In the wake of three straight regulation losses for the Winnipeg Jets in which they surrendered 15 combined goals, it sounds like Michael Hutchinson will get the nod tonight in Calgary.
It’ll be Hutchinson’s third consecutive start. The 24-year-old rookie has been excellent overall this season, going 14-6-2 with a .927 save percentage. However, there was reason to wonder if Ondrej Pavelec might get the nod tonight against the Flames after Hutchinson surrendered five goals on 32 shots in Saturday’s 5-2 loss to Dallas and four goals on 31 shots in Thursday’s 5-2 loss to Philly.
To be fair to Hutchinson, four of the five goals the Stars scored against him came on the power play.
Jonas Hiller will be in goal for Calgary.
Roberto Luongo versus Henrik Lundqvist as the struggling Panthers take on the Rangers.
Antti Niemi gets the call for streaking San Jose against the Oilers, who haven’t named a starter.
So let’s see here…
That’s four road games against good teams* and four home games against good teams.
In fact, it’s unlikely that the Panthers will be favored in any of those eight games. Especially considering their record of late.
Saturday in Newark, the Panthers lost for the fifth time in six tries, falling 3-1 to the Devils despite limiting New Jersey to just 14 shots.
“We have to score some ugly ones,” said forward Brandon Pirri, per the Associated Press. “We’re an ugly team. Scoring one goal just is not good enough. It’s not going to get any easier from here.”
Florida hasn’t been all that great defensively either. And goalie Roberto Luongo, so outstanding earlier in the season, hasn’t been able to bail his teammates out, surrendering 20 goals in his last seven appearances and getting pulled twice.
The Panthers’ slide, combined with the resurgence of the Boston Bruins, has left them eight points out of a playoff spot. With such a tough schedule to start the month, that deficit could easily grow larger.
*Yes, we’re counting Dallas and Minnesota as “good teams.” The Stars are 13-6-2 in their last 21 games, and the Wild actually have goaltending now.
Jaromir Jagr is up to goal No. 715 for his NHL career in the regular season.
The 42-year-old winger opened the scoring for the New Jersey Devils on Saturday, ripping a wrist shot from the slot over the left shoulder of Roberto Luongo to the top corner. That’s Jagr’s first goal and point since Jan. 3, when he recorded a hat trick — becoming the oldest NHL player to do so — against the Philadelphia Flyers.
Jagr had been battling a flu and the mumps, which caused him to miss a portion of the Devils’ schedule this month.