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THE GOALIE EDGE: 2/27/2014

Posted by ray on Thu, 2014-02-27 14:08


The Columbus Blue Jackets are still trying to claw their way into a playoff position but will find a tough opponent in the New Jersey Devils.  Cory Schneider is firmly entrenched as the Devils Number 1 goaltender with Martin Brodeur quietly seeking a trade.  Schneider’s numbers are spectacular even though his win-loss record doesn’t live up to those metrics.  However, he does give the Devils thebe best chance at winning, and that is what they need in order to get back into the playoff hunt.  Sergei Bobrovsky has been playing much better since his return from injury and he will need to lead the Jackets if they want to play in the dance come April.  Devils at home…..The New York Islanders will face the Toronto Maple Leafs on the Island tonight but without their superstar, John Tavares.  Evgeni Nabokov will man the nets for the depleted squad while Jonathan Bernier goes for the Leafs.  The Leafs may prove too much for the inexperienced Islanders who will also be without the services of Frans Nielsen & Matt Martin.  Leafs blow away the Isles…their 11-4 surge started when they beat tonight’s opponent, the Chicago Blackhawks, 3-2 in Chicago on January 8th.  Henrik Lundqvist also started to return to form and the Rangers have been rolling along up until the Olympic break.  Lundqvist gets another days rest as Cam Talbot mans the pipes for the Blueshirts. The Hawks are 3-3-3 in past 9 and will try and get back on track with Corey Crawford getting the start.  The Rangers should be focused as they don’t play again until Saturday against Philly.  Rangers…. Speaking of Philly, San Jose heads into the City of Brotherly Love but won’t find any as Steve Mason and the Flyers are pushing to secure a playoff position.   Alex Stalock should get the nod for the Sharks but will face a tough opponent tonight. Antti Niemi gets a little more rest.  Take the cheesesteaks….The Montreal Canadiens had a tough overtime loss last night against Detroit but there is no letting up as they face the Eastern Conference leader, the Pittsburgh Penguins.  With Carey Price out for at least one more game, Peter Budaj (LIKELY) will probably man the crease again tonight.  The Pens will probably go with Marc-Andre Fleury as they seek to lock down the top seed for the playoffs.  With their legs under them now, I see an upset in Steeltown….A revitalized Braden Holtby leads the Washington Capitals into Miami, Florida to take on Tim Thomas and the Panthers.  Holtby left for the Olympic break after posting a shutout and will look to continue his new found confidence.  The Cats had lost 5 of their last six before the break but of no real fault to Thomas.  The Panthers need to score which the Caps shouldn’t have a problem with.  Cap it!....The Red Wings continue their mini-Eastern Canada road trip with a stop in Ottawa tonight against Robin Lehner and the Senators.  Craig Anderson is out for the birth of his son, so Lehner draws in.  Detroit is fighting for their playoff lives as well as the Sens, so this should be a doozy.  Jonas Gustavsson goes for the Red Wings…The return of Pekka Rinne is near but first he will do a short stint in the AHL for conditioning.  What a story for the talented net minder!  While we wait, Carter Hutton draws the assignment against Ben Bishop (LIKELY) and the visiting Tampa Bay Lightning.  The Bolts have some issues with Martin St. Louis along with Steven Stamkos not being cleared to return just yet.  All this points to the Predators probably winning a game they shouldn’t….Mike Smith (LIKELY) against Ondrej Pavelec in Winnipeg.  Both goalies have turned their seasons around of late, so this should be a good duel to watch.  If the Jets can put together a bit of streak, they could see themselves knocking on the playoff door.  Pavelec’s no dog, go Jets!... The Carolina Hurricanes head into Big D to take on Kari Lehtonen and the Dallas Stars.  Anton Khudobin (LIKELY) should get the start based on his play while Cam Ward was out with injury. The two Canes should split time for a while until one shows the upper hand.  Lehtonen is a work horse and with the Stars battling for a playoff spot, expect Lehts to get most, if not all the starts down the stretch.  The Stars come out to play tonight…US Olympic goalie Jonathan Quick (LIKELY) should be back in net for the Los Angeles Kings tonight as they head to Calgary to take on the Flames and rookie goalkeeper Joni Ortio.  Ortio is making his NHL debut on the heels of his AHL performance with Abbotsford where he posted a 20-6-0 record with a 2.22 GAA and a .926 SP.  He probably won’t fare any worse than the other Flame starters, but is up against a Kings team who may have found their offense.  It will be interesting to see how the young net minder does in his debut.  King me!….  Ben Scrivens will lead the Edmonton Oilers on the ice as they welcome the Minnesota Wild.  Scrivens is playing for the Oilers’ Number 1 role next season.  He has been performing well for his new team and has a lot riding on the balance of the season.  Darcy Kuemper (LIKELY) has been a savior for the Wild after Josh Harding went down.  With Niklas Backstrom having injury problems all season long, Kuemper has been a steadying influence in net.  The Oilers will be a slippery foe for the Wild. 



Cory Schneider, New Jersey vs. Columbus

Jonathan Bernier, Toronto @ NY Islanders

Jonathan Quick, Los Angeles @ Calgary

Kari Lehtonen, Dallas vs. Carolina



Peter Budaj, Montreal @ Pittsburgh

Ben Scrivens, Edmonton vs. Minnesota

Steve Mason, Philadelphia vs. San Jose



Steve: (75-46) Cory Schneider

Ray: (68-52) Jonathan Bernier

Mike: (58-44) Cory Schneider