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The Calgary Flames exploded offensively on Monday night for a 2-0 win over the Carolina Hurricanes. And yes, two goals is an outburst for a team that had been shut out five times in its last eight contests.
Karri Ramo picked up his first-career NHL shutout and the Flames’ goaltending has showed a bit of improvement from the way they started this season. Of course, they’ve had to be better when the offense decides to go MIA for long stretches.
Mikael Backlund scored in his second straight game and he could be a decent buy-low candidate because he is still receiving big minutes. He’s been close to 22 in the last two contests and may have more value now with Mike Cammalleri sidelined with a concussion.
Sean Monahan scored the other goal and he has really cooled since his tremendous start. He played so well at the beginning of the year that the Flames had no choice but to keep him with the big club, however, if they could go back in time I wonder if they would make the same decision.
The Hurricanes have now been shut out in two straight themselves.
Nathan Gerbe led the way with four shots, which he has now done in back-to-back games.
Justin Faulk has been disappointing of late, recording no more than one shot per game in four of five outings. He can go quiet as far as shots go though as he had a stretch earlier this season of five straight games without one.
The Blue Jackets beat the Lightning 3-2 and again Sergei Bobrovsky was solid. He can’t go on another late season run like last year, can he?
Ryan Johansen’s goal gives him points in two straight. He’s starting to show some signs of life again after four games without a point.
Mark Letestu deserves a strong look right now if he’s available in your league. He’s got four points, three of them goals, in his last three outings and is getting solid power play time. He played just 13 minutes against Tampa, but nearly three of those came on the man advantage.
Jack Johnson had his first multi-point night since the first game of the season. See, aren’t you glad you held onto him?
Nathan Horton’s 200th NHL goal.
Thomas Drance’s favorite player, Radko Gudas, had himself quite the night. He notched an assist to go along with four PIM and three hits. Gudas really is valuable if you have those rough and tumble categories in your pool.
Alex Killorn’s goal gave him five points in four games. He’s been clicking well with Purcell and Filppula, which means that line should still stay together even when Steven Stamkos comes back. So Killorn might be a good one to hang on to.
Nikita Kucherov has now gone pointless in three but he still got over three minutes with the man advantage. So don’t give up on him yet.
Paul Maurice’s debut behind the Winnipeg bench was a successful one as the Jets were victorious over the Coyotes 5-1.
Winnipeg spread the offense around as no one had more than a single point, except Dustin Byfuglien who had a pair of assists.
Crazy stat of the night: Tobias Enstrom played almost 10 minutes on the power play because Phoenix took so many penalties. He only cashed in with one point though in what could have been a massive night for poolies.
Al Montoya would be a smart add right now as I’m not sure how much longer Ondrej Pavelec can hold onto the starting job. He got the win on Monday but only faced 19 shots, and the goal he gave up he was swimming all over the crease. Montoya’s numbers have been far superior this year and it wouldn’t be shocking to see Maurice give him some more starts.
Phoenix didn’t do much on the scoreboard against Winnipeg, but they did throw their weight around. They had six guys who had at least three hits and Martin Hanzal led the way with five.
Mike Smith had another rough outing and hasn’t posted a save percentage of .900 in four straight. Ever since he was named to the Canadian Olympic team he’s been dreadful.
Vancouver fell to Los Angeles 1-0 in a penalty-filled affair. There were 109 PIM in all, including a couple of nasty incidents.
Tom Sestito had a grand total of one second of ice-time before attacking Jordan Nolan and getting ejected. Nolan appeared to get too close to one of the Sedins which seemed to anger Sestito for some unknown reason. Meanwhile, Dale Weise had a slewfoot on Drew Doughty and even Ryan Kesler and Dustin Brown dropped the gloves at one point. Nothing spoils a good hockey game like goals and skill, so thankfully these moronic incidents were there to prevent us from seeing something stupid. Unreal.
Jonathan Quick picked up a 28 save shutout in some of the only actually hockey that was being played. He’s been great since his return from injury so it looks like Ben Scrivens and Martin Jones’ 15 minutes of fame are over.
Ben Bishop will reportedly return to the Tampa Bay net on Tuesday after missing time with a sprained wrist. Just be aware of Tampa’s schedule coming up as it’s difficult. They’ve got two of the league’s hottest teams in the Rangers and Islanders followed by a matchup with the Sharks. Not exactly the best way to ease back into action for Bishop.
It will be interesting to see what the Ducks do with Jonas Hiller as far as a contract goes. He’s an unrestricted free-agent after this year and given Anaheim’s depth between the pipes, they could be inclined to turn the goaltending duties over to Frederik Andersen and John Gibson at some point. However, the Ducks sit atop the NHL standings and a large part of that is thanks to Hiller, who has been sensational this season. He’s won 14 straight starts and posted a save percentage below .900 just four times over that span. It’s going to be tough to justify not holding onto him when he and the team are playing this well, even if they do end up losing him to free agency in the off-season.
Staying with the Ducks for a minute, as this Pro Hockey Talk piece points out, it’s time to start taking Nick Bonino seriously. He’s easily on pace for over 50 points and already has accumulated 15 power play points. He’s seeing nearly three minutes a night with the man advantage and much of that time is obviously with Ryan Getzlaf and Corey Perry.
Paul Stastny’s leg injury he suffered on Saturday isn’t serious and he should be good to go on Tuesday, according to the Denver Post. Stastny has been rolling of late, notching seven points in his last five contests.
Anatoliy Metter of The Hockey Writers checks in with four forwards under 20% owned.
Sean McIndoe looks at the upcoming second half of the NHL season for Grantland.