It looks like the Columbus Blue Jackets are going to run with Curtis McElhinney while Sergei Bobrovsky is out of action and he got off to a decent start on Friday night. McElhinney pitched a 20-save shutout and has a respectable .932 save percentage in nine games this season. That’s all well and good, but how will he stack up when he is the everyday netminder? The Blue Jackets aren’t exactly what you would call defensively sound, so it will be impressive if McElhinney can keep up to anywhere close to this pace for a significant amount of time.
Ryan Johansen just refuses to slow down. He had two assists against Minnesota on Friday which gave him six points in four games. He also played 3:20 with the man advantage. If he’s still available in your league something is wrong.
Boone Jenner scored his first goal in 14 games and had five shots but also played 11 minutes, his lowest since late October. He also saw zero power play time.
Nino Niederreiter has now gone pointless in four games and was minus-3 against Columbus. He’s only got three shots in his last three contests and played a season-low 10:41 against the Blue Jackets. Not a good sign.
Detroit beat New Jersey 3-1 without Pavel Datsyuk, Henrik Zetterberg, and Darren Helm in the lineup. I’m not sure if that says more about the strength of the Red Wings or the atrociousness of the Devils, who only managed 11 shots.
New Jersey scratched Damien Brunner for this one, so he missed out on a shot to play against his former team.
Tomas Tatar had a goal and an assist to give him five points in his last three outings, while Joakim Andersson also chipped in with a tally.
If nothing else, this game produced a couple of incredible stops. The FOX Sports commentators couldn’t sound less impressed with this Jonas Gustavsson save if they tried.
SKINNER!!! *imagine that in a Superintendent Chalmers voice* The Hurricanes forward failed to pick up a point and went minus-2 in Carolina’s 5-3 win over San Jose. Skinner had six points in his previous two games coming in.
Eric Staal seems to be finding his way after a somewhat slow start to the year and now has points in four straight. He and Jordan Staal combined for three points and nine shots against the Sharks.
Elias Lindholm had a goal and two assists after going five games without a point. Even still, he only had one shot and hasn’t had a multi-shot game since November 5th.
Jay Harrison had a goal and a helper. His second multi-point game in his last three contests.
Tommy Wingels scored for the Sharks and now has a quiet nine tallies on the season.
Alex Stalock got the start and after his first two games this year were strong, he has been fairly shaky ever since. He gave up for goals on 34 shots against the Canes.
The Ducks beat the Blackhawks 3-2 in a shootout and Antti Raanta looked sharp stopping 24-of-26 shots. That’s three solid starts in a row now for him.
Kris Versteeg had a goal and an assist and now has three points in his last two, after going five games without one.
Jonathan Toews was held off the score sheet for the third straight night.
Ryan Getzlaf extended his point streak to 12 games, and Corey Perry and Dustin Penner are now up to six straight with a point. Not sure there is a hotter trio than those three right now.
Teemu Selanne still can’t get anything going as he’s now 14 games without a point.
Cam Fowler added an assist to give him points in three straight. He played almost 28 minutes and has been averaging around 30 minutes a night over his last three outings.
Max Talbot had a goal and an assist as the Avs beat the Flames 3-2. Those were only his third and fourth points since coming over from Philadelphia.
P.A. Parenteau now has goals in two straight games after going five games without one. What is still concerning are his shots as he had just the one against Calgary. He's had one or less in 17 games this season.
Nathan MacKinnon has picked it up recently. His goal against the Flames gives him a tally in three of his last four.
Kris Russell is seeing some good minutes for the Flames at the moment. He led Calgary in ice-time on Friday with 24:30 and finished second in power play time with over four minutes. Russell hasn't been lighting it up offensively lately, but he did have a power play marker against the Avs, and the fact that he's getting those type of minutes with the man advantage makes him an attractive option.
The Coyotes fell to the Canucks 3-2 on Friday and Shane Doan missed this one because of an illness.
Antoine Vermette scored for the Coyotes and now has points in three straight games.
David Schlemko led the way with five shots. He does a lot of good things but unfortunately sees little power play time and is often buried amongst Phoenix's decent young defense corps.
Chris Higgins tallied for the Canucks and it was a much needed goal. It was his first in seven games and only his second in his last 13 contests.
Roberto Luongo looked stellar, stopping 37-of-39 shots.
Jason Garrison also found the back of the net and is on a nice little run now. He's got nine points in his last seven and six of those have come with the man advantage.
Toronto Maple Leafs center Tyler Bozak will once again miss a significant amount of time with an injury. He was placed on long-term injured reserve with an oblique strain, which means he has to miss at least 10 games or 24 days. This should mean more ice time for Trevor Smith and you might be wise to give him a look if you are a Bozak owner. Smith has showed some offensive spark and scored the winning goal in overtime on Thursday against Dallas. The fact that he was even out there in the extra frame shows Randy Carlyle at least has some moderate confidence in him. He’s also been averaging about 19 minutes over the last two contests.
It will be interesting to see how Phil Kessel manages without Bozak this time around. When Bozak missed a month from late October to late November, Kessel picked up just three points in 11 games during a large portion of his absence. When Bozak returned recently, Kessel got back on track with four points in five outings.
Nashville Predators defenseman Shea Weber returned to practice on Friday after sustaining an eye injury last week. Weber said he lost sight in the eye until the next day. Scary stuff.
Evgeni Malkin will miss his second straight game on Saturday against the Boston Bruins. Malkin suffered the lower-body injury during a practice on Thursday.
The New York Rangers grabbed forward Kyle Beach from the Chicago Blackhawks on Friday in exchange for Brandon Mashinter. Beach, a former first-rounder, was once highly touted after 52-goal junior season in 2009-10 with Spokane, but he fell out of favor in Chicago and was waived in September. He played his entire career with the Hawks in Rockford of the AHL, but perhaps the Rangers will give him a look with the big club.
Tampa Bay’s injury woes just got worse as Victor Hedman will now miss a week with a lower-body injury. Some young defensemen for the Lighting will likely see their minutes increase while Hedman is on the shelf.