Minnesota.
Smith has struggled mightily this season, posting a 3.41 GAA and .890 save percentage in 33 contests, but he held Toronto to a single goal on Thursday, so this is an opportunity for him to string a couple good games together.
Ottawa will counter with Robin Lehner.
Islanders at Red Wings: Chad Johnson vs. Petr Mrazek
Kings at Bruins: Jonathan Quick is the probable goaltender against Tuukka Rask.
Panthers at Devils: Roberto Luongo vs. Keith Kinkaid
Canes at Rangers: Neither goaltender is confirmed, but it will probably be Cam Ward facing Henrik Lundqvist.
Leafs at Flyers: James Reimer vs. Steve Mason
Stars at Jets: It’s believed that Kari Lehtonen will play against Michael Hutchinson.
Blue Jackets at Lightning: Curtis McElhinney and Ben Bishop are both considered probable.
Oilers at Flames: No word on who Edmonton will go with, but Calgary will send out Jonas Hiller.
Hawks at Sharks: Chicago will start Antti Raanta. San Jose’s starter remains a mystery, although odds are it will end up being Antti Niemi.
All the latest from the blue paint…
All Devan, all the time
Devan Dubnyk has been the goalie of record for Minnesota since coming over from Arizona two weeks ago, and that won’t change tonight when the Wild face the Flames in Calgary.
Dubnyk, who’s posted a .911 save percentage and 2.04 GAA in five games, is coming off a 2-1 win over Edmonton in which he stopped 23 of 24 shots. He’ll need a similar performance tonight if the 12th-place Wild want to stay within striking distance of the eighth-place Flames, who are currently seven points up in the standings:
For Calgary, Jonas Hiller starts in goal.
Bruins at Isles: Jaroslav Halak for New York, Tuukka Rask likely for Boston.
Habs at Rangers: Carey Price vs. Henrik Lundqvist
Jets at Flyers: Michael Hutchinson vs. Steve Mason
Jackets at Panthers: Curtis McElhinney vs. Roberto Luongo
Wings at Bolts: Petr Mrazek vs. Ben Bishop
Stars at Sens: Robin Lehner for Ottawa, Kari Lehtonen likely for Dallas.
Coyotes at Leafs: Mike Smith vs. Jonathan Bernier
Preds at Blues: Carter Hutton vs. Brian Elliott
Sabres at Oilers: Jhonas Enroth vs. Ben Scrivens
Ducks at Sharks: Ilya Bryzgalov likely for Anaheim, Antti Niemi likely for San Jose.