November 2, 2013

steve laidlaw

2013-11-02

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Matt Niskanen's little run of productivity is probably over. Yes, he did manage an assist last night and he actually has three points in five games since Kris Letang's return to the lineup but his ice time is also way down over that period. He saw a skated low 15:52 last night with less than a minute of power play time.

 

You know who hasn't been hurt by Letang's return? Paul Martin. His season averages of 25:59 with 4:13 on the power play haven't wiggled with Letang back. In fact, the two are currently partnering on the Penguins' power play and will most likely continue to do so until James Neal makes his own return, at which point Martin will find himself on power play two with Niskanen. But until then Martin could provide a short-term boost.

 

Martin has just five points on the season, which underscores his modest fantasy value but Letang helps an already solid power play and that could kick Martin's production up a bit.

 

Letang, by the way, scored the game-winner, his second goal of the season. All three of his points so far have come on the power play and he sits at a minus-five through five games. Only a matter of time before he starts scoring at even strength, if you were at all concerned.

 

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The Penguins chased Sergei Bobrovsky early in the second period, the first time he's been chased all year. His numbers don't look great through four starts but they aren't all that bad either. Bobrovsky looks like he's on his way to a pretty average season, which might be disappointing considering his Vezina form last season but it isn't all that terrible either when you consider how some of the league's more dependable goalies have started this season.

 

The Blue Jackets have taken Marian Gaborik off the top line and paired him with Nick Foligno and Artem Anisimov of late. Gaborik is scoreless in two straight but we know he'll be fine. Foligno and Anisimov, on the other hand, have benefited. Foligno has points in three straight, while Anisimov has six points in his last seven games but was held scoreless last night.

 

Anisimov has some intriguing upside if he sticks with Gaborik because the Jackets are giving him the third most power play time among forwards on the team(2:52 per game). Foligno has much less upside and is seeing just 20 seconds of power play time per game.

 

Cam Atkinson is ice cold with just one point in his last seven games but his ice time is still respectable and he has been firing a lot of shots, including five last night. It hurts that Gaborik has been moved off of his line but I still think Atkinson has upside this season.

 

Is Ryan Johansen starting to put it together? He has points in three straight and has seven in his last seven. He's skating on the third line with R.J. Umberger and Blake Comeau so that's not very positive but he does see second unit power play time. This feels like just a hot streak. Has anyone seen a notable improvement in his play?

 

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No Ovechkin, no problem. Well at least not against the miserable Flyers. The Capitals figuratively bent the Flyers over jumping out 5-0 before the fisticuffs started. The game