Tuukka Rask picked up his second shutout of the season Saturday afternoon. That 3-0 win over the Flyers pushed his record to 12-2-3, while also improving his peripherals to 1.97/ .927 on the season after a pair of four-goal speed bumps early in March. The 6-3 Finn has excelled in the outright No. 1 role and has rewarded those who entered the campaign with the full faith he’d shine sans Tim Thomas.

 

Tyler Seguin had trouble finding the net in January and February, but has five goals in five March tilts. He has 21 SOG in that stretch too.

 

Jordan Caron saw his first action with the Bruins in this one, skating with Chris Kelly and Rich Peverley. Caron has 10-5-15 with 38 PIM in 44 starts in Providence.

 

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The Flyers announced after the game they’d sent down Brian Boucher and called up Michael Leighton. Try to suppress your enthusiasm.

 

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Two-goal game for John Tavares, who had actually been blanked altogether in four of his prior five outings. Like you’d ever take him out of the lineup though.

 

Brad Boyes collected his 19th and 20th points of the season, which means he’s only three points shy of matching his entire output from the 65 games he played last year. I’ve never been particularly enthused about Boyes in pools, but give it to the guy for stepping up and delivering. Yes, it’s clearly a huge plus for him skating with Tavares and Matt Moulson for the last while, but we’ve seen more than enough cases of fringe guys not being able to succeed in similar situations around the league.

 

Moulson, incidentally, is still hovering around the point-per-game mark through 26 starts. Had there not been a lockout, there’s little doubt he’d be handing his fantasy owners a fourth consecutive 30-goal effort. He’s actually on pace for what would be nearly a 300-shot season too, which would shatter his prior high of 237. Just a steady guy who has seen his point pace increase annually all four years in which he’s played for the Isles.

 

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Philipp Grubauer made his first NHL start for the Caps as the team gave Braden Holtby a rest and Grubauer stopped 40 of 45 in the loss to the Isles. This is his third league of the ’12-13 season too. 19-5-1 in the ECHL with 2.30/ .912 splits. 8-4-1 in Hershey, sporting a 1.99 GAA and .930 SV%.

 

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Jack Johnson has points in all three March affairs and has them in 11 of his past 16 overall. This month, FWIW, he’s plus-1 with no minus games.

 

R.J. Umberger has points in four of six and six of 10, so his lower seasonal totals are a little deceptive when it comes to his value as a free agent addition today. Linemate Nick Foligno has six points in his last six outings and Ryan Johansen, the third member of that trio, has points in four of five in March.

 

Columbus has won four straight (sweeping the four-game homestand vs. Colorado, Edmonton, Vancouver and Detroit) with points in six in a row. Sergei Bobrovsky started three of those four home games and got the win in all four, coming away with an impressive 0.52 GAA and .981 SV%. He has stopped 103 of 105 shots in that time, culminating with the shutout against the Wings.

 

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Vladimir Sobotka earned a hat trick against the Sharks, but it’s also worth noting he has found the back of the net in four of five this month. No minus games in that time and he has 14 SOG.

 

Chris Stewart has been a lights-out option over the past month, with 5-12-17 in 14 GP. Linemate Patrik Berglund has four points in his last three starts.

 

Jake Allen has won both starts since being recalled this past time. Three goals against in each and his Blues had to overcome a 3-1 third period deficit to win in overtime Saturday. He’s 5-1 overall. Jaroslav Halak is slated to start Sunday.

 

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It was the middle of last February when Kevin Shattenkirk’s point production really took off. Since then, he has struck for 39 points in 50 games from the back end. You may remember that Alex Pietrangelo’s Oprah "Aha!" moment was when the calendar turned to 2012. In that span of time through now, the young rearguard has tallied 56 points in 67 clashes.

 

Of the eight assists awarded the Blues Saturday, incidentally, seven came from defencemen.

 

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Ilya Kovalchuk finally came through with his first multi-goal game of the season, ending a six-game goalless stretch in the process, by tallying his eighth and ninth of the year.

 

Patrik Elias has 25 points through 25 outings, so no drop-off for him after last season’s 78-point result. He and David Clarkson have been a constant pairing this season, with their centre rotating at times. Adam Henrique slotted in here, with Andrei Loktionov again on the top line with Kovalchuk.

 

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Jiri Tlusty (2-1-3), Eric Staal (0-2-2) and Alex Semin (1-2-3) combined for eight points and they have continued to be money for the Canes. Semin may actually get a multi-year contract for a change.

 

Jordan Staal and Jeff Skinner each had two-point evenings, although linemate Jussi Jokinen was blanked.

 

Dan Ellis won his first start since Cam Ward went down. .912 SV%. Justin Peters had started the first two games, splitting a win and a loss against the Sabres and Habs.

 

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Brian Gionta has scored four times in five games this month. He was with Michael Ryder and Tomas Plekanec against the Lightning. Plekanec has markers in three of four, while Ryder has six helpers in that same span. He has six points in all in his six affairs since being traded from Dallas.

 

Brendan Gallagher, who began with David Desharnais and Max Pacioretty, has been a point-per-game guy this month.

 

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Ryan Malone has points in each game of his two games back in the lineup. He was mostly in the bottom-six Saturday, from what I saw, with Nate Thompson and B.J. Crombeen. Lines were all over the place at times though.

 

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The Penguins announced after the game with the Leafs had ended that Evgeni Malkin had an upper-body injury, but that it was not his head. Good news for a guy recently returning to the lineup from a concussion. He took a hit from James van Riemsdyk late in the third period, only played one short shift after that and was held out of overtime. Stay tuned.

 

On the subject of Malkin though, The Tribune-Review offers this piece on how the Ryan Getzlaf extension might impact Malkin’s next contract.

 

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Beau Bennett has points in five of six and unlike his predecessors, the California-born winger HAS actually been able to produce alongside Malkin and James Neal. Go figure.

 

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Phil Kessel has three-pointers in two of his past three. James van Riemsdyk is at 20 points in 26 GP, so he’s only five points back from surpassing his entire total from last year. He was limited to 43 games with the Flyers in ’11-12 and when he was able to play, he just couldn’t get anything going.

 

Dion Phaneuf had one point in his first 11 games. He now has 14 in his past 15 outings. Cody Franson, a PP1 regular for awhile now, picked up his 16th point. If you jumped on that bandwagon early enough, he has been like found money for poolies.

 

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Jamie Benn was rocked by Martin Hanzal later in the third period and it didn’t look good for Dallas’s franchise player, at least right then. There wasn’t any more info on Benn immediately after the game.

 

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35-year-old Niklas Backstrom is 10-6-2 on the year with 2.32/ .914 peripherals. He’s 7-2-1 in his past 10 outings alone though. He turned aside 24/25 against the Preds as the Wild posted a “W” in Ryan Suter’s boo-filled return to Nashville. Suter drew an assist, pushing his point streak to six affairs. He has 12 points over his past 13 GP.

 

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Shea Weber, speaking of the Preds and his former defensive partner, continues to produce after overcoming a horrifically slow start. One point in his first 13 starts; 12 in his past 12.

 

Again, it’s a matter of putting your money where your mouth is when it comes to going after proven guys who find themselves in difficult times. So many people hemmed and hawed during Weber’s offensive slump, since it happened to coincide with his first section of games without Suter. Big deal. It’s Shea Weber. He’s been producing for years with a low-scoring Preds offence up front and with or without Suter, there should have been little doubt he’d bounce back.

 

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Slava Voynov had 1-3-4 in three games before another monstrous three-assist effort against the Flames. He actually had seven points in seven games coming in here too. Jake Muzzin had a three-pointer against the Blues a few games back and had four points in four March games already, before scoring vs. Calgary. First line winger Justin Williams (1-2-3) has three-pointers in two of three.

 

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Mikael Backlund was activated from the IR and he skated with Roman Cervenka and Blake Comeau. Michael Cammalleri had Jiri Hudler and Jarome Iginla flanking him.

 

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The Flames sent Sven Baetschi down to the AHL and that’s really the best thing for everyone involved at this point. He’ll get all the ice time he can handle and he’ll surely regain his confidence once the puck starts going in the net again.

 

The kid is clearly such an immense talent with a bright future in this organization and as can’t be said enough – if you’re in a deeper keeper league with farm systems, it’s always at least worth a conversation with the owner of a struggling blue chipper. How many times over the years have you seen that “trade accepted” email come in and you had no idea that player was even on the market in your league? The successful fantasy owners are the ones who constantly keep those lines of communication open league-wide. Heed that lesson.

 

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FYI: If you have either the NHL Line Combo Central or daily Hockey Hearsay blog links bookmarked, there are new URL's with Sportsnet.ca's relaunched site. It uses responsive web design, which, from what I've been told, basically means that it works and looks the same on any device on which you view it... computer, phone, tablet, etc.

 

The line combos page was down for a few days altogether. In a nutshell, the coding for the tables we used on the old page didn't work with the site upgrades. That issue has been solved and the revamped page launched Friday night. Yes, I would like to bring the team logos back to add a bit more colour to the mix, but for the time being that ain't gonna fly with the coding. I have a few ideas for additions, but it'll take some time. I'm just glad we were able to get things rocking and rolling so quickly at all.

 

Again, use it with all the tools at DH and you'll lay waste to your fantasy competition.

 

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Twitter: @Nichols_NHLPool NHL news, analysis & fantasy takes with minimal inane babble.


Weekday Hockey Hearsay blogs (updated link) on Sportsnet.ca, 12 months a year.


Fresh Ramblings each Sunday.


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A note from DH:



The Best Line combo tool on the Internet is right here at DobberHockey, updated in-game, every game:


Last Game Line Combos and PP Units here (FREE)

 

Last 3 Games Line Combos and PP Units here (FREE)

 

In-Game Line Combos, Last 10-Games Line Combos and Season-to-Date or plug in your own date range (for this year or any season/playoffs/preseason prior) Line Combos and Line Production Here (with $3.99 purchase)


All line combinations are done via sophisticated software that pulls actual time-on-the-ice and shift start/shift end data from every player, accurate to the second.



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Comments (3)add comment

Captain Krunch said:

Captain Krunch
... Boston has been an easy team to be a fan of for a few years. All the way back to how the Ray Bourque thing was handled. Farily classy in their front office stuff, their on-ice product, eh, varies game-to-game. How do you think infusing talent like Soderberg will affect the current chemistry? There is no doubt that has been the cog of success for a few of the budding dynasties of current (CHI, BOS, PIT, StL-at the beginning of the season)(& to be honest I think chemistry is/will always be the problem in EDM!!). MIN even signed to guys as best friends to lead them for the forseeable future. How many times have we seen this fail? Radulov is the first one that pops to mind, but he's just the most recent one. We always want to rush to "add" these guys, sometimes sacrificing waiver priority or assets set for retention that must be moved. We also need "new" news to discuss on public forums like this during the season, so he is obviously relevant. JUst wondering where he slot in. Claude isn't a big one for line juggling & I'm curious what his level of patience will be. Soderberg could turn into a cancer (truly hope he doesn't), & it doesn't take but 3-4 games for a teams direction for the season to alter, but in a shortened season, how much shorter is that tolerance? Leading teams like BOS can nary afford to have 3+ bad games in a row this year. The parity is too close, especially when you have CLB shutting out DET!
March 10, 2013
Votes: +0

kech said:

kech
... The line combo used to have the time on ice during the pp. Will you be adding that back on?
March 10, 2013
Votes: +1

rbudde said:

rbudde
flaming out From a fantasy standpoint, the meltdown in Calgary warrants attention. The lack of team energy/chemistry means all Flame fantasy options are risky. There are just certain teams that you want to avoid because of bad juju.
March 10, 2013
Votes: +0
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