Six games on tap tonight from the NHL. Below are some notes and comments regarding some of the matchups.
In New Jersey, we’ll have a battle between two last place teams in their respective conferences, as the Devils host the Oilers. Backup Devan Dubnyk gets the start tonight after Nikolai Khabibulin has allowed ten goals over his last two games. Dubnyk has one start this season and allowede two goals on 41 shots. Martin Brodeur’s elbow is well enough for him to start tonight, but the Devils will be without captain Jamie Langenbrunner, who is dealing with an upper-body injury. Brian Rolston also will return to the lineup tonight.
Tampa Bay will make a short trip up to Pittsburgh after their 6-3 loss to the Capitals last night. The Bolts are hurting right now from injuries to their wingers, but will also be without Vincent Lecalvier for a few weeks due to a hand injury. Expect Teddy Purcell and Sean Bergenheim to see extended ice time with the team hurting for players. Mike Smith gets the nod tonight after Dan Ellis played last night. Smith is 4-2-0 this year, but has loss his last two starts.
Marc-Andre Fleury gets the start in net tonight for the Pens and will look to bounce back after a poor outing against the Yotes, in which he saw just five shots after allowing two goals. Evgeni Malkin, who had been dealing with a knee injury, skated this morning and is expected to play tonight centering Matt Cooke and Aaron Asham.
Columbus will send Steve Mason back out between the pipes tonight to make his second start in a row. Mason, who hasn’t played in three of the team’s last four games, allowed just one goal on 30 shots to Blues in his last start. Rick Nash is a game time decision tonight, but appears likely to not play.
Cory Stillman is back for the Florida Panthers tonight and will play alongside of Marty Reasoner and Radek Dvorak. Tomas Vokoun is confirmed between the pipes. He’s 7-6-0 against the Wild over his career, posting a 2.35 GAA, a .908 SV%, and two shutouts.
Minnesota will have Jose Theodore give Niklas Backstrom a night of rest, making his third start of the year. He’s 16-11-0 with a 2.54 GAA and a .915 SV% against the Panthers over his career.
Playing .500 hockey is not what the Calgary Flames had in mind for this season, but it’s the hand they’re dealt with. Flames’ capitain Jarome Iginla has just two goals this season and has recorded just two points over his last five games. Maybe this is the game Iggi breaks out? He does have 49 points, including 30 goals against the Yotes during his career (51 games).
Anaheim will host the Dallas Stars tonight, hoping to find their six straight win. Jonas Hiller is expected to play between the pipes after backup Curtis McElhinney shutout the Isles on Wednesday night. Ryan Getzlaf was given the day off yesterday after suffering an ankle injury, but was out for the optional morning skate today. Be sure to keep an eye on this situation. Defenseman Lubomir Visnovsky had his four-game points streak broken last time out, but is currently fourth among NHL defenseman in points with 14.
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