Ottawa goaltender Craig Anderson pulled his best Neo imitation when he turned aside all 42 agents, er, shots in a 2-0 blanking of Buffalo last night. Mr. Anderson has been taking the red pill and giving opposing offenses cold doses of reality through the first quarter of the season.
Erik Condra and Erik Karlsson each scored in a two-minute span of the second period for the Senators. Ryan Miller was the hard-luck loser for Buffalo stopping 29 of 31 shots in the loss.
SPIN: Anderson has been one of the best goaltenders this season and continues to shine at 7-2-2 with a GAA hovering around 1.50. I like what I hear out of Karlsson as he’s always looking for offense even when his team is shorthanded. That turned out to be the case when he scored to break a scoreless tie. Miller’s starting to look much better in the nets and is just dealing with being a hard-luck loser in his last couple outings. At least he’s only allowing two goals a game instead of the fours he was giving up over and over again. The Sens won despite pulling an 0-for-8 effort on the power play. Thomas Vanek tried to get Buffalo on the board with a team-high five shots on goal but no one got anything past Anderson.
It’s time to take your red pill and go deeper into the rabbit hole known as Tuesday’s 10-game slate.
Carolina has back-to-back wins with a 4-2 triumph over New Jersey. Jiri Tlusty scored two more goals in this one to pace the Hurricanes. Cam Ward picked up his third win in his last four games for Carolina while Eric Staal and Justin Faulk each chipped in a pair of assists in the win. Ilya Kovalchuk scored a power play goal for the Devils in the loss.
SPIN: Ward has really woken up and smelled the proverbial coffee lately and is starting to play like the Cam Ward we’ve all come to expect. The downside is that he has still allowed 12 goals in his last four games so the defensive issues in Carolina are still present. Tlusty continues to defy convention and is scoring in bunches with five goals in his last three games. Then again he is a player who has never scored more than 20 in a full season so it’s hard to envision this hot run continuing. Keep in mind he had two assists in his first nine games before erupting in the last week. Tlusty comes across more of the “Flavor of the Week” brand of player as opposed to someone with long-term proven results.
The Rangers went to a shootout and beat Boston 4-3. The Rangers were up 3-0 with 12 minutes to play before the Bruins rallied back with goals from David Krejci at 8:44 of the third. Boston got two goals in 48 seconds from Nathan Horton at 18:29 and Brad Ference at 19:17 to force overtime. Carl Hagelin scored a goal for the second straight game and how has three tallies in his last two games for the Rangers.
SPIN: The Bruins went 0-for-4 on the power play to drop to 4-of-43 this season. It’s amazing to believe they are now 8-1-2 despite a power play that resembles a sales tax percentage. Tuukka Rask looked like he gave up a couple of soft goals for Boston and was rather steamed about that fact. The Bruins’ two-goal flurry late in the game came with the goaltender pulled and the Rangers were caught running around defensively. The Rangers are another team that turned it up a notch once the calendar turned to February as they are 4-1 so far this month. Marian Gaborik has gone cold since his four-point night against Toronto on January 26th. Since that game, he has one goal and no assists in his last six games. It’s even more surprising since he’s getting 2-3 minutes a game on the power play and not cashing in.
Montreal took down Tampa Bay in a shootout 4-3 to drop the Lightning to 6-5-1 this season. Montreal was up 3-0 with six minutes to go before the Lightning woke up. Defenseman Victor Hedman scored twice and Sami Salo’s power play goal with 44 seconds left tied the game. PK Subban had a goal and an assist for the Habs in the loss. Tampa is 0-4-1 in its last five games.
SPIN: And here we have another team with another late rally to force overtime. Can anyone in this league put the pedal to the floor for 60 minutes and not let teams come back in the closing minutes? Salo’s goal was the first time Tampa scored in its last four games with the man advantage (15 chances). It’s quite the contrast from them opening the season with at least a power play goal in seven of their first eight games.
Washington knocked off Florida 6-5 in overtime when Troy Brouwer scored 32 seconds into the extra session. Five different Capitals scored a goal including Mike Ribeiro who had a goal and two assists on the night. Johnathan Huberdeau netted a pair of goals for Florida in the loss.
SPIN: The resurgence of Alex Ovechkin continues. He was held to three points in January but he now has a four-game point streak going and has five points in that span. Nicklas Backstrom had a pair of assists to get to the 10-point milestone but has just one goal this season. It just makes you want to scream “SCORE A GOAL ALREADY!” but it’s not happening very often. Both teams are stuck with four wins on the season with this result. The Panthers have given up three or more goals in five of their last six games so the goaltending situation in Miami isn’t that great. Neither Jose Theodore nor Scott Clemmensen (tonight’s starter) merit much consideration for your lineup unless you’re in a deep league.
Philly slipped past Winnipeg 3-2 despite Andrew Ladd scoring both goals for the Jets. Jakub Voracek had a pair of assists for the Flyers as three different players scored goals.
SPIN: Dustin Byfuglien was back in the lineup and his owners hope he can pick up his torrid production from earlier this season. Al Montoya got the start for the Jets but was replaced by Ondrej Pavelec in the third period after Montoya left with a lower-body injury. Montoya will be evaluated further today.
Nashville knocked off San Jose 1-0 on Colin Wilson’s game-winner 2:o8 into overtime. Pekka Rinne turned aside all 25 shots for the shutout while Antti Niemi stopped 24 of 25 Nashville shots.
SPIN: I might know the way to San Jose but do the Sharks know the way to the back of the net? The Sharks have dropped six straight (0-3-3) and have scored seven goals in those games. The Sharks have been shutout twice in that run as well. Anyone have a clue how that happens because I don’t. I’d strongly consider benching all Sharks, except Niemi, until San Jose starts getting some offense rolling. They visit Chicago for two of their next three games so this could get ugly quickly. Nashville’s Rinne is the only must-start as they, too, have offensive woes. The Preds have scored 13 goals in their last six games including a six-spot against the Blues. Thankfully, Rinne has allowed more than two goals once in his last seven games. Predator skaters still need to sit for a while longer on your fantasy bench.
Vancouver beat Minnesota 2-1 behind Roberto Luongo’s 25-save effort and the Canucks now have a sixth straight win.
SPIN: The Wild offense has been very tame lately as they’ve scored seven goals in their last six games. Outside of Zach Parise, this is another team that could be relegated to bench duty until they break this slide. Henrik Sedin has yet to score in 12 games this season and has eight assists. He still goes in your line up everytime the Canucks play but he might be a buy-low option if his current owner is getting upset about a 12-game goal scoring drought.
Dallas knocked off Edmonton 4-1 and they now have a four-game winning streak. Dallas scored three goals in the third to break open a 1-1 game.
SPIN: Ryan Smith and Ryan Whitney were both healthy scratches for Edmonton; Whitney has now sat out three of the last four games. Jaromir Jagr may be hitting his stride again with two goals in his last three games. Vernon Fiddler picked up two assists but is of little fantasy value.
Anaheim knocked off Chicago 3-2 in the shootout. The Hawks are 10-0-3 and are closing in on the 06-07 Ducks that started 12-0-4 in their Stanley Cup season. Ben Lovejoy had a pair of assists for the Ducks and Viktor Fasth stood tall in the shootout to get his sixth straight win.
SPIN: The Ducks were the killers of the undefeated season for the Sharks and almost pulled the trick here against the Hawks. Lovejoy’s assists are nice but he’s not quite ready to make your roster yet until he shows more production. Fasth continues to show that he’s the man to beat in Anaheim and should be a starting goaltender for your team unless you’ve got someone better on the roster.
Multiple Goal Scorers
Tlusty-CAR; Hedman-TB; Huberdeau-FLA; Ladd-WPG
Stat of the Night
The Rangers have been called for Too Many Men six times this year in 12 games.
Three Stars of the Night
1. Anderson 42-save shutout for Ottawa
2. Hedman Tampa defenseman scores twice to help the Lightning steal a point.
3. Luongo Six-game undefeated streak for the Canucks
Wednesday’s Schedule (all times ET)
Ottawa at Pittsburgh 7pm Mr. Anderson will meet the Men In Black in the Steel City.
St. Louis at Detroit 730pm How will Jimmy Howard build off of his 45-save win and who will be the Blues’ goaltender?
Dallas at Calgary 930pm Can the Stars push their winning streak to five?