Water is wet. The sky is blue. And Patrick Sharp continues to rack up the points at a feverish pace.
Sharp had a hat-trick in Chicago’s 5-3 win over New Jersey on Friday night to give him a ridiculous 21 points in his last 13 games. Not only that, but in four of those games he’s had at least three points and that’s his second hat-trick in his last five outings.
There’s just no slowing down the Hawks right now as Jonathan Toews, Duncan Keith, and Brent Seabrook all chipped in with multi-point games. Chicago could easily have the most Olympians at Sochi, with the potential for four or five on Canada alone.
Marian Hossa added a goal to go along with five shots after being held without a point in his last two. Hossa’s power play time has been sliding over the last three seasons and he is barely averaging over two minutes a night with the man advantage at this point. In 2011-12 he was getting over three minutes and last year he was seeing just over two and a half. Something to keep an eye on.
Antti Raanta got the start and moved his record to an impressive 11-1-3, but he was unspectacular in this one. Raanta finished the night with a save percentage of .889 and it’s the fourth time in his last five starts that he has failed to finish with a mark above .900.
Martin Brodeur didn’t have his greatest night making just 19 saves. You can put an asterisk by this one though because it was against the Harlem Globetrot…… I mean Chicago Blackhawks.
Adam Henrique, Ryane Clowe, and Michael Ryder were all minus-4 on the night.
On the plus side, the Devils did get some quality performances from a couple of defensemen. Andy Greene broke a four game scoreless drought with a goal and Marek Zidlicky had two goals, six shots, and two hits. Both guys are getting huge minutes right now, especially on the power play. Zidlicky saw well over five minutes with the man advantage and Greene came in at just under five. They’re two great defensive adds if you can get your hands on them.
You can only hope to contain Chris Kunitz and Sidney Crosby right now as they each had three points in the Penguins 5-2 beat down of the Rangers. It’s looking more and more like Kunitz is destined to end up on the Canadian Olympic team. Should he be there?
Jussi Jokinen had a pair of goals and tied a season high with five shots. It’s hard to get excited about Jokinen because it seems like he only does something every third game and goes dormant in-between.
Matt Niskanen extended his point streak to three games and it’s not surprising. He was flourishing earlier in the year when Kris Letang was out and he looks to be doing it again. When Letang returns expect him to cool off.
Marc-Andre Fleury was excellent on Friday and he’s really been sensational all year. He deserves a lot of credit for bouncing back from a brutal playoffs last spring. A lot of guys wouldn’t have been able to respond the way Fleury has.
Ryan Callahan returned to the Rangers lineup on Friday and had four hits in just under 15 minutes of action.
Marc Staal was a minus-3 in his second game back from missing most of December with a concussion.
Brad Richards is now on a three-game pointless drought and couldn’t muster anything up against the Pens despite playing more than five minutes on the power play. Going back even further he’s got just one point in his last seven. Yikes.
Benoit Pouliot remains hot and his assist on Friday gives him points in eight of his last nine. He really is worth a short-term look right now. Especially with someone like Richards struggling, he could see some extra opportunities.
Henrik Lundqvist had a bad outing after two straight excellent starts. He just can’t seem to get any momentum going this year, which is scary for the Rangers and fantasy owners who have a lot invested in him. Check out this goal he gave up to Crosby. It was a great shot and Lundqvist normally plays deep in his net anyway, but he may as well have been sitting in the front row on this one he was so far back.
Derek Dorsett left the game with an injury which was revealed to be a broken fibula afterwards. Expect him out for quite a while.
How Ben Bishop was left off the American Olympic roster is beyond me. He picked up another shutout on Friday against the Flames and Jonathan Quick and Jimmy Howard were named over him, despite both missing significant parts of the first half of the season with injuries. It feels like sometimes general managers and coaching staffs overthink the selection process in a short tournament. It’s only two weeks and like a half-dozen games so riding the hot hand would be logical.
Ondrej Palat had a goal and an assist to extend his point streak to five games. He’s one Lightning forward that has stepped it up recently with Steven Stamkos sidelined. Palat’s also been up to 19-20 minutes a night during that stretch.
Nikita Kucherov found the back of the net and has now scored in two straight contests.
Martin St. Louis, however, has now gone three in a row without a point. He still had six shots against Calgary though, so don’t panic yet.
Not much went right for the Flames in this one. Dennis Wideman returned after missing more than a month with a broken hand to play over 20 minutes and post a couple of shots.
Karri Ramo was solid in a losing cause making 27 saves. He’s actually been great in five of his last six outings, though the Flames continue to rotate goalies pretty regularly.
Jiri Hudler is now up to four straight games where he has been held off the score sheet. He got off to a crazy good run to start the year but has slowed considerably now. Even though it was only a 48-game campaign last year, Hudler faded down the stretch there as well.
Speaking of hitting a wall, Sean Monahan has done just that. He has one point in eight games while seeing his ice-time drop considerably. The good news is that he is still getting solid power play opportunities and played four of his minutes there against Tampa.
The Oilers dropped a 5-2 decision to the Ducks. Ilya Bryzgalov got the nod and although he did give up five, he made 32 stops.
Nail Yakupov scored for the second straight game and played over 12 minutes. He also had three shots and a couple of hits. Something positive for him to build on at least.
Edmonton continues to struggle defensively and that is really their biggest issue at the end of the day. Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, David Perron, and Justin Schultz were all minus-3, while Taylor Hall was a minus-4 against the Ducks.
Jordan Eberle was a late scratch in this one with a knee injury. It’s not supposed to be serious but stay tuned.
The Ducks struck five times and the usual suspects Ben Lovejoy, Andrew Cogliano, Tim Jackman, and Kyle Palmieri scored the goals. Wait, what???
That’s right, the Oilers gave up five goals and Ryan Getzlaf, Corey Perry, Dustin Penner, and Teemu Selanne all went pointless. That shows you how bad the Oilers defensive game is.
Jonas Hiller gave up two goals on 18 shots. If you can stash Frederik Andersen away somewhere on your roster it may pay dividends down the road. I still say he has an impact in the Ducks’ net this year before all is said and done.
For all the outrage over Bobby Ryan being left off the American Olympic team, it could be a good thing from a fantasy perspective for a couple of reasons. First, as evident by his comments after he wasn’t included in the squad, I fully expect Ryan to spend the rest of the season proving the decision wrong and in turn lighting up the scoreboard. Second, players that don’t go to Sochi should be better rested for the stretch run of the season and subsequent fantasy playoffs. There will be a few extra back-to-back games after the Olympics, so those couple of weeks off should do anyone not going some good.
Nice piece here from Grantland on Jarome Iginla.
Joffrey Lupul got off easy after cross-checking Patrick Eaves in the head during the Winter Classic. Lupul was fined just $10,000, which is next to nothing when you look at his salary. Lupul definitely deserved some sort of suspension for his actions but thankfully for the Leafs and fantasy owners he isn’t missing anymore time. The forward has battled his share of injuries in recent years that has seen him miss plenty of action.
The Phoenix Coyotes are hoping to welcome Shane Doan back on Saturday night after missing 12 games due to an illness. He’s been cleared to play but it’s yet to be confirmed that he’ll be in the lineup. Keep an eye the situation today and adjust your lineups accordingly.
Another veteran is hoping to comeback, although this one is from a much lengthier absence. Ed Jovanovski is attempting to return after having hip resurfacing injury, and according to the Sun Sentinel no other athlete among the four major sports leagues has ever done so after the procedure. Jovanovski hasn’t played since last March and if the blueliner is able to continue his career that would be quite the story.
The Devils placed Mattias Tedenby on waivers but they are hoping he’ll clear and end up with their AHL affiliate in Albany. He is a former first-round pick but managed just one-goal with the Devils this season in 15 games, while going minus-8. Teams will have until noon on Saturday to claim him.