The recent goaltender epidemic in the NHL seems to be coming to an end. Corey Crawford, Matt Murray, Jonathan Quick, and Frederik Andersen are all expected to return from injury on Thursday night.
Murray is set to start against Andersen and the Maple Leafs in Toronto. The 24-year-old netminder missed the Penguins’ last three games with a concussion he suffered in practice. The concussion was already the third of Murray’s young career.
His counterpart, Andersen, endured the shortest absence of the four injured goalies. Andersen returns to the crease tonight after sitting out Monday’s game against the Kings with a knee injury. Backup Garret Sparks impressed in the spot start, stopping 33 of 34 shots on route to a 4-1 victory. Both Andersen and Murray will have their hands full tonight in what projects to be a high-scoring affair.
Crawford is expected to make his first start tonight since December 23, 2017. The long-time Blackhawks’ backstop missed nearly a calendar year with concussion and vertigo-like symptoms. He posted an impressive .929 SV% and a 2.27 GAA in 28 appearances for the Blackhawks last season. His return is a huge boost to Chicago given the early-season struggles of the newly-signed Cam Ward. Ward has managed a 3-0-2 record this season despite an abysmal .879 SV%.
Quick was the first goalie off the ice at the Kings’ morning skate and is likely to start tonight. He missed the Kings’ last five games with a lower-body injury. Kings’ backup Jack Campbell performed admirably in Quick’s absence, posting a .922 SV% and a 2-3-0 record. Quick recorded a .921 SV% and a 2.40 GAA in 64 appearances for the Kings last season. He draws a favourable matchup tonight against a struggling Islanders’ team that’s on the tail end of a back-to-back.