Montreal Canadiens

Goalie Nods: Howard returns for Detroit

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Howard returns from groin injury

Jimmy Howard will make his first start since Jan. 10 tonight when the Detroit Red Wings play host to the Winnipeg Jets. Howard missed 10 games with a groin injury. He made four saves in relief of Petr Mrazec on Wednesday night in Pittsburgh. Howard is 16-7-7 with a 2.09 G.A.A. and a .920 save percentage this season.

Michael Hutchinson is expected to start for the Jets.

Elsewhere…

Maple Leafs at Canadiens: Jonathan Bernier vs. Carey Price

Blue Jackets at Islanders: Anton Forsberg vs. Jaroslav Halak

Rangers at Coyotes: Cam Talbot vs. Mike Smith

Hurricanes at Wild: Anton Khudobin vs. Devan Dubnyk

Devils at Predators: Cory Schneider vs. Pekka Rinne

Stars at Avalanche: Jhonas Enroth vs. Semyon Varlamov

Canucks at Flames: Ryan Miller vs. Karri Ramo

Capitals at Kings: Braden Holtby vs. Jonathan Quick

Flyers’ Couturier on loss to Jackets: ‘It’s pretty embarrassing’

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Wayne Simmonds’ power play goal at 5:04 of the third period gave Philadelphia a 3-1 lead Friday night.

The Flyers appeared headed for a win.

However, Jared Boll and Cam Atkinson scored to tie it 3-3 forcing overtime and Artem Anisimov netted the winner at 2:17 of the extra period.

It was the second time in as many meetings Columbus edged Philly in overtime.

The Jackets have now won three of four meetings between the two clubs.

“It’s pretty embarrassing,” said Sean Couturier per CSNPhilly.com. “We’re in the playoff hunt. You can’t have an effort like that. We’re not gonna go far if we play like that.

“If we want to, we can be one of the best teams in the league. We gotta play our game and start putting pressure and pucks on net and tight defense. The last two games have been pretty embarrassing the way we lose these games.”

It was the second time this week the Flyers have squandered a third period lead and lost in overtime.

On Tuesday night Philly was up 1-0 in the third on the Montreal Canadiens. Tomas Plekanec scored with less than eight minutes remaining and David Desharnais won it in overtime.

“There’s something wrong with losing these games the way we’re losing them,” Couturier said. “We got to fix what’s wrong and play better for 60 minutes. It’s not a 40- or 45-minute game.”

The Flyers are currently seven points back of Boston for the second wild card spot in the Eastern Conference.

Philadelphia will look to avoid a third straight loss Sunday when they visit Buffalo. The Flyers won the only other meeting between the two clubs 4-3 on Jan. 17.

Video: Alexei Emelin’s big hit on Nail Yakupov

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While Nail Yakupov and the Edmonton Oilers got the last laugh, they likely weren’t happy after this hit by Montreal Canadiens defenseman Alexei Emelin:

There was no penalty on the play, but does that mean it was a legal check?

For what it’s worth, Yakupov returned to action and assisted on Anton Lander’s overtime game-winner. Emelin is a hard-hitting player, yet he hasn’t been suspended in his young NHL career.

The good news is that either way, the early word seems to be that Yakupov was able to shake it off. PHT will note if that changes, however.

Therrien steams after blown lead, says Habs didn’t deserve a point

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No one likes blowing leads, particularly in the third period. The Edmonton Oilers served up a bitter 4-3 OT loss to the Montreal Canadiens on Thursday, and head coach Michel Therrien clearly wasn’t happy about it.

“We didn’t deserve a point tonight,” Therrien said, according to TVA’s Renaud Lavoie.

NHL.com’s Arpon Basu notes that it’s rare for the occasionally grumpy bench boss to be so frank with his criticisms of the team at large:

There are a few reasons why one would assume that it was an especially irritating loss.

For one thing, the Oilers obviously aren’t the type of opponent who fill you with fear. Beyond that, it certainly seemed like Edmonton brought more effort to the table; the Oilers generated a 38-26 shot advantage in the game.

Then again, maybe it was just the way the game ended.

Tomas Plekanec had a chance to ice it with an empty-net goal, yet he hesitated at first in looking to set up a teammate for that gimme, ultimately getting his shot blocked. Moments later, Ryan Nugent-Hopkins scored his second of the night with less than 30 seconds remaining to send it to OT.

Anton Lander scored the OT winner as Dustin Tokarski looked rather baffled, and just like that, the Habs saw a regulation win turn into an overtime defeat.

Montreal had a chance to improve its situation in a tight race for the Atlantic Division crown. Instead, they unraveled in the closing moments and left their prickly coach fuming.

Goalie nods: Ducks start Gibson for first time in three months

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All the latest from the blue paint…

Gibson back for Anaheim

John Gibson will make his first start since Oct. 30 when the Ducks take on the ‘Canes in Carolina tonight.

Gibson, who burst onto the scene last year and appeared in four playoff games, started this season with Anaheim but has spent much of the last three months in AHL Norfolk (though he was shelved for a while with injury.)

A recent injury to Frederik Andersen — he’ll miss the next three games while on IR with an upper-body injury — and Ilya Bryzgalov’s spotty play in relief paved the way for the 21-year-old Gibson to make his return; it’ll be interesting to see if he can improve on his numbers from limited work earlier in the season (Gibson is 2-2-0 on the year, with a 2.65 GAA and .915 save percentage.)

For the ‘Canes, Cam Ward gets the start in goal.

Elsewhere…

Leafs at Isles: Jonathan Bernier vs. Jaroslav Halak

Oilers at Habs: Viktor Fasth vs. Dustin Tokarski

Pens at Sens: Thomas Greiss vs. Robin Lehner

Blues at Bolts: Brian Elliott for St. Louis, Ben Bishop likely for Tampa Bay.

Jets at Preds: Pekka Rinne likely for Nashville, no word yet on a Winnipeg starter.

Panthers at Wild: Roberto Luongo vs. Devan Dubyk

Rangers at Avs: Cam Talbot for New York, no word yet on a Colorado starter.

Flames at Kings: Jonas Hiller for Calgary, Jonathan Quick likely for L.A.