Kyle Palmieri’s natural hat trick was more than enough offense for the Anaheim Ducks as they handled the Nashville Predators 5-1. Nick Bonino and Saku Koivu had the other goals for Anaheim while Craig Smith was the lone goal scorer for Nashville.
SPIN: The Ducks continue to roll along and are getting scoring from each of their lines. Ryan Getzlaf and Corey Perry each had three assists and continue to be assets to fantasy teams. Palmieri broke a 10-game drought with his hat trick and had just one assist during that span. His value swings erratically, so I wouldn’t be scrambling to the waiver wire to get him. Victor Fasth made 20 saves in the win and continues to be a gem between the pipes. Daniel Winnik started the season hot with five goals in four games hasn’t scored in the 14 games since. He can be safely cut from rosters until he starts to produce. Anaheim is 8-of-14 on the power play in its last four games.
Pekka Rinne, where have you gone? The former brick wall of a goaltender has been reduced to rubble after allowing four or more goals for a third straight game. He didn’t even make it past the end of the second period and was replaced by Chris Mason for the third period. Mason turned aside all seven shots he faced. The Predators are still not a recommended option, save for Rinne, since the team has scored one goal or fewer in three of its last four games.
The Kings used a pair of third-period goals to down Detroit 2-1. Anze Kopitar had a goal and an assist in the win while Kyle Quincey had the lone Detroit goal.
SPIN: Jeff Carter scored the other goal for the Kings and he now has goals in five straight games, so make sure he’s in the lineup while he’s burning up the ice. The same can be said for Kopitar who has seven points (2G,5A) in his last three games. Johnathan Bernier was solid in goal for the Kings and both goaltenders for Los Angeles are solid plays with Johnathan Quick being preferred since he’s getting starts in a 2-to-1 ratio over Bernier as of late.
Detroit’s Jimmy Howard has made every start but two in goal for the Red Wings and should yield to backup Petr Mrazek for tonight’s game against San Jose. Perhaps they need more Mrzaek to keep Howard fresh for March and April since they still have more than half the season to go and can’t risk burning out Howard. Thankfully, the first half of March is some easy games, on paper, with Colorado, Calgary and a pair each with Edmonton and Columbus on tap after Sunday’s game against Chicago.
Philadelphia knocked off Washington 4-1 behind a pair of assists from Scott Hartnell. The Flyers scored twice in the opening 4:04 and never looked back. Joel Ward broke up Ilya Bryzgalov’s shutout but with 2:09 left in the game.
SPIN: The Flyers sent goaltender Braden Holtby to the bench after the fourth goal and looked like they might have it all together. They welcomed back Simon Gagne, acquired from Los Angeles the day before in a trade, and he had an assist in his first game back in a Philadelphia uniform since 2010. Philly sits at 10-11-1 this season and will try to get to .500 in their next game (Saturday vs. Ottawa). The reason it gets mentioned is they’ve had five other shots to get to .500 and have yet to hit the break-even point this season. The Capitals’ season is hopelessly lost barring a winning streak of about eight games starting by this time next week.
Montreal took down Toronto 5-2 led by a pair of Max Pacioretty goals. The Canadiens scored three times in the third period to break open a 2-2 tie.
SPIN: The Habs continue to battle in the Northeast Division with everyone else there (except Buffalo) and should be one of the better teams in the league the rest of the way. They picked up Michael Ryder from Dallas in a trade yesterday and his value should go up. Ryder is a shoot-first player and now that he has more quality players around him, his point totals should start moving up quickly.
Multiple Goal Scorers
Palmieri-ANH HAT TRICK; Pacioretty-MTL
Stat of the Night
Toronto defenseman Mark Fraser leads the NHL in plus-minus with a +16 rating this season. Fraser only averages 14:25 of ice time per night. His teammate, Dion Phaneuf sits near the bottom in that category at a -9.
Three Stars of the Night
Thursday’s Games (all times ET)
Ottawa at Boston 7pm Boston’s won four straight while Ottawa has won five in a row. Something has to give.
Toronto at NY Islanders 7pm The Isles have given up the second-most goals in the Eastern Conference so the Leafs have a chance to go on the offensive in this one.
Tampa Bay at NY Rangers 7pm Carl Hagelin of the Rangers always plays well against Tampa Bay. They need someone to step up since the Broadway Blueshirts have dropped four in a row.
Pittsburgh at Carolina 7pm Here’s a matchup of division leaders.
Buffalo at Florida 730pm The Sabres have a -14 goal differential. The Panthers have a -21 goal differential. This has the potential to be a shootout because of the weak defenses.
New Jersey at Winnipeg 8pm Second matchup of the week for these teams and the Jets took the first one.
Chicago at St. Louis 8pm Will the Hawks make it 20 in a row with a point to open the season?
Edmonton at Dallas 830pm Stars welcome back Kari Lehtonen between the pipes after an IR stint with a groin injury.
Calgary at Colorado 9pm Two disappointing teams meet in Denver.
Minnesota at Phoenix 9pm The Wild has the league’s weakest with offense with 39 goals in 18 games.
Detroit at San Jose 1030pm The Wings are 2-4-2 on the road while San Jose is 2-6-2 in its last 10 games.