Goalie nods: As Nilsson trade winds swirl, Sabres give Ullmark season debut
Netminding duties in Buffalo have been handled exclusively by Robin Lehner and Anders Nilsson this year but, tonight, a third goalie will get in the mix.
Linus Ullmark, the 23-year-old Rochester farmhand, will make his first start of the season when the Sabres host the Preds. Ullmark spent considerable time at the NHL level last season -- starting 20 games -- but was sent to the American League this year for further seasoning.
He’s played quite a bit, going 20-20-2 with a 2.90 GAA and .910 save percentage, and the timing of this start has raised some eyebrows. The Sabres are believed to be in seller mode heading into tomorrow’s deadline, and there’s been a lot of talk around Nilsson, who’s a pending UFA.
For the Preds, Pekka Rinne is the likely starter in goal.
-- Mike Smith returns from a two-game absence (illness) to start in Boston. The Bruins will counter with Tuukka Rask, who has won four of his last five starts.
-- Marquee matchup on Broadway, as Braden Holtby and the Caps take on Henrik Lundqvist and the Rangers. This will, of course, be Kevin Shattenkirk’s debut in a Washington uniform.
-- Steve Mason will start for the first time in seven games when the Flyers host the Avs at Wells Fargo. No word yet on a Colorado starter.
-- Another really good matchup in Montreal, as Sergei Bobrovsky takes on Carey Price in a battle of former Vezina winners.
-- Cam Ward gets the nod in Florida, looking to snap a personal four-game losing streak. He’ll be up against Roberto Luongo, who has also struggled lately. He’s allowed 18 goals on his last 139 shots faced, for a poor .871 save percentage.
-- Connor Hellebuyck makes his seventh straight start for the Jets, who host the Wild. Darcy Kuemper will give Devan Dubnyk the night off, after Dubnyk beat the Kings on Monday.
-- No surprises for Edmonton, as the Oilers will once again start Cam Talbot for the NHL-leading 57th time. Talbot will face Jake Allen.
-- Matt Murray gets the nod for Pittsburgh, fresh off a 36-save win over the Flyers in Saturday’s Stadium Series game. It looks as though the host Stars will go with Antti Niemi.
-- The Kings didn’t have a morning skate, but it’s possible Ben Bishop makes his team debut when L.A. takes on the Flames in Calgary. Jonathan Quick played last night against Minnesota and looked rusty in a loss. For the Flames, Brian Elliott gets the start.
-- Petr Mrazek looks likely to start for Detroit tonight in Vancouver, while the Canucks are expected to go with Ryan Miller. Jacob Markstrom is out with an injury suffered during Sunday’s Super Skills contest.
-- Finally, Frederik Andersen faces an old foe as the Leafs take on the Sharks in San Jose tonight. Martin Jones will be in the other net.