Goalie nods: Flames start Johnson for fifth time in six games


Things sure are getting interesting in Calgary.

After Brian Elliott made just his sixth start of the month on Monday — a loss to the Sabres, in which he allowed four goals on 32 shots — the Flames have decided to go back to Chad Johnson, who will make his fifth start in the last six games in Columbus.

The move from St. Louis to Calgary has proven to be a struggle for Elliott. His numbers with his new team are ugly — 3-9-0, .882 save percentage, 3.42 GAA — and first-year head coach Glen Gulutzan doesn’t seem ready to let Elliott play through it.

Part of the reason for that is Johnson, who has been the Flames’ savior lately. The journeyman has been solid in November, going 4-2-0 with a .917 save percentage, and has helped the club ever-so-slightly right the ship after a 5-10-1 start to the year.

For the host Blue Jackets, there are no such problems in goal. Sergei Bobrovsky has been terrific, and he’ll start once again tonight.


— For the Wild, Devan Dubnyk‘s back in after a rare night off (Darcy Kuemper started Monday versus Dallas). He’ll be up against Connor Hellebuyck and the Jets.

Jimmy Howard starts his third in a row for the Red Wings, who are in Buffalo. The Sabres will continue to ride Robin Lehner, who snapped a five-game losing streak with a win over Calgary on Monday.

Jhonas Enroth was the first goalie off at Toronto’s morning skate, so he projects to give Frederik Andersen the night off in New Jersey. The Devils are going with Cory Schneider.

— No word yet who Pittsburgh will start in the second of a home-and-home series against the Rangers (Marc-Andre Fleury played in Monday’s 5-2 loss). New York will start Henrik Lundqvist.

Braden Holtby goes for Washington, as the Caps host the Blues. No word yet on a St. Louis starter. Jake Allen, who has been excellent lately, stopped 39 of 41 shots in last night’s win over Boston.

— Philly hasn’t confirmed, but many thought tonight would be the night for Anthony Stolarz’s NHL debut. Steve Mason made 38 saves in a 3-1 win over Florida last night, so he could get this evening off. For the Bolts, Andrei Vasilevskiy‘s in goal.

— It’s Kari Lehtonen versus Pekka Rinne as the Stars take on the Preds in Nashville.

Martin Jones, coming off a 26-save shutout of the Devils on Monday, will be back in goal for the Sharks. Chicago has yet to announce a starter.

Cam Talbot, coming off a 31-save shutout of the Blackhawks on Monday, will be back in goal for the Oilers. He’ll be up against Semyon Varlamov, who was huge for Colorado in an OT win against the Jackets last time out.

Ryan Miller makes his first start since Nov. 13, when the Canucks visit Arizona. Mike Smith goes for the Coyotes, in a veteran-laden matchup.

Jaroslav Halak returns to No. 1 duties for the Isles, after Thomas Greiss beat the Ducks in a shootout last night. He’ll square off against Peter Budaj, in goal for the host Kings.

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