The Los Angeles Kings lost to the Chicago Blackhawks on Monday night, but they held it to a respectable 1-0 scoreline. And with the way the Hawks can find the net that is quite the accomplishment.

 

Martin Jones was denied the shutout on a tough bounce in front that led to a Brandon Saad goal. Jones rebounded from a tough start a week ago and continues to be a great option between the pipes.

 

Mike Richards’ play has been troubling as of late. He’s now gone pointless in eight straight games and is minus-5 over that stretch. What’s most concerning about his play is the fact that his scoring chances and shots on goal are few and far between. Over the last month Richards has had one shot or less in nine games.

 

If there is a silver lining, however, it’s been in the face-off dot. Richards has been excelling in that area over the last few weeks, but that’s little consolation to those who were relying on him for points.

 

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The Blackhawks were slowed down offensively as Antti Raanta picked up the slack in goal with a 26-save shutout. Raanta has only lost once in regulation thanks to the team in front of him, but his numbers of late have been anything but stellar. Outside of Monday, Raanta had three straight starts where he posted a save percentage below .900. Corey Crawford is skating once again and appears in no danger of losing any starts to Raanta when he is healthy. The Finnish netminder may have an outside chance to stick around as a backup, but you shouldn’t expect much more than that once Crawford is ready to go.

 

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Mike Green was pretty darn awful on Monday night from a defensive stand point. He got embarrassed on two Ottawa goals and finished minus-2 on the evening. Green is now up to minus-10 on the campaign and his shooting percentage has dropped to 3.2. Adam Oates seems undeterred by all this as Green still finished second on the Caps with nearly 24 minutes of ice-time.

 

Here’s an example of Green seemingly coasting on a Turris goal.

 

 

Don’t look now but Joel Ward is up to 12 goals on the year and looks well on his way to breaking his career-high of 17 in a season.

 

Alex Ovechkin hasn’t scored in a season-high four straight games now, although it may be presumptuous to push the panic button. He still has 31 shots over that stretch.

 

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Craig Anderson’s game looked as sharp as it’s been all season making 34-of-35 saves against the Caps. That’s now three straight strong starts so perhaps Anderson is getting things figured out.

 

Jason Spezza missed this one with an injury but it looks more and more like Kyle Turris is cementing himself as the number one center in Ottawa. He scored a beauty and is up to four points in his last five and although the loss of Spezza certainly hurts, it’s less painful thanks to Turris’ strong play. Does Turris’ performance maybe make the Sens consider dealing Spezza to shed some salary if there are any takers?

 

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Jimmy Howard looked like a goalie who hadn’t played in three weeks. He was shaky giving up a few soft goals against the Preds and when all was said and done he made just 23-of-28 stops. And giving up five goals to Nashville is really saying something. Howard deserves a few games to get his legs back under him but it’s hard to ignore Jonas Gustavsson’s stats when you compare the two. I’m not sure how long Mike Babcock can attempt to give Howard the bulk of the starts going forward unless something drastic changes in his game.

 

Daniel Alfredsson was a late scratch in this one as the Wings continue to be decimated by injuries.

 

Tomas Tatar, Gustav Nyquist, and Joakim Andersson were all held without a point in a game where Detroit scored four goals. Not good if you own one of the youngsters.

 

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Colin Wilson and Mike Fisher were really clicking against Detroit on Thursday as they each had three points. Wilson also added six shots when no one else on the Preds had more than three. He’s up to five points in his last three games and would be a good short-term add until he cools off.

 

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Eddie Lack came down to earth Monday giving up three goals and taking the shootout loss against the Philadelphia Flyers. Roberto Luongo's injury isn't long-term but Lack had been playing great as a fill in with a 7-2-1 record this season.

 

Jannik Hansen scored for the second straight game. He's someone to consider while Alex Burrows remains sidelined as Hansen likely will continue to get extra opportunities.

 

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Steve Mason has bounced back in a big way in 2013-14 and has now won five straight starts. In fact, Mason has lost just once in regulation this month and has clearly claimed the No. 1 spot in Phildadelphia. Coming into the year I actually thought Ray Emery had the inside track on receiving the majority of the starts, but he is just about fantasy irrelevant now. 

 

Wayne Simmonds saw his five game point streak snapped after going without a point last night. Simmonds was on a run of three straight multi-point efforts as well, but that was never going to last. He's just not that type of player. However, his PIM and hits ability combined with a point here and there make him valuable.

 

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To further Dobber’s point from yesterday about Brian Elliott once again becoming relevant in the St. Louis goal, it could be a strong possibility. Jaroslav Halak has won just three out of his last seven starts and his last two outings have been particularly bad. Coach Ken Hitchcock has proven to be willing to go with the hot hand and that is Elliott right now. If Halak continues to sputter Elliott could see more action in the second half, so give him a look if you need goaltending help.

 

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Colorado Avalanche winger P.A. Parenteau looks to be out around six weeks with a knee injury and it remains to be seen how that will impact Paul Stastny. The Avalanche center has picked up nearly half his points this year skating with Parenteau.

 

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Speaking of knee injuries, Pittsburgh Penguins forward Pascal Dupuis is likely done for the year with one of his own, so that means major benefits for whoever takes his place with Sidney Crosby and Chris Kunitz. James Neal played some significant minutes there Sunday and finished with five points, factoring in on every Penguins goal. Perhaps more interesting, however, was Joe Vitale’s audition for a few shifts with that group as well. If it does end up being Vitale penciled in with that group, he could be a great add at the moment.

 

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New York Rangers defenseman Marc Staal will return to the lineup on Tuesday after missing 10 games with a concussion. There is a chance Staal’s return could limit Michael Del Zotto’s ice-time with the man advantage. Del Zotto has been a disaster this year but is still getting over two minutes per night on the power play. Staal is no power play guru by any means, but maybe now with another option Alain Vigneault sends Del Zotto more of a message.

 

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Dallas Eakins announced that Nail Yakupov will be healthy scratch on Tuesday when the Oilers take on the Phoenix Coyotes. Things are likely going to get worse there before they get better.

 

Michael Amato is an Associate Editor for DobberHockey and a News Editor for theScore. You can follow him on Twitter at @amato_mike


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Comments (3)add comment

mojavedesert said:

mojavedesert
...... Spezza has a lousy +/- but his point total is respectable for a player just past prime. His injury risk is troubling but I do not see the Senators trading away one of their two good centres. Until Zibanejad establishes himself as a capable no.2 centre (is he playing centre? I have seen no Sens games) Ottawa needs both Turris and Spezza.
December 31, 2013
Votes: +0

Rodgort said:

Rodgort
... These ramblings may mark the first time anyone has said a centre could be in trouble with Parenteau out instead of the other way around!

Also I am sure a lot of Turris' game this year has revolved around this Ryan guy being on his wing (and Spezza is having a brutal year). I doubt after giving him the C they cut ties so quickly
December 31, 2013
Votes: +1

SeaDawg said:

SeaDawg
Spezza Turris' strong play this year may not lead to the Sens dealing Spezza, but I don't think they will re-sign him in the off-season.
December 31, 2013
Votes: +0
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