Michael Raffl had my attention prior to Sunday given his run of four points in five games. But Sunday’s three-point effort makes it official – get on this guy. Not a future star or anything, but certainly capable of the mini hot and cold streaks that teammate Matt Read gave us when he was a rookie. Still no PP time as of yet, so ride the streak while you can. But definitely expect more streaks later in the year.
Since his four-point game on December 4, Sean Couturier has been a minus player each game, minus-8 in five games altogether. And just two points in that span. So much for my pushing him as a top wire pickup while Lecavalier was out.
Claude Giroux had seven points and was minus-11 after 15 games. He has 18 points and is plus-6 in 18 games since then.
Steve Mason still has his save percentage up at 0.924. That’s an NHL career best. After starting the season 1-5-0 … he is 10-4-4.
Mikhail Grabovski missed Sunday’s contest with the flu. That’s a shame because the guy had points in six of his last seven games. Momentum has been lost – not necessarily bad, but certainly can’t be good.
Penguins injury update – nothing official to report, just the dribbles of out of context information from the Penguins Twitter account and from beatwriters. But from what I can guess at based on this, Malkin doesn’t have anything broken, it looked like a hamstring injury, and frankly I would guess 2-3 weeks. Just Dr. Dobber saying this. Dr. Dobber also figures Letang will miss at least this week, I wouldn’t dress him if you have options.
Brendan Ross chiming in here. Just posted an in-depth prospect ramblings over at Dobber Prospects so be sure to head over there after reading these great thoughts. Information on the 2014 World Junior Championships, Evgeny Kuznetsov and direct access to some great prospect resources that all of you should be following.
Tomas Jurco played his first career NHL game Sunday. I’ll be honest with you, I didn’t see that happening this year and I don’t see him as a regular with this team this year or next. That being said, he’s progressing far more quickly than I thought and if you don’t mind sitting on a prospect for two years (hell, you’ve sat on Nyquist for three!) this is a great one to sit on. He has 27 points in 26 AHL games to lead Grand Rapids. I’m impressed to see Mike Babcock stick him on the top line with Pavel Datsyuk and play nearly 17 minutes.
Petr Mrazek snuck in a start yesterday and played well for the Red Wings. But he gave up two goals in the third and lost 3-0 (TB added an empty netter). Jonas Gustavsson hasn’t won in regulation in his last three starts, but I’m sure he’ll be back in next game.
Gustav Nyquist has three points in eight games as the adrenalin has worn off – though the reality is that as his NHL career begins, he could sure use a Zetterberg on his line. Here were Detroit’s line combos: