The NHL handed down a couple of suspensions today as Shawn Thornton received 15 games for that melee last weekend and David Clarkson received two games for a hit on Vladimir Sobotka.
There was also a minor trade that saw Edmonton send goaltender Jason LaBarbera to Chicago for future considerations. The Blackhawks are sending him down to the AHL so he has no fantasy value at this point.With the injuries to Corey Crawford and Nikolai Khabibulin, LaBarbera was likely brought in just for some insurance in case anyone else goes down.
The Pittsburgh Penguins got three first period goals and held on to beat the New Jersey Devils 3-2 on Friday night.
Two of those tallies came from unlikely sources in Jayson Megna and Chris Conner. Megna’s now up to four goals in just 13 games on the year.
Simon Despres picked up an assist to give him points in three of his last four. With Brooks Orpik injured, Despres is a defenseman that could see his minutes increase.
Brandon Sutter’s assist against the Devils gave him his first point in five games.
Meanwhile, Evgeni Malkin didn’t find the score sheet for the first time in almost a month. Malkin and James Neal were really clicking before that incident in Boston, so hopefully for Malkin owners this isn’t a sign of things to come while Neal finishes serving his suspension.
Kris Letang had a rough night. He failed to pick up a point for the third straight contest and didn’t record a shot on goal either. Letang has also gone minus-3 over that stretch.
Marc-Andre Fleury was solid yet again stopping 37 shots.
Damien Brunner had a nice effort for the Devils even if it didn’t show up in the box score. He led the team with six shots and was given almost two minutes of power play time. Brunner had a pair of goals in his last outing in Columbus so he seems to have a little more jump lately.
Steve Bernier has put together two solid games in a row. He’s grabbed an assist in each and had five shots to go along with four hits against the Penguins. It’s hard to believe he is still just 28-years-old.
Dainius Zubrus scored for New Jersey giving him points in three straight games.
Jaromir Jagr and Patrik Elias continue to defy father time. Jagr’s assist against the Pens gave him four points in his last three and Elias is now up to a five-game point streak.
Cory Schneider is going through some tough times right now. He stopped just 20-of-23 shots against Pittsburgh and in four of his last five outings he has posted a save percentage less than .900.
The Panthers topped the Capitals 3-2 in a shootout but not before Erik Gudbranson was ejected for this hit on Eric Fehr.
As far as the game went, Dylan Olsen scored a goal giving him five points in six games. He’s also a plus-4 over that span. Olsen didn’t see any power play time against the Caps though, but if Gudbranson does indeed receive a significant suspension, he should be a good add.
Aleksander Barkov had the other goal for the Panthers and it was much needed. He hadn’t scored in 14 games coming in.
Nicklas Backstrom picked up where he left off after that monster performance against the Lightning earlier in the week as he had a goal and a helper against Florida.
Alexander Ovechkin did not, however. He failed to pick up a point on Friday.
Marcus Johansson added an assist to give him points in two straight. That streak comes after five contests without a point.
Mikhail Grabovski extended his point streak to five games.
Philipp Grubauer got the start for Braden Holtby and was very sharp making 39 stops.
The Vancouver Canucks took down the Edmonton Oilers 4-0 for their sixth straight win.
Roberto Luongo had the shutout but needed just 19 saves to get it.
Daniel Sedin notched a goal after going two games without a point, but Henrik was held pointless for the third straight night. With Alex Burrows out it looks as though the Canucks will be trying out different wingers with the Sedins. Jannik Hansen saw some time there against the Oilers but didn't register a point.
Jason Garrison continues to post big numbers from the blueline. He had three assists on Friday to give him nine points in six games.
It was a rough night for Edmonton offensively. They generated some chances but they only had three players that had more than just a single shot. Taylor Hall and Ales Hemsky didn't even hit that.
Devan Dubnyk continues to struggle and although he couldn't be faulted for a couple of the goals, he isn't making the key saves right now. If Ilya Bryzgalov can get healthy he has a shot to take over the net. As crazy as that sounds.
The Detroit Red Wings will be without goaltender Jimmy Howard for 2-4 weeks as he is dealing with a sprained MCL. This means Jonas Gustavsson would be a shrewd add right now if you are a Howard owner or just need goalie help in general. Gustavsson’s numbers have been outstanding this year (another Leaf castoff, why am I not surprised) as he is sporting an 8-1-2 record with a .933 save percentage, to go along with a goals against average of 1.92.
Howard has really struggled so far and it will be interesting to see what the Wings do if Gustavsson continues to post this type of production in Howard’s absence. Detroit has three tough games ahead, but after that they have a stretch where they get the Flames, Maple Leafs, Islanders, Panthers, and Predators in a row. That should be a good run for Gustavsson to really help you out.
Curtis McElhinney won’t play for the Columbus Blue Jackets on Saturday because of an injury he suffered on Thursday against the New York Rangers, according to the Columbus Dispatch. The injury isn’t believed to be serious, but Mike McKenna is expected to get at least one start. McElhinney had been playing well this season and with Sergei Bobrovsky on the shelf, he was a nice addition as a short-term fill in. Hopefully this injury won’t destroy the momentum he had built.
As I’m sure poolies are well aware at this point, Jaden Schwartz is playing some pretty darn good hockey right now. He had a three-point night against Toronto on Thursday and now has 12 points in his last 11 games. Schwartz’s strong play has yet to rub off on his typical line-mates Patrik Berglund and Vladimir Tarasenko. Berglund has just one goal in 25 games and Tarasenko has gone pointless in four straight contests. With that being said, Schwartz has been seeing more time away from the aforementioned pair recently and has seen his minutes upped with Vladimir Sobotka and Chris Stewart. Neither of their numbers have been spectacular lately either, other than Thursday’s game against the Leafs, so it remains to be seen if Schwartz keeps moving around or finally sticks with one unit more regularly. Something to watch for if you own Berglund, Tarasenko, Stewart, or Sobotka.
Veteran forward Jamal Mayers announced his retirement from the NHL on Friday. Mayers won a Stanley Cup with the Chicago Blackhawks last year.