All the latest from the crease…
Who goes for New York?
The Islanders won’t announce their starting goalie until 5 p.m. ET today, so we don’t know if it’s Chad Johnson or Jaroslav Halak in net for tonight’s affair against Carolina.
Update: It’s Johnson.
One would suspect Johnson gets the nod, given tonight is the second of a back-to-back; Halak played last night, and allowed six goals on 42 shots in an emotional loss to the Rangers.
That said, head coach Jack Capuano could possibly be persuaded to let Halak try and bounce back; the 29-year-old Slovak looked rattled and a bit shaky as the Blueshirts made a concerted effort to get into his kitchen.
Related: The Isles are surrendering too many goals
“I want to get shots,” captain Ryan McDonagh said, per Newsday. “We wanted to make it more difficult on Halak tonight than in other past games. He’s been a big difference in why we haven’t been able to beat them in the past.
“We talked about getting in front of the net and making it tough on him, make him fight through screens. We were a lot hungrier in front of him for sure.”
No word yet on who’ll start in goal for the ‘Canes.
Blue Jackets at Flyers: Curtis McElhinney vs. Ray Emery
Caps at Pens: Braden Holtby vs. Marc-Andre Fleury
Sabres at Devils: Cory Schneider for New Jersey, Michal Neuvirth likely for Buffalo.
Panthers at Leafs: Roberto Luongo vs. Jonathan Bernier
Stars at Blues: Brian Elliott for St. Louis, Kari Lehtonen likely for Dallas.
Sharks at Preds: Alex Stalock for San Jose, Pekka Rinne likely for Nashville.
The Nashville Predators may not have an elite center like Sidney Crosby or Jonathan Toews, but with the addition of Cody Franson from Toronto, their defense could line up as follows in the postseason:
Roman Josi — Shea Weber
Seth Jones — Cody Franson
Mattias Ekholm — Ryan Ellis
Now put goalie Pekka Rinne behind that blue-line corps, and you can see what GM David Poile was thinking when he made the trade.
Chicago’s Marian Hossa, Los Angeles’ Tyler Toffoli and Nashville’s Pekka Rinne have been named the NHL’s three stars for the week ending Feb. 15, the league announced on Monday.
Hossa led the NHL with five goals and tied for second in the League with six points to help the Blackhawks (35-18-4, 74 points) pick up points in all four of their games.
Toffoli shared second in the NHL with four goals and six points to power the Kings (25-18-12, 62 points) to a trio of victories, moving the club within three points of a Wild Card spot in the Western Conference.
Rinne went 3-0-0 with a 1.30 goals-against average and .954 save percentage to backstop the first-place Predators (38-12-6, 82 points) to three straight wins.
Hossa’s breakout performance came after a sluggish start to the season, in which he scored just 10 goals in his first 52 games (including an ugly month of November, when he scored one in 14.) The 36-year-old Slovak is still on pace for a 60-point season, however, which would match last year’s total when he scored 30 goals and 30 assists.
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.
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
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.
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.