New York Islanders

Goalie nods: Price versus Rinne in potential Vezina showdown

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All the latest from the blue paint…

Elite battle at Bridgestone

Two goalies most have penciled in as Vezina candidates will square off tonight in Nashville when Carey Price and the Habs take on Pekka Rinne and the Preds.

Price, widely considered to be the Vezina favorite, has been nothing short of brilliant all season long and heads into tonight’s action leading the NHL in wins (40), save percentage (.938), GAA (1.86) and shutouts (nine). The 27-year-old’s dominance has led to serious discussion about Hart Trophy consideration as league MVP.

Rinne, meanwhile, has been solid as well. He’s second to Price in both GAA (2.09) and wins (38), sitting fifth overall in save percentage (.927). What’s interesting about the two, however, is that Price has never been named a Vezina finalist over the course of his seven-year career; Rinne, who’s in his ninth NHL campaign, has been a finalist twice and fell just short of capturing the Vezina in 2011, when he finished a few votes shy of eventual winner Tim Thomas.

So with Price and Rinne likely to both be finalists this year, the conversation turns to who’ll be the third nominee. Right now, it seems like a three-horse race between New Jersey’s Cory Schneider, Washington’s Braden Holtby and Minnesota’s Devan Dubnyk.

Elsewhere…

Wild at Isles: Devan Dubnyk vs. Jaroslav Halak

Kings at Rangers: Jonathan Quick (probable) vs. Cam Talbot

Blues at Pens: Jake Allen vs. Marc-Andre Fleury

Ducks at Jackets: John Gibson vs. Sergei Bobrovsky

Coyotes at Wings: Mike Smith vs. Jimmy Howard

Panthers at Bolts: Roberto Luongo vs. Andrei Vasilevskiy

Jets at Canucks: Michael Hutchinson vs. Eddie Lack

PHT Morning Skate: Ducks’ Patrick Maroon the latest guest on ‘Between Two Zambonis’

PHT’s Morning Skate takes a look around the world of hockey to see what’s happening and what we’ll be talking about around the NHL world and beyond.

Anaheim Ducks forward Patrick Maroon recently joined teammate Ryan Kesler on the latest installment of ‘Between Two Zambonis’. The pair discussed Maroon’s celebrity look a likes and even took shots at captain Ryan Getzlaf’s hairline.

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“I wake up in the morning and wonder what I’m going to do besides work out” – Tom Sestito discusses the diminishing enforcer role in hockey. (The Globe and Mail)

Top prospect Dylan Strome had a six-point game Sunday to win the Ontario Hockey League’s scoring title. (Yahoo)

The Western Hockey League’s Kelowna Rockets develop D-Men down to a science. (NHL.com)

Bridgeport Sound Tigers forward Kael Mouillierat used a lacrosse-style move to open the scoring against the Binghamton Senators on Sunday:

Sixteen seasons. 22 teams. Zero NHL games. But the passion never left Frank Littlejohn. (The Hockey News)

St. Louis Blues defenseman Alex Pietrangelo discusses the 50 Shades of Grey phenomenon:

Goalie Nods: The Hamburglar starts for the Sens

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Hammond looks to remain unbeaten in regulation

Andrew Hammond and the Ottawa Senators will look for a sixth straight win tonight when they play host to the lowly Toronto Maple Leafs. Hammond enters the game with a 12-0-1 record to go along with a 1.55 goals-against average since getting called up from Binghamton.

The Sens enter tonight’s action two points back of the Boston Bruins for the second wild card spot in the Eastern Conference. Since the last meeting between the Leafs and Senators (Jan. 21), Ottawa is 17-6-2 while Toronto has gone 5-17-3.

James Reimer gets the nod for the Leafs.

Elsewhere…

Blue Jackets at Flames: Sergei Bobrovsky vs. Karri Ramo

Canucks at Kings: Eddie Lack vs. Jonathan Quick

Capitals at Jets: Braden Holtby vs. Ondrej Pavelec

Rangers at Hurricanes: Cam Talbot vs. Anton Khudobin

Islanders at Devils: Jaroslav Halak vs. Cory Schneider

Bruins at Panthers: Tuukka Rask vs. Roberto Luongo

Sharks at Canadiens: Antti Niemi vs. Carey Price

Sabres at Predators: Matt Hackett vs. Pekka Rinne

Blackhawks at Stars: Corey Crawford vs. Kari Lehtonen

Penguins at Coyotes: Marc-Andre Fleury vs. Mike Smith

Flyers at Oilers: Steve Mason vs. Ben Scrivens

Slumping Islanders welcome Leddy back to the lineup

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The Islanders will have defenseman Nick Leddy back in the lineup tonight as they visit the New Jersey Devils.

He’ll be partnered with Johnny Boychuk and replace Calvin de Haan on New York’s blue line.

Leddy has been sidelined for four games due to an upper body injury suffered in a March 9 collision with Toronto Maple Leafs defenseman Morgan Rielly.

In the 24-year-old’s absence the Islanders have lost a season-high four straight games and trail the New York Rangers by five points for top spot in the Metropolitan Division.

The Pittsburgh Penguins are now just two points back of the Islanders for the second seed in the division.

Leddy has 10 goals and 29 points while averaging 20:05 in ice time in 68 games this season.

The Islanders have won all three meetings with the Devils this season and will look for the season series sweep tonight.

Slumping Isles return Poulin to AHL, Halak back Saturday?

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Looks as though Jaroslav Halak’s absence with a lower-body injury could last just one game.

Halak, who missed Tuesday’s loss in Chicago, is reportedly healthy enough to return to the lineup and could be back in goal when the Isles face the New Jersey Devils on Saturday.

In a move that seems to corroborate that report, the Isles sent goalie Kevin Poulin back to AHL Bridgeport today.

Halak is 34-15-1 with a 2.46 goals-against average, four shutouts, and a .912 save percentage in 50 games this season, and has been one of the big reasons why the Isles are headed back to the playoffs. It’s likely the Isles are banking on him to help snap their current skid, which has seen them lose a season-high four games.