Montreal Canadiens

Goalie nods: Lundqvist won’t get to ease back in


All the latest from the blue paint…

Long live the King?

As already noted earlier today, it appears as though Henrik Lundqvist will make his return to the New York Rangers’ net as they face the Boston Bruins (who most likely will roll with Tuukka Rask).

Normally, this would be a cause for outright glee, and it’s true that “King Henrik” will be gladly welcomed back into the fold. Still, the Rangers have been on a tear thanks in a large part to Cam Talbot’s wonderful play in Hank’s absence, so it remains to be seen if New York sees a little fall-off.

Let there be no doubt that the Bruins will send their best at Lundqvist, so this isn’t exactly an example of easing a player back into the mix.

This is just one of several games during an unusually busy Saturday afternoon, so hopefully hockey fans already got their errands (and napping) done today.


Predators at Capitals: Pekka Rinne vs. Braden Holtby

Ducks at Islanders: Probably Frederik Andersen vs. Michal Neuvirth

Sharks at Flyers: Alex Stalock vs. (likely) Steve Mason

Coyotes at Penguins: Mike Smith vs. Thomas Greiss

Lightning at Red Wings: Likely Ben Bishop s. Petr Mrazek

Senators at Maple Leafs: Craig Anderson vs. James Reimer

Panthers at Canadiens: Roberto Luongo vs. Carey Price

Devils at Hurricanes: Keith Kinkaid vs. Cam Ward

Blue Jackets at Blues: Likely Sergei Bobrovsky vs. Brian Elliott

Kings at Wild: Likely Jonathan Quick vs. Devan Dubnyk

Sabres at Avalanche: ANders Lindback vs. Semyon Varlamov

Stars at Canucks: Maybe Kari Lehtonen vs. Eddie Lack

Smith-Pelly isn’t really catching on in Montreal


It’s way too early to rush to final judgments on the trade that sent Devante Smith-Pelly to Montreal and Jiri Sekac to Anaheim, yet the bottom line is that “DSP” is off to a rough start with the Canadiens.

Smith-Pelly, 22, is a healthy scratch for the Habs against the Florida Panthers tonight.

This isn’t just a momentary issue, either; the young forward has produced just an assist and 20 shots on goal in 15 games with the Canadiens. While Sekac (also 22) hasn’t set the world on fire with Anaheim, he’s been a bit more productive and has even seen a shift or two with Corey Perry and Ryan Getzlaf.

The focus is on getting the most out of Smith-Pelly (not proving that he’s better than Sekac), and that’s where the concern lies.

The Canadiens can clinch a playoff berth in a variety of ways today. The question remains if Smith-Pelly will be able to make an impact in their postseason run, and that’s a pretty big question right now.

Caps’ Wilson the latest to be fined for diving


Washington forward Tom Wilson has been fined $2,000 for diving/embellishment, the NHL announced on Friday.

From the league:

Wilson was issued a Warning following an incident flagged by NHL Hockey Operations during NHL Game No. 936 against Toronto on March 1. His second Citation, which triggered the $2,000 fine, was issued for an incident during NHL Game No. 1057 at Minnesota on March 19.

Wilson received a minor penalty for embellishment on the play, at 14:45 of the second period.

Video of the incident:

With that, Wilson becomes the eighth player to be fined for diving this season, joining Toronto’s Richard Panik, Islanders goalie Michal Neuvirth (fine occurred while with Buffalo), the Islanders’ Cal Clutterbuck, Detroit’s Gustav Nyquist, Florida’s Vincent Trocheck and Nashville’s James Neal and Montreal’s P.K. Subban, who has been fined twice.

Goalie nods: Hackett goes for Sabres in McEichel Derby


All the latest from the blue paint…

No Lindback for Buffalo

The NHL’s two worst teams — standings-wise, anyway — will do battle tonight when the Sabres host the Coyotes in Buffalo, and Buffalo will start little-used Matthew Hackett in net ahead of Anders Lindback, who’s been quite solid of late.

Hackett, 25, is 0-3-0 this year with a .893 save percentage and 4.34 GAA. He’s spent the majority of the season AHL Rochester, but was summoned to the Sabres after Chad Johnson went down to injury almost immediately after being acquired via trade.

In hist last outing, a 3-0 loss to Nashville, Hackett allowed three goals on 43 shots, good for a .930 save percentage.

For the Coyotes, Mike Smith will get the start in goal. Smith’s turnaround after a dreadful start has been one of the few bright spots in Arizona this season, and is worth mentioning — the veteran has been very good in nine games this month, allowing just 21 goals on 326 shots for a .936 save percentage.


Anaheim at Boston: Frederik Andersen vs. Tuukka Rask (probable)

Kings at Isles: Jonathan Quick (probable) vs. Jaroslav Halak

Devils at Caps: Cory Schneider vs. Braden Holtby

Pens at ‘Canes: Marc-Andre Fleury vs. Cam Ward

Preds at Bolts: Pekka Rinne (probable) vs. Ben Bishop

Sharks at Wings: Antti Niemi vs. Jimmy Howard

Rangers at Sens: Cam Talbot vs. Andrew Hammond

Panthers at Leafs: Roberto Luongo vs. Jonathan Bernier

Habs at Jets: Dustin Tokarski vs. Ondrej Pavelec

Avs at Canucks: Semyon Varlamov vs. (No Vancouver starter yet.)

Jets get Byfuglien back, won’t have to face Price


A couple bits of goods news for Winnipeg Jets fans.

First, Dustin Byfuglien will return to the lineup tonight at home to Montreal. Big Buff has been missing for three weeks due to injury.

Second, the Jets won’t have to face Hart Trophy favorite Carey Price. The Canadiens will have backup Dustin Tokarski between the pipes instead. (Ondrej Pavelec will start for the Jets.)

It’s estimated that Winnipeg will have to go around 4-4-0 in its final eight games in order to bring NHL playoff hockey back to Manitoba for the first time since 1996. Currently, the Jets are two points up on the Kings for the final wild-card spot in the West.