The Detroit Red Wings got a goal from Johnathan Ericsson with five seconds left to beat the Los Angeles Kings 3-2 Sunday afternoon. Henrik Zetterberg also had a pair of assists in the win that improved the Wings to 7-4-1 this season and seemingly broke the Kings. Jimmy Howard made 45 saves in goal for Detroit in the win.
The Kings pulled goaltender Johnathan Quick in the final minute down by a goal and got the equalizer from Alec Martinez with 53 seconds left to tie the game at 2-2 before Ericsson’s heroics. Anze Kopitar scored the other goal for the Kings.
SPIN: The way this loss happened was absolutely a soul-sucking experience for the Kings. They’ve been getting beaten up in 5-on-5 play all season and are barely a shadow of their former selves. These guys haven’t really been hit much by injuries so the Kings just look awful. The defense for the Kings continues to falter and it makes Quick nothing more than a goaltender to ride the pine on your fantasy team when he’s 3-4-2 with a GAA closer to 3 with a save percentage under .900 makes this someone I’m not keen on starting unless I have no other options.
Howard’s won a couple in a row for Detroit and should continue this roll after stopping so many shots. Goaltenders are going to get more confident when they see more pucks and this game should boost Howard for a while to come. Zetterberg continues to be a must-start as he’s in the top of the league in points.
Edmonton knocked off Columbus 3-1 to keep the Blue Jackets reeling at 3-7-2 this season. Sam Gagner had a goal and an assist in the win while Devan Dubnyk stopped 39 of 40 shots to get the win. RJ Umberger had the only score for the Blue Jackets. Magnus Paajarvi scored a shorthanded goal with four minutes left to break a 1-1 tie.
SPIN: Dubnyk looked great and was able to withstand the barrage of shots Columbus put on the Oilers in this game. Gagner is looking strong as the Oilers who have earned points in four of their last six games. Paajarvi isn’t worth owning in fantasy despite his shorthanded goal.
Columbus continues to battle the Kings and Capitals for the title of the worst team in the league this season. Columbus went 0-for-7 on the power play which is just awful and they are 1-3-1 on a six-game homestand with San Jose coming to time to close out the homestand. It’s hard to tell if Sergei Bobrovsky is going to be worth starting much longer as he sits at 2-3-2 with a GAA also coming close to 3 and a save percentage that’s dropping under .900 with this result. I’m benching him until he actually shows anything that’s consistently positive. Come to think of it, I’m benching any Blue Jacket since a majority of the team is in the negative on the plus-minus ratio with a majority at -4 or worse.
Boston didn’t have any issue with the snow that kept them from leaving Buffalo with a 3-1 win. Anton Khudobin stopped 25 of 26 shots from Buffalo in the win while Ryan Miller turned aside 36 of 38 Bruin shots in the loss. Brad Marchand and Patrice Bergeron scored the first two goals while Milan Lujic buried an empty-netter for Boston. Tyler Ennis had the lone Buffalo goal.
SPIN: Miller looks like he’s finally got his head screwed on his shoulders the right way and is getting some help from his defense as well. Although he took the loss, Miller knows he has little offensive support and has to win games almost singlehandedly. After these last couple starts, Miller is someone I feel more comfortable starting in goal.
Khudobin had himself a nice game in net and should be owned as handcuff to Tuukka Rask. If the Rask owner in your league doesn’t have him, consider picking him up and trying to trade him over. Boston is now 8-1-1 which is a franchise-best start. It’s even scarier that the Bruins are 4-for-39 on the power play this season which is the worst in the league. Eight different Bruins had a point in this game.
The Rangers stuffed the Lightning 5-1 behind a three-point night from Carl Hagelin. Rick Nash chipped in a goal and an assist for the Rangers while Henrik Lundqvist stopped 19 of 20 shots for his second straight win and a return to .500 at 5-5-0 on the season. Vincent Lecavalier scored the lone goal for the Lightning.
SPIN: I’m picking up Hagelin after this performance. He now has three goals and two assists this season, all of them somehow coming against Tampa Bay. I think Hagelin’s skill is there and he will break out shortly against some of the other teams in the Eastern Conference. Nash also has goals in consecutive games against Tampa Bay.
The big question in this game is where has the Tampa offense gone as of late? Tampa has dropped four in a row (three of them were on the road) after a 6-1 start and has scored just six goals in that span. Mind you, they scored eight in their last win which came against the Jets. Hopefully Tampa can find their offense again as they are home for four of their next five games and the lone road trip is across the state to Miami. We all knew Tampa couldn’t sustain that torrid offensive pace for the entire season and hopefully the days of low offense are behind them.
David Clarkson scored twice as New Jersey completed a weekend sweep of Pittsburgh with their second consecutive 3-1 win this weekend. Ilya Kovalchuk had the other goal for the Devils while James Neal had the only tally for the Pens.
SPIN: New Jersey now finds itself as one of the hotter teams with a five-game winning streak of its own and now stand at 8-1-3. Johan Hedberg stopped 23 shots in the win and is one of the backups in the league to keep on your roster. Hedberg won’t get a lot of starts behind Martin Brodeur but I’d feel confident rolling with him when he gets the start and it’s a good matchup when you don’t have a better option. Clarkson now has nine goals on the season and has reached that must-start status as he works to prove his 30-goal season in the last campaign was the real deal.
Sidney Crosby was held pointless on the weekend but it’s of no real concern since New Jersey is getting it done with goaltending. Pittsburgh is still in the top 12 in goals for, against as well as power play and penalty kill. With games against Ottawa, Winnipeg and Buffalo coming up this week the Penguins should be right back where you expect them.
Corey Crawford stopped all 17 Nashville shots and the Hawks became the first team to 10 wins with a 3-0 blanking of the Predators. Johnathan Toews and Marcus Krueger scored just over a minute apart in the second period for the Hawks while Patrick Kane hit the net for the ninth time this season.
SPIN: The Hawks are 10-0-2 and 8-0-2 on the road. They had two shootout losses before running off four straight wins while Disney on Ice took over the United Center. There’s no truth to the rumor that Mickey Mouse has been booked for an extended run at the request of the Hawks. On the other hand, the Nashville Predators look just plain Goofy this season outside of goaltender Pekka Rinne. Rinne’s goal he allowed to Krueger came off a turnover and was the first even-strength goal he allowed since January 28th.
Nashville stands at 5-3-4 this season and is a puzzling team. They just aren’t shooting the puck very much which is dropping the fantasy value of Predators not named Pekka. This was the fifth time this season that Nashville fired off less than 20 shots on goal and they’ve topped the 26-shot mark once this season. They need to get the puck on net more to get the pressure off of Rinne. When your team leader has a whopping three goals this season (Martin Erat) in 12 games you know you need to find more offense. It also makes it difficult to put any Predator skater in a starting lineup for the same reason.
Multiple Goal Scorers
Stat of the Night
The Blackhawks posted their first shutout in their last 110 games, including playoffs. In that time frame, every other NHL team has thrown at least two shutouts.
Three Stars of the Night
1. Howard-DET Turned aside 45 shots and got a last-second win.
2. Hagelin-NYR Three-point night to fuel the Rangers.
3. Dubnyk-EDM Stopped 39 of 40 shots in the win and kept Columbus out of the net on seven power play chances.
Monday’s Schedule (all times ET)
Philadelphia at Toronto 7pm The Flyers have won 9 of their last 10 against the Leafs. Danny Briere has 43 points in 40 games against Toronto, his best performance against any team. Toronto is just 1-4-0 at home this season.
Carolina at NY Islanders 7pm Look for this to be a low scoring game. Cam Ward is 14-3-3 against the Islanders in his career so he looks like a solid matchup play. It also helps that the Islanders are 0-for-22 on the power play in four games this month and they’ve lost all four of them.
San Jose at Columbus 7pm After getting shutout by Phoenix, a trip to Columbus might be what the Sharks need to get back into an offensive feeding frenzy. San Jose is 0-2-2 in its last four games but has killed off 34 straight penalties. That unit goes up against a Columbus power play that has a paltry four goals in 46 chances in the last 10 games.
Los Angeles at St. Louis 8pm Jaroslav Halak should be back in net for the Blues after missing time with a groin injury. Check and make sure he gets the start over Brian Elliott and roll with Halak if he does. Elliott should be benched after an 0-3-1 run with a 4.67 GAA this month. Quick is only 3-8-1 against the Blues in the regular season so he should also be on the fantasy pine. One of these slumping teams will get a win.
Phoenix at Colorado 9pm The Coyotes are 8-2 in their last 10 trips to Denver and goaltender Mike Smith is 4-0-1 with 1.18 GAA and .965 save percentage against the Avalanche. Colorado’s abysmal power play is 3-for-33 this season and they’ve been ravaged by injuries. This looks like a shot to get some good play out of the top six forwards for Phoenix.
Minnesota at Calgary 9pm Calgary is 4-0-1 in its last five against the Wild. The Flames incinerated Minnesota goaltender Nicklas Backstrom to the tune of a 5.39 GAA in his last two starts against Calgary so be prepared to take that risk if he starts and you roll with him.