Roberto Luongo

With Miller reportedly out 4-6 weeks, Canucks ‘confident’ in Lack

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With Ryan Miller reportedly out 4-6 weeks due to a lower-body injury suffered Sunday on Long Island, Canucks GM Jim Benning addressed reporters today ahead of tomorrow’s game in Boston.

Benning was vague on Miller’s prognosis, saying more evaluation was needed before a timeline for return could be provided.

“He’ll do an MRI in the next couple of days and we’ll know where he’s at,” Benning said (audio). “We won’t know the extend of it until he gets the MRI done. We’re hoping it won’t be too long, but we’ll have a better idea in the next couple of days.”

In the meantime, the Canucks have recalled Jacob Markstrom from the Utica Comets.

Markstrom, acquired from Florida in the Roberto Luongo trade, is among the AHL leaders with a .932 save percentage in 26 appearances. His play in the minors has many wondering if he could be the Canucks’ full-time backup next season.

“He’s had a real good year down in Utica,” said Benning. “[He] deserves a chance to come up and help our team win. … We think he’s made great strides in his game, so this will be a good opportunity to get him up and see where he’s at.”

But for now, the Canucks are Eddie Lack’s team. The popular 27-year-old has a respectable .917 save percentage in 20 appearances, which is actually higher than Miller’s .913 mark in 44 games.

“When we started the year, we wanted to have depth in goal for this very situation,” said Benning.

“Going into the season, when we signed Ryan, we wanted an experienced goalie in this marketplace. (But) Eddie was the number-one goalie at the end of last year, so he can carry that load for us. We’re confident in him. He’s played well for us this year.”

Goalie Nods: Hammond gets second straight start for Sens

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Hammond looks for a second straight win

Andrew Hammond will make his second career start tonight when the Ottawa Senators play host to the Florida Panthers. Hammond made 42 saves in a win over the Montreal Canadiens Wednesday night in his first career start. It was the 27-year-old’s second NHL appearance. He carries a 2.96 G.A.A. and a .916 save percentage into tonight’s action.

Roberto Luongo gets the nod for the Panthers.

Elsewhere…

Ducks at Oilers: John Gibson vs. Ben Scrivens

Hurricanes at Devils: Anton Khudobin vs. Keith Kinkaid

Blue Jackets at Canadiens: Curtis McElhinney vs. Carey Price

Jets at Maple Leafs: Michael Hutchinson vs. Jonathan Bernier

Penguins at Blues: Thomas Greiss vs. Brian Elliott

Red Wings at Stars: Jimmy Howard vs. Kari Lehtonen

Lightning at Coyotes: Ben Bishop vs. Mike Smith

Kings at Sharks: Jonathan Quick vs. Antti Niemi

Pressure on Bruins increases after Panthers win six-round SO over Habs

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The Florida Panthers met the Montreal Canadiens for the second time this season and once again 65 minutes of hockey wasn’t enough to settle their differences. This time around though, it was Florida that came out on top in a 3-2 shootout victory.

Panthers goaltender Roberto Luongo deserves a lot of credit for this outcome as Montreal managed to out shoot the Panthers 39-21 prior to the skills competition. Despite that, Brendan Gallagher was the only member of the Canadiens that solved Luongo in regulation time tonight, although for a time it looked like that might be enough as he gave Montreal a 2-0 lead.

Florida clawed its way back into this one with 26-year-old defenseman Steven Kampfer eventually tying the contest with his first goal of the season:

Dave Bolland accounted for the deciding goal in the shootout.

Florida’s comeback is bad news for the Boston Bruins as it magnifies their recent struggles. After losing five straight games, Boston’s edge over Florida in the battle for the second Wild Card spot has been reduced to a single point. The fight between those two squads might come down to the wire and if that’s the case then they’ll have plenty of opportunities to directly gain an edge as the Bruins and Panthers are scheduled to meet on March 21, March 31, and April 9.

Related:

Marincin scores the winner as the Oilers edge the Bruins in a 12-round shootout

Goalie nods: Canadian Olympians square off as Price faces Luongo in Montreal

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A couple of Olympic gold-medal winners will be between the pipes tonight in Montreal, where the Canadiens’ Carey Price will be staring down the Bell Centre ice at the Panthers’ Roberto Luongo.

Both Canadian netminders are enjoying excellent seasons. Price is a serious Hart Trophy candidate, while Luongo has helped keep Florida in the playoff race with a .920 save percentage in 46 appearances.

With a win, the Panthers would move to within one point of the Bruins for the final wild-card spot in the East.

So let’s hear those “Go Habs Go” chants, Boston sports fans!

Elsewhere…

Jaroslav Halak will look to rebound from a shaky performance versus the Rangers when the Islanders host the Predators, who are likely to go with Pekka Rinne.

Cam Talbot for the Rangers versus Ryan Miller for the Canucks.

Curtis McElhinney for the Blue Jackets versus Marc-Andre Fleury for the Penguins.

Ondrej Pavelec will see his first action in a week when the Jets visit Washington to take on Braden Holtby and the Capitals.

Michal Neuvirth for the Sabres versus Ray Emery for the Flyers.

Antti Niemi for the Sharks versus Kari Lehtonen (likely) for the Stars.

Goalie nods: It has to be Johnson for the Isles… right? (Update: Yep)

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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.

Elsewhere…

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.