Goalie nods: McElhinney faces former mates in Columbus

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The Leafs will give backup Curtis McElhinney the start in Columbus this evening, just 36 days after they claimed him off waivers from the Jackets.

It promises to be an emotional affair.

“I try to focus on just playing games, no matter who they’re [against],” McElhinney said, per the Sun. “The fact I get to play in a familiar building is a great opportunity.

“The biggest thing [about being with the Leafs] is it’s nice to extend your career a little longer at this level. I’m grateful for another opportunity to do that.”

McElhinney spent parts of four seasons in Columbus, appearing in 85 contests. He had some good times with the club, which included starting a career-high 28 times in ’14-15, but fell out of favor this season. The Jackets opted to go with youngsters Joonas Korpisalo and Anton Forsberg in the backup role to Sergei Bobrovsky, which left McElhinney the odd man out.

He’s proven a nice pickup for Toronto, however.

The 33-year-old has been solid, posting a .935 save percentage and 2.11 GAA over four appearances. Tonight, he’ll be seeking his third win as a Leaf.

For the Jackets, Bobrovsky will start.

Elsewhere…

Jake Allen, named the NHL’s second star of the week on Monday, gets a night off as the Blues start Carter Hutton in Detroit. Petr Mrazek goes for the Red Wings.

— The red-hot Michal Neuvirth goes again for Philly, looking to build on the .946 save percentage he’s posted over his last five starts. The host Flames will start Brian Elliott, who came on in relief of Chad Johnson in Monday’s blowout loss to the Coyotes.

Martin Jones, who snapped a three-game losing streak with Sunday’s win over New Jersey, gets right back in for the Sharks. No word yet on a Panthers starter.