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P.K. Subban’s ice-time took a bit of a hit Monday night against the New York Rangers. Subban played just over 21 minutes, which was his lowest total of the season. He has now gone three games without a point and perhaps all the heavy minutes he has been playing early in the season are starting to take their toll. Montreal is going to need a fresh and healthy Subban for the stretch run, so pacing him slightly right now isn’t a terrible idea.
Lars Eller had an impressive night in Montreal’s 2-0 win. He snapped a four-game pointless streak with an assist and added three shots, five hits, two blocks, in 20 minutes of action.
Peter Budaj has got to be in the running for best backup in the league. It seems like every time he’s out there he gives the Canadiens a chance to win. He made 27 saves for the shutout Monday and he seems to be picking up right where he left off last season, when he had a run of seven straight victories.
I’m still trying to figure out how this Alex Galchenyuk goal counted last night for Montreal and wasn’t ruled as a kick in.
The Rangers are clearly missing Rick Nash and Ryan Callahan offensively and they have just four goals in their last four contests, which includes two shutouts.
Chris Kreider looked to be finding his legs as he played nearly 18 minutes and added five hits. He also played over five minutes with the man advantage.
Henrik Lundqvist returned after missing two games with an undisclosed injury.
Brandon Saad and Brandon Pirri broke out of mini slumps on Monday night in the Blackhawks 5-1 win over the Minnesota Wild. Each hadn’t picked up a point in three games, but both guys recorded two against the Wild. Something also to keep an eye on with Pirri was the fact he centered Patrick Kane and Saad on Monday. The Blackhawks have been auditioning for different players in that No. 2 center role, and with more games like that Pirri might get the job more often.
Speaking of mini slumps, it’s safe to say Kane’s is over. He had a goal and an assist against Minnesota and after a stretch that saw him go pointless in three games; he now has six in his last four contests.
Niklas Backstrom had a rough outing stopping just 23-of-28 shots. The Wild’s goaltending situation isn’t in great shape right now and we may see Johan Gustafsson at some point shortly get a start or two with Josh Harding on the shelf.
Jason Pominville scored the lone goal for Minnesota and he now has three tallies in his last two games.
Outside of the usual suspects Sidney Crosby who had two assists and Chris Kunitz who had a goal and six shots, the Penguins got some contributions from unlikely sources in Monday’s win over the Hurricanes.
Jayson Megna had a goal and an assist in just his second career game, while Brooks Orpik had three assists, two hits, two blocks, and finished plus-3. The Pens are going to need Orpik to step up with Rob Scuderi out indefinitely with a broken ankle that needs surgery.
Alexander Semin extended his point streak to six games in a losing cause for Carolina with an assist.
Elias Lindholm also picked up a helper and played over 17 minutes, with nearly five of those on the power play. Lindholm’s previous high on the year was just 13:48, so hopefully this outing leads to increased ice-time going forward.
Lindy Ruff made his return to Buffalo and coached the Stars to a 4-3 win. Ruff got a nice ovation from the Sabres crowd.
Tyler Seguin had a goal and an assist after being held without a point in the previous three games.
Alex Goligoski found the back of the net and it was his first point of the year. He also got 23 minutes of ice-time, which was a season high. Hopefully he can build off this and at least produce respectable numbers.
Matt Moulson wasted little time getting acclimated to his new surroundings, scoring two goals in his first game with the Sabres. He skated with Cody Hodgson and Tyler Ennis for much of the evening.
Ennis was happy to see Moulson arrive as he assisted on both of his goals. Ennis didn’t have a point in five games coming into Monday.
The Canucks beat the Capitals 3-2 and it looks as though Alexander Ovechkin might be human after all. He failed to record a point for the second straight game.
Some other Washington skaters have picked up the slack though as Jason Chimera picked up a goal and an assist. He now has five points in his last three outings.
Mikhail Grabovski also scored a goal and now has points in four straight contests.
Daniel Sedin seems to have sorted through a rough patch that saw him post just a single point in four games. Sedin picked up a goal and an assist against the Caps and now has five points in his last four games.
Ryan Kesler continues to be on fire as he now has five goals in his last four games.
Martin Hanzal was suspended two games for an illegal hit on Edmonton Oilers defenseman Jeff Petry. Tough break for Hanzal owners as the Coyotes forward was off to a great start this year, recording points in nine of 12 games.
The Anaheim Ducks have been hit by the injury bug recently, losing three key forwards to injuries. Mathieu Perreault, Saku Koivu, and Jakob Silfverberg have all gone down and it should give some other Ducks increased ice-time. Nick Bonino and Patrick Maroon are two players to watch specifically, as Bonino has three points in his last four contests, while Maroon has four points in his last five games. If you own one of the injured three, Bonino or Maroon might be a nice short-term scoop until they get healthy again.
The Thomas Vanek/Matt Moulson trade is an interesting one for each side. Both players will be unrestricted free agents at the end of the campaign, so there is no guarantee they will remain with their new teams past the end of the season. Vanek has long been rumoured to be headed to the Minnesota Wild this off-season because of his ties to the city. The Wild being able to afford him with big contracts already dealt out to Zach Parise and Ryan Suter is another story.
Don’t be surprised if Moulson gets moved again by Buffalo at some point before the deadline. Acquiring those picks in the deal was a nice move by the Sabres and look for them to ask for something similar in return for Moulson as they continue to try and rebuild. A team looking to make a run at the Cup will be interested in Moulson as a rental if they have the cap space.
Check out Dobber’s full breakdown of the deal here.
The Phoenix Coyotes have sent Brandon Yip down to the AHL. Yip only played in two games this year, but did pick up two points.
Johan Franzen will miss Wednesday’s game for Detroit when they take on the Vancouver Canucks. Franzen has an undisclosed injury and they have recalled Luke Glendening from Grand Rapids to take his place. Franzen hasn’t picked up a point in his last four games, so perhaps some rest to heal up will get him going once again.
There is reportedly more bad luck for Jordan Schroeder on the injury front. According to News 1130 in Vancouver, Schroeder will need to have screws inserted in his broken ankle and could be out up to nine weeks. Schroeder fractured his foot in the preseason which caused him to miss some time earlier in the campaign. He had moderate results last year in 31 games and this could have been a pivotal year for Schroeder as far as making an impact at the NHL level.