Ben Scrivens

AP

Habs sign Lindgren, calling him the ‘top goaltender coming out of college’

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St. Cloud State goalie Charlie Lindgren has bypassed his senior year to sign a two-year contract with the Montreal Canadiens.

“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. “He made the decision to join the Canadiens organization and will complete the season with the team. Lindgren is a top goaltender coming out of college, and becomes an excellent prospect for our organization, bringing some depth at this position.”

Lindgren, 22, went 30-9-1 with a .925 save percentage for the Huskies this season. He told the St. Cloud Times that there were “10-15 teams” interested in him.

“The first thing is the best opportunity,” Lindgren said. “Where do you see yourself having the best path to the NHL?”

After choosing the Canadiens, he’ll now compete with the club’s other goaltending prospects like Zach Fucale, Michael McNiven, Hayden Hawkey, and Mike Condon.

Carey Price, 28, is signed through 2017-18.

Update:

Ben Scrivens will be placed on waivers at noon today and will not travel with the team on its trip to Florida. A pending unrestricted free agent, his career with the Habs is presumably over.

Scrivens’ NHL career would seem to be in jeopardy, too. After being traded to Montreal in December, the 29-year-old went 5-8-0 with a .906 save percentage, failing to grasp the opportunity that he was granted due to Carey Price’s injury.

Goalie nods: Special night for Backstrom in return to Minnesota

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Thursday’s game at Xcel promises to be an emotional one for Niklas Backstrom.

The veteran goalie, who spent the first nine years of his NHL career in Minnesota, will be back to face the Wild for the first time since being dealt to Calgary at the trade deadline.

Backstrom, 38, enjoyed some major success in Minnesota, including the 2008-09 campaign in which he played a career-high 71 games, recorded a career-high 37 wins, finished with a .923 save percentage and was named a Vezina finalist, finishing third in voting.

Though he’s largely been inactive over the last 14 months — he was the third goalie in Minnesota with Devan Dubnyk as the No. 1 and Darcy Kuemper as the backup — Backstrom fared well in his first outing with the Flames, stopping 21 of 22 shots in a win over Montreal earlier this week.

Tonight figures to be a much tougher test than the Habs were, though. Minnesota is fighting for its playoff life, and will likely be scoreboard watching as the team it’s chasing for the final wild card spot, Colorado, is also in action against Philly.

Elsewhere…

— Key Atlantic Division tilt in Boston tonight, when the B’s host the Panthers. Roberto Luongo will go for Florida, but no word yet on a Bruins starter. Tuukka Rask started last night’s loss to the Rangers, but was hooked after 20 minutes.

— Scott Wedgewood makes his second NHL start after beating the Blue Jackets on Sunday. He’ll face off against Marc-Andre Fleury and the Penguins.

Eddie Lack versus Sergei Bobrovsky as the ‘Canes invade Columbus.

— The Anaheim goalie timeshare continues as Frederik Andersen gets back into the net tonight in Toronto. The Leafs are going with Garret Sparks.

Petr Mrazek, who wasn’t terrific in relief of Jimmy Howard in Tuesday’s loss to Tampa Bay, goes for the Red Wings. Ben Scrivens goes for the Habs.

— Winnipeg is starting Ondrej Pavelec, who’s coming off a shutout of Vancouver. The Kings are likely to counter with Jonathan Quick.

Ryan Miller, who made 49 saves against the Blues in his last outing, will start for the Canucks. Nashville looks as though it’ll give Pekka Rinne the nod.

— Two teams in the thick of their respective wild card chases meet in Colorado: Steve Mason goes for the Flyers, Semyon Varlamov for the Avs.

Louis Domingue draws back in for host Arizona, giving Mike Smith the night off. The Stars will likely go with Kari Lehtonen.

— The red-hot James Reimer starts for San Jose. Cam Talbot goes for Edmonton.

Goalie nods: With Mrazek (flu) still out, Red Wings turn to Howard again

Associated Press

The Detroit Red Wings are in the middle of a heated playoff race and on Saturday, they’ll be without starting goalie Petr Mrazek (flu), again.

Jimmy Howard will be between the pipes for the second straight game. Howard stopped 27 of 28 shots in a win over the Blue Jackets on Thursday night.

“The guys played a tremendous game in front of me all night long,” Howard said after the win over Columbus, per the Detroit News. “They battled hard in front and didn’t allow them to establish net presence and made my night relatively easy.

Howard’s starts have been few and far between for the most part in 2016, but he’s happy to be contributing in Detroit’s playoff hunt.

“You cherish these moments (in a playoff race) when you’re a player and competitor. You just want to go out there and play. Everyone in here just needed to take a deep breath and relax and get back to paying attention to details.”

The Red Wings currently own the final Wild Card spot in the Eastern Conference, but they’re only one point ahead of the Flyers.

Roberto Luongo will get the start for the Panthers.

Elsewhere…

Henrik Lundqvist will start for the Rangers. The Sharks will counter with starter Martin Jones.

Keith Kinkaid will make his eighth straight appearance for the Devils. The Blue Jackets will counter with Sergei Bobrovsky.

–The Canadiens will turn to backup goalie Ben Scrivens. The Senators will use their backup as well, as Andrew Hammond will be in goal.

Chad Johnson will likely get the start for Buffalo. The Maple Leafs will go with rookie Garret Sparks.

–With Jaroslav Halak still out, the Isles will start Thomas Greiss. The Stars haven’t named a starter, but Kari Lehtonen should be between the pipes.

Brian Elliott will make his return to the Blues lineup after missing 10 games with a lower-body injury. The Canucks are expected to go with Ryan Miller.

–Look for Ben Bishop to start for the Lightning. Louis Domingue will be in the crease for the Coyotes.

Tuukka Rask and Jonathan Quick are expected to face-off when the Bruins and Kings square off. Neither team has confirmed their starting goaltender.

Scrivens was glad he didn’t fight Lehner, who he called ‘a bit of a psycho’

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No doubt about it, PHT lamented the missed spectacle of seeing a goalie fight between Robin Lehner and Ben Scrivens on Wednesday night.

You know who didn’t lament the lack of a fight? Ben Scrivens.

He admitted to Sportsnet’s David Amber that he was relieved to avoid a fight with Lehner, although he would have done it if he had to. After all, Lehner is a “big boy” and “a bit of a psycho,” according to Scrivens.

Now, keep in mind that Scrivens actually had a lot of good things to say about Lehner during that interview, too.

Overall, it was a pretty solid night for Scrivens, really. His Canadiens won the game 3-2 in overtime and he didn’t get pummeled by a huge goalie. There are worse ways to spend “Hump Day.”

You can watch the near-fight in the video above.

Ah bummer, we were so close to a goalie fight tonight

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There are a plethora of reasons to dislike regular, run-of-the-mill fights. It’s a reasonable thing for a hockey fan to do.

Let’s be honest, though: the sheer novelty and oddness of a goalie fight makes it difficult not to at least smile.

Big awkward pads flying about. One guy possibly being way in over his head, which isn’t always the most fun (sorry, Braden Holtby, about that time you fought Ray Emery).

Long story short, goalie fights are quite the spectacle, so it’s a bit of a bummer that a bout was averted between Montreal Canadiens goalie Ben Scrivens and Buffalo Sabres netminder Robin Lehner tonight.

So far, video of the near-exchange/super-icy staredown isn’t available, but Stephanie “My Regular Face” tells much of the story through GIFs.

Darn it.

Should be a goldmine for memes, at least.

Update: Now there’s video AND GIFs. Hooray.