Chicago anchored itself to a 4-1 lead after the first period and never looked back in a 5-3 win over Minnesota to pick up its 20th win of the season. Bryan Bickell scored twice for Chicago and Patrick Kane and Marian Hossa each lit the lamp in the win. Brandon Saad had a goal and two assists to power the Hawks.
SPIN: Ryan Suter finally got his first goal of the year, halfway into the season, for the Wild. Niklas Backstrom started the game in goal but was yanked after giving up four goals on 17 shots in the first period. Darcy Kuemper came on in relief and stopped 14 of 15 shots he saw. The Hawks are getting balanced offense and contributions from third and fourth line guys as well like Bickell and Saad. Those are the kind of players to target on free agency or maybe on a lower-end trade because Chicago is performing that well and looks unstoppable.
Tampa Bay pounded New Jersey 5-2. Nate Thompson scored twice for Tampa and had an assist. Martin St. Louis had a goal and an assist in the win.
SPIN: It keeps getting uglier for the Devils who are 2-7-2 in their last 11 games. Johan Hedberg got yanked after allowing Tampa to score three times in the first period. Keith Kinkaid made his first NHL appearance in relief of Hedberg and allowed two more goals over the final 40 minutes. Hedberg has gone from smart handcuff to unreliable fantasy goaltender in about a 10-day span. And if it’s not Martin Brodeur between the pipes, the Devils are pretty much toast.
Tampa got in the win column for the first time in six games in this one and their schedule is looking a little more favorable in the near future. Winnipeg, Montreal, the Islanders, Florida and Carolina are the team’s next five games and the Lightning has a shot to build up some momentum and try to get back into the Southeast Division race.
The Islanders doubled up Montreal 6-3. New York scored three unanswered goals in the third period to break open a 3-3 tie. Each team went 2-of-5 on the power play in this game. Michael Ryder had three assists for Montreal. John Tarvares and Matt Moulson were among six different Islanders to score.
SPIN: Montreal goaltender Carey Price has been blasted twice in a week, first by the Penguins and then here at the hands of the Islanders. Sure the Habs are still 14-5-4 and suffered just their first regulation loss in a month but the goals against are a bit unnerving. Hopefully Price can pull it back together for Montreal otherwise the Canadiens’ fast start would be nothing more than a memory. The Isles have back to back wins and are getting contributions from exactly who you expect them from. They’re not the most exciting team in the league, but the Islanders have that extra value in knowing who is most likely to put up points for your fantasy team.
Washington’s Eric Fehr scored in the first minute of overtime to give the Caps a 4-3 win over Boston. Boston was up 3-0 but the Caps didn’t quit and were able to pull out a much-needed win.
SPIN: Fehr had a three-point night, his first in five years. Nicklas Backstrom picked up three assists for Washington in his best showing on the season. Brad Marchand continues to impress for Boston as he scored his 12th goal of the season, a shorthanded tally in the first period. Boston should be fine despite the back to back losses. The last time they dropped two in a row, they went on a five-game winning streak right after. The Caps have quietly won four of their last five and Braden Holtby has been better in goal for them lately. Roll with him if you have him but he could also be a solid trade target if you’re looking to bolster your team between the pipes.
Carolina slipped past Buffalo 4-3 as Alexander Semin had a goal and two assists for the Canes. Justin Peters made his first start of the season and stopped 37 of 40 shots to get Carolina’s fourth straight win. Cody Hodgson had a pair of goals in the loss for Buffalo.
SPIN: Carolina began life without Cam Ward and looked good enough to get by against lowly Buffalo. Peters is worth a stash in deeper leagues but Dan Ellis is more of the goaltender to own if you’re trying to find value between the pipes for the Hurricanes. Thomas Vanek came back from missing a couple games with an unspecified injury and had an assist on the Sabres’ first goal. Buffalo goaltender Ryan Miller made 24 saves in the loss for Buffalo but didn’t get any offensive help until the third period.
Columbus defeated Edmonton 4-3 in the shootout. Vinny Prospal scored his ninth goal of the season to help the Blue Jackets. Sergei Bobrovsky came off the bench to replace Steve Mason 31 seconds into the second period when the Jackets were down 3-2. Bobrovsky made 21 saves the rest of the way to keep Columbus in it.
SPIN: Prospal is the closest thing to fantasy-relevant the Blue Jackets have to offer and should only be a deep-league add. Columbus just won consecutive games for the first time this season. That should tell you a lot right there. Devan Dubnyk got pounded with 38 shots on goal, stopping 35, in the game and the Oilers are getting badly out-shot on this road trip. The Oilers have been outshot 111-67 in the first five games of a nine-game road trip. The Blue Jackets had nine of their last ten games decided by one goal so they’re competitive but just not getting it done.
The Rangers doubled up Philly 4-2 behind a pair of goals from Rick Nash and a pair from Ryan Callahan. Philadelphia got power play goals from Jakub Voracek and Wayne Simmonds in the loss.
SPIN: Nash makes all the difference for the Rangers as they are 11-5-1 when he plays and 10-2-1 when he gets a point. Keep in mind his goals have all come in the third period so he’s going to make you wait to get the payoff for your team. Voracek and Simmonds continue to be the two best Flyers on the ice night in and night out and should be in your lineups. Claude Giroux had an assist to get to 23 points in 24 games this season and is one of the few other Flyers worth starting on a regular basis.
Florida bumped off Winnipeg 4-1 behind a 30-save effort from Jacob Markstrom. Johnathan Huberdeau cashed in on a penalty shot for his 11th goal of the season for the Panthers.
SPIN: Florida is an injury-riddled mess right now and lost Steven Weiss for the year with an upcoming wrist surgery. It’s time to put away the Panthers for the second-half of the season, save for Huberdeau. Winnipeg isn’t looking much better but, then again, it is the Southeast Division and if Carolina starts to slide any of these other teams could jump into a #3 seed.
Detroit slipped past Colorado 2-1 on goals from Niklas Kronwall and Johan Franzen. Jimmy Howard made 36 saves for Detroit and only allowed a Paul Stasny score with 90 seconds left in the game.
SPIN: Jean-Sebastien Giguere made the start for Colorado as they will go to Chicago on the second half of back-to-back games tomorrow and looked good in the net. Howard has been solid most of the season and should get better as the Wings tangle with Edmonton twice, Columbus twice and Calgary over the next week.
San Jose needed the shootout to take down Vancouver 3-2 behind some unexpected offense. Scott Gomez scored his first goal in 15 games in the win while Adam Burish scored for the first time in 45 games to give the Sharks the offense they neded. Jannik Hansen scored with 25 seconds left to send the game to overtime.
SPIN: Finally! The Sharks are getting some offense from players you don’t expect it from. Neither Gomez nor Burish are relevant in fantasy. Antti Niemi made 36 saves and is one of the few Sharks worth owning.
And finally…the Kings survived a wild game with the Blues and came away with a 6-4 win. It’s their seventh win in the last eight games and vaulted them to fourth in the Western Conference. Jake Muzzin had two goals and an assist for the Kings. David Perron and Chris Stewart each had their eighth goal of the season in the loss.
SPIN: Well, well, well. The Kings are back. They fought their way back from a three-goal deficit and scored five unanswered goals to end the game. Jeff Carter has been blowing people away as he scored in this one and has 11 goals in his last 11 games. The Kings are finding ways to win and that’s what good teams do. Start finding ways to pick up some of the Kings in free agency since it feels like they’re going to be going on a run here.
Multiple Goal Scorers
Bickell-CHI, Thompson-TB, Hodgson-BUF, Callahan-NYR, Nash-NYR, Muzzin-LA
Stat of the Night
Tampa Bay is the only team with a positive goal differential (+8) that is not a playoff team at the halfway point of the season.
Three Stars of the Night
1 Howard Strong again in goal for the Red Wings
2 Nash Two goals for the Rangers
3 Muzzin Three-point night for the Kings
Wednesday’s Games (all times ET)
Ottawa at Toronto 7pm Another fierce Northeast Divison battle awaits.
Colorado at Chicago 8pm Will Chicago make it 24 in a row? That’s half the season if they do.
San Jose at Calgary 930pm Sharks look for another win in Western Canada.
Phoenix at Anaheim 10pm The Coyotes try for a three-game sweep of the Ducks.