Nashville Predators

Goalie nods: Blues go with Elliott after odd incident in Vancouver

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All the latest from the blue paint…

Elliott, not Allen, starts in Philly

Worth keeping an eye on the Blues tonight as they take on the Flyers at Wells Fargo — Brian Elliott will get the nod in goal, just four days after a wild Sunday night in Vancouver.

Jake Allen started the eventual 6-5 shootout loss to the Canucks, but was hooked after allowing four goals on 21 shots. Elliott replaced Allen to start the third, but was then yanked after allowing one goal early in the frame, giving way for Allen to re-enter the game.

Following the contest, Blues head coach Ken Hitchcock explained his reason for the move and noted the decision didn’t sit well with Elliott.

From the Post-Dispatch:

“When (Elliott) came out, it was 5-2,” Hitchcock said. “I was thinking, ‘Now all I need to do is get him hurt.’ I put him in because I thought we had great spirit going into the third and had a chance to win the hockey game. That was me. That’s my call.”

Elliott had a brief exchange with Hitchcock, then disappeared.

“He was mad he was coming out,” Hitchcock said. “I told him just relax. He’s fine.”

Elliott was not available for comment after the game.

Not much has been said about the incident since, but it was clear both Elliott and Allen were rattled by the series of events. Afteward, Allen said he was “mentally drained” by the situation.

As for the Flyers, Steve Mason will get the start in goal this evening.

Elsewhere…

Flames at Bruins: Karri Ramo vs. (no Boston starter yet)

Wild at Caps: Devan Dubnyk vs. Braden Holtby

Leafs at Bolts: Jonathan Bernier vs. Ben Bishop (probable)

Stars at Panthers: Kari Lehtonen (probable) vs. Dan Ellis

Isles at Preds: Jaroslav Halak vs. Pekka Rinne

Canucks at Coyotes: Eddie Lack vs. Mike Smith (probable)

Habs at Kings: (no Montreal starter yet) vs. Jonathan Quick (probable)

Leafs’ Panik latest to be fined for diving

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Toronto forward Richard Panik has become the seventh player to be fined for diving this season, the NHL announced on Thursday:

Panik was issued a Warning following an incident flagged by NHL Hockey Operations during NHL Game No. 824 at Montreal on Feb. 14. His second Citation, which triggered the $2,000 fine, was issued for an incident during NHL Game No. 936 at Washington on Mar. 1.

Capitals defenseman Mike Green received a minor penalty for holding on the play, at 10:57 of the second period.

Here’s video of the incident against the Caps:

With that, Panik joins Islanders goalie Michal Neuvirth (fine occurred while with Buffalo), Montreal’s P.K. Subban, the Islanders’ Cal Clutterbuck, Detroit’s Gustav Nyquist, Florida’s Vincent Trocheck and Nashville’s James Neal as the seven players to be publicly outed as divers, under new rules put forth by the league this season.

Anyone notice the Preds are slumping?

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So consistently good all season, the Nashville Predators suddenly find themselves in a little slump.

The Preds lost their fourth straight in regulation last night, falling 3-1 to the Devils in New Jersey. In their last eight, they’ve only won twice.

“We’re playing catch-up every night,” forward Mike Fisher said, per The Tennessean. “Some nights we’re able to come back and some nights we can’t. In the second and third, we carried the play and looked great. But the first periods are killing us.”

Now, granted, no team gets through an entire 82-game schedule without, at minimum, one spell of indifferent play. Before this four-game losing streak, the Preds hadn’t gone two games without getting at least a point. They’ve still only lost 17 times in regulation all season.

Still, with the playoffs just over a month away, this little slump should at least serve as a wake-up call.

Nashville returns home to face the Islanders on Thursday.

Goalie nods: Markstrom makes season debut for Canucks

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All the latest from the blue paint…

Vancouver goes with Markstrom

There’ll be plenty of eyes on the crease in Vancouver tonight as Jacob Markstrom makes his season debut against the Sharks.

Markstrom, a former touted prospect with Florida that came to the Canucks as part of the Roberto Luongo trade, has spent all of this season in AHL Utica and revived his career, going 17-7-2 with a 1.95 GAA and .932 save percentage, earning a spot in the All-Star Game.

Markstrom was recalled last week after Ryan Miller went down to injury, and served as Eddie Lack’s backup. Tonight, he’ll play in his first NHL game since April of 2014.

No word yet on who’ll start for San Jose. Alex Stalock played last night and shut out the Habs, so the Sharks could turn to Antti Niemi.

Elsewhere…

Preds at Devils: Carter Hutton (probable) vs. Cory Schneider

Flames at Flyers: Karri Ramo vs. Steve Mason

Caps at Jackets: Braden Holtby vs. Sergei Bobrovsky

Sabres at Bolts: Anders Lindback vs. Ben Bishop

Leafs at Panthers: Jonathan Bernier vs. Roberto Luongo

Sens at Wild: Andrew Hammond vs. Devan Dubnyk (probable)

Isles at Stars: Jaroslav Halak vs. Kari Lehtonen (probable)

Ducks at Coyotes: Frederik Andersen (probable) vs. Mike Smith

Kings at Oilers: Jonathan Quick (probable) vs. Ben Scrivens (probable)

Video: Zuccarello shows some wizardry on sweet assist

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On Sunday, it seemed like Mats Zuccarello was on the verge of being traded from the New York Rangers. A day later, he has a shiny new contract extension and already has two assists against the Nashville Predators with about a period remaining.

One of the smallish winger’s more ridiculous nicknames is “Norwegian Hobbit Wizard.” He showed some magical skills on this Chris Kreider goal, which was his second helper of the night:

Moments like these help explain why he’s beloved by a lot of Rangers fans.

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Predators forward Taylor Beck might have actually provided the best pass of the night, though, as you can see here: