Goalie nods: NCAA standout Lindgren gets his first NHL start

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This has been a disheartening season for Canadiens fans and their goaltending has been a central part of that, but with the campaign drawing to a close, there is a potential silver lining on the horizon.

Charlie Lindgren is set to play between the pipes tonight in his NHL debut. The Canadiens netminder will be countered by Hurricanes veteran goalie Cam Ward.

At the age of 22, Lindgren only recently ended his tenure with St. Cloud State. He stood out in the NCAA this season with his 2.13 GAA and .925 save percentage in 40 games. That earned him a two-year, entry-level contract with Montreal on March 30.

“Lindgren was in our mind the best free agent goaltender available coming out of the US college level,” said Habs GM Marc Bergevin in a release at the time of signing.

In a best case scenario, he’ll develop into a strong alternative to Carey Price to both give Montreal a reliable backup and fill the void should Price ever deal with significant injuries again like he did this season. Of course, only time will tell if Lindgren will become that goaltender, but we’ll get our first glimpse into his future tonight.

Elsewhere…

Jimmy Howard will start for Detroit in a key contest against the Bruins. Boston will probably counter with Tuukka Rask, but that’s not confirmed.

Ben Bishop will face Keith Kinkaid as the Lightning take on the Devils.

— The battle of the Islanders and Rangers will feature Thomas Greiss and Henrik Lundqvist respectively.

Steve Mason will start for the Flyers for the second time in as many days. He’ll be up against the Toronto Maple Leafs, but it’s not known who will play for them. Jonathan Bernier seems like a decent bet though, given that Garret Sparks started in the Maple Leafs’ 5-1 loss to Columbus last night.

— Pittsburgh’s Matt Murray will face Washington’s Braden Holtby tonight. A victory for Washington would tie Holtby for the single season wins record.

Al Montoya and Craig Anderson will play against each other in tonight’s contest between the Florida Panthers and Ottawa Senators.

Mike Smith will get the nod for the Arizona Coyotes. Nashville’s goaltender isn’t confirmed, but it’s likely to be Pekka Rinne.

— Chicago will go with Scott Darling tonight. It’s not known who the St. Louis Blues will counter with, but with Jake Allen (lower body) out, Brian Elliott is probably a decent guess.

— No confirmations yet in the game between Colorado and Dallas, but Calvin Pickard and Kari Lehtonen are the likely goaltenders.

Joni Ortio will play between the pipes for Calgary. Vancouver will probably counter with Ryan Miller.

— It’s not clear who will start in tonight’s contest between Anaheim and Los Angeles, though it certainly wouldn’t be surprising if John Gibson and Jonathan Quick are between the pipes.

Ondrej Pavelec will start for Winnipeg while San Jose will counter with Martin Jones in tonight’s game.