Price adds to Hart Trophy case with 31-save shutout

12 Comments

The Carolina Hurricanes outshot the Montreal Canadiens 27-12 over the final 40 minutes of tonight’s game and 16-5 in the third period. It didn’t matter as Montreal still earned a 4-0 victory.

Canadiens goaltender Carey Price turned aside 31 shots to match his career-high with his eighth shutout of 2014-15. In doing so, he also further bolstered his case in the battle for the Hart Trophy.

Although goaltenders rarely claim that honor, Price has been invaluable to Montreal this season. Among qualified goaltenders, he’s the only one with a sub-2 GAA (1.89) and is also cleanly leading the pack with his .937 save percentage. Minnesota’s Devan Dubnyk is one of his most serious competitors when it comes to those two categories as he has a 2.10 GAA and .928 save percentage. However Dubnyk, who began the campaign as Arizona’s backup goalie, has started in 13 less games than Price.

There are netminders that measure up to Price in terms of workload, but none have earned more wins. Price’s victory over Carolina was his 39th of 2014-15, which surpasses his previous career-high set in 2010-2011.

Montreal now has a 45-20-7 record as it battles for the Presidents’ Trophy.

Goalie nods: Panthers return ‘our MVP’ Luongo for key tilt versus Wings

9 Comments

All the latest from the blue paint…

Luongo back for Florida

Roberto Luongo will play for the first time since Mar. 3 when the Panthers host the Red Wings in Sunrise this evening.

Luongo, who’s missed the past six games with a shoulder injury, draws back in looking to keep Florida’s playoff hopes alive. The Panthers went an impressive 3-2-1 during his absence with journeyman Dan Ellis in goal, but know their chances of making the postseason are increased greatly with Bobby Loo in net.

“[Luongo] has been our MVP all year long,” Panthers coach Gerard Gallant said, per NHL.com. “He’s been a great player for us and a great leader and a great character. He’s going to come in tonight and try to do his best.

“He’ll work hard and compete hard and I’m sure the guys will be excited to see him.”

Florida heads into tonight’s action seven points back of Boston (the Bruins take on the Sens in Ottawa tonight), but still has three head-to-head matchups remaining against the B’s.

For Detroit, Petr Mrazek gets the call in net tonight.

Elsewhere…

Sharks at Leafs: Antti Niemi vs. Jonathan Bernier

Canes at Habs: Anton Khudobin vs. Carey Price

Bruins at Senators: Tuukka Rask (probable) vs. Andrew Hammond

Blues at Jets: Brian Elliott vs. Ondrej Pavelec

Caps at Wild: Braden Holtby vs. Devan Dubnyk

Pens at Stars: Marc-Andre Fleury vs. Kari Lehtonen (probable)

Flyers at Flames: Steve Mason vs. Karri Ramo

Jackets at Canucks: (No Columbus starter yet) vs. Eddie Lack

Avs at Coyotes: Semyon Varlamov vs. Louis Domingue

Video: Doughty won’t ‘do anything different’ to try and win the Norris

6 Comments

Drew Doughty is undeniably one of the best defensemen in hockey. Just 25 years old, he’s already hoisted the Stanley Cup twice and won a pair of Olympic gold medals.

But one thing he hasn’t won is the Norris Trophy.

Why is that anyway?

Well, one possibility is that he hasn’t deserved to yet.

Or, maybe he has, but playing in Los Angeles has hurt his chances with Eastern-based voters.

Or, maybe he’d have a better shot if he scored more points, like recent winners Erik Karlsson, P.K. Subban and Duncan Keith.

Regardless, while he’d love to win the Norris one day (“there’s no doubt about it”), he’s “not going to do anything different to try” and win an individual award.

Related: Keith edges Weber, Chara for his second Norris Trophy

Report: More AHL affiliation changes coming

4 Comments

It appears there are more changes coming for the 2015-16 American Hockey League season.

The Florida Panthers, who are currently affiliated with the San Antonio Rampage, are expected to partner with the Portland Pirates next season. The Pirates are currently affiliated with the Arizona Coyotes.

According to Texas Stars beat reporter Sean Shapiro, San Antonio could be the new affiliate of the Arizona Coyotes beginning next season. The Rampage and Coyotes were affiliated from 2005 to 2011.

Fox Sports reported last month that the Coyotes would ultimately like to have their affiliate in Arizona, but that would require the team to purchase a franchise and relocate it.

The Portland Press Herald reports the Washington Capitals and Hershey Bears are currently in negotiations and are expected to announce a new affiliation agreement as early as this week.

The Coyotes and Panthers’ affiliation swap is just the latest in what has been a busy few months for the American Hockey League.

Last week the Montreal Canadiens announced they would relocate from Hamilton to St. John’s next season with the Winnipeg Jets moving its AHL affiliate to Winnipeg.

In January the AHL announced a new Pacific Division for the 2015-16 season, which will feature five teams playing in California.

The Anaheim Ducks, Calgary Flames, Edmonton Oilers, L.A. Kings and San Jose Sharks will all have their top development club playing in the new division.

Habs’ Mitchell (arm) expected to miss two weeks

Montreal Canadiens’ forward Torrey Mitchell is expected to miss two weeks with a right arm injury according to TVA’s Renaud Lavoie.

Mitchell suffered the injury during the first period of Saturday night’s 3-1 win over the New York Islanders.

The 30-year-old will miss his second game tonight when the Canadiens visit the Florida Panthers.

Since his trade from the Buffalo Sabres, Mitchell has a minus-2 rating and two penalty minutes while averaging 9:23 in ice time in six games.