Tomas Vokoun has been the guy in Florida for the past three-and-a-half seasons. However, he has allowed three+ goals in six of his last seven starts and was pulled in two of those starts. His recent shaky play has allowed Scott Clemmensen display his talents. Clemmensen has started the last three games and is 4-1-2 in his past seven games. He pretty much ended his chances for additional playing time after allowing two goals in the last three minutes of a 3-2 shootout loss to Atlanta on Monday. Vokoun will start Wednesday, and unless he allows three goals again, he’ll probably get to start again for awhile – at least until the end of the season, when his contract expires.
Detroit Red Wings
Jimmy Howard, whose 22 wins rank second in the league, was injured Friday against Columbus when he hurt his knee blocking a shot in the first period. He said he was fine to play on Tuesday, but Joey MacDonald received the start- his fourth consecutive game getting the decision for the Wings. Mac stopped 25 of 28 shots in a 4-1 loss to the Penguins on Tuesday after allowing five goals in a 6-5 OT win on Saturday. With Chris Osgood still injured with a sports hernia that he recently had surgery for, Joey Mac will stay on the Wings’ roster, even is Howard is healthy. The good news for him is that he can allow three or four goals a night and Detroit can still win most of those games with its high-powered offense. When Howard was out, goaltending prospect Thomas McCollum was recalled. However, McCollum too was injured, suffering a finger injury during Tuesday’s practice. It’s a good thing that Howard was able to return to the lineup anyway.
Nikolai Khabibulin has not provided the Oilers with consistent goaltending this season. He has lost nine starts in a row, including Tuesday’s 4-1 loss to the Wild. The Bulin wall has allowed three or more goals in 21 of 29 starts this season, which accounts for his .894 SV% and 3.46 GAA. He just turned 38, so his time in the NHL could be coming to a close. The younger Devan Dubnyk has played better this season, proving that he could be the Oilers’ goalie of the future. His 4-4-5 record may not be eye-popping, but his .917 SV% and 2.81 GAA are very good considering the team he plays on has never heard of a thing called defense. Expect Dubnyk to control the goalie reins soon, but as of right now he is battling the flu.
Anton Khudobin has filled in admirably for the injured Niklas Backstrom and Jose Theodore. Khudobin shut out the Canucks on Sunday, and allowed only one goal against the Oilers on Tuesday in back-to-back wins. But with Backstrom expected to start Wednesday in Calgary after not playing a game in 2011 due to a hip injury, things now get dicey. Theodore has been out since last week with a groin injury but is expected to return with the team at some point on their four-game road trip that starts Wednesday. When that happens, Khudobin will likely be sent down to the AHL, despite his high level of play since his call-up.
Michal Neuvirth started Tuesday’s game against the Flyers, allowing one goal in the first period before leaving with a lower-body injury. Semyon Varlamov came in and allowed two goals on 22 shots, playing well, but losing 3-2 in overtime. Both Neuvirth and Varlamov missed practice on Wednesday due to lower-body injuries, so Braden Holtby has been called up from the AHL. Don’t be surprised if Holtby is named the starter on Thursday against the Islanders.