News and notes from around the crease…
McElhinney goes for Jackets
Columbus will give starting netminder Sergei Bobrovsky a rare night off on Monday, as backup Curtis McElhinney will start for the first time since Jan. 28.
McElhinney has seen game action recently, mind you — he stopped 13 of 15 shots in relief of Bobrovsky during Thursday’s 6-1 thumping against Chicago. But it’s been a while since Columbus had to rely on McElhinney consistently, like it did when Bobrovsky went down to a groin injury in late November.
As for the goalie Columbus will be facing, Tim Thomas gets his first start as a member of the Dallas Stars tonight. He’ll be taking the place of Kari Lehtonen, who is sidelined by a concussion. Thomas came on in relief of Lehtonen during Saturday’s big 4-3 win over Minnesota, stopping all six shots faced.
(For more on the Blue Jackets and their playoff chase, click here.)
Halak back in for Washington
The Caps will go back to Jaroslav Halak tonight against Pittsburgh, after he stopped 31 of 33 shots for a win in his Washington debut on Saturday against Phoenix.
Acquired from Buffalo at the deadline in exchange for Michal Neuvirth, Halak has a real opportunity to win the No. 1 job in D.C. — Neuvirth is gone (obviously), Braden Holtby has struggled at times this year and Philipp Grubauer doesn’t seem ready to shoulder a full-time load in the NHL. The Caps need wins to keep pace in the Eastern Conference playoff chase, and they could turn to Halak to get them.
For the Pens, Jeff Zatkoff gets the nod tonight.
Predators at Senators: Pekka Rinne vs. Craig Anderson
Coyotes at Lightning: Mike Smith vs. Ben Bishop
Jets at Avalanche: Al Montoya vs. Semyon Varlamov
Kings at Flames: Martin Jones vs. Joni Ortio
Isles at Canucks: Evgeni Nabokov vs. Eddie Lack
Leafs at Ducks: Jonathan Bernier vs. Frederik Andersen