Get the midseason guide here!
BREAKING: The Washington Capitals offense misses Alexander Ovechkin. The Caps fell 2-1 to the Devils on Friday and have scored just a single goal since he's been out of the lineup. As a matter of fact, they've managed just three goals in their last four outings overall.
Marcus Johansson continues to struggle as he's now gone pointless in four straight, while posting just a single shot against the Devils. Part of the problem is likely the lack of Ovechkin, as Johansson has played with him and Nicklas Backstrom for much of the year.
It's worth noting that Troy Brouwer has taken Ovechkin's spot with the group for the time, although he hasn't notched a point in three games himself. He’s someone to keep an eye though if Ovechkin continues to miss time.
Mikhail Grabovski left this one with a lower-body injury, which is probably the last thing Washington needed with Ovechkin already on the shelf. Stay tuned.
In case you haven't noticed, Jaromir Jagr is still pretty decent for 41 years old. His two assists Friday tied him with some guy named Mario Lemieux for 10th on the all-time list. Jagr now sits at 42 points on the campaign and it's scary to think what his career numbers might look like if he hadn't taken off to the KHL for a few years.
Adam Henrique converted one of Jagr's passes, giving him goals in two straight. He also had a whopping eight shots against the Caps when no other Devil had more than three.
Ryane Clowe failed to pick up a point for just the second time in nine games. He's still getting top power play minutes right now though, so wait until he posts two or three dud performances in a row before giving up on him.
Don't look now but Cory Schneider could be running away with the goaltending duties in New Jersey. He made 30 stops against Washington and his game log has been ridiculous since the end of December. He has recorded a save percentage of .960 or better in six-of-eight starts.
Jonas Gustavsson had a good game in a 4-1 win over the Canadiens. Grab him while you can, or at least until it's a little more clear how long Jimmy Howard will be out.
Riley Sheahan scored his second goal of the season. I keep recommending to give him a look with all of Detroit's injuries, but he hasn't really done anything of substance. Although he did play more than three minutes with the man advantage on Friday. However, he's got only one shot in his last three games.
Gustav Nyquist had a goal and an assist for the second straight game and got double the power play time than Sheahan. He's flying right now.
Henrik Zetterberg remains on quite the run. His two points give him eight in four games.
A mildly interesting lineup note from tonight's game saw Daniel Alfredsson return to the squad from injury and that left Todd Bertuzzi as a scratch. Bertuzzi has one goal in 27 games, so it's not exactly coming out of nowhere.
Montreal is in a funk losing three straight and Brendan Gallagher was one of the few bright spots on Friday grabbing a goal. He did finish as a minus-2 but his shots have been off the charts recently. Gallagher has 21 in his last five games.
Tomas Plekanec has turned himself into a pretty darn good two-way hockey player, which isn't always great for fantasy purposes. He's a plus-7 on the year with three power play goals, three shorthanded goals, and four game-winning goals. Not to mention his 143 shots. Just don't expect him to get 70 points again.
Scottie Upshall scored both goals for the Panthers in a 3-2 loss to the Avalanche. You just can’t waste those multi-goal nights from Upshall if you’re Florida and not turn it into a win. It’s basically the equivalent of waiting for a solar eclipse and then deciding to just watch it later on the news.
Tomas Fleischmann recorded a point! His third in 15 games! He played less than 13 minutes as his brutal season rolls on.
Someone to seriously look at, however, is Tom Gilbert. His two assists against Colorado give him five in his last four games. As long as he keeps skating with Brian Campbell and gets quality power play time, he’s got an outside shot at 40 points this year.
Semyon Varlamov had a nice bounce back game making 34 stops. Russia is going to have a tough call deciding on a starter between him and Sergei Bobrovsky.
Alex Tanguay returned to the lineup after a 36-game absence and picked up an assist. If you held onto him through his injury it was a smart move. He finished second in power play time against the Panthers and he’s on a great point pace this year in limited action.
This Ryan O’Reilly-Matt Duchene- Jamie McGinn line combined for five points against Florida. They have been playing together recently and McGinn may be someone to look at in your league, as he’s the most likely of the three to be available.
Eric Nystrom scored four goals against the Flames on Friday. No, seriously. Check it out if you don’t believe me.
By the way, the Predators lost the game 5-4 in a shootout. What, Nystrom couldn’t score one more?
Shea Weber played an insane 31 minutes on the night. If he was nice he’d give a few of those to Michael Del Zotto and make his owners happy. Del Zotto is still pointless with two shots in a pair of games with Nashville.
Calgary is scoring goals all of a sudden and put up five against the Preds. David Jones led the way with a pair and played 17:48, his fourth highest total of the year. He has points in two straight now to go along with seven shots and if this continues, look for his minutes to stay around the 17 minute mark.
I recommended Mikael Backlund recently as a buy low candidate since I thought he may step up while Mike Cammalleri was injured, but until Friday he had done next to nothing over that span. He grabbed two points against Nashville though and played four minutes on the power play. He seems to always get heavy minutes with the man advantage as the Flames aren’t exactly stocked with alternatives.
Reto Berra with the sweet shootout save for the Flames that brought out the rarely heard “I don’t believe what I just saw!” remark from the commentator.
Oh Edmonton. Another loss and this came of the 4-3 variety to the Coyotes, who once led 4-0. It’s mindboggling that a team with seemingly so much young talent can continue to be this bad. The crazy part is they’re not even an exciting team to watch and it’s just depressing to see a group with that skill play so poorly.
At least David Perron scored to give him goals in two of his last three. Prior to that though he had an eight game goal-less drought, which was his second of the year. I thought he had a legitimate shot at 35 goals at one point, but now I’m not so sure.
Ilya Bryzgalov clearly isn’t the answer in net for the Oilers and he had a tough go on Friday giving up four goals on 29 shots. To be fair, that Oilers defense would need a late 90’s Dominik Hasek back there to have a fighting chance right now.
The more I watch Mike Ribeiro play the more underrated I realize he is. He’s good for 65-plus points every year when healthy and with two against the Oilers Friday, he’s right at that pace again. He’s never going to get 90 so maybe that’s part of the reason he doesn’t standout, but his consistency can’t be argued.
Mike Smith has been streaky over the last month. He started January with five bad efforts in a row, then followed that up with two excellent games. More recently he is coming off two subpar performances, but then he was strong against the Oilers. Let’s see where this takes him.
In other Coyotes news, Mikkel Boedker emerged from the witness protection program to score a goal after disappearing for four games.
Interesting choice the Carolina Hurricanes were faced with this week regarding defenseman Ryan Murphy. Essentially the Canes had to decide to send him down to Charlotte by Friday or he wouldn’t be able to play with the Checkers during the Olympic break, and that’s what they ultimately did. He now won’t be playing for Carolina until after the break, which means seven games missed if you have him on your squad. Murphy has been a healthy scratch in a couple of games recently but he was getting some decent ice-time when in the lineup. However, having a young player get no game action for a couple of weeks during the break is not good for development and it remains to be seen how other teams will approach similar situations.
It may appear to be advantage Jaroslav Halak when it comes to the St. Louis goaltending situation at the moment. Brian Elliott’s last two appearances haven’t been great, and that’s putting it mildly, but all hope shouldn’t be lost just yet. If you are an Elliott owner like myself there are a few things to keep in mind before moving on. There will be several of back-to-back situations after the Olympics, meaning Elliott is going to get some starts simply by default. Combine that with the fact he has a habit of going on a run and he’s got a shot to bounce back. Keep that in mind with any netminding tandem that will be sharing time down the stretch.
The San Jose Sharks signed Patrick Marleau and Joe Thornton to contract extensions on Friday. The move shouldn’t come as a shock considering both, despite being north of 30, haven’t shown any signs of slowing down just yet. In fact, Thornton continues to lead the NHL in assists. However, it does say a lot about how the Sharks view their future. The deals show they still see the pair as the core of the team going forward, meaning you should still expect guys like Tomas Hertl and Tommy Wingels to have supplementary roles for the foreseeable future. San Jose hasn’t had a ton of playoff success despite many dominant regular seasons, but they certainly have been one of the more stable and consistent franchises in the league over the past decade.
Sean McIndoe gives us a guide for the remaining outdoor games.