Goalie nods: With Lehner return looming, is this Ullmark’s last stand?


There could be a bit of symbolism in Dan Bylsma’s decision to give Linus Ullmark the start tonight in Minnesota.

It’ll be a second consecutive start for Ullmark, coming on the heels of a 42-save win over Winnipeg over the weekend. Bylsma is breaking with current tradition by giving Ullmark back-to-backs — he and Chad Johnson have been rotating starts lately — and it could be a send-off, as Ullmark projects to be on his way to AHL Rochester now that Robin Lehner is close to being ready for action.

Lehner, hurt during the first game of the year with a high ankle sprain, is primed to wrap his conditioning stint with the Amerks and resume duties as Buffalo’s No. 1 netminder.

If this is Ullmark’s last start with the big club, he’s certainly shown well.

The 22-year-old went just 6-10-2 during Lehner’s absence, but posted a fairly respectable save percentage (.914) and GAA (2.62). Given this was his first extended look at NHL action and the team in front of him isn’t great, Ullmark and the Sabres have to be happy with how things went.

For the Wild, Devan Dubnyk gets the start in goal.


— Battle of the backups in Brooklyn tonight (well, to be accurate, it’s a third-stringer for the Jackets): Columbus goes with Anton Forsberg, the Isles with Thomas Greiss.

Marc-Andre Fleury, fresh off a 34-save win over Montreal this weekend, will go for Pittsburgh while the ‘Canes counter with Cam Ward.

Keith Kinkaid gives Cory Schneider the night off as the Devils take on the Blues. St. Louis will be going with Brian Elliott, the club’s No. 1 for the foreseeable future with Jake Allen out injured.

— The in-form Connor Hellebucyk (just four goals allowed on his last 52 shots) stays in net for Winnipeg, as the Jets host the Sharks. No word yet on who goes for San Jose, as Martin Jones got last night’s game in Calgary.

— Interesting dynamic at play in Chicago tonight: Corey Crawford, who many expected to make the All-Star Game, goes for the ‘Hawks. The Preds look like they’ll counter with Pekka Rinne, who’s going to the ASG despite having a down year.

— Good matchup brewing in Colorado, where Semyon Varlamov‘s in for the Avs, while the Bolts look like they’ll start Ben Bishop.

Louis Domingue, who’s been a pleasant surprise for the Coyotes this year, starts as Arizona hosts Edmonton. Anders Nilsson goes for the Oilers.