Goalie nods: Jimmy Howard looks to slow down Canadiens

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The Montreal Canadiens have been an unstoppable force so far this season with a 12-1-1 record entering play on Saturday.

Carey Price, who has posted a 19-2-0 record since the start of last season including a perfect 9-0-0 mark this season, has been one of the big stories in that start. But while he is continuing to show that he is the best goaltender in the NHL, there has been another interesting goalie storyline unfolding this season.

That story belongs to Detroit’s Jimmy Howard, the man that will be getting the start at the other end of the ice when the two teams face off on Saturday night.

After pretty much losing his starting job to Petr Mrazek, Howard has been doing his part to win that job back this season (Saturday will be his fourth consecutive start) and carries a league-leading .961 save percentage into Saturday’s game against Montreal. He has allowed more than one goal in just two of his appearances this season, and has yet to allow more than two goals in any one game.

The Red Wings are only 8-6-1  to start the season, but there is no telling where they would be without Howard playing the way he has in his six appearances.

He will have his hands full on Saturday against a Montreal team that is coming off of a huge win against the Los Angeles Kings in what was perhaps their best all-around performance of the season.

Given the way the Price is playing (the Canadiens are 69-18-6 with him in the lineup over the past three years) Howard will probably have very little margin for error on Saturday and will need to continue his incredible start to the season to give the Red Wings a chance.

Elsewhere…

— After getting pulled during their most recent loss to Boston, Sergei Bobrovsky will be back in the lineup for Columbus on Saturday night when they host the St. Louis Blues. He will go up against Blues starter Jake Allen.

— Nothing official out of Carolina and Washington at this point, but all signs point to Philipp Grubauer going for the Capitals (Braden Holtby played on Friday) while Cam Ward was the first goalie off the ice for the Hurricanes at the morning skate.

Matt Murray will get the call for the fourth time in six games for the Pittsburgh Penguins when they host the Toronto Maple Leafs. Murray comes into the game with a .957 save percentage in his first three starts. No word on the starter for the Maple Leafs, but with Frederik Andersen starting on Friday it is possible he gets the night off.

— The Flyers’ goaltending issues continued in a 6-3 loss to Toronto when Steve Mason had another miserable start. Michal Neuvirth is expected to get the call on Saturday against the Minnesota Wild. Devan Dubnyk goes again for Minnesota.

— After the backups started for Buffalo and New Jersey on Friday, the starters return to the crease on Saturday when they play the second half of their back-to-back. That means it will be Cory Schneider (Devils) going against Robin Lehner (Sabres).

Jaroslav Halak played just 22 minutes on Thursday before getting pulled against Tampa Bay after giving up three goals on 16 shots. The Islanders are going back to him on Saturday against the Florida Panthers as he attempts to bust out of his early season slump. The Panthers are going with Roberto Luongo who has won just one of his past five starts.

— After a slow start to the season Martin Jones seems to be getting back on track with back-to-back impressive starts. He goes for a third straight on Saturday against Ben Bishop and the Tampa Bay Lightning.

— Barring an unforeseen change, expect Tuukka Rask to go for the Bruins as he looks to improve his early season record to 9-1-0. Louis Domingue and the Arizona Coyotes will face him.

Pekka Rinne goes for Nashville against the Anaheim Ducks. The Ducks have yet to announce their starter.

— Flames coach Glen Gulutzan wants his team to stop playing with a fear of failure. What would help more is a strong game from goaltender Brian Elliott on Saturday against the New York Rangers. Henrik Lundqvist will be in the New York net.

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    Bruins set NHL record with 12 straight home wins to start season

    Bob DeChiara-USA TODAY Sports
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    BOSTON — The Boston Bruins set the NHL record for most home victories to start a season with their 12th straight, topping the Carolina Hurricanes 3-2 in overtime with a power-play goal from David Pastrnak.

    The Bruins broke the mark of 11 that was set by the 1963-64 Chicago Blackhawks and equaled by the Florida Panthers last season.

    “That felt awesome,” Bruins first-year coach Jim Montgomery said. “We talked about it after the second (period) going into the third. There’s been a lot of great teams in this league and you’re able to set a precedent, break a record. It’s pretty special and it doesn’t happen if those guys don’t believe in themselves like they do.”

    Boston, which trailed 2-0 late in the second period, tied it with 9:33 left in regulation when David Krejci scored his second of the game on a shot from the right point.

    “It’s never fun being down going into the third, you’re sitting in here (in the locker room) trying to figure it out,” Krejci said. “You want to come out and do the job, something special on the line. It’s hard to win in this league. To get 12 in a row at home is pretty special.”

    In overtime, Carolina was playing shorthanded after being called for too many men on the ice when Pastrnak one-timed a pass from Brad Marchand inside the far post from above the left circle.

    “It was a big win for us, obviously, coming from behind,” Pastrnak said.

    Jesperi Kotkaniemi and Stefan Noesen each scored a power-play goal for Carolina, and Pyotr Kochetkov made 38 saves. The Hurricanes lost their fifth straight.

    In a rematch of last spring’s opening-round playoff series that the Hurricanes won in seven games, Carolina shutout the NHL’s highest scoring team for nearly two periods and jumped ahead a pair of power-play goals in the opening period.

    “We took too many penalties. That’s hurting us right now,” Kotaniemi said. “I think 5-on-5 we’re doing a really good job. We started good tonight and couldn’t keep that up.”

    Boston’s tying goal was originally disallowed because of goaltender interference on Nick Foligno but overturned on a coach’s challenge after it was ruled that he was nudged into the crease by Carolina defenseman Brett Pesce.

    Boston starting goaltender Linus Ullmark made 28 saves but had to leave with 13:03 left in the third period with an undisclosed upper-body injury. Teammate Connor Clifton had jumped on him to block a shot during a scramble. Jeremy Swayman made six stops in relief.

    Carolina’s Noesen scored at 6:34 in to make it 1-0. And with five minutes left in the period, Kotkaniemi collected the puck near the side of the net after Seth Jarvis‘ shot bounced off the back glass and slipped it inside the post at 15:05.

    Krejci scored for Boston with 31 seconds left in the second.

    Boston came in with a league-high 82 goals in 20 games (4.10 per game), but it was held to relatively few chances despite getting a 5-on-3 power-play advantage early on.

    TAKE NOTE

    The Bruins honored captain Patrice Bergeron, who recorded his 1,000th career point when the team was on the road against Tampa Bay, with a message on the Jumbotron. The crowd gave him a standing ovation.

    Bergeron became just the fourth Bruin to reach the mark, joining Hall of Famers Ray Bourque (1,506), Johnny Bucyk (1,339) and Phil Esposito (1,012).

    UP NEXT

    Hurricanes: Host the Calgary Flames.

    Bruins: Host the Tampa Bay Lightning.

    Predators postpone 2 games due to Nashville water main break

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    NASHVILLE, Tenn. —  The Nashville Predators postponed two home games because of a water main break that soaked their downtown arena.

    Hours after the Predators decided they couldn’t play against the Colorado Avalanche, the team announced it also postponed the game against the Columbus Blue Jackets. Makeup dates for the two games will be announced later.

    The NHL said the water main break that occurred “significantly impacted the event level” of Bridgestone Arena. Team locker rooms and the ice surface are on the event level.

    Predators President and CEO Sean Henry told reporters that the water in the event level ranged from 3 inches to 3 feet.

    “We’re assessing it right now. We’re remediating it,” Henry said. “The good thing is, the water got shut off, the city responded in a pretty fast manner. I don’t think anyone is ready for things like this the Friday after Thanksgiving.”

    Video posted by a WTVF-TV reporter shows the water puddled up on the main floor’s concourse area and the team store. The team was forced to close the store until further notice, pointing shoppers online for Black Friday specials.

    The Predators’ next home game is now scheduled for Tuesday against the Anaheim Ducks.

    The water issue also resulted in a switch to a different venue for a college hockey game between Northeastern and Western Michigan. They also had been scheduled to play at Bridgestone Arena, a game that was moved to Ford Ice Center Bellevue.

    Rangers trade Ryan Reaves to Wild for 5th-round pick in 2025

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    ST. PAUL, Minn. — The New York Rangers traded enforcer Ryan Reaves to the Minnesota Wild for a 2025 fifth-round pick.

    Reaves had been a healthy scratch for eight of the past 12 games for the Rangers. He gives struggling Minnesota some extra muscle and a veteran presence.

    The 35-year-old is signed through only the rest of this season at a $1.75 million salary cap hit. He has no points and 12 penalty minutes in 12 games of his second season with New York.

    Reaves has played in 869 NHL regular-season and playoff games for the St. Louis Blues, Pittsburgh Penguins, Vegas Golden Knights and Rangers. He was with the Golden Knights during their inaugural season in 2017-18 when the reached the Stanley Cup Final.

    Toronto’s Morgan Rielly placed on long-term injured reserve

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    TORONTO — The Toronto Maple Leafs placed defenseman Morgan Rielly on long-term injured reserve with a knee injury.

    Rielly was hurt in a collision with with New York forward Kyle Palmieri early in the third period of Toronto’s 3-2 overtime loss to the Islanders at home.

    Rielly has no goals and 16 assists in 20 games this season and is averaging 23 minutes of ice time.

    Leafs coach Sheldon Keefe said following practice that the 28-year-old Rielly doesn’t need surgery, adding there’s no firm timeline for his return beyond the minimum 24 days and 10 games required for going on long-term injured reserve.

    Toronto’s defense is also missing Jake Muzzin with a neck injury and T.J. Brodie with an injured oblique.