February 1, 2014

Dobber Sports

2014-02-01

The Rangers topped the Islanders indoors this time around and Henrik Lundqvist was in fine form. He made 38 stops including several big saves on good Islander scoring chances. Lundqvist has been stellar all month winning eight of his last 10 starts and it's safe to say he's regained his all-world form.

 

Marc Staal grabbed a pair of assists for his second multi-point game in his last three contests, while going plus-6 over that stretch. He still doesn't get much power play time but his overall minutes could rise with Michael Del Zotto now gone.

 

Derick Brassard's goal gives him a three-game point streak. If the Rangers keep getting scoring from their secondary guys and Lundqvist keeps playing at this level, they are going to be a tough out come playoff time.

 

Brad Richards broke a mini-slump with a goal against the Isles. Give him full credit for bouncing back after a rough playoffs last season and he still has an outside chance at 65-plus points. He's been averaging four shots per game over his last five outings.

 

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John Tavares and Thomas Vanek are now both on three-game scoreless droughts. New York was scoring at a frantic pace a few weeks back but that has slowed considerably towards the end of the month.

 

The crazy thing about the Tavares and Vanek slumps are how they haven't hurt Kyle Okposo's production whatsoever. Okposo scored again on Friday, giving him 12 points in eight games. He's also been posting an average if five shots a night in his last four. That's good comfort for Okposo owners knowing he can still produce even if Tavares and Vanek are enduring tough times.

 

Evgeni Nabokov has actually been pretty good since returning from injury. He's anything but an ideal option, but if you are desperate for goaltending help he's not a bad look right now until his numbers cool off.

 

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The Hurricanes pulled a 3-1 upset over the Blues thanks to Anton Khudobin's play between the pipes. Khudobin is going to make it very hard on the Canes to give Cam Ward the starting role back now he is playing so well, especially with the team fighting for a playoff spot. Khudobin has a 12-4 record all of a sudden.

 

Jeff Skinner is quietly putting together a strong season. He's got 38 points in just 43 games now with 19 goals in his last 27 contests.

 

I can't remember a player changing his style of play so much at this point in his career than Andrej Sekera. He's become an offensive machine out of nowhere after being an average defenseman points wise for most of his career. Sekera's already got a career-high 31 points with an assist on Friday in just 52 games. His previous high was 29 but that took him 76 games to reach. Sekera is also over 100 shots for the first time ever with a little less than half a year still to go.

 

John-Michael Liles has just one point in 10 games since joining Carolina, but has been a plus-2 and is still getting top power play minutes. Keep an eye on him.

 

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Jaroslav Halak took the loss but unfortunately for Brian Elliott owners he didn't play poorly.

 

David Backes scored his first goal since January 7th but does have five points in five games. The return of Alex Steen has seemed to have ignited him offensively again.

 

Patrik Berglund continues to be a nightmare, recording points in just one of nine games.

 

Brenden Morrow played less than eight minutes on Friday. He's officially fantasy irrelevant now.

 

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The Red Wings beat the Capitals 4-3 but needed the shootout to do so. Jimmy Howard picked up the win in his return to the lineup but had just an average performance.

 

Dan Cleary and Todd Bertuzzi were once again scratches and expect that to continue as Mike Babcock seems content to role with the youngsters, and rightfully so.

 

Gustav Nyquist is one such youngster and he potted another goal on Friday to give him eight points in seven games. Remind me again why he spent the first month and a half of the season in the AHL?

 

Danny DeKeyser also scored for the Wings, his first goal and point since December 21st. He had a run earlier in the year where it looked like he might be able to provide some offensive value, but hasn't done anything substantial since November. It's worth noting though he played over four minutes on the man advantage