All the latest from the blue paint…
Neuvirth faces ‘Hawks
The New York Islanders are looking to avoid their longest losing streak of the season tonight, but will have to do it without the services of their No. 1 netminder.
Jaroslav Halak will miss this evening’s tilt in Chicago with a lower-body injury, meaning Michal Neuvirth will try to keep the Isles’ skid from extending to four games.
Neuvirth, acquired at the trade deadline from Buffalo in exchange for Chad Johnson, has started three games for the Isles, going 1-1-1 with a .889 save percentage and 2.57 GAA. In his last outing, a 3-1 loss to Montreal on Saturday, Neuvirth allowed just two goals on 29 shots and finished with a .931 save percentage, his best outing as an Islander to date.
For the ‘Blackhawks, Corey Crawford will get the start in goal.
Pens at Devils: Thomas Greiss (probable) vs. Cory Schneider
Sens at ‘Canes: Andrew Hammond vs. Anton Khudobin
Sabres at Bruins: (No Buffalo starter yet) vs. Niklas Svedberg
Habs at Panthers: Dustin Tokarski (probable) vs. Dan Ellis
Wild at Preds: Devan Dubnyk vs. Pekka Rinne (probable)
Sharks at Jets: Antti Niemi vs. Ondrej Pavelec
Blues at Flames: Brian Elliott vs. Jonas Hiller
Flyers at Canucks: No starters yet for either team.
All the latest from the crease…
Lindback takes on Caps
Anders Lindback will look to continue his personal reclamation project when the Sabres host the Caps in Buffalo.
Acquired from Dallas in the Jhonas Enroth trade, Lindback — who was dreadful as Kari Lehtonen’s backup — has been quite effective since Buffalo dealt Michal Neuvirth to the Isles. The lanky Swede has yet to win a game for the Sabres, yet allowed just 12 goals on 160 shots over a five-game stretch, good for a .925 save percentage and 2.68 GAA.
In his last outing, a 2-0 loss to the Rangers, Lindback stopped 31 of 32 shots for a .969 save percentage. He also did this to Toronto in overtime last week:
For the Capitals, no word yet on who’ll start. Braden Holtby was in for yesterday’s 2-0 win over Boston and could go back-to-back; if not, it’ll be Philipp Grubauer, who’s up from AHL Hershey with Justin Peters injured.
Habs at Bolts: Carey Price vs. Ben Bishop
Leafs at Oilers: Jonathan Bernier vs. Ben Scrivens
Coyotes at Kings: (No Arizona starter yet) vs. Jonathan Quick (probable)
If you look at Saturday’s Montreal Canadiens – New York Islanders game as a showcase between two potential Hart Trophy candidates (rather than two East contenders), then Carey Price got the best of John Tavares tonight.
Price was brilliant once again for Montreal, stopping 35 out of 36 shots as the Habs beat the Islanders 3-1. Tavares created some great chances – as usual – yet Price was game for all of his six shots on net.
Price’s stop on Matt Martin was probably the sexiest highlight of them all, though:
In reality, this wasn’t just about two stars, especially since there were plenty of other standout talents on the ice like P.K. Subban. It was a great night for Max Pacioretty (a goal on a gaffe by Michal Neuvirth) and a not-so-great evening for Kyle Okposo and Johnny Boychuk, who both suffered with -3 ratings.
The out-of-town scoreboard was also friendly to the Canadiens and unfriendly to the Islanders. While the Tampa Bay Lightning muffed their chance to keep pace with Montreal, the New York Rangers took care of business against the Buffalo Sabres. That leaves the Habs strongly in first place in the Atlantic Division while the Isles face an uphill battle to catch the Rangers in the Metro.
Both teams seem like they’re on the upswing overall, but it was Montreal that took a step forward tonight.
Max Pacioretty continues to rise among the NHL’s best snipers in 2014-15, but as much as unleashing a big shot matters, sometimes it’s about timing and luck.
He won’t score many goals that are easier than his 34th of the season, as a highly regrettable Michal Neuvirth flub opened the door for this one:
Yep, Neuvirth probably wants that one back.
It doesn’t help that he had Carey Price doing things like this on the other side of the ice, either:
Skapski starts vs. Sabres
Mackenzie Skapski will make his second career NHL start tonight as the New York Rangers visit the Buffalo Sabres. The 20-year-old got his first NHL win with a 24 save performance defeating the Sabres 3-1 on Feb. 20. Skapski was 12-7-3 to go along with a .914 save percentage and a 2.38 in 24 AHL games prior to being recalled.
Anders Lindback gets the nod for Buffalo.
Blackhawks at Sharks: Corey Crawford vs. Antti Niemi
Leafs at Canucks: Jonathan Bernier vs. Eddie Lack
Panthers at Hurricanes: Dan Ellis vs. Cam Ward
Canadiens at Islanders: Carey Price vs. Michal Neuvirth
Jets at Lightning: Ondrej Pavelec vs. Andrei Vasilevskiy
Wild at Blues: Devan Dubnyk vs. Brian Elliott
Devils at Coyotes:Cory Schneider vs. Mike Smith
Flames at Avalanche: Karri Ramo vs. Semyon Varlamov
Predators at Kings: Pekka Rinne vs. Jonathan Quick