Goalie nods: Hiller back to Anaheim, Schneider back to Vancouver


All the latest from the blue paint…

Hiller goes back to Anaheim

Jonas Hiller will be in front of a familiar crowd tonight — he’ll get the start for Calgary when the Flames take on the Ducks in Anaheim, returning to the city he called home for seven seasons.

Hiller, who left Anaheim sitting third all-time among Ducks goalies in games played (326), wins (162) and shutouts (21), fell out of Bruce Boudreau’s favor late last year and was parked on a number of occasions, later admitting his final few months with the Ducks were “frustrating.”

It’s been nothing but good times since signing as a free agent in Calgary, however. Hiller has been very good, going 9-5-1 with a .914 save percentage and 2.45 GAA for the surprising Flames, who head into tonight’s contest three points back of Anaheim for first in the Pacific Division.

For Anaheim, Frederik Andersen gets the start in goal.

Schneider goes back to Vancouver

Reunion night!

Like Hiller, Cory Schneider returns to city he called home for five years tonight, as he’ll start for the Devils when they take on the Canucks  at Rogers Arena. This marks just second time Schneider has played in Vancouver since getting dealt to Jersey at the ’13 NHL Entry Draft (last season he stopped 29 of 32 shots in a 3-2 OT loss.)

The NHL’s busiest netminder — he’s started all but one game for the Devils this year — Schneider is coming off one of his best performances of the season on Friday, stopping all 29 shots in a 2-0 win over the Oilers. The shutout bumped his numbers to 9-8-2 on the year, with a .914 save percentage and 2.58 GAA.

For Vancouver, Ryan Miller will be in net.


Jets at Jackets: Michael Hutchinson vs. Sergei Bobrovsky

Sens at Blues: Robin Lehner vs. Brian Elliott

Kings at Preds: Pekka Rinne for Nashville, Martin Jones likely for L.A.

Oilers at Stars: Viktor Fasth vs. Kari Lehtonen

Avs at Coyotes: Reto Berra vs. Mike Smith

Canucks keeping rookie Horvat — ‘Everything he got he earned’


The Vancouver Canucks are keeping rookie Bo Horvat. Coach Willie Desjardins confirmed it this morning, prior to tonight’s home game against New Jersey, which will be Horvat’s all-important ninth of the season.

Horvat, 19, has four points in his last two games, catching fire just as Devils goalie Cory Schneider, for whom he was essentially traded, arrives for a visit.

“Everything he got he earned,” said Desjardins of Horvat. “Lots of factors went into the decision, but ultimately he’s played really well.”

Horvat has been centering a fourth line between wingers Jannik Hansen, the NHL’s reigning first star of the week, and Derek Dorsett.

Schneider, meanwhile, maintains he hasn’t been paying attention to Horvat’s progress.

“I haven’t really, to be honest. You’ve got to think that a kid taken in the top 10 is a pretty good player,” Schneider said yesterday, per NJ.com. “I’ll watch him a little more tomorrow and see what kind of player he is. They’ve got some good young players coming up and in the lineup right now. They’ve really kind of turned the page from last year.”

Technically, the Canucks could still send Horvat back to junior after he plays his tenth game, but the first year of his entry-level contract will have been burned.

Horvat also, apparently, remains an option to play for Canada at the upcoming World Juniors.

Horvat catches fire, just as Schneider arrives for visit


They’re raving about Bo Horvat in Vancouver.

And in an interesting twist, they’re doing it just as New Jersey’s Cory Schneider, the goalie the Canucks traded to draft Horvat, is in town for a game Tuesday.

They’re also doing it just as Horvat, 19, is set to play his ninth NHL game, after which management will have to decide on keeping him, burning the first year of his entry-level contract in the process, or sending him back to junior.

Chances are, they’re going to keep him. After scoring his first NHL goal Thursday versus Anaheim, Horvat had three assists in last night’s 4-1 victory over Chicago. On top of that, he went 13 of 16 in the faceoff circle, with a few wins over one of the NHL’s best, Jonathan Toews.

“Believe it or not, that is my idol,” Horvat said of Toews, per the Vancouver Sun. “That’s the guy I want to model my game after, that’s the guy I watched growing up playing in the NHL. And to take a faceoff against him a couple of times and to be on the same sheet of ice as him, it’s pretty cool.”

Horvat has also drawn comparisons to Boston’s Patrice Bergeron. Considering the Canucks only recently traded Ryan Kesler — like Toews and Bergeron, a former Selke Trophy winner — the growing excitement in Vancouver about Horvat, though possibly a tad premature, is understandable.

“I wouldn’t believe he was 19 if I didn’t already know that,” linemate Derek Dorsett said. “The way he carries himself on and off the ice, it’s like he has played five or 10 years as a pro already.”

Goalie nods: Clemmensen’s first Devils start since 2009

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All the latest from the blue paint …

A long time coming

A fun nugget from the New Jersey Devils PR staff: this is Scott Clemmensen’s first start with the team since Feb. 21, 2009.

If you want to make an easy joke about Cory Schneider playing a team-record 20 straight games, that stat’s a great place to start. Of course, the truth is that Clemmensen left New Jersey to be a backup with the Florida Panthers before signing with the team once again this past summer. On the rare evenings that the Devils have rested Schneider, they’ve tried to groom Keith Kinkaid as a future backup with some NHL reps.

The 37-year-old actually has made two appearances so far in relief duty for the Devils, however, and it’s probably unfair to beat him up too much for his numbers (four goals allowed on 17 shots in about 37 minutes of game time over two evenings).

On the bright side, Clemmensen at least offers something Kinkaid doesn’t: experience. He may have a tired New Jersey bunch in front of him, as they beat the Edmonton Oilers last night.

Clemmensen faces Karri Ramo and the Calgary Flames tonight.

Elsewhere …

Blues at Senators: Brian Elliott vs. Robin Lehner

Canadiens at Bruins: Carey Price vs. (likely) Tuukka Rask

Red Wings at Maple Leafs: Jimmy Howard vs. Jonathan Bernier

Wild at Lightning: Darcy Kuemper vs. Ben Bishop

Penguins at Islanders: Thomas Greiss vs. Jaroslav Halak

Blue Jackets at Flyers: Nothing set yet, but probably Sergei Bobrovsky vs. Steve Mason

Sabres at Capitals: Jhonas Enroth vs. Braden Holtby

Panthers at Predators: Not confirmed, but lean toward Roberto Luongo vs. Pekka Rinne

Kings at Stars: Probably Jonathan Quick, almost definitely Kari Lehtonen

Hurricanes at Avalanche: Cam Ward (likely) vs. Reto Berra

Blackhawks at Oilers: Antti Raanta vs. Ben Scrivens

Coyotes at Sharks: Not certain, but expect Devan Dubnyk vs. Antti Niemi

Been there, done that: Oilers lose five straight for second time this season


It’s entering the end of November, the National Hockey League season is transitioning through the quarter mark and the Edmonton Oilers are in the midst of their second five-game losing streak already.

On Friday, the Oilers were booed off the ice after a 2-0 loss to the New Jersey Devils. Cory Schneider recorded the shutout with a 29-save performance in his 20th consecutive start, which reportedly breaks the club’s old record held by Martin Brodeur.

Goals from Adam Henrique and Tuomo Ruutu less than five minutes apart in the second period were enough for the Devils. Schneider, the workhorse, was solid.

Making matters worse for the Oilers was the loss of forward Benoit Pouliot, who suffered a broken foot blocking a shot and is now out indefinitely.

The Oilers are now at the end of a five-game home stand. It concludes Saturday against the Chicago Blackhawks, and that could mean even more pain for Edmonton’s fan base.

The Oilers have won only four times on home ice in 12 opportunities to date in the 2014-15 campaign. So yeah, you can understand the fans’ frustrations following yet another disappointing result.

And this once again had the Oilers searching for answers, but saying all the right things.

“What we can control is our desperation and our gamesmanship… The mistakes we made tonight simply can’t happen,” said Taylor Hall, as per the club’s Twitter account.

“That’s the problem with our group right now is that we can’t seem to get the full 60 (minutes),” said head coach Dallas Eakins.

“I don’t question – a lot of nights – their effort. I think that’s a very damning statement against a player, that a player in this league is going to show up and just not try.”