Roberto Luongo made 14 first period saves to keep things scoreless after 20 minutes between the Blues and Panthers in Florida tonight.
His biggest save came 5:45 into the first period when he robbed David Backes of a sure goal. The Blues captain had a wide open net, but Luongo managed to get enough of the puck with his glove to keep it out.
The Philadelphia Flyers couldn’t have felt great about their slim playoff hopes when Steve Mason went down with his knee injury. For better or worse, it’s on Ray Emery, and Sunday is the kind of game he has to win.
Since taking over for Mason in February, Emery’s gone 1-0-2. The 30-year-old’s overall numbers aren’t much to brag about (9-9-3 with a .890 save percentage), but this stretch will probably make a big impact on how the league views the pugnacious puck-stopper going forward.
On the Buffalo side, Michal Neuvirth gets a chance to stretch his legs in the Sabres’ net with Jhonas Enroth shipped off to Dallas.
The situations are quite different, yet both netminders have plenty to prove today.
Blues at Panthers: Brian Elliott vs. Roberto Luongo
Lightning at Sharks: Expected starters are Ben Bishop against Antti Niemi
Capitals at Ducks: Expected starters are Justin Peters vs. John Gibson
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.
Video: Jackman’s bouncer from center ice beats Luongo