December 31, 2013

Dobber Sports

2013-12-31

The Los Angeles Kings lost to the Chicago Blackhawks on Monday night, but they held it to a respectable 1-0 scoreline. And with the way the Hawks can find the net that is quite the accomplishment.

 

Martin Jones was denied the shutout on a tough bounce in front that led to a Brandon Saad goal. Jones rebounded from a tough start a week ago and continues to be a great option between the pipes.

 

Mike Richards' play has been troubling as of late. He's now gone pointless in eight straight games and is minus-5 over that stretch. What's most concerning about his play is the fact that his scoring chances and shots on goal are few and far between. Over the last month Richards has had one shot or less in nine games.

 

If there is a silver lining, however, it's been in the face-off dot. Richards has been excelling in that area over the last few weeks, but that's little consolation to those who were relying on him for points.

 

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The Blackhawks were slowed down offensively as Antti Raanta picked up the slack in goal with a 26-save shutout. Raanta has only lost once in regulation thanks to the team in front of him, but his numbers of late have been anything but stellar. Outside of Monday, Raanta had three straight starts where he posted a save percentage below .900. Corey Crawford is skating once again and appears in no danger of losing any starts to Raanta when he is healthy. The Finnish netminder may have an outside chance to stick around as a backup, but you shouldn't expect much more than that once Crawford is ready to go.

 

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Mike Green was pretty darn awful on Monday night from a defensive stand point. He got embarrassed on two Ottawa goals and finished minus-2 on the evening. Green is now up to minus-10 on the campaign and his shooting percentage has dropped to 3.2. Adam Oates seems undeterred by all this as Green still finished second on the Caps with nearly 24 minutes of ice-time.

 

Here's an example of Green seemingly coasting on a Turris goal.

 

 

Don't look now but Joel Ward is up to 12 goals on the year and looks well on his way to breaking his career-high of 17 in a season.

 

Alex Ovechkin hasn't scored in a season-high four straight games now, although it may be presumptuous to push the panic button. He still has 31 shots over that stretch.

 

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Craig Anderson's game looked as sharp as it's been all season making 34-of-35 saves against the Caps. That's now three straight strong starts so perhaps Anderson is getting things figured out.

 

Jason Spezza missed this one with an injury but it looks more and more like Kyle Turris is cementing himself as the number one center in Ottawa. He scored a beauty and is up to four points in his last five and although the loss of Spezza certainly hurts, it's less painful thanks to Turris' strong play. Does Turris' performance maybe make the Sens consider dealing Spezza to shed some salary if there are any takers?

 

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Jimmy Howard looked like a goalie who hadn't played in three weeks. He was shaky giving up a few soft goals against the Preds and when all was said and done he made just 23-of-28 stops. And giving up five goals to Nashville is really saying something. Howard deserves a few games to get his legs back under him but it's hard to ignore Jonas Gustavsson's stats when you compare the two. I'm not sure how long Mike Babcock can attempt to give Howard the bulk of the starts going forward unless something drastic changes in his game.

 

Daniel Alfredsson was a late scratch in this one as the Wings continue to be decimated by injuries.

 

Tomas Tatar, Gustav Nyquist, and Joakim Andersson were all held without a point in a game where Detroit scored four goals. Not good if you own one of the youngsters.

 

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