I dropped some intriguing stats on Ryan Miller in yesterday’s ramblings. He only added to those impressive numbers in yesterday’s win over the Boston Bruins.

 

Time to get in on Christian Ehrhoff, at least for the short term. He’s scored five points in his last six games and is starting to get things back on track. Of course, you can only count on him so much considering how anemic the Sabres offense is but Ehrhoff is due some puck luck, especially on the power play where he has just two points all year.

 

I seriously doubt it but Drew Stafford might be turning the corner as well. He’s got three points in his last four games, which is not nearly a large enough sample to get me excited.

 

Marcus Foligno checked in with a Gordie Howe hat-trick to help remind us of his long term rotisserie upside.

 

*

 

The entire Bruins offense last night was comprised of Brad Marchand who scored two goals on five shots. His shooting percentage has climbed up to 12.3%, which isn’t far off his career average. He’s still falling short of the 55-point pace you’d hope for him but his whole line has been simply unproductive with Patrice Bergeron also struggling and Loui Eriksson seemingly skating with a target on his chin.

 

 

Bergeron did manage an assist last night but those have been few and far between.

 

Chad Johnson got a rare start for the Bruins and suffered a rare loss. Thank goodness I didn’t exercise my backup streaming strategy with him last night.

 

Torey Krug has seriously cooled off. He hasn’t scored in four straight games and has just three points in his last 11 games.

 

*

 

Last night’s draw between the Coyotes and Leafs was surprisingly low scoring given the two porous defenses at hand. It was a goalie battle though with both teams managing just one goal apiece.

 

James Reimer stopped 34 of 35 shots for Toronto, which was his first appearance not conceding at least three goals since November 23rd.

 

Peter Holland is starting to really contribute for the Leafs with five points over the last four games.

 

Nazem Kadri, on the other hand, has started to slump and hasn’t scored in three games.

 

Things have gone south for James van Riemsdyk as well as he hasn’t scored in four straight.

 

JM Liles has appeared sparingly since getting called up but he has yet to score in his five appearances.

 

SB Nation’s Adam Gretz with a look at David Clarkson’s struggles in Toronto:


It's going to get worse before it gets better. And it's probably never going to get better.

*

 

Mike Smith was also solid in goal for Phoenix but he has now “lost” three straight appearances despite them being three of his best starts in the last month.

 

Rostislav Klesla was called up and notched an assist in his first appearance in almost a month.

 

Martin Hanzal scored the lone goal for Phoenix, his first point in December. He’s regressed in a big hurry after a scorching start to the season. Hanzal is still on pace for 59 points, which would easily be a career high so I wouldn’t be surprised if he regressed further. Still, it’s important to see his hot start for the long term potential it hints at.

 

Gilbert Brule made his season debut. He went scoreless in 12:39 with one second of power play time. He did skate on a line with Mike Ribeiro though, which is a good sign.

 

*

 

What a third period outburst by the Philadelphia Flyers scoring five goals in the third period to overcome a 3-0 deficit. It looked at first like the Columbus Blue Jackets would get one up on their former goaltender Steve Mason but Jakub Voracek and Claude Giroux had other ideas.

 

The two combined for seven points while their linemate Michael Raffl tagged along with a couple of assists. Is Raffl another Andreas Nodl or something more?


Raffl brings two main NHL-level tools to the table -- skating speed and hockey sense. For a team lacking speed in transition and on the backcheck, Raffl's acceleration and swift skating has been a welcome addition to the roster. The Austrian also appears to have alert hockey sense. Even when struggling to score points in the early season, Raffl consistently found himself in prime scoring positions, despite flubbing more than a few golden opportunities.

After last night’s outburst Giroux is now tied for 25th in league scoring. And his game winner was SICK!

 

 

Apparently the Flyers did not give Brayden Schenn a baseline concussion test following that brutal hit by Tom Wilson the other night. He was right back into the Flyers lineup last night and looked just fine firing five shots on goal.

 

*

 

Ryan Johansen’s nine-game scoring streak came to a screeching halt last night going minus-three.

 

Jack Johnson is starting to get it going with three points in his last five games after going scoreless in his previous 15. I could easily see him scoring a point every two games going forward, especially as this team gets healthy.

 

Nick Foligno is quietly scoring at a 50-point pace this season.

 

*

 

Jeff Zatkoff got the start for Pittsburgh with last night’s game coming in a back-to-back. After some real stinkers to start the season he has now won six in a row.

 

Last night was something of a coming out party for Pens rookie Olli Maatta who scored on a penalty shot and added an assist. He has scored seven points in his last 11 games and stands to be a solid short term pick up as long as the Penguins remain injured on the blue line.

 

Matt Niskanen also got two points as he’s the top dog with Kris Letang out.

 

James Neal got back into the lineup coming off his suspension and notched an assist.

 

Make it three straight games with a goal for Brandon Sutter. It looks like he might remain productive until Malkin returns, which could be soon.

 

*

 

Josh Harding hit the IR while he receives MS treatments. He’ll miss the next week.

 

Niklas Backstrom got the start in Harding’s stead and got lit up. He’s lost five straight starts. I don’t know whether Backstrom is simply lacking a rhythm starting so sparingly or if he’s just had some tough matchups (his last five opponents: Pittsburgh, San Jose, Columbus, Phoenix, St. Louis) but it will be interesting to see if he can get some momentum going.

 

Keith Ballard was in a feisty mood getting into two separate scraps. He also added an assist making it one productive fantasy night for the blue-liner. It’s a damn shame he can’t have more nights like this.

 

After going scoreless in eight straight games, Ryan Suter has now scored in five straight games. I swear there is no rhyme or reason to these streaks. All you can do is just plug them in and hope.

 

Jason Pominville is having the weirdest season. He scored his 16th goal of the season last night but has half as many assists. He’s on pace to score over 30 goals but not even 55 points. As high as his shooting percentage currently is (15.7%) he has actually had some poor puck luck with the Wild scoring at low rate with Pominville on the ice.

 

Dany Heatley’s corpse scored for the first time in seven games.

 

*

 

As I said yesterday, there appears to be no winning with Senators goalies this season. Craig Anderson had a great game but couldn’t hold it together ceding two goals in the final five minutes to drop the contest 4-2.

 

This was against the Florida Panthers and Scott Clemmensen who is on an absolute roll right now having won four straight starts.

 

Brian Campbell put an end to a seven-game scoreless drought last night.

 

Aleksander Barkov is on a hot streak with five points in his last five games.

 

Tomas Fleischmann is also starting to get it together with points in three straight.

 

At least something went right for the Senators on this slick goal by Jason Spezza:

 

 

*

 

It’s not very difficult to tell who the best players in Detroit are right now, they combined for eight points on all three Red Wing goals. Daniel Alfredsson and Pavel Datsyuk each had three points while Niklas Kronwall added two of his own. That offense was enough for Detroit to pull out a 3-2 overtime win.  

 

Jonas Gustavsson put an end to his four-game losing streak. He didn’t have to do much in this one and he is hardly taking the ball and running with it while Jimmy Howard is on the shelf.

 

*

 

Mike Cammalleri made his return to the Flames lineup and put an end to his five-game scoreless drought. You’ve got a two-week window to buy low on Cammalleri because I suspect he’ll be moved in the New Year and when that happens his stock could soar.

 

The Kris Russell mirage might be gone. He has just one point in the last six games.

 

*

 

The Tampa Bay Lightning recently signed minor league defenseman Jean-Phillipe Cote to an NHL contract. He got into his first NHL game in eight years and notched an assist while pairing with Victor Hedman. That’s not really where Cote’s upside lies however. He’s more of a pugilist who will offer value in leagues that count PIM and Hits. Is it possible that the Lightning have unearthed a second Radko Gudas?

 

I’m not putting much stock in any of the scoring from Lightning forwards. It seems like pretty much every one of them is scoring only once every two games since Steven Stamkos went down. Only Martin St. Louis has been immune but even his scoring has been more erratic. He is riding a three game scoring streak however.

 

Anders Lindback won just his third game of the year and was solid stopping 29 of 31 shots.

 

*

 

Carter Hutton was chased mid-way through last game allowing four goals on 14 shots. With back-to-back losses Hutton’s short run as the Preds starter probably comes to an end.

 

Marek Mazanec came on in relief and stopped all 19 shots he faced and looks primed to get the next start.

 

A few weeks back I commented that Matt Cullen was on a hot streak but that I didn’t trust it at all. Well he just ended a nine-game drought with two points last night. He’s way too hit or miss. All of the Preds forwards are. They are basically the Lightning minus Stamkos – all of the time.

 

Craig Smith scored both Predators goals but again, I’m not sure how you trust him on your fantasy roster.

 

Roman Josi may just be the unluckiest big-minute skater of this season. No one skater more minutes than him last night. The team is scoring on just 3.9% of shots at five-on-five with him on the ice though. He’s due some serious regression.

 

*

 

The Blues crushed the Habs last night 5-1 despite missing captain David Backes.

 

With Backes out of the lineup the Blues lines were as follows, courtesy of FrozenPool:

 

19.67%

EV

21 BERGLUND,PATRIK - 56 PAAJARVI,MAGNUS - 91 TARASENKO,VLADIMIR

16.8%

EV

74 OSHIE,T.J. - 9 SCHWARTZ,JADEN - 20 STEEN,ALEXANDER

12.7%

EV

10 MORROW,BRENDEN - 12 ROY,DEREK - 25 STEWART,CHRIS

11.89%

EV

79 CRACKNELL,ADAM - 40 LAPIERRE,MAXIM - 32 PORTER,CHRIS

 

Jaden Schwartz looks like a big winner here jumping onto the top line with TJ Oshie and Alexander Steen. Schwartz scored a goal last night and could very well resume his hot streak after missing the last two games with injury.

 

Oshie and Steen each got two points because that’s what they’ve been doing all year and they refuse to stop.

 

*

 

There isn’t much positive to report on the Montreal side of things.

 

Tomas Plekanec has now failed to score in six straight games.

 

Lars Eller, meanwhile has not scored in eight straight.

 

Andrei Markov has cooled off as well with just three points over the last 12 games.

 

If you are looking for silver linings, David Desharnais has four points in his last four games.

 

Brendan Gallagher scored his first goal of the month of December. He has just two points so far this month.

 

*

 

This flowchart from Fear the Fin should help you plan ahead of time if Antti Niemi is starting or not.

 

*

 

Darryl Sutter wonders if we really need the penalty box anymore.

 

*

 

Dobber gives us players to watch at the upcoming World Juniors here and here.

 

*

 

The Stars cooled off the Canucks last night chasing Roberto Luongo early in the third period scoring four goals on 19 shots. Eddie Lack stopped all seven shots he faced in relief.

 

Mike Santorelli couldn’t be cooled off however. He now has 12 points in his last 11 games.

 

Chris Higgins has been just as hot with nine points in his last nine games.

Santorelli and Higgins’ linemate Ryan Kesler was held off the board for the second straight game but it’s only a matter of time before he’s back on the board.

 

*

 

Kari Lehtonen had his first great start in over two weeks, allowing less than three goals for the first time in seven starts. I really need him to get back on track to hold onto first place in my one-year league. The good news is that he and my other starter, Jaroslav Halak, were stellar last night.

 

Valeri Nichushkin scored a goal last night and is scorching with 10 points in his last nine games. Of course it helps that he is lining up with Jamie Benn and Tyler Seguin who are both big-time scorers.

 

Sergei Gonchar’s little three-game scoring streak came to an end last night but he may be turning the corner all the same.

 

Erik Cole dropped three points last night but is hardly a threat as the season goes on.

 

*

 

Matt Duchene lit up the Oilers for three points last night. He has scored 10 points in his last five games.

 

Oddly enough, Duchene’s linemates, Ryan O’Reilly and Nathan MacKinnon have not done nearly as much scoring of late with just three points apiece over that same stretch. They did each notch a point last night though.

 

Tyson Barrie led all Avalanche players in power play ice time and scored a goal with the man advantage. He has now scored in three straight games.

 

On the cold end of the spectrum, Gabriel Landeskog has just one point in last seven games.

 

*

 

On the Edmonton side Ryan Nugent-Hopkins and Taylor Hall each notched two points. They’ve been a bit cold lately but perhaps this is what they need to spark another hot streak.

 

Nail Yakupov’s sophomore season isn’t coming to an end any time soon. He’s scored just three points in December.

 

David Perron, the hottest Oiler, has cooled off with a four-game scoreless drought.

 

Devan Dubnyk was pretty solid stopping 35 of 38 shots last night but he’s lost three straight starts.

 

*

 

The Kings claimed a huge regulation victory over the Sharks last night winning 4-1. Martin Jones narrowly missed out on ANOTHER shutout when Patrick Marleau popped in a late goal but otherwise this contest was all Kings.

 

Jeff Carter, Tyler Toffoli, Dwight King and Robyn Regher all had two-point efforts for the Kings. Carter and Toffoli you know about. Regher is mostly irrelevant. Is it time to start recognizing King?

 

King doesn’t receive the power play minutes necessary to be a regular scorer but he’s been skating on a line with Carter and Anze Kopitar lately, which is absolutely splendid company to keep. King has six points in his last four games and I could see this run lasting a while longer until the next time the Kings mix up their lines.

 

I’ve been on this for a while but the biggest loser has been Dustin Brown who has just one point in his last six games and doesn’t really produce much away from Kopitar.

 

Brown got booted from the game after taking a kneeing penalty on San Jose’s Tomas Hertl who left the game and did not return. I hope this doesn’t derail Hertl’s fantastic rookie season.


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Comments (7)add comment

TeamFoster4 said:

TeamFoster4
... metaldude26 - I misunderstand the word REGRESSION in that sentence. If the average is 8% and he is at 3.9%, then I see you are meaning that his stats should regress toward the average of 8%. When I see regress, I think "to go in a lesser way than what has been happening". But I see how it is being used as a positive movement there as well. Gotcha. smilies/wink.gif
December 20, 2013
Votes: +1

metaldude26 said:

metaldude26
... TeamFoster - the league average shooting percentage at 5-on-5 is around 8%, Josi's seeing shots go in at less than half that with him on the ice, right now.

Shingy - as Geek points out regression is a statistical term. Because it is so commonly used in the negative sense I throw the "positive" spin out there to help visualize it.

rataylor - as long as Toffoli's skating second unit power play time you should be happy. There are only so many minutes to go around and he's not going to be a penalty killer. This is just about as good as it gets for a one-dimensional scorer.
December 20, 2013
Votes: +0

rataylor22 said:

rataylor22
... AHCK. I love Tyler Toffoli but I hate Sutter's usage of him! Kid is getting about 13 minutes a night of ice time and still forcing his way in to production. I'm not advocating 20 minutes a night but get him up closer to 15. At this point it's not even on potential, he has outright earned more ice.
December 20, 2013
Votes: +0

fantasyhockeygeek said:

fantasyhockeygeek
Regression Regression to the mean -- returning to average. That's the sense in which Steve is applying it, meaning "return to average". It's true that regression outside of a statistical context means decrease, but come on... fantasy hockey is a sea of stats so the context is clear.
December 20, 2013
Votes: +0

agentzero said:

agentzero
Fantastic work Steve,

Your work is outstanding. As Dobber once said, the ramblings are not about covering every single game, but are about offering perspective and points and your thoughts on the salient fantasy notes from the night.

You manage to bring out salient fantasy points in EVERY single game of the night! Outstanding. Seriously.

I agree about Dwight King. I think it's time to start noticing. He plays with speed and size and a lot of drive. Dustin Brown 2.0.. but not as dirty. I think he has some potential to be a pretty intimidating goal scorer. 20G+ and some heady PIMs. He will likely always be a better help in real hockey than in fantasy, but he has some noticeable qualities.

And I absolutely loved this:

All of the Preds forwards are. They are basically the Lightning minus Stamkos – all of the time.

LMAO. So true.
December 20, 2013
Votes: +0

shingy said:

shingy
...
Great ramblings, thanks a bunch.

Josi will be shooting a negative 5% soon..lol. I've never heard of a "positive regression". If someone regresses they go backward. If someone is improves or is bound to improve, why still use the term regression? Sure it can be done but why? It's sort of orwellian in it's backward way.
December 20, 2013
Votes: +0

TeamFoster4 said:

TeamFoster4
Less than 3.9%? "Roman Josi may just be the unluckiest big-minute skater of this season. No one skater more minutes than him last night. The team is scoring on just 3.9% of shots at five-on-five with him on the ice though. He’s due some serious regression." Should I be expecting 1% or was that supposed to be a positive upswing is in order?
December 20, 2013
Votes: +0
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