All the latest from the blue paint…
Zepp goes for Flyers
Philly will turn to Rob Zepp for the fourth straight game when it takes on the Leafs in Toronto this evening.
Zepp, 33, has fared reasonably well in his first-ever NHL campaign. He’s posted a 5-2-0 record, though his GAA (2.80) and save percentage (.893) leave something to be desired.
At the same time, the Flyers need wins right now — they head into tonight’s action four points back of Boston for the final wild card spot in the Eastern Conference — and Zepp has provided those; he’s won two of his last three starts, which included impressive victories against the NHL-leading Predators and Washington, who currently holds the east’s other wild card.
For Toronto, Jonathan Bernier will be in goal.
Canucks at Sabres: Eddie Lack vs. Michal Neuvirth (more here)
Coyotes at Rangers: Mike Smith vs. Cam Talbot
Habs at Jackets: Carey Price vs. Curtis McElhinney
Hawks at Panthers: (No word on a Chicago starter yet) vs. Roberto Luongo
Blues at Jets: Brian Elliott vs. Michael Hutchinson
Wild at Preds: (Devan Dubnyk likely) vs. Pekka Rinne
Sens at Kings: (No word on an Ottawa starter yet) vs. Jonathan Quick
Wings at Sharks: (No word on a Detroit starter yet vs. Antti Niemi
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.”
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.
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
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.
Marincin scores the winner as the Oilers edge the Bruins in a 12-round shootout
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!
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.