Get your game notes: Blues at Devils

Tonight on NBCSN, it’s the New Jersey Devils hosting the St. Louis Blues at 7:30 p.m. ET. Following are some game notes, as compiled by the NHL on NBC research team:

• Even with STL’s forward line combinations in flux this season due to a series of injuries and illnesses, RW Vladimir Tarasenko has stepped up, scoring 6 goals in his last 4 games and powering the Blues to a 5-game win streak heading into tonight.

• Top forwards David Backes (concussion), T.J. Oshie (concussion), Joakim Lindstrom (bacterial infection) and Paul Stastny (shoulder) have all missed time this season, causing Blues coach Ken Hitchcock to use whatever combination “pops out of the blender” during morning skate for his starting top line. Backes and Lindstrom are now back, but Oshie and Stastny are not expected to play tonight.

• Tarasenko leads STL with 13 points (7G-6A) this season. The 22-year-old Russian, who told NHL.com he talks to his grandfather Vladimir after every game, had his first career hat trick in a 4-3 OT win over DAL last week. He scored a highlight-reel power-play goal in regulation and the shootout winner in STL’s 4-3 (SO) victory over NYR on Monday. But his grandfather always tells him “it’s only one night” and “tomorrow” is always the most important.

• Tarasenko previously played with Blues teammate Jori Lehtera at Sibir Novosibirsk of the KHL and represented Russia at the 2014 Sochi Games.

• NJ has won 3 of its last 4 games, but in all 3 of those victories the Devils have had to come from behind, which has frustrated their two Czech veterans, 42-year-old RW Jaromir Jagr and 38-year-old C Patrik Elias. NJ beat OTT, 3-2 (OT), on Oct. 25 and ended their 0-for-18 shootout game skid with a 2-1 (SO) win over WPG on Thursday before beating CBJ, 3-2, on Saturday.

• Jagr after beating CBJ: “I’m getting frustrated. We’re just wasting energy away and we don’t make plays. The third period comes and you’re going to put it together, and the power is here to win the hockey games, but we can make it so much easier for ourselves and more enjoyable by playing games the right way.”

• Elias after beating CBJ: “We’re not skating as well as we should, for whatever reason. You saw how we played in the first few games of the season. For six or seven games, even though we lost some of them, we were still playing well. That’s what we’ve got to get back to.”

• This is NJ’s first season since 1992-93 without G Martin Brodeur – the NHL’s all-time wins leader (688) – starting in net. After facing questions on whether he could handle Brodeur’s workload, American G Cory Schneider has started all 11 of the team’s games, posting a 6-3-2 record, 2.83 GAA and .909 SV%.

QUICK HITS

• 101st regular-season meeting and the first of 2 meetings this season between STL and NJ. They will play again on Thursday in STL.

• STL leads all-time series 49-36-14-1 (W-L-T-OL).

• Last season, NJ won 7-1 at home on Jan. 21, and STL won 3-0 at home on Jan. 28. In the first game, 7 different players scored goals for NJ.

STANDOUT STATS

• STL: Since 2013, the Blues’ .781 (12-3-1 record) winning percentage in the month of November is the best in the NHL (Per Elias).

• NJ: 10-for-38 on the power play this season (26.3% – 3rd best in NHL).

• NJ: 33-for-48 on the penalty kill this season. (68.8% – 2nd worst in NHL).

MILESTONE TRACKER

• NJ: RW Jaromir Jagr needs 1 goal to tie Mike Gartner for 6th on the all-time goal list with 708. Jagr already has the most career goals among active NHL players with 707.

NOTABLE INJURIES

• STL: C Paul Stastny (shoulder) and RW T.J. Oshie (concussion) are both day-to-day.

• NJ: LW Mike Cammalleri (jaw/neck) and RW Jordin Tootoo (foot) are both day-to-day.

HEAD-TO-HEAD

• STL: C David Backes: 1G-5A in 7 career GP vs. NJ.

• STL: LW Alexander Steen: 2G in 2 GP vs. NJ last season, including one game-winner.

• NJ: RW Damien Brunner / D Eric Gelinas: Both had 1G-2A in NJ’s 7-1 win over STL on Jan. 21 last season.

• NJ: RW Jaromir Jagr: 8G-16A, including 3 PPG, in 27 career GP vs. STL.

BLUES TEAM/PLAYER NOTES

• Captain C David Backes, a two-time U.S. Olympian, returned to the lineup on Nov. 1 vs. COL after missing one game with a concussion. He was third on STL with 57 points last season, but has just 2G-3A so far this season, putting him seventh on the team with 5 points.

• RW T.J. Oshie is day-to-day after suffering a concussion vs. DAL on Oct. 30. He has 1 assist in 8 games this season, one in which he’s caring for both his 8-month-old daughter and his father with Alzheimer’s off the ice.

• Oshie became a worldwide star last February at the Sochi 2014 Games, converting 4 of 6 shootout attempts vs. Russia to give the U.S. a 3-2 victory in the preliminary round. He is 27-for-49 (55.1%) in shootouts in six-plus seasons with STL, including an NHL-leading 9 shootout goals last season. He is 0-for-1 on shootout attempts this season.

• D Alex Pietrangelo, part of Canada’s gold-medal winning Sochi 2014 Olympic team, leads STL this season with 25:38 TOI/G. For the NHL’s Hockey Fights Cancer initiative, he shaved his head in late October to support his girlfriend’s niece, Ellie, who was diagnosed with cancer last August.

• Following the departures of G Jaroslav Halak and G Ryan Miller, G Brian Elliott took over as the team’s top goaltender to start the season despite having never played more than 38 games in a season in three years with STL. Because Elliott played Monday against NYR, G Jake Allen is expected to make the start at NJ tonight.

• STL is allowing 2.00 goals/game this season (T-6th best in NHL). Allen is 2-1-0 in 3 starts so far in his first full NHL season with a 1.34 GAA and .944 SV%.

DEVILS TEAM/PLAYER NOTES

• C Adam Henrique leads NJ with 9 points (4G-5A) this season and has an upbringing unlike any of his teammates. Henrique and his three brothers were raised on a family tobacco farm in Burford, Ontario, and it was his job to prime the leaves.

• In May 2012, Henrique told the New York Times that priming tobacco growing up made him chase a career in hockey a little harder: “You’re like this, picking leaves, putting the leaves in your bag, and the leaves are hitting you in the face, and it’s wet. You got tar all over you, and you’ve got an 80-pound bag that you’re filling up. It’s no fun.”

• Henrique is expected to be put on the same line with C Patrik Elias tonight to give the Devils offense a jolt. Elias has gone 10 straight games without a goal.

• At 42, RW Jaromir Jagr is in his 21st season with his 7th NHL team and is tied for second on NJ with 8 points this season. He leads all active players in goals (707), assists (1,056), points (1,763) and games played (1,484).

• The 5-time Olympian and 5-time Art Ross Trophy winner (NHL scoring leader) is one of 25 players in the Triple Gold Club, having won two Stanley Cups with PIT (1991, 1992), an Olympic gold with the Czech Republic (1998) and two IIHF World Championships with the Czech Republic (2005, 2010).

• D Damon Severson, 22 years younger than Jagr, already has 4G-4A and in 21:59 TOI/G in his rookie season.

Goalie nods: Cam Ward, Hurricanes boldly go for two wins in a row

News and notes from the crease …

Cam and Carolina try to build something

The Carolina Hurricanes won their first game of the season last night, everybody. /sets off fireworks

Maybe the most promising sign was the beleaguered goalie Cam Ward registered a shutout. With Anton Khudobin off to a pretty lousy start (after basically stealing the starting gig in 2013-14), Ward could improve his chances of being the unquestioned No. 1 with another strong performance tonight.

That’s not to say that he has an easy task at hand. The Hurricanes face a Los Angeles Kings team that’s angry (three-game losing streak) and is expected to get Anze Kopitar back. The expectation is that Jonathan Quick will be in net for Los Angeles.

Elsewhere …

Red Wings at Sabres: Jimmy Howard will be in net for Detroit against Michal Neuvirth and the Buffalo Sabres.

Coyotes at Capitals: A battle of the backups as Devan Dubnyk’s in for Phoenix while Justin Peters minds the Washington net.

Flames at Canadiens: Jonas Hiller attempts to strengthen his grip on the Flames’ top spot while Carey Price goes for Montreal.

Ducks at Avalanche: It at least looks like John Gibson gets a third start in four games for Anaheim against Colorado’s workhorse Semyon Varlamov.

The late games are quite a toss-up right now, be warned.

Jets at Blackhawks: With back-to-back games for both teams, this is a tough one as nothing’s been confirmed. It looks like Michael Hutchinson for Winnipeg and Corey Crawford for Chicago.

Predators at Canucks: These haven’t been confirmed either, yet it would make sense if Pekka Rinne played for Nashville while Eddie Lack spells Ryan Miller for Vancouver.

Dorsett’s SHG hands Canucks fourth straight victory

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It was one thing when Ryan Miller played with the Buffalo Sabres. At least then he was a conference away and could only torment the Edmonton Oilers on rare occasions. Now that he’s playing for the division rival Canucks, he’s been a frequent thorn in their side, as was the case in Vancouver’s 3-2 victory Saturday night.

Miller turned aside 25 of 27 shots to improve to 10-0 in his career against Edmonton. The Oilers have only managed 18 goals against him over that stretch. His efforts were vital, but they might have been moot tonight if not for Derek Dorsett’s work.

The Canucks forward had a goal and an assist, including a shorthanded marker in the third period that broke the 2-2 tie.

Vancouver has now won four straight games to improve to an impressive 8-3-0 under new head coach Willie Desjardins. The Canucks rank second in the Pacific Division and are just two points shy of the Anaheim Ducks.

The Oilers might have lost more than two points though. Taylor Hall left the game with a leg injury after crashing hard into the post. There might also be a suspension coming to defenseman Andrew Ference after his high hit to Zack Kassian:

To make matters worse, the Oilers will start a five-game road trip against the Philadelphia Flyers on Tuesday.

Goalie nods: Anton Forsberg debuts for battered Blue Jackets

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News and notes from the crease …

Forsberg’s first

With Sergei Bobrovsky on the shelf, it looks like the Columbus Blue Jackets will give Anton Forsberg his first career NHL start tonight.

Here’s a quick Forsberg bio for those in the crowd wondering … “Anton who?”

 

Forsberg faces Cory Schneider and the New Jersey Devils in his debut.

Crawford’s back

The Chicago Blackhawks sent Scott Darling back to the minors (to the relief of Antti Raanta, who was likely sweating Darling’s strong work) as Corey Crawford appears ready to return. At the moment, it looks like James Reimer will be in net for the Toronto Maple Leafs, who are wrapping up a back-to-back set.

Elsewhere …

Flyers at Panthers: Steve Mason strives for his first win of 2014-15 with Philly while Roberto Luongo’s in net for Florida.

Jets at Rangers: Ondrej Pavelec for Winnipeg and Henrik Lundqvist for New York.

Capitals at Lightning: Braden Holtby starts for Washington, Ben Bishop goes for Tampa Bay.

Coyotes at Hurricanes: Mike Smith tries to get it together with Arizona while Cam Ward continues Carolina’s quest for a win.

Senators at Bruins: Robin Lehner’s in for Ottawa, Tuukka Rask likely for Boston.

Sabres at Penguins: Jhonas Enroth gets thrown to the wolves by Buffalo while Marc-Andre Fleury is looking like a workhorse so far for Pittsburgh.

Stars at Wild: Dallas seems to be leaning toward Kari Lehtonen while Minnesota rolls with Darcy Kuemper.

Avalanche at Blues: Semyon Varlamov goes for Colorado while Brian Elliott hopes that his goalie mask protects him from the bug going around the St. Louis locker room.

Canucks at Oilers: Ryan Miller starts for Vancouver while Ben Scrivens continues to be the go-to guy for Edmonton.

Islanders at Sharks: Jaroslav Halak hopes to stop New York’s run of bad goaltending while Antti Niemi is in net for San Jose.

Markstrom falls short of AHL shutout record

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Jacob Markstrom had been on quite a roll for the Utica Comets in the American Hockey League. But he will not break the big record, at least not tonight.

Markstrom, who the Vancouver Canucks acquired just prior to the 2014 NHL trade deadline in that blockbuster deal involving Roberto Luongo, entered tonight’s game against the Binghamton Senators having not allowed a goal in 232 minutes and 13 seconds, recording three consecutive shutouts prior to Friday.

He was closing in on the league’s shutout record, held by former Abbotsford Heat goalie Barry Brust, who set the new standard at 268 minutes and 17 seconds.

Brust set that back in November of 2012, breaking the previous mark held by Johnny Bower.

The Senators opened the scoring less than six minutes into the first period, halting Markstrom’s current bid for the record books.

The Canucks, deciding to go with the duo of Ryan Miller and Eddie Lack, and opting not to keep three goalies at the NHL level, reassigned Markstrom to the AHL prior toward the end of September.