Goalie nods: Fleury looks for win No. 300

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All the latest from the blue paint…

Big night for Fleury

In the midst of a banner campaign, Marc-Andre Fleury will look to set a personal milestone tonight when the Pens host the Isles at Consol.

Fleury is going for career win No. 300, aiming to become just the 30th goalie in NHL history to hit that mark. He’d also become just the fifth active goalie with 300 wins or more, joining Ryan Miller, Henrik Lundqvist, Evgeni Nabokov and Roberto Luongo.

As mentioned above, the potentially record-setting start comes in a year where Fleury has played very well. He’s 11-3-0 on the season, with a .930 save percentage and 1.98 GAA, which includes a league-leading four shutouts.

For the Isles, Chad Johnson will get the start in goal.

Elsewhere…

Bruins at Blue Jackets: Sergei Bobrovsky for Columbus, Niklas Svedberg likely for Boston.

Devils at Oilers: Cory Schneider vs. Viktor Fasth (read more about Schneider breaking Martin Brodeur’s club-record starts streak here)

Schneider to start 20th straight, will break Brodeur’s club record

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Devils goalie Cory Schneider will make his 20th straight start tonight in Edmonton, an assignment that will reportedly break Martin Brodeur’s club record of 19 straight starts to begin the season, set back in 2001-02.

Apparently, even coach Peter DeBoer is surprised that Schneider’s yet to be given a game off.

The Devils also play tomorrow in Calgary, so perhaps Scott Clemmensen will get the nod then. Schneider (8-8-2, .910 SV%) would seem the likely starter Tuesday against his old team in Vancouver.

Not surprisingly, Schneider’s 19 starts are the most of any NHL netminder, and nobody’s logged more time between the pipes than his 1,078:58.

source:

Scoring change snaps Elias’ career-long goalless drought

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Following Tuesday’s 3-1 loss to Winnipeg, it looked as though the worst scoring slump of Patrik Elias’ career was going to continue — but then the NHL’s official scorer intervened.

It was Elias’ first goal in 18 games and, per NJ.com, snapped a career-high goalless streak of 17 games (the last such occurred from Oct. 17 to Nov. 26, 1998). The 37-year-old hadn’t scored since the season-opener on Oct. 9.

We’d written about Elias’ slump back when it was at 11 games, a drought the veteran winger admitted was gnawing away at him.

“It’s frustrating. For me, it is,” Elias said, per NorthJersey.com. “I’m getting chances. I can get a goal probably every game that I looked at it and that’s the way it goes. I don’t know. We’ve just got to keep going, creating chances. Hopefully, it will turn around.”

Frustration has been a central theme around New Jersey lately. The team has hit the skids since starting the year 6-3-2, obtaining just four of a possible 16 points over the last eight games.

What’s more, the Devils are currently in one of their toughest stretches of the season — they play five of the next six on the road, including their current Western road swing through Winnipeg, Edmonton, Calgary and Vancouver.

Goalie nods: Sharks go back to Grosenick

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All the latest from the crease…

Grosenick gets second straight start

If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.

That’s what the San Jose Sharks are thinking for tonight’s game in Buffalo, as they’ll start rookie netminder Troy Grosenick for the second straight game, following a 45-save shutout in his NHL debut against Carolina on Sunday.

Grosenick, an undrafted free agent, is up with the Sharks because of an injury to Alex Stalock. the 25-year-old was nothing short of brilliant against the ‘Canes over the weekend, which led to an emotional response from his father, who was in attendance for the shutout.

For Buffalo, Michal Neuvirth will get the nod.

Elsewhere…

Blues at Bruins: Brian Elliott vs. Tuukka Rask

Bolts at Isles: Evgeni Nabokov vs. Jaroslav Halak

Wings at Jackets: Jimmy Howard vs. Sergei Bobrovsky

Pens at Habs: Carey Price for Montreal, Marc-Andre Fleury likely for Pittsburgh.

Preds at Leafs: Jonathan Bernier for Toronto, Pekka Rinne likely for Nashville.

Devils at Jets: Cory Schneider vs. Michael Hutchinson

‘Canes at Stars: Cam Ward vs. Kari Lehtonen

Ducks at Flames: Jonas Hiller for Calgary, no word yet on an Anaheim starter.

Caps at Coyotes: Braden Holtby vs. Mike Smith

Panthers at Kings: Roberto Luongo for Florida, Jonathan Quick likely for L.A.

 

 

Get your game notes: Sharks at Sabres

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Tonight on NBCSN, it’s the Buffalo Sabres hosting the San Jose Sharks at 7:30 p.m. Following are some game notes, as compiled by the NHL on NBC research team:

• BUF is looking for back-to-back wins tonight for the first time since a 3-game win streak last Feb. 25-28, after beating TOR, 6- 2, at home on Saturday. The Sabres have the worst record in the NHL this season and had a league-low 21 wins last season, but two of those victories last season and one of their victories this season have come against the Sharks.

• BUF won 2-1 at SJ on Oct. 25 – its first of two regulation wins this season – when C Cody Hodgson and LW Nicolas Deslauriers scored back-to-back goals a little more than two minutes apart in the third period.

• BUF has a 7-game win streak vs. SJ and is 15-1-0 all-time vs. SJ at home. SJ last won at BUF on Dec. 2, 2005.

• BUF has an NHL-worst mark of 1.47 goals/game, but has scored 9 goals in its last two games.

• In their 6-2 win against the Maple Leafs on Saturday, it was the first time the Sabres scored 4 or more goals since their 4-2 win over the Sharks on Feb. 28 last season. Per Elias, the Sabres’ 40-game span with less than 4 goals scored was the third longest streak of its kind in NHL history. Only the Pittsburgh Pirates (45 games) and Chicago Blackhawks (60 games) recorded longer streaks, both of which came during the 1928-29 season.

• SJ has gone 6-8-1 in its last 15 games after starting the season 4-0-1. The Sharks are 3-3-0 on their current 7-game road trip – tied for their longest trip of the season – and will end their road trip tonight. After tonight, they will have played 16 of their first 21 games on the road, the highest percentage (76%) of road games in the first quarter of a season in franchise history. They will also play 7 straight on the road from March 17-29.

• Despite G Alex Stalock (knee) being placed on the injured reserve last Wednesday, SJ has allowed just 3 goals in their last 3 games after giving up an average of 2.8 goals/game through their first 17 games of the season.

• G Troy Grosenick, called up after Stalock’s injury, recorded 45 saves in his first career start on Sunday, as SJ beat CAR 2-0. Grosenick is the first goaltender in Sharks franchise history and 24th ever to record a shutout in his NHL debut and his 45 saves are a franchise record for an NHL debut.

• Grosenick, who led Union College to its first Frozen Four in 2012 (Union College lost in first round), went undrafted and was still a free agent as of April 2013.

• G Antti Niemi, who has a 2.61 GAA this season, started the two games prior to Grosenick and could also start tonight.

HEAD-TO-HEAD

•  33rd regular-season meeting and second of two meetings this season between SJ and BUF.

• BUF won the first meeting 2-1 at SJ on Oct. 25.

• BUF has won the last 7 straight meetings with SJ, outscoring the Sharks 23-3 in those games.

• BUF leads all-time series 21-6-5.

• SJ: C Joe Thornton has 35 points in 46 career games vs. BUF, including 10 points on the power-play.

• SJ: G Antti Niemi has a 0-3-1 record, 3.23 GAA and .882 SV% vs. BUF in 4 career starts.

• BUF: RW Chris Stewart leads the Sabres with 10 points in 20 career games vs. SJ.

• BUF: LW Matt Moulson has 5 points in his last 6 games vs. SJ, including the game-winning goal the last time the teams met in BUF on Feb. 28.

SHARKS TEAM/PLAYER NOTES

• C Joe Thornton, the first overall draft pick in 1997 by the Bruins, leads the Sharks this season with 18 points (7G-11A) and is riding a 6-game point streak. He had been the Sharks’ captain since the start of the 2010-11 season, but lost his captaincy this summer because SJ was in the process of becoming a “tomorrow team.”

• SJ has 4 alternate captains this season: Thornton, Patrick Marleau, Joe Pavelski, Marc-Edouard Vlasic.

• D Brent Burns, who opened the season with a 5-game point streak, is second among all NHL defensemen with 17 points and is tied for the second-most points on SJ. Burns returned to his original home on the blue line this season after scoring 22 goals as a forward last season.

• C Joe Pavelski, a member of the last two U.S. Olympic teams, has a team-high 8 goals this season after scoring a career-high 41 goals last season. He’s the other player tied with Burns at 17 points.

• C Logan Couture had 16 points in his first 15 games this season, but he has 0 points in his last 5 games.

• Earlier this season, Couture told the San Jose Mercury News he was disappointed about not being named one of the Sharks’ four alternate captains: “I think it’s human nature to be disappointed. Any player would be in this situation. But you can’t let it affect you, and I won’t. I’m going to come in and do the exact same thing I would if I had a letter or didn’t.”

• G Antti Niemi, who won a Stanley Cup with CHI in his first full NHL season in 2009-10, has started 14 of SJ’s 20 games this season, posting a 7-6-1 record with a 2.61 GAA. But he is 1-4-0 in his last five games.

SABRES TEAM/PLAYER NOTES

• C Zemgus Girgensons and C Tyler Ennis are tied for the team lead with 6 goals apiece and both players have 4 points each in the last two games. Girgensons, 20 years old, is the highest-drafted Latvian player in NHL history, having been picked 14th overall by the Sabres in the 2012 draft.

• LW Matt Moulson had 3 points in his last game after having just 5 points through his first 18 games of the season. Moulson signed a five-year, $25 million deal with the Sabres over the summer.

• Moulson on his contract with BUF: “I don’t think I’ve ever had a multi-year deal like that. So maybe that’s in the back of your mind trying to live up to that. You just realize you have to go out there and play hockey. I think I found that confidence again.”

• Moulson is married to Alicia Backman, whose sister, Jaclyn, is married to Kings G Jonathan Quick, making the two hockey players brothers-in-law.

• RW Drew Stafford, the longest-tenured Sabre, is tied for the team-lead with 12 points (4G-8A). When Stafford was 21 and starting his career, the Sabres were a Presidents’ Trophy team (2006-07 season). But now, at age 29, he’s in the final year of his contract with a franchise that finished with its worst record in 42 years last season.

• RW Brian Gionta has 3 assists through 19 games, but has yet to score a goal in his first season with BUF – the longest goal drought of his career. Gionta scored 20+ goals seven times in his 12 seasons with MTL/NJ.

• G Michal Neuvirth and G Jhonas Enroth have split time in the net this season. Neuvirth is 3-5-1 in 9 starts and Enroth is 1-8-1 in 10 starts. Neuvirth, who is expected to start tonight, won his first career game as a Sabre on Oct. 25 against the Sharks, making 29 saves in the process.

STANDOUT STATS

]• SJ: C Joe Thornton is 42nd on the all-time career points list with 1,212 – just 4 behind Jeremy Roenick, who is tied with Larry Murphy for 40th with 1,216 points. Thornton and NJ RW Jaromir Jagr are the only two active players to have recorded 1,200 or more points.

• BUF: Allowing an NHL-worst 3.53 goals/game. Third-period woes: BUF has allowed an NHLworst 28 goals in the third period, while SJ has allowed 22, which is 4th worst in the NHL.

NOTABLE INJURIES

•  SJ: Alex Stalock (knee) was placed on injured reserve last Wednesday. There is no timetable in place for his return yet.

• BUF: D Josh Gorges (lower-body) is “weeks away” from returning to the Sabres’ lineup, according to Sabres GM Tim Murray.