Injury updates - Crosby a no-go for tomorrow against Boston, and Toews eyeing a Tuesday return against the Blues.
It's Matt Hackett's time to shine in Minneosta with Backstrom and Harding both out with injuries. He's played well in spot duty before - could be a late season boost to fantasy squads lacking in goaltending categories.
With Lupul out, the Leafs are going to try a top line of Bozak-Connolly-Kessel against the Flyers tonight.
David Desharnais likely won't play tonight - I was hoping to get to see him play against the Canucks. He's been really good all season for Montreal. One of the better surprise stories of the season. He may not be the big center Montreal wants to compliment Tomas Plekanec, but he's earned the second line gig for next season. He sure plays big, too.
I consulted TSN, ESPN, and NHL.com to make sure there wasn’t a mistake – Jonathan Quick allowed four goals on only 15 shots against the Wings. A rare off night in what has been a truly spectacular season.
Zetterberg finished with three points and five shots on goal. He’s turning around what was a below-average season (by his standards).
Brendan Smith had an assist and saw almost three minutes of PP time. So glad I have held on to him for the last few years in my keeper – he has played his last game in the AHL. Looks so composed and so impressive right now.
Gustav Nyqvist played less than 13 minutes, but he found the score sheet with a single helper.
Filppula had three points, as well. Do the Wings try to extend his contract this summer? He has one year left on his current deal, and he’s been fantastic for them this year.
Filppula has 11 points in his last five games. Wow. Like David Clarkson, I was about two years early with my breakout projections.
Zetterberg is just as hit with 12 points in his last six games.
Jeff Carter had a goal and a helper for the Kings yesterday – his production has been underwhelming so far, but he can’t be wholly blamed for the anaemic LA offense.
I am not looking to offend any Kings fans, but is there a more regular diver in the league than Dustin Brown? Other contenders – Tootoo, Kesler, Ott, and Derek Roy.
Del Zotto missed the game with what is believed to be a sore hip.
Chicago’s big guns were dominant – Sharp, Hossa, and Kane all had multi-point games. Deadline acquisition Johnny Oduya had two points, including the game winner. He’s getting lots of ice time and his mobility is going to take (a bit of the) pressure off of Keith during the postseason.
The Jets chose to start Pavelec back-to-back, and he looked tired. Can’t blame him after facing almost 50 shots in Vancouver last night. He allowed five goals on 27 shots in Calgary.
Alex Tanguay had four points for the Flames, and Olli Jokinen and Jarome Iginla each had three points. How much is Jokinen going to cost Calgary to re-sign?
Matt Stajan played over 20 minutes, and he finished with two points and four shots on goal. A sign of things to come?
Mike Cammalleri missed the game but should be back soon.
Sounds like both Souray and Ott are out for Dallas tonight. This likely means more minutes for Philip Larsen, again.
Brenden Morrow has been activated from the IR and could replace Ott tonight. He isn’t confirmed but sounds like he should be good to go.
Is it worth mentioning that Wojtek Wolski has three points in his last six games? If it isn’t, I just did anyway.
Jarome Iginla has scored at least 28 goals in 13 straight seasons. Extremely impressive consistency.
The Pens have won eight straight, and may be getting Crosby back on Sunday. Boston, New York, New Jersey, and Philadelphia better start getting worried.
The fine folks at the Fan Zoo are running a free contest right now to win a flight and tickets to a Canucks game in Calgary. The company is top notch, and they were a huge help to me in my writing contest last year. They also have a ton of ridiculously awesome memorabilia for sale (and not just Canucks stuff, either). Check out the contest details here.
Have you checked out our inaugural Cage Match Tournament? Each week we pair players off and you get to vote on who wins until there is but one left standing, the best player in fantasy hockey. This week it’s #1 Henrik Sedin vs. #8 Joe Thornton, #2 Daniel Sedin vs. #7 Eric Staal, #3 Zach Parise vs. #6 Ilya Kovalchuk and #4 Corey Perry vs. #5 Ryan Getzlaf. Who will you vote for?
A very thorough look at Marc-Andre Gragnani, from a Buffalo perspective – right here. An excerpt:
“Little went right for the defenseman this season, but it's astonishing how quickly people let his good traits slip from their memory. The same person who eventually became a dominant force in the American Hockey League, then scored an overtime goal that brushed the Carolina Hurricanes away from a playoff spot that they too were chasing and who was equally inspirational in Buffalo's short-lived postseason, was now enduring the wrath of supporters.
Nothing extinguishes one's success from the past as suddenly as their present woes. Clumsy turn-overs and futile showings haunted him in 2012, even though he prospered beyond belief only one year earlier.
Whatever happened to the patience that Buffalo preached for its prospects? Are people so quick to give up on a player because of one bad campaign? Does anyone, during the worst of times, still keep in mind that it's a process?”
What does Steve Tambellini have planned for the Oilers blueline next season? Does the team take a run at Suter? Would he sign there? Do they dangle a young forward in a trade? I won’t use this as another opportunity to criticize Tambellini’s mismanagement of the team, but his track record here speaks for itself. Assuming a top four of Whitney, Petry, Schultz, and another defenseman added is the group – is that playoff calibre? How far off are the prospects?
Zach Parise is my favourite player in the league. He is skilled and incredibly tenacious – a rare combination, to say the least. Hockey Wilderness takes a look at the summer ahead, one in which Parise will be highly sought after by at least 10-15 NHL clubs. My guess is Detroit, but the post I link makes a compelling case for both Tampa Bay and Minnesota.
More on a potential Radulov return, from Puck Daddy. Here is the important stuff:
“All that said … he's a game-changer. He's been a premiere player in Russia, and he's always had that unique ability to create his own offense, no matter the linemates.
You know where the Predators are in the offensive rankings? Ninth, with a goals-for average of 2.79. That's very much thanks to a power play converting at a 20.9-percent clip, which is second in the League.
What happens with a mature Alex Radulov out there with something to prove? Bad things for the rest of the Western Conference, man. Bad things …”
Top 10 hits of the week - which is your favourite? Brendan Smith already throwing his weight around...
This game may be worth watching...