Blue Jackets Goaltending, Golden Knights Goaltending, Igor Shesterkin, Jacob Markstrom, Joonas Korpisalo, NHL Goaltending, Rangers Goaltending, Top Story

THW’s Goalie News: Korpisalo’s Return, Markstrom’s Injury & More

With Monday being the National Hockey League’s trade deadline, there was only one game on the schedule and it provided us with a newsworthy return. Plus, we have an injury forcing a trade out west, a costly car accident, a fond farewell to the Windy City and a legend growing on television.

Korpisalo’s Victorious Return

The Columbus Blue Jackets beat the Ottawa Senators in
overtime last night thanks to Emil Bemstrom’s goal with just 25 seconds left in
the extra time. The Blue Jackets were 0-3-5 over their previous eight games and
the win put them into a wild card spot in the Eastern Conference.

The win may have been a costly one as Elvis Merzlikins, who leads the league in shutouts, left the game in the second period after heavy contact with Senators forward Anthony Duclair. Joonas Korpisalo took over and made 14 saves to pick up the win.

“I didn’t plan on that,” Korpisalo said after the game. “It’s sad to see something like that kind of stuff happen to Elvis. I didn’t see what really happened, but it’s not fun.”

Korpisalo got his first game action of 2020 on Monday. (Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports)

This was Korpisalo’s first appearance since he injured his knee
against the Chicago Blackhawks on Dec. 29.

There was no update on Merzlikins after the game and he did
not travel with his teammates to Minnesota. The team recalled Matiss Kivlenieks
from the Cleveland Monsters of the American Hockey League immediately after the

Injury Leads to Canucks Trade

Just before the league’s trade deadline hit on Monday afternoon,
the Vancouver Canucks made a deal with the New Jersey Devils to acquire
goaltender Louis Domingue. The move was a bit of a head-scratcher and general
manager Jim Benning confirmed that All-Star Jacob Markstrom was hurt.

Related – 2020
Trade Deadline: Deal Tracker

Benning confirmed during his press conference that Markstrom
underwent an MRI on Monday afternoon after he suffered a lower-body injury during
Saturday night’s 9-3 drubbing of the Boston Bruins.

“He is flying back tomorrow [to Vancouver] and will meet with the doctors on Wednesday morning,” Benning revealed about his starting goaltender. “[We] will have a better timeline after that.”

Jacob Markstrom Vancouver Canucks
There’s no timetable for Markstrom’s return. (Amy Irvin / The Hockey Writers)

Losing Markstrom during the playoff push is rough. He has
started 43 games for the Canucks, going 23-16-4 with a 2.75 goals-against
average (GAA) and .918 save percentage (SV%). Thatcher Demko will assume the
starting job in his absence with Domingue backing him up.

Rangers Lose Shesterkin

Igor Shesterkin has been fantastic for the New York Rangers
since making his NHL debut on Jan. 7 versus the Colorado Avalanche. He has gone
9-1-0 with a 2.23 GAA and .940 SV% while winning his last seven starts. It will
be quite some time until he can try to extend that winning streak.

Rangers president John Davidson confirmed on Monday that Shesterkin and teammate Pavel Buchenvich were involved in a car accident on Sunday.

New York Rangers Igor Shesterkin
Shesterkin will miss some time with a broken rib. (Adam Hunger-USA TODAY Sports)

“Igor was driving (in Brooklyn) and apparently a vehicle
pulled a U-turn in front of them and there was a collision,” he said.
“The airbags were deployed immediately and the seat belts were being worn
by both players and thankfully for that, and I mean thankfully for that.”

Shesterkin suffered a nondisplaced rib fracture and will be
reassessed in two weeks. Buchnevich was a bit shaken up but did not suffer a
significant injury. He was on the ice during the Rangers’ morning skate.

Lehner Says Goodbye

Robin Lehner was a surprise addition to the Chicago
Blackhawks roster last summer when he signed a one-year, $5 million contract on
the first day of free agency. He has been great in goal from them all season,
but they traded the pending unrestricted free agent to the Vegas Golden Knights
on Monday.

Related – Golden
Knights Acquire Lehner From Blackhawks

Although he was only in town for two-thirds of a season, it did not take long for Blackhawks fans to warm up to Lehner and vice versa. The outspoken goaltender was never afraid to speak his mind, especially when it came to his shootout struggles, and he quickly earned the respect of the fan base.

Shortly after the trade was announced, he sent off this
message to the fans in Chicago.

A bit later, Lehner got back on Twitter to send a message
that fans of his former team, the New York Islanders, would enjoy. The Toronto
Maple Leafs became part of the deal as the Golden Knights sent them a fifth-round
draft pick so they would retain some of Lehner’s salary.

In case you are wondering, Lehner, is nicknamed the Kung Fu Panda.

Ayers Makes the Round

The NHL’s emergency backup goaltender rule is one of the most
unique in all of sports and the game is getting some great publicity this week
because of it. David Ayers, who beat the Maple Leafs on Saturday, spent his
Monday making the rounds on national television.

His day started with an appearance on NBC’s “Today.” During
his lengthy interview, they called his mother Mary which led to this great,
emotional moment.

From there he headed over to ESPN where he appeared on “The
Dan LeBatard Show” on the television side and did some radio on “Golic and Wingo.”

The whirlwind didn’t end there as he headed to the famous Ed
Sullivan Theater to make a cameo on CBS’ “The Late Show with Steven Colbert.”

Hopefully, the NHL doesn’t do anything stupid and change this rule. It is rarely ever put in place and when it is, it brings coverage to the game that few things ever do. The non-hockey media paid more attention to this story than Alex Ovechkin’s 700th goal. Whatever gets people who don’t watch hockey talking about hockey, you roll with it.

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