Usually the Guides are released at noon ET on the day given. It's looking as though this one is a bit behind and the target release for the Midseason Guide is 1pm Sunday. Or, a 95% release at noon and full release at 2pm. Something like that. Pre-order here!

 

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Sergei Bobrovsky is officially back in business. He made 33 stops in a 3-0 shutout over the Carolina Hurricanes on Friday night and made 40 saves in his return from injury earlier in the week. If Columbus has any hope of making a playoff push they are going to need effort’s like this from Bobrovsky essentially the rest of the way. It will be interesting to see if he starts over Semyon Varlamov for Russia at the Olympics.

 

Cam Atkinson picked up a goal and an assist, giving him goals in two straight. He’s got an outside shot at 20 tallies and is averaging about three shots a night. Not a bad depth option.

 

Boone Jenner scored and had six hits, while playing over 16 minutes. That’s the most ice he’s seen since late November, but Jenner still hasn’t had more than a two-game point streak this season and just one multi-point game.

 

If there was an award for most frustrating player in the NHL, it would be the Jack Johnson trophy. Johnson is now four straight without a point after a stretch of finding the score sheet in four of six games. One step forward, two steps back.

 

 

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Jeff Skinner’s six-game point streak came to an end against the Blue Jackets, but he still had a strong outing. He had seven shots on goal and has had 11 games this season with at least five or more shots on net.

 

Anton Khudobin gave up three goals on 24 shots for his first bad statline since returning on January 2. He’s been solid this season though and there’s no reason to think this is the start of a trend.

 

John-Michael Liles is a plus-7 in five games with the Hurricanes and has also picked up a goal. He played over 23 minutes on Friday, including over two minutes on the power play. Nothing like a trade from Toronto to rejuvenate one’s career.

 

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Speaking of those Leafs, they actually had a better effort on Friday against the Caps, but still fell 3-2.

 

Toronto seemed to have a shot at this one after scoring an early third period goal to take the lead, but they gave it right back on a bad bounce off of Jay McClement’s foot in front. It wasn’t Jonathan Bernier’s fault, although bad breaks just seem to be finding him lately.

 

The Phil Kessel-JVR-Tyler Bozak line factored in on both Toronto goals and Bozak is the most intriguing of the three. He gets poked fun at regularly about not being up to the level of the other two, but he’s racking up the fantasy points nevertheless. Bozak has points in five of six since returning from injury and nine of 10 dating back to late November. Nothing against Brendan Morrison, but it kind of reminds of when he was playing with Todd Bertuzzi and Markus Naslund. Morrison got points by default at times.

 

The Leafs are hurting for secondary scoring at the moment and that’s in part to Mason Raymond’s play going south. He’s got just one goal in his last 10 contests.

 

Equally concerning is Cody Franson, who has gone pointless in six and is a minus-8 over that stretch.

 

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Michal Neuvirth made his first start since November 22 and didn’t miss a beat turning aside 32 pucks. The Caps are rolling with three goalies right now and Philipp Grubauer watched this one from the press box. I’m not sure how long Washington plans to keep this up and if they have ideas about rotating all three, it could be a nightmare from a fantasy perspective.

 

Alex Ovechkin and Nicklas Backstrom were their usual selves, combining for three points. However, Mikhail Grabovski played some with Ovechkin and picked up an assist on his goal. It was said during the broadcast that Adam Oates is hoping to have Grabovski center Ovechkin here and there going forward, which is great news if you are a Grabovski owner.

 

Mike Green’s assist gives him five points in the last three games. He’s looking interested again all of a sudden.

 

Joel Ward picked up his 13th goal of the season and is already closing in on his career high of 17 with still a half season to play.

 

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The Rangers edged the Stars 3-2 thanks to this crazy game-winning goal by Rick Nash.

 

 

Derick Brassard also scored and it was his first in 11 games.

 

Brad Richards has had plenty of jump lately and his two helpers against Dallas give him six points in four games. He’s also got 15 shots over that span and has taken over the team lead in scoring. Richards got somewhat of a bad rap last year due to a rough playoffs but if you look at this stats over the regular season in 2012-13, they were actually fairly strong.

 

Henrik Lundqvist turned in his third straight decent effort in a row, so hopefully that’s the last of his struggles. The Rangers don’t give up a ton of shots and sometimes if he concedes a bad goal, a good game can turn into a bad statline rather quickly.

 

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Jamie Benn is pointless since being named to the Canadian Olympic team. Quick, someone motivate him again somehow. In fact, that entire line is struggling with Tyler Seguin and Valeri Nichushkin also suffering through rough patches. Seguin has gone four without a point.

 

Speaking of struggling, Alex Goligoski has a four game pointless streak of his own with just six shots.

 

On the other hand, Ryan Garbutt and Cody Eakin combined for four points on the night. Don’t expect that with regularity.

 

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The Islanders escaped Colorado with a 2-1 overtime win after Kevin Poulin stopped 30 shots. He's 2-0 since Evgeni Nabokov went down and with the Isles being one of the league's hottest teams right now, Poulin is worth a short-term look.

 

Calvin de Haan extended his point streak to three games. He's getting big minutes now for New York and has exceeded 20 for five games in a row.

 

Michael Grabner scored in his second straight and had five shots. He's still fighting for minutes though.

 

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Nathan MacKinnon scored again, giving him eight goals in nine games. The rookie doesn't seem to be showing any signs of hitting a wall just yet.

 

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The Canucks beat the Blues 2-1 in another low scoring affair and Brian Elliott was back in the net for St. Louis. Jaroslav Halak picked up a much needed shutout in the previous game, so maybe things are starting to tilt his way once again.

 

Alex Pietrangelo update: Still crazy good. He now has eight points in his last five games and posted seven shots against Vancouver, while logging over 25 minutes.

 

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Eddie Lack continues to look strong with a 30 save night. Roberto Luongo's injury doesn't seem to be serious, so get the most out of Lack while you can.

 

Mike Santorelli scored his first goal and point in five games. He's been streaky this year, mainly because of where he plays. Unless he's up with the Sedins or Kesler and Higgins, he's in tough to put up points. Keep an eye on what John Tortorella does with him when Alex Burrows returns.

 

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The Oilers rallied in the third to force overtime and then claimed a 4-3 win over the Penguins.

 

Ryan Nugent-Hopkins led the way with two goals and an assist.

 

Meanwhile, Justin Schultz and Jordan Eberle each had a pair of assists and Mark Arcobello has points in two straight.

 

Edmonton stole this one in spite of goaltending again. Devan Dubnyk had another mediocre performance.

 

One thing that should illustrate how far the Oilers have fallen off many people's radar was the team Canada selections. For all the young talent Edmonton has, you rarely even heard one of their players mentioned for consideration and at this point, probably rightfully so.

 

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Matt Niskanen picked up an assist for Pittsburgh. I thought when Kris Letang returned his points run would slow, but that doesn't seem to be the case yet.

 

Joe Vitale is now pointless in three straight. He skated some shifts with Kuntiz and Crosby right after Pascal Dupuis went down, but this recent run isn't helping his cause if he wants to stay there.

 

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The Anaheim Ducks made an interesting move on Friday recalling goalie John Gibson from the American Hockey League and sending down Frederik Andersen. The move is curious because is Gibson is just 20 and hasn’t played in an NHL game yet, while Andersen had some success with the Ducks earlier in the year. However, Andersen’s last three starts have been rough and with Anaheim in a back-to-back scenario this weekend, Gibson could make his debut.

 

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The Detroit Red Wings recalled Riley Sheahan from Grand Rapids as the team’s forward group is a little banged up. What else is new? Pavel Datsyuk and Darren Helm are iffy with groin injuries this weekend, so Sheahan’s ability to play center could come in handy.

 

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Good news for the Predators as they claim goaltender Pekka Rinne is making some solid progress with his recovery. There is still no word on when Rinne will make his return and the Preds are quickly fading out of the playoff picture, so unless something drastic changes before the Olympic break, there may be a possibility they just shut him down for the rest of the year.

 

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The Winnipeg Jets plan to move defenseman Dustin Byfuglien to forward for Saturday’s game against Columbus. Byfuglien has experience up front and if this turns out to be a permanent thing it could have major Brent Burns-esque fantasy implications.

 

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Brian Rafalski is attempting a comeback at the ECHL level, of all places. The three-time Stanley Cup champion may even be looking to return to the NHL eventually, according to the ESPN story. Rafalski is only 40 years of age, so he’s got at least four or five good years left. Just ask Chris Chelios.

 

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 (4)add comment

Michael Amato said:

Michael Amato
... @Front89 The vast majority of NHL players are under a PPG. Now granted, Richards has a strong skill set, but his pace from this year is almost identical to last year. He's got a chance at 70 points if he keeps it up which is and wouldn't have been anything to sneeze at last year if it were a full season.

@mojavedesert I would probably start home at home against Detroit if it were up to me to protect him a bit. Starting him on the road against a division rival could be trouble and the Wings may be missing some top guys on Sunday anyway. But it's a tough call either way.
January 11, 2014
Votes: +0

Front89 said:

Front89
Richards Not sure how one can say Richards was good last year. He was well under a ppg player, did very little on the pp and, as you said, awful in the playoffs. A lot of coasting by Richards and very little creativity or energy...the coach tried just about everything to get him motivated, but Richards never really responded...

This year he has done a little better in that regard, but the numbers are still not up to what he is being paid or what was expected. They need alot more from him to make any noise
January 11, 2014
Votes: +0

kingshockeygm said:

kingshockeygm
Vitale Of course he's struggling. Gibbons has been playing on the Crosby line. Vitale skated on the 4th line.
January 11, 2014
Votes: +1

mojavedesert said:

mojavedesert
Anaheim goalies If the goalies split the starts this weekend, who do you prefer to start which game? Hiller in Phoenix and Gibson at home vs Detroit? That might be the easier game for Gibson but if Anaheim wants to retain their streak of being undefeated in regulation at home they will probably start Hiller in the game against Detroit.
January 10, 2014
Votes: +0
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