Carolina welcomed Cam Ward back between the pipes last night and it didn’t matter much as the Boston Bruins knocked off the Carolina Hurricanes 4-1. Ward missed 10 games with a leg injury and made 26 saves. Reilly Smith had a goal and an assist to pace Boston.
Maybe it was just the rust or the opponent but Ward looked crappy giving up two goals on the first four shots he saw. I’m not buying on Ward until he plays better. His record of 2-3-3 is not one that inspires confidence. We’ve all seen him be a great goaltender when he led Carolina to the Stanley Cup. Maybe he can recapture some of that and he needs to, quickly.
The Hurricanes have had issues on the power play scoring just once in their last 21 chances. That dampens my enthusiasm for them considerably. So does Eric Staal with a -10 rating despite 11 points in 20 games. Jiri Tlusty and Eric Staal are off to slow starts at 3-3—6 this season and need to find the next gear to their game before I feel more comfortable playing them.
Pittsburgh took care of Anaheim 3-1 with Brian Gibbons scoring a goal and an assist for the Penguins. Marc-Andre Fleury stopped 27-of-28 shots to get the win. Evgeni Malkin had two assists in the win but is stuck on a disappoint goal total of three. Yeah, three. It’s been a run of 14 games since he lit the lamp. The assists are the only thing keeping him afloat right now. Malkin’s a great talent and surrounded by more talent but you drafted him to fill the net–and he hasn’t. You keep playing him because of the potential but patience might be wearing thin.
Fleury stands at 12-6 with a 2.00 GAA and has found the consistency fantasy owners have been looking for. This looks like it could be his career-best season, especially if the offense gets going in front of him.
The other game of the night was Calgary pulling out a 5-4 shootout win over Winnipeg. Dustin Byfuglien and Brian Little each had a goal and an assist for Winnipeg. Reto Berra (who the hell is Reto Berra?) took the win over Al Montoya in a battle of backup goaltenders.
Little looks like he is going to have his best season ever. So far, he’s sitting on 12-9–21 in 23 games and has a way to go to match his 08-09 season in Atlanta (remember when they had an NHL team?) when he was 31-20–51 with 12-8–20 on the PP. The Jets have him locked up for four more years and he should be locked in your starting lineup if you own him. Evander Kane of the Jets hasn’t scored this month but is using assists to keep his fantasy value afloat.
That seems to be today’s theme: Using assists to keep the big-gun goal scorers afloat until they find the net more often.
Jiri Hudler scored his seventh goal of the season to get team-best 21st point in 21 games for Calgary
St. Louis at Buffalo in what looks like a squash on paper. Start your Blues, all of them.
The Islanders take on the Maple Leafs and Kevin Poulin will get the call in goal for the Isles.
Ottawa visits Philadelphia
Minnesota is at Montreal and Josh Harding looks to continue his hot November (7-0-1) for the Wild.
Nashville takes on Detroit, the league leader in shootout losses with seven already (9-5-7).
Boston comes back to the Big Apple to take on the Rangers. The blueshirts have split their last two games and both were 1-0 decisions.
Chicago visits Colorado in what looks to be the game of the night. The Hawks come back to the arena where their 24-game unbeaten streak to open last season finally ended.
And then you get Columbus at Edmonton. Yuck.
Florida limps into Vancouver.
Tampa Bay continues its west coast swing with a visit to Los Angeles to take on the Kings.