Goalie nods: Rotation over? Jets give Hutchinson fifth straight start


All the latest from the blue paint…

No more timeshare in Winnipeg

Altering starts between Ondrej Pavelec and Michael Hutchinson looks to have gone the way of the dodo, as Hutchinson will get his fifth straight — and seventh in the Jets’ last eight games — tonight against Ottawa.

Hutchinson is coming off three solid performances: 18 saves in a 5-2 win over L.A., allowing just one goal on 29 shots in a shootout loss to St. Louis and stopping 26 of 28 in a victory against Dallas. With the Jets in a playoff position and not wanting to give up any ground, it’s no surprise head coach Paul Maurice is leaning on Hutchinson, who’s 19-7-5 on the year with a .919 save percentage and 2.28 GAA.

For the Sens, Andrew Hammond will start — his seventh consecutive nod.


Rangers at Wings: Cam Talbot (probable) vs. Jimmy Howard

Pens at Avs: Nothing from either team yet.

Habs at Ducks: (Nothing from Montreal yet) vs. John Gibson

Goalie nods: Markstrom makes season debut for Canucks


All the latest from the blue paint…

Vancouver goes with Markstrom

There’ll be plenty of eyes on the crease in Vancouver tonight as Jacob Markstrom makes his season debut against the Sharks.

Markstrom, a former touted prospect with Florida that came to the Canucks as part of the Roberto Luongo trade, has spent all of this season in AHL Utica and revived his career, going 17-7-2 with a 1.95 GAA and .932 save percentage, earning a spot in the All-Star Game.

Markstrom was recalled last week after Ryan Miller went down to injury, and served as Eddie Lack’s backup. Tonight, he’ll play in his first NHL game since April of 2014.

No word yet on who’ll start for San Jose. Alex Stalock played last night and shut out the Habs, so the Sharks could turn to Antti Niemi.


Preds at Devils: Carter Hutton (probable) vs. Cory Schneider

Flames at Flyers: Karri Ramo vs. Steve Mason

Caps at Jackets: Braden Holtby vs. Sergei Bobrovsky

Sabres at Bolts: Anders Lindback vs. Ben Bishop

Leafs at Panthers: Jonathan Bernier vs. Roberto Luongo

Sens at Wild: Andrew Hammond vs. Devan Dubnyk (probable)

Isles at Stars: Jaroslav Halak vs. Kari Lehtonen (probable)

Ducks at Coyotes: Frederik Andersen (probable) vs. Mike Smith

Kings at Oilers: Jonathan Quick (probable) vs. Ben Scrivens (probable)

Hammond, Subban and Malkin named NHL’s three stars of the week

Ottawa’s Andrew Hammond, Montreal’s P.K. Subban and Pittsburgh’s Evgeni Malkin have been named the NHL’s three stars for the week ending March 1, the league announced on Monday.

Here’s more from the release:

Hammond went 3-0-0 with a 0.67 goals-against average, .978 save percentage and two shutouts to backstop the Senators to a trio of victories.

Subban paced the NHL with five assists and shared the league lead with six points. His 48 points are five shy of his best single-season performance (set in 82 GP in 2013-14).

Malkin finished tied with Subban collecting six points during the week. The Pens’ forward had two goals and four assists as Pittsburgh won a pair of games.

Hammond earned his first career shutout making 25 saves in a 3-0 win over the Anaheim Ducks on Feb 25. The next night he blanked the L.A. Kings 1-0 with a 35 save performance. Hammond became just the second goaltender in NHL history to record consecutive road shutouts of the Ducks and Kings (Steve Mason, Dec. 29-31, 2008). Hammond capped the week off with a 28-save performance in a 4-2 win over the San Jose Sharks on Feb. 28.

Anders Lee named rookie of the month


The NHL named New York Islanders forward Anders Lee the rookie of the month for February.

He topped all rookies with 15 points in 15 February games, finishing comfortably ahead of the likes of Ottawa Senators forwards Mike Hoffman and Mark Stone (who generated 12 points apiece).

Lee, 24, has really taken advantage of his opportunity to play as one of John Tavares’ wingers, as he’s found some nice chemistry alongside Josh Bailey. As of this moment, his six game-winning goals is the most of any rookie this season.

Considering his status as a sixth-rounder (152nd overall in 2009), this is quite the accomplishment, especially on a team as loaded with young talent as the Islanders.

Check out some stats from his breakout month:

Date Opponent G A PTS Result
Feb. 3 FLORIDA 2 0 2 4-2 loss
Feb. 5 at Philadelphia 0 0 0 3-2 win (SO)
Feb. 7 at Boston 0 0 0 2-1 loss
Feb. 8 at Buffalo 1 0 1 3-2 win
Feb. 10 EDMONTON 0 1 1 3-2 win
Feb. 12 TORONTO 2 0 2 3-2 win
Feb. 14 COLUMBUS 0 4 4 6-3 win
Feb. 16 NY RANGERS 0 0 0 6-5 loss
Feb. 17 at Carolina 1 0 1 4-1 win
Feb. 19 NASHVILLE 0 1 1 5-2 win
Feb. 21 at Washington 0 1 1 3-2 loss (SO)
Feb. 22 VANCOUVER 0 0 0 4-0 loss
Feb. 24 ARIZONA 1 0 1 5-1 win
Feb. 27 CALGARY 0 0 0 2-1 win
Feb. 28 CAROLINA 0 1 1 5-3 loss
Total 7 8 15 9-5-1

Sharks slip late in potential microcosm of season


The San Jose Sharks had a narrow edge with just a third left to play in tonight’s game against the Ottawa Senators. Then San Jose fell apart in the final stretch to lose 4-2.

That’s unfortunately become a great metaphor for their season. With roughly 61% of the campaign in the books, the San Jose Sharks had a 27-17-6 record and were on track to narrowly make the playoffs. Similarly, Patrick Marleau gave the Sharks hope of at least squeaking by with a win tonight after his power-play goal in the second period allowed them to enter the intermission with a 2-1 lead.

The Ottawa Senators came charging back in the third though with three unanswered goals. Ottawa’s Mike Hoffman was the hero tonight with two goals and an assist, including the game-winner.

While the 2014-15 campaign hasn’t reached its conclusion, if San Jose continues down this path it will be remembered as a team that squandered its postseason aspirations in the final third of the season. As it is, the Sharks finished February with a 3-8-2 record. Given that the second Wild Card seed Minnesota Wild won tonight, the Sharks are now five points shy in that race. However, they’re still only two points behind the Los Angeles Kings and the third seed in the Pacific Division.

There’s enough time left for San Jose to dig itself out of this hole, but the team is running out of chances.