News and notes from around the blue paint …
Corey Crawford comes back
After being sidelined since Dec. 8, the Chicago Blackhawks will welcome Corey Crawford back into the fold. Will it give the underrated netminder a chance to prove to Team Canada’s brass that he’s fit to be one of the Olympic three?
Chicago’s hedging its bets by keeping Antti Raanta and Jason LaBarbera around, too. On the other end of the ice, the New York Islanders press Evgeni Nabokov back into workhorse mode.
Elliott building Blues build-up?
Jaroslav Halak is sick, so that opens the door for Brian Elliott to continue to threaten his position as the St. Louis Blues go-to guy. If he keeps winning, it’s hard to imagine it morphing into anything less than a platoon-ish situation. Meanwhile, it sounds like Martin Jones will tend the net for Los Angeles. The Kings have been struggling lately.
(Jake Allen was also called up by the Blues in case Elliott falters.)
Could Khudobin push Cam in Carolina?
With Cam Ward injured, Anton Khudobin returns to action for the first time since Oct. 13. Meanwhile, Philipp Grubauer continues to pile up starts for the Washington Capitals.
Nashville at Boston: Marek Mazenec faces Niklas Svedberg (more on the latter here)
Winnipeg at Ottawa: two goalies hope to continue building momentum as Al Montoya faces Craig Anderson.
Buffalo at Minnesota: Ryan Miller faces Niklas Backstrom thanks to Josh Harding’s sickness.
Montreal at Dallas: Carey Price will probably face Kari Lehtonen, provided the Stars goalie hasn’t been bitten by the flu bug.
Philadelphia at Colorado: Steve Mason faces Semyon Varlamov.
Columbus at Phoenix: Curtis McElhinney squares off against Mike Smith.
Edmonton at San Jose: Devan Dubnyk faces Antti Niemi. (Hopefully Ilya Brzygalov will exhibit positive body language on the bench.)