Goalie nods: Jimmy Howard returns to starting lineup for Red Wings

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On Sunday evening Jimmy Howard will be making his first start for the Detroit Red Wings since Nov. 25 when he takes the ice against the Philadelphia Flyers and tries to put a stop to their eight-game winning streak.

Howard had to leave that game against the Devils after just 10 minutes due to a lower body injury.

He was activated off of injured reserve this past week and made a relief appearance on Friday night, taking over for Petr Mrazek late in the second period of the Red Wings’ 4-1 loss to the Columbus Blue Jackets. He stopped all seven shots he faced that night.

Before the injury Howard was having a bounce back year after a down year in 2015-16 that ultimately resulted in losing his starting job to Mrazek. In 13 appearances this season (including 11 starts) Howard has been spectacular with a .942 save percentage.

The Flyers, who played on Saturday afternoon, will go with Anthony Stolarz.

They went with Steve Mason on Saturday as he helped them win their eighth straight game.

Elsewhere…

— After giving up four goals on Saturday afternoon Mike Condon is back in the net for Ottawa on Sunday against the Anaheim Ducks. The Ducks have yet to announce their starter.

— With Ryan Miller still sidelined and the Canucks not wanting to play Thatcher Demko, Jacob Markstrom is expected to go for the Vancouver Canucks against the Washington Capitals. The Capitals have not announced their starter.

Jake Allen has four wins in his past five starts but he probably hasn’t played as well as he would like during that stretch, giving up at least three goals in three of those games. He goes for the St. Louis Blues as they take on Devan Dubnyk and the Minnesota Wild.

Scott Darling goes again for the Blackhawks as Corey Crawford remains sidelined on injured reserve. Darling has been great in Crawford’s absence. They take on the Dallas Stars.

— Antoine Bibeau makes his first career start for the Toronto Maple Leafs against a Colorado Avalanche team that gave up 10 goals on Saturday night. The Avalanche have yet to name a starter.

Antti Raanta goes again for the Rangers, getting his third start in four days. The New Jersey Devils are going with their regular starter, Cory Schneider.

Cam Talbot starts for the 27th time in 30 games for the Edmonton Oilers when they take on the Winnipeg Jets. No goalie has played in more games than Talbot so far this season. Both Jets goalies played on Saturday in a 6-2 loss to Calgary. No word yet on who starts on Sunday.

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    Islanders agree to terms with Mathew Barzal on 8-year extension

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    Mathew Barzal has agreed to terms with the New York Islanders on an eight-year extension, a move that keeps the franchise’s top forward under contract for the balance of his prime.

    The deal is worth $73.2 million with an annual salary cap hit of $9.15 million, according to a person with knowledge of the contract. The person spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity because the team did not announce terms.

    Barzal has led the team in scoring, or been tied for the lead, every season since he became a full-time NHL player in 2017-18. He has 349 points in 411 regular-season and playoff games for the defensively stingy Islanders, who qualified for the postseason three consecutive times before an injury- and virus-altered last year.

    “We feel recharged,” Barzal said recently. “We feel like everybody had good summers and worked hard, and we got that excitement back.”

    Barzal, now 25, is coming off putting up 59 points in 75 games. The offensive star will now be asked to round out his game.

    “I’m a fan because Mat has the ability to raise his game and to be a special player,” general manager Lou Lamoriello told reporters at the team’s practice facility on Long Island. “And now, with this contract and our faith in him, (it) puts that responsibility on him. We’re trusting that. It’s up to him to respond to that.”

    Senators goaltender Cam Talbot out 5-7 weeks with injury

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    OTTAWA, Ontario — Ottawa Senators goaltender Cam Talbot is expected to be out five to seven weeks with what the team called an upper-body injury.

    The Senators initially called Talbot day to day with what they hoped was a minor injury. Instead he’s now expected to miss at least the first month of the NHL season.

    Ottawa claimed goalie Magnus Hellberg off waivers from the Seattle Kraken upon announcing Talbot’s expected absence. Hellberg, who played for Sweden at the Beijing Olympics could split time with countryman Anton Forsberg while Talbot is out.

    The Senators acquired Talbot from Minnesota during the offseason to make him their starter after the Wild opted against bringing him back along with Marc-Andre Fleury. Talbot, 35, had a 2.76 goals-against average and .911 save percentage this season.

    Losing Talbot is a blow to the Senators, who also acquired winger Alex DeBrincat from Chicago and signed longtime Philadelphia Flyers captain Claude Giroux as part of a move toward contending and ending their playoff drought.

    Blackhawks’ Boris Katchouk sidelined by ankle sprain

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    CHICAGO — Blackhawks forward Boris Katchouk will be sidelined for four to six weeks with a left ankle sprain, the team announced.

    The 24-year-old Katchouk played almost 12 minutes during a 3-0 preseason loss to Detroit on Saturday night. He was acquired in a multiplayer trade with Tampa Bay in March.

    The Blackhawks open the season on Oct. 12 at Colorado.

    The team also said forward Jujhar Khaira is day to day with a right ankle injury.

    Ducks’ Urho Vaakanainen crashes into boards, leaves on stretcher

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    ANAHEIM, Calif. — Ducks defenseman Urho Vaakanainen was taken off the Honda Center ice on a stretcher after he crashed into the end boards in the first period of Anaheim’s preseason game against the San Jose Sharks.

    The Finnish defenseman was conscious and alert with full movement in his extremities at UCI Medical Center, the Ducks said.

    The frightening incident occurred midway through the opening period when Vaakanainen smashed into the boards at a dangerous speed behind the Sharks’ net. Vaakanainen appeared to be concentrating on the pass he had just made to Derek Grant, who scored the Ducks’ opening goal on the assist.

    Vaakanainen’s teammates came onto the ice and gathered around him as he was taken away on the stretcher.

    The Ducks acquired the 23-year-old Vaakanainen from Boston last March in the deal that sent longtime Ducks defenseman Hampus Lindholm to the Bruins. After recording two assists in 14 games for the Ducks last season, Vaakanainen is attempting to win a top-six role on Anaheim’s defense this fall.