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

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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

PHT Morning Skate: Mario Lemieux had heroes, too

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PHT’s Morning Skate takes a look around the world of hockey to see what’s happening and what we’ll be talking about around the NHL world and beyond.

The Montreal Gazette shared a rare file photo of a young Mario Lemieux looking with admiration at Guy Lafleur. To give you an idea of him just being a face in the crowd at that point, he apparently wasn’t even listed in the caption of the photo that ran. Check that photo out in the story linked here. (Montreal Gazette)

A review of the first episode of “Hockey Wives.” (Sportsnet)

Are the Buffalo Sabres winning their way out of “McEichel?” (Hockey News)

Editor’s Note: Play one-day fantasy hockey tonight! Pro Hockey Talk’s partner FanDuel is hosting a $25,000 league for Thursday’s NHL games. It’s just $2 to join and first place wins $2,000. Starts Thursday at 7:30pm ET. Enter Now!

How has Winnipeg fared since Dustin Byfuglien and Bryan Little got injured? (Jets Nation)

Some kudos to Carolina Hurricanes defenseman Justin Faulk. (SB Nation NHL)

Report: No further discipline for Shaw after headbutting Nelson

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Sounds as though Andrew Shaw has avoided a date with the NHL’s Department of Player Safety.

Per Sportsnet, Shaw won’t face any supplemental discipline after headbutting the Islanders’ Brock Nelson during the second period of Chicago’s 4-1 win over the Isles on Tuesday night.

Shaw was given a five-minute major and game misconduct for the incident. Nelson appeared no worse for wear and took regular shifts for the remainder of the contest, finishing with 17:11 TOI.

Shaw, 23, does have a disciplinary history — he was suspended three games in April 2012 for charging Coyotes’ goaltender Mike Smith — and Chicago has been punished twice already this season; Dan Carcillo was given a six-game suspension for cross-checking Mathieu Perreault, and Joakim Nordstrom was given two games for boarding Oliver Ekman-Larsson last week.

As for why Shaw didn’t get suspended…

Jets reclaim wild card position with win over Sharks

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Blake Wheeler scored twice and added an assist as the Winnipeg Jets defeated the San Jose Sharks 5-2 on Tuesday night.

With the win the Jets reclaim the second wild card position in the Western Conference.

Winnipeg scored three goals on their first eight shots to chase Sharks’ starter Antti Niemi.

Adam Lowry, Mark Scheifele and Andrew Ladd gave Winnipeg a 3-0 lead by the 13:01 mark of the first period.

Wheeler now has six goals and five assists in seven games this month. He also has three game-winning goals.

Joe Pavelski had a pair of goals in the loss for the Sharks while Alex Stalock made 12 saves in relief.

The loss drops the Sharks six points back of the Jets for a playoff spot.

With the recent news surrounding former San Jose captain Joe Thornton, Jets fans at the MTS Centre decided to have a little fun Tuesday.

Ondrej Pavelec, who was making consecutive starts for the first time since November, made 38 saves in the win.

Video: Ladd, Jets chase Niemi

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The Winnipeg Jets scored three goals on eight shots ending San Jose Sharks’ starter Antti Niemi’s night early.

Andrew Ladd re-directed a Jacob Trouba shot past Niemi at 13:01 of the first period for his 24th of the season to give Winnipeg a 3-0 lead.

Alex Stalock has come on in relief of Niemi.

Adam Lowry and Mark Scheifele had the other Winnipeg goals.