Goalie Nods: Mason returns for the Flyers

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Mason looks for his first win vs. Rangers

Steve Mason will make his first start since Feb. 8 tonight when the Flyers play host to the New York Rangers. Mason allowed one goal on nine shots in relief of Rob Zepp on Thursday night. Mason is 0-2-0 with a 2.59 G.A.A. and .914 save percentage in two starts against New York.

Cam Talbot, who has shutout the Flyers twice this season, gets the nod for the Rangers.


Hurricanes at Islanders: Cam Ward vs. Chad Johnson

Devils at Blue Jackets: Cory Schneider vs. Curtis McElhinney

Coyotes at Bruins: Mike Smith vs. Tuukka Rask

Maple Leafs at Canadiens: Jonathan Bernier vs. Carey Price

Wild at Avalanche: Devan Dubnyk vs. Semyon Varlamov (unconfirmed)

Blues at Oilers: Brian Elliott vs. Ben Scrivens (likely)

Senators at Sharks: Andrew Hammond vs. Antti Niemi

Sens’ Murray on Clarkson: ‘I didn’t think he was worth quite the contract that he got’


Senators GM Bryan Murray confirmed to the Ottawa Sun that he had discussions with the Toronto Maple Leafs regarding a trade to acquire David Clarkson.

ESPN’s Pierre LeBrun reported the Sens had conversations with the Leafs regarding Clarkson.

“What happened was [Dave Nonis] called me and asked if we’d be interested in talking about [Clarkson],” Murray told the Sun. “I think [Clarkson] will be better elsewhere and there’s no question that what happened in Toronto was not a good thing for him or the team.

“I threw some names at [Nonis] and he said he would take their contracts and I said, ‘It has to be more than that and you’d have to eat some money too.’ We just talked one day and I told him I’d think about it.”

Ottawa’s interest in the forward is not all that surprising. The Sens were reportedly interested in the 30-year-old’s services when he was an unrestricted free agent two summers ago.

In the end Murray was concerned the Leafs wouldn’t retain enough of Clarkson’s salary to make the deal worthwhile.

“I just called back [two days later] and said it doesn’t work,” Murray said. “When he played in New Jersey, I always thought he was a competitive guy. I didn’t think he was worth quite the contract that he got [from Toronto].

“We talked [to] him before he went to Toronto. I think he’s competitive and he plays with grit. I watched us play [Los Angeles Thursday] and I thought we need that grit in our lineup, a guy who can stand up for our players, but it wasn’t him.”

Related: Clarkson hoping to get back to the ‘role that I played in New Jersey’

Ducks score four third-period goals, come back to beat rival Kings


Ryan Kesler started the rally. Corey Perry finished it.

The Anaheim Ducks, challenged two days ago by head coach Bruce Boudreau, used a four-goal outburst in the third period to erase a two-goal deficit and defeat the rival L.A. Kings by a final score of 4-2 on Friday.

Kesler had gone nine games without a goal, or a point for that matter. He got the comeback going by snapping out of his own drought with a goal less than five minutes into the third period. The Ducks took over on the score board from there. They held the edge in shots on goal — the Kings had more attempts at even strength, as per hockeystats.ca, but could only get 12 shots on John Gibson through the final 40 minutes.

It’s a big win for the Ducks. More importantly, they were looking for a better effort, more emotion in their game, as they looked to break free from recent struggles that had seen them go 6-7-1 in 14 games.

Corey Perry scored the winner, then added the empty net goal with 24 seconds remaining, ending any hope of a Kings comeback in the final minute.

The Kings, who played the night before and were shut out by relative unknown goalie Andrew Hammond and the Ottawa Senators, have now lost two in a row after their eight-game winning streak.

Burgled: Sens’ Hammond shuts out Kings


The most common reactions to Ottawa Senators goalie Andrew Hammond are quickly changing from “Who is this guy?” to “How can we beat him?”

While Jonathan Quick continued his own excellent work for the Los Angeles Kings, Hammond was even better, powering the Senators to a startling 1-0 win on Thursday.

Hammond, 27, now has two shutouts in as many nights. He stopped all 35 shots by the red-hot Kings and now owns a 172:22 shutout streak (stopping 123 of the last 126 shots he’s faced).

This is all coming from an undrafted player at an advanced age who didn’t even really have remarkable numbers at lower levels.

Yes, there was some luck. He somehow stopped a point-blank Tyler Toffoli chance while the Kings were pressing on a late power play. There was also an obvious Justin Williams goal that was blown dead because the official lost sight of the puck.

The Senators have now won four games in a row, all with Hammond in net. While they still have a ways to go, they have to be taken seriously in the East wild card race, especially as Boston, Florida and Philadelphia lost at least their most recent games.

At worst, it’s a great story. At best, it’s the beginning of something special for a guy few heard of before Feb. 18.

He’s already acknowledging his nickname, too:

Ducks’ Boudreau: ‘We better pull our heads out of our butts’


On Friday, the Anaheim Ducks face the L.A. Kings, who, in case you haven’t noticed, are kind of on a roll right now.

And that roll would very likely continue for the Kings if the Ducks put forward another effort like the one they had Wednesday against the Ottawa Senators.

The Ducks were shut out 3-0 on home ice, ending their brief winning streak at three games. They remain atop the Pacific Division. But the Kings have won eight in a row, made a big trade earlier Wednesday, and appear like they could threaten to go on another lengthy playoff run.

Prior to their small three-game winning streak, the Ducks had been beaten in five of six games.

Ducks head coach Bruce Boudreau had a pretty direct message to his team after the loss to Ottawa.

“We can’t wait until the third period to play. We’re capable of doing a lot more than that. It’s maddening,” he said, as per the club’s Twitter account.

“We face a super test Friday [against LA]. We better pull our heads out of our butts or it’s not going to be pretty,” he added.

The Ducks tested Ottawa’s goalie Andrew Hammond with 25 shots on goal, and 15 in the final 40 minutes.