March 11, 2014

Dobber Sports

2014-03-11

The Stars and Blue Jackets contest was postponed after a very scary incident that saw Rich Peverley collapse on the Dallas bench. He was rushed to a local hospital and was conscious. Hopefully everything turns out okay there.

 

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Evgeny Kuznetsov finally made his long-awaited NHL debut on Monday and saw fourth-line duties. Kuznetsov played just over 10 minutes and managed two shots on the night. I've never understood the logic of putting skilled forwards on the fourth line to ease them in, as no offense to Jay Beagle and Tom Wilson, but those aren't the types of players that are going to help Kuznetsov display his talents. He did see some power play time though and once he gets his feet wet let's hope he quickly gets up in the top six.

 

Jaroslav Halak got his second straight start, which doesn't look good for Braden Holtby owners at the moment. The Caps are in a battle for the final playoff spot and if Halak gets hot there is a good chance they will run with him as much as they can. Washington hasn't been able to settle on a goalie for years and it looked like Holtby might be the man of the future, but bringing in Halak at the deadline says a lot about how they view him right now.

 

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Lee Stempniak grabbed two assists for the Pens and I mentioned him last time around since he was playing with Crosby and Kunitz. Crosby had a three-point night and Kunitz had two goals, meaning as long as that keeps up expect Stempniak to remain on that line and be a valuable fantasy asset.

 

Matt Niskanen did have five shots against the Caps, but was held pointless for the third straight game. With Kris Letang and Paul Martin out of the lineup though, he's very important to keep on your roster. He led all Pittsburgh defensemen in power play ice-time Monday and finished second in overall ice-time. It's just a matter of time before the points start coming again.

 

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Ben Bishop has now posted a save percentage of less than .900 in three of his last four games as the Lightning fell 4-3 to the Coyotes in a shootout. He's never played anywhere close to this many games before and there is still plenty to go. You just wonder if he is starting to wear down somewhat.

 

We are still awaiting Steven Stamkos' first point since his return and first without Martin St. Louis. I agree with Dobber that Stamkos is going to feel that loss more than people realize. He's a great player but it's simply going to take some time to adjust losing a playmaker like St. Louis.

 

Tyler Johnson had a goal and Ondrej Palat added a pair to go along with an assist. If everything keeps going as planned Tampa is going to be crazy good in a few years with their young forward group.

 

Ryan Malone was a healthy scratch for the third-straight game on Monday. With all the young talent Tampa has up front, it's tough for him to get minutes anymore. With that contract of his, Malone is a buyout waiting to happen this summer.

 

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Mikkel Boedker had his first point and goal in four games for the Coyotes.

 

Martin Erat also scored and he's been a plus-2 since arriving in Phoenix. He's still not generating many shots and seeing minimal ice time though. Sometimes struggling players just need a change of scenery, so we'll see if that's the case with Erat.

 

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These aren't your father's Nashville Predators. The Preds blew a three-goal third period lead, but still managed to win it 4-3 in overtime.

 

Seth Jones saved the day with the overtime winner and an assist for his first points in eight games. He's slowly but surely coming around this season. Jones has to improve a dreadful plus/minus, but that's always a challenge for any young defender.

 

Pekka Rinne looked solid and he has made 35 and 34 saves respectively in his last two games. Nashville just looks like a totally different team when he's in goal.

 

 

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Shea Weber's shot is something to behold. Cody Ceci was forced out of the game after being struck in the head and getting cut, while Craig Anderson was shaken up in a separate instance. Ironically, Anderson left the game later after bumping into Milan Michalek.

 

Ales Hemsky with three assists to give him six points points in three games since coming over from Edmonton. He is really clicking with Jason Spezza, who also had a three-point night to spark a Senators comeback. It's funny because Hemsky and Spezza have similar skill sets but they seem to mesh so well together. There is no stopping that pair right now.

 

Clarke MacArthur missed this one with a hand injury.

 

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The Avs beat the Jets but appear to have lost P.A. Parenteau for the regular season with an MCL injury. 

 

Erik Johnson picked up an assist to give him seven points since the Olympic break. He has a legitimate shot to hit 40 points for the first time in his career now. Tyson Barrie had a multi-point game himself and the Colorado blue line often gets overlooked because of their strong pool of forwards.

 

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Al Montoya with a decent start for the Jets and it was the second-straight appearance he looked sharp. I still say he has a chance for more starts down the stretch if he keeps playing this way and the Jets remain in the playoff hunt. 

 

Dustin Byfuglien with three goals and four points in his last two contests now. He has a shot at a new career-high in points and he’ll need to get there if the Jets hope to sneak into the playoffs. 

 

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The Kings escaped with a 3-2 victory over the Flames desptie being out shot. 

 

Trevor Lewis found the score sheet for the second consecutive game. That doesn’t sound like much but on a Kings’ team that struggles to score, that’s considered an offensive explosion. 

 

Slava Voynov now has a three game point streak going. He had 25 points in 48 games last year, but has managed just 26 so far this season. Maybe he has been saving things for the final month. 

 

Marian Gaborik is still pointless since arriving in LA. I’m not sure he is the best fit for the Kings and I was surprised they made the move at the deadline actually. Gaborik looks far removed from being a 75-point guy. 

 

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Joe Colborne and Markus Granlund are now two-straight without a point after having decent runs as far as production. I still like both of them as adds down the stretch as I figure the Flames will be giving them decent minutes. Although, Granlund left this one early with an injury. 

 

Brian McGrattan, as shocking as it sounds, now has goals in each of the last two games. It’s probably nothing more than a fluke, but he did have six shots against Los Angeles. 

 

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What is there to say about the Vancouver Canucks at this point? They gave up seven goals in the third to the depleted Islanders. In the third! Mike Gillis’ job could be in major jeopardy. Looking back on it now you really have to question moving on from Alain Vigneault and going with John Tortorella. I’m not saying it all falls on Tortorella, but the players just don’t seem to motivated.

 

On the plus side, some guy named Sedin finally scored a goal. 

 

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The Isles really deserve some credit for fighting hard without John Tavares and Thomas Vanek. Kyle Okposo just keeps rolling and had three helpers against the Canucks. I thought he would be hurt the most by the losses, but he doesn’t seem to be bothered at all right now.

 

Calvin de Haan and Travis Hamonic seem to be benefiting from the departure of Andrew MacDonald with some extra minutes. Hamonic had two assists last night, while de Hann scored a goal.

 

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Phil Kessel and Tyler Bozak combined for six points and helped the Leafs to a victory in Randy Carlyle’s return to Anaheim. Is Kessel a Hart Trophy candidate at this point? At the very least he needs to be in the conversation.

 

Jonathan Bernier was solid in goal making 43 stops. He’ll need to play at that level come the playoffs with the way the Leafs hand out shots. 

 

Starting to become very concerned about Cody Franson. He doesn’t look like the same player and hasn’t picked up a point in nine games.

 

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Nick Bonino’s point pace has dropped off considerably from where it was earlier in the season. He’s in a midst of a rough stretch that has seen him pick up just a single point in seven games.

 

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Los Angeles Kings forward Jordan Nolan was suspended one game for his sucker punch on Edmonton Oilers forward Jesse Joensuu. It should have been a few more games in my opinion. Another wasted opportunity by the National Hockey League to send a real message about head shots. Somehow the league tries to crack down on illegal hits to the head, but punches to the head don't seem to receive the same attention.

 

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Montreal Canadiens defenseman Josh Gorges is out for a month after surgery on his fractured hand. Gorges is a tough loss for the Canadiens as he is more of a defensive defenseman and currently sits second in the league in blocks. Thankfully, Andrei Markov also ranks in the top 10 in the category, so he may be able to offset some of the blocks lost by Gorges. Look for Mike Weaver, who was acquired before the deadline, to receive some additional minutes with Gorges sidelined.

 

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It had been a few hours since Detroit suffered a significant injury, so it was about time Joakim Andersson was announced to be out for a couple of weeks with a broken foot. Riley Sheahan, Luke Glendening, and Cory Emmerton should all see plenty of action at the center position with so many injuries to the Red Wings. That David Legwand acquisition is looking huge at the moment.

 

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Sean McIndoe checks in with a trade deadline Grab Bag for Grantland.

 

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The NHL is considering some overtime changes but it looks like the possibility of 3-on-3, which I am a huge fan of, won't be happening in the near future. Instead we will have to settle for the potential of scraping the ice before overtime and a long change to try and create more goals. Innovative stuff. As long as it gets rid of some shootouts, I'll take it though.

 

Michael Amato is an Associate Editor for DobberHockey and a News Editor for theScore. You can follow him on Twitter at @amato_mike

UPCOMING GAMES

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HOT PLAYERS

  Players Team GP G A P
JOHN KLINGBERG DAL 4 0 6 6
ALEXANDER RADULOV DAL 5 1 5 6
PAUL STASTNY VGK 6 2 4 6
VICTOR HEDMAN T.B 4 2 2 4
BLAKE COLEMAN T.B 5 1 3 4
SHEA THEODORE VGK 4 1 2 3

LINE COMBOS

  Frequency N.J Players
29% NICO HISCHIER KYLE PALMIERI MILES WOOD
19.5% JESPER BRATT NIKITA GUSEV PAVEL ZACHA
12.5% JOEY ANDERSON JACK HUGHES TRAVIS ZAJAC

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