Jonathan Quick

Goalie nods: Hutchinson pushing for Jets’ starting gig


News and notes from around the crease…

Winnipeg goes back to Hutch

Goalie controversy in Winnipeg?

Maybe. Just maybe.

Michael Hutchinson, who’s rotated starts with Ondrej Pavelec recently, will get the call tonight when the Jets take on the Stars in Dallas.

The decision comes after Pavelec allowed four goals on 25 shots in Sunday’s 4-3 OT loss to Anaheim. Hutchinson, meanwhile, has been excellent of late, stopping 124 of his last 132 shots faced — good for a .939 save percentage — and hasn’t lost in regulation in five straight games, with the Jets securing eight of a possible 10 points over that stretch.

Pavelec was great to start the season but has cooled off in recent weeks, and it wouldn’t be a shock if head coach Paul Maurice kept using Hutchinson extensively for the rest of this month. The Jets have some pretty big games on the horizon — from Dec. 13-31 they’ll face the likes of Anaheim, Boston, Chicago, Minnesota (x2) and the red-hot New York Islanders.

For the Stars, Kari Lehtonen is your likely starter.


‘Hawks at Devils: Scott Darling for Chicago, no word on a New Jersey starter.

Flyers at Jackets: Steve Mason vs. Sergei Bobrovsky

Caps at Bolts: Braden Holtby vs. Ben Bishop

Canucks at Habs: Ryan Miller vs. Carey Price

Flames at Leafs: Jonas Hiller vs. Jonathan Bernier

Kings at Sabres: Jhonas Enroth for Buffalo, Jonathan Quick likely for L.A.

Isles at Wild: Jaroslav Halak vs. Niklas Backstrom

Preds at Avs: Pekka Rinne vs. Calvin Pickard

Oilers at Sharks: Antti Niemi for San Jose, no word yet on an Edmonton starter.

NHL on NBCSN: Kings begin road trip against Sabres


NBCSN will continue its coverage of the 2014-15 campaign when the Buffalo Sabres host the Los Angeles Kings at the First Niagara Center at 7:30 p.m. ET tonight. In addition to NBCSN, you can also watch the game and pre-show online.

There are a lot of remarkable stats one can throw around about the Los Angeles Kings and Buffalo Sabres, yet all things considered, their records in the last 10 games ranks up there among the most baffling:

Kings in last 10 games: 6-3-1
Sabres in last 10 games: 6-4-0

Considering how poorly Buffalo comes across in an array of areas – a power play of potentially historic inefficiency, allowing 13 more shots per game than they’re producing – it’s remarkable that the Sabres’ record has been nearly identical to the Kings’ lately.

Editor’s Note: Pro Hockey Talk’s partner FanDuel is hosting a one-day $20,000 Fantasy Hockey league for Tuesday’s NHL games. It’s just $2 to join and first prize is $2,000. Starts Tuesday at 7pm ET. Here’s the FanDuel link. notes that Los Angeles is just 3-2-1 in games in which they’ve generated at least 38 shots on goal, including Saturday’s 2-1 loss to the Philadelphia Flyers.

From this narrative thread, it seems like Buffalo’s best bet is to frustrate (or even “rope-a-dope”) Los Angeles.

There could be some hard feelings carrying over from the two teams’ first meeting of 2014-15. Four fights erupted in the Kings’ 2-0 win on Oct. 23, so despite limited exposure against each other, there’s a chance for some tension on Tuesday night.

The Kings hope to improve on the road, as they carry a 3-4-4 away record into a five-game road trip that begins tonight in Buffalo.

It will be interesting to see if Los Angeles ends up going with Martin Jones instead of Jonathan Quick in goal, as Jones is currently riding a two-game shutout streak. If Buffalo gives Jhonas Enroth the nod, we could witness a battle between two netminders who have been on relative hot streaks lately.

Ultimately, tonight’s a match between a cellar dweller and the defending Stanley Cup champions, yet the Kings would be wise not to take the Sabres lightly.

Steve Mason shuts the door, Flyers end losing skid at six games


The Philadelphia Flyers got the lead. Then they had to hang on as the L.A. Kings pressed.

Goalie Steve Mason was certainly busy, making 37 saves as the Flyers managed to escape L.A. with a 2-1 victory over the Kings, despite getting outshot 38-16. Philadelphia, which snapped a six-game losing streak, got goals from Claude Giroux and Wayne Simmonds, taking a 2-0 lead. The Kings, so dominant at home this season, came close but couldn’t complete the comeback.

The Flyers, facing scrutiny for their struggles so far, managed to test Jonathan Quick only nine times in the final 40 minutes. Meanwhile, Mason faced a steady barrage of rubber for just his fifth victory of the season.

Busy as he was, his teammates in front of him did their best in putting up a protective, shot-blocking shield, too. The Kings had 22 shot attempts blocked.

“We didn’t get a lot through to him. A lot of really good chances that we had were either blocked or didn’t get all the way there. I don’t think it was goaltending that beat us,” said Kings’ head coach Darryl Sutter, as per LA Kings Insider.

The Flyers, with this win and a victory against L.A. on Oct. 28, complete the regular season sweep of the Kings.

“They’re Stanley Cup champs. That should do a lot for us. It shows that we can hang in there with the big boys,” said Simmonds, as per Curtis Zupke of

Goalie nods: Luongo hopes to blank Buffalo once again

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All the latest from the blue paint…

Bobby Lou loves facing Buffalo

As many point out, Roberto Luongo has really pumped up his numbers against the Buffalo Sabres lately, as he carries a three-game shutout streak into Saturday’s game. That streak includes his past two starts versus Buffalo as a member of the Florida Panthers, so it’s not merely a matter of his days with the Vancouver Canucks.

Luongo’s been quite effective for Florida, in general, even if he hasn’t always received the best bounces (judging by the six in his 8-5-6 record). His .924 save percentage is a strong argument that he can make things work under most circumstances, even as people focus on a contract even he grew to hate.

The Sabres rode a hot streak with Jhonas Enroth pretty recently, yet it sounds like Michal Neuvirth will get the nod today.

Elsewhere …

Flyers at Kings: Steve Mason for sure on Philly’s end, probably Jonathan Quick for Los Angeles.

Capitals at Devils: Braden Holtby seems most likely, Cory Scheider for sure.

Canucks at Maple Leafs: Ryan Miller’s expected, Jonathan Bernier’s confirmed.

Rangers at Red Wings: Cam Talbot vs. Jimmy Howard.

Canadiens at Stars: Likely Carey Price vs. Kari Lehtonen.

Blue Jackets at Lightning: Sergei Bobrovsky vs. Ben Bishop.

Blackhawks at Pekka Rinne: Best guess right now is Scott Darling vs. Pekka Rinne.

Bruins at Coyotes: Possibly Tuukka Rask, definitely Devan Dubnyk.

Sharks at Flames: Expected Antti Niemi vs. Karri Ramo.

Locking in the core: Kings sign Martinez to six-year, $24 million extension


Los Angeles secured another key contributor long-term on Wednesday, inking defenseman Alec Martinez to a six-year, $24 million deal.

The deal, first reported by Sportsnet, kicks in next season and represents a tidy raise on the $1.1 million Martinez is making annually on his current contract. At $4M per, he’ll sit even with Jake Muzzin as the third highest-paid blueliner on the team (trailing Drew Doughty and Slava Voynov.)

Martinez shot to fame last season by scoring the Stanley Cup-winning goal in overtime of Game 5, but had shown his value and talent well prior to notching that famous tally. The 27-year-old scored a career-high 11 goals and 22 points in just 61 games last year — leading all Kings blueliners in goals — and played 19:40 a night.

In the playoffs, Martinez again proved to be a valuable offensive commodity on the back-end, scoring five goals and 10 points in 24 games.

As mentioned at the top, the deal is another long-term pact from Dean Lombardi. The Kings now have Martinez, Muzzin, Doughty, Voynov, Dustin Brown, Mike Richards, Marian Gaborik, Jeff Carter and Jonathan Quick all signed through 2019.  The Muzzin deal was signed in mid-October, while the Gaborik deal was completed in late June.