Oct. 26 2014

Thomas Drance

2014-09-01

Thoughts on Saturday’s relatively injury-free slate of NHL action

 

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For the first time this season we won’t spend too much time breaking down the latest Saturday night injury news, which is always welcome.

 

Chicago Blackhawks winger Dan Carcillo left his game on Saturday night with an apparent knee injury, and Alex Ovechkin sustained some damage to his hand when he blocked a shot, but he stayed in the game and is a Russian Machine that Never Breaks so he’ll be okay we hope.

 

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We’ll start with the matinee game where the Buffalo Sabres beat the San Jose Sharks 2-1. The Sharks are reeling having lost four games in a row and are looking brutal frankly. This isn’t a streak of bad luck, this is just extraordinarily permissive defensive play…

 

You know what they could probably use – how about a stud first line power forward whose shot rates and corsi for percentage compare favorably with the likes of Max Pacioretty and Alex Ovechkin? Because they’ve got a player like that languishing on their second defense pair (though in fairness Burns did score a goal from the back-end today)…

 

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Zemgus Girgensons isn’t quite the multi-cat beast I’m convinced he will be, but he’s just 20-years-old so he’ll get there. Anyway he was on the ice to kill the last few minutes of Saturday afternoon’s game and finished with five hits, two shots on goal, an assist and a +1 rating.

 

Again he’s not quite there, but man, at some point in the not-too-distant future I’m convinced that this guy is going to be a David Backes/Ryan Kesler/Dustin Brown quality fantasy asset.

 

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I forgot to start Patrick Marleau (because I was drafting my NBA fantasy team) today and it didn’t matter. Like, his line in my league was 0 goals, 0 assists, 0 PPPs, 0 hits, 0 shots on goal and an even plus/minus rating. I was kicking myself all the way to the final buzzer, but it didn’t matter at all. Kind of funny when that happens.

 

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Sharks forward Tommy Wingels didn’t put up any points on Saturday night, but his peripherals remain slick: two PIMs, four shots on goal, three hits and a blocked shot.

 

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In Toronto, the Maple Leafs looked flat and were flattened in a 4-1 loss to the Boston Bruins. Dougie Hamilton came to play in a major way as he put together a three point night (a goal, two assists), including 1 PPP, four shots on goal, two PIMs, and three hits. Obviously he’s not going to make anyone forget about Zdeno Chara any time soon, but that’s something of a statement game for the young Bruins blue-liner.

 

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Speaking of good young Bruins blue-liners, Torey Krug had five shots on goal and while he didn’t put together any power play points, he did log over 20 minutes of time on ice. He’ll get more burn with Chara out of the lineup, it would seem.

 

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Interesting new tactical wrinkle and worth paying attention to in leagues that count face-off wins: the Bruins appear to be using Milan Lucic to take offensive zone draws on his strong side, particularly with the man-advantage. Lucic won all four draws he took on Saturday night and took all of them in the offensive end of the ice.

 

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