Goalie nods: Canadian Olympians square off as Price faces Luongo in Montreal

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A couple of Olympic gold-medal winners will be between the pipes tonight in Montreal, where the Canadiens’ Carey Price will be staring down the Bell Centre ice at the Panthers’ Roberto Luongo.

Both Canadian netminders are enjoying excellent seasons. Price is a serious Hart Trophy candidate, while Luongo has helped keep Florida in the playoff race with a .920 save percentage in 46 appearances.

With a win, the Panthers would move to within one point of the Bruins for the final wild-card spot in the East.

So let’s hear those “Go Habs Go” chants, Boston sports fans!

Elsewhere…

Jaroslav Halak will look to rebound from a shaky performance versus the Rangers when the Islanders host the Predators, who are likely to go with Pekka Rinne.

Cam Talbot for the Rangers versus Ryan Miller for the Canucks.

Curtis McElhinney for the Blue Jackets versus Marc-Andre Fleury for the Penguins.

Ondrej Pavelec will see his first action in a week when the Jets visit Washington to take on Braden Holtby and the Capitals.

Michal Neuvirth for the Sabres versus Ray Emery for the Flyers.

Antti Niemi for the Sharks versus Kari Lehtonen (likely) for the Stars.

Goalie Nods: Howard returns for Detroit

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Howard returns from groin injury

Jimmy Howard will make his first start since Jan. 10 tonight when the Detroit Red Wings play host to the Winnipeg Jets. Howard missed 10 games with a groin injury. He made four saves in relief of Petr Mrazec on Wednesday night in Pittsburgh. Howard is 16-7-7 with a 2.09 G.A.A. and a .920 save percentage this season.

Michael Hutchinson is expected to start for the Jets.

Elsewhere…

Maple Leafs at Canadiens: Jonathan Bernier vs. Carey Price

Blue Jackets at Islanders: Anton Forsberg vs. Jaroslav Halak

Rangers at Coyotes: Cam Talbot vs. Mike Smith

Hurricanes at Wild: Anton Khudobin vs. Devan Dubnyk

Devils at Predators: Cory Schneider vs. Pekka Rinne

Stars at Avalanche: Jhonas Enroth vs. Semyon Varlamov

Canucks at Flames: Ryan Miller vs. Karri Ramo

Capitals at Kings: Braden Holtby vs. Jonathan Quick

Goalie nods: Stars go with Lehtonen versus Florida, Enroth ‘likely’ to play tomorrow

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News and notes from around the crease…

His name is Jhonas

Kari Lehtonen will begin life on a short leash tonight against Florida — he’ll start against the Panthers, but will have newly acquired backup Jhonas Enroth on the bench for the first time since GM Jim Nill acquired him from Buffalo on Wednesday.

Lehtonen, who has been criticized this year for his uneven play, is 4-2-1 with a 2.70 GAA and .916 save percentage since the All-Star break — decent numbers, but hardly the type Dallas needs as it looks to get back into a playoff position.

Per Stars head coach Lindy Ruff, Enroth will “likely” play at some point this weekend. Based on that, he’ll probably be in goal tomorrow when Dallas takes on the Avs in Colorado.

For Florida, sounds like Al Montoya is likely for tonight’s affair.

Elsewhere…

Flyers at Jackets: Ray Emery vs. Curtis McElhinney

Devils at ‘Hawks: Cory Schneider vs. Corey Crawford

Sharks at Coyotes: Antti Niemi vs. Mike Smith

Bruins at Canucks: Ryan Miller for Vancouver, no word yet on a Bruins starter.

Goalie nods: After replacing Miller last game, Lack starts for Canucks in Chicago

All the latest from the blue paint…

Back to Lack

The Canucks will give backup Eddie Lack his second look in as many games on Wednesday night in Chicago.

Lack, who came on in relief of Ryan Miller during Monday’s 5-3 loss to Minnesota and stopped all 14 shots faced, hasn’t started since playing very well in a 3-2 OT win over the Jets on Feb. 3. While Lack’s numbers on the year aren’t great — 4-6-2, 2.47 GAA, .916 save percentage — they were skewed by a slow start to the season and a lack of opportunities behind Miller, who has carried a lion’s share of the work in Vancouver this season.

(Miller also hasn’t been very good lately, with just two wins in his last five games, posting an ugly .883 save percentage.)

For Chicago, Corey Crawford will get the start in goal.

Elsewhere…

Red Wings at Pens: Petr Mrazek vs. Marc-Andre Fleury

Caps at Sharks: Antti Niemi for San Jose, no word yet on a Washington starter.

Blockbuster: Kane, Bogosian to Sabres; Myers, Stafford and more to Jets

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Well, it’s a biggie.

Though to be accurate, “biggie” doesn’t fully encapsulate what the Buffalo Sabres and Winnipeg Jets have pulled off — on Wednesday, the two sides completed a blockbuster deal, which looks like this:

To Buffalo: Evander Kane, Zach Bogosian, Jason Kasdorf.

To Winnipeg: Tyler Myers, Drew Stafford, Joel Armia, Brendan Lemieux and 2015 first-round pick.

The biggest piece of the deal is Kane, the disgruntled power forward that all but shipped himself out of Winnipeg last week after failing to show up for a game against Vancouver following an (alleged) altercation with teammate Dustin Byfuglien.

A former 30-goal scorer, Kane is a tantalizing talent that comes with baggage — and a surgically repaired shoulder, one that will sideline him for the remainder of the regular season.

As for the rest of the principles:

• Bogosian, 24, will immediately become Buffalo’s top defenseman. Currently in the second of a seven-year, $36 million deal, the rugged blueliner — a New York native — will likely be employed in a “do-everything” role for the Sabres, which could see him get back to the offensive production he showed in 2011-12, when he posted a career-high 30 points in just 65 games played.

• Myers, 25, goes off the market after being one of the most sought-after deadline targets. The former Calder Trophy winner cuts an imposing figure — 6-foot-8, 227 pounds — and will give Winnipeg another physically imposing rearguard, along with the 6-foot-5, 260-pound Byfuglien.

• Stafford, 29, is a UFA at season’s end and will give Winnipeg some forward depth. A three-time 20-goal scorer, Stafford was Buffalo’s third-leading scorer this year (25 points in 50 games).

• Armia, 21, was Buffalo’s first-round pick (16th overall) at the 2011 NHL Entry Draft. A promising talent, the Finnish winger has played just one game at the NHL level this year but has looked good in AHL Rochester, scoring 10 goals and 25 points in 33 games.

• Lemieux, 18, is another intriguing prospect. The son of longtime NHLer Claude Lemieux, Brenden was taken 31st overall at the ’14 Draft and has been a big-time contributor for OHL Barrier this year, sitting second on the team in goals (with 35) while leading in PIM (with 120).

• Kasdorf, 22, was Winnipeg’s sixth-round pick at the 2011 NHL Entry Draft. A goalie currently playing NCAA hockey at R.P.I., Kasdorf is 9-14-0 this season with a 2.94 GAA and .900 save percentage.

As for the first-round pick, TSN’s Darren Dreger reports the one heading to Winnipeg is the lowest of Buffalo’s three at this year’s draft. The Sabres hold their own, along with the Islanders’ (from the Thomas Vanek-Matt Moulson trade) and the Blues’ (from the Ryan Miller trade).

UPDATE:

Per the Buffalo news, the Sabres are retaining half of Stafford’s $4 million salary in the trade.