The NHL is back! I know they were only off for three nights but I swear it felt like they were gone for a month. Maybe it's all the rum and eggnog I drank over these past few days to help pass the time or maybe I'm just a fantasy addict. Either way, I'm glad to have some actual games to cover in these ramblings.
Even after last night's trouncing at the hands of the Boston Bruins Robin Lehner's stats remain well ahead of Craig Anderson's. Lehner sits with a 2.68 GAA and a 0.922 Save%, which is pretty good considering the fire he has taken this season from opponents.
This is more about how poorly the Senators are playing than anything else though. The Sens were outshot 42-33 last night, which has been a recurring theme this year. The Sens have actually done a good job of getting shots of their own. They currently rank third in the league in shots per game. The problem is that they allow even more ranking third worst in the league in shots allowed. Last year's Corsi darlings are finding themselves on the wrong end of the possession game this year and it's killing their goaltenders.
Senators defenseman Patrick Wiercioch received his fourth straight healthy scratch.
Rookie Cody Ceci has been skating in his stead but has just two points in eight games this season. I prefer Ceci out of the two long term but I think it's time to get Wiercioch back in the lineup.
On the other side of the ice Tuukka Rask pitched a 33-save shutout. Credit the Boston penalty killers for not allowing a single shot on goal on three Sens power plays. They even scored one short-handed, courtesy of Brad Marchand.
Rask is the best goalie to own in fantasy right now and I would trade any other goaltender to get him.
Reilly Smith is thorough enjoying his time alongside Marchand and Patrice Bergeron. The trio combined for seven points last night of which Smith contributed two goals. He's now scored seven points in the past three games.
I never would have guessed a couple of years ago that he'd be the more productive of the Smith brothers (his brother is Brendan Smith of the Red Wings) but here we are. Brendan is just trying to find consistency at the NHL level and Reilly is on pace for a 60-point season. Not bad for a sophomore.
Of course, Smith is currently shooting 21.9% on the season, which is so ridiculously high that you know he's due for some regression. At the same time his on-ice shooting percentage at five-on-five is only 8.88%, which is only slightly above league average so perhaps he isn't due for as much regression as you'd think.
After slumping earlier this month Torey Krug has gotten back on track with points in two straight, which is hardly much of a run but a good sign nonetheless. Both points were power play markers, which makes sense. The Bruins boast one of the league's best power plays and Krug mans the top unit. He's been put in an excellent position to succeed.
Congratulations to the New Jersey Devils for clawing out a point in last night's miserable game against the Blue Jackets. They managed only 17 shots in a 65 minute affair. What the hell?
The lone Devils goal was scored by the usual suspects in New Jersey: Adam Henrique, Marek Zidlicky and Patrick Elias. Despite the heroics of Jaromir Jagr this season if I had to trust three players to score f