An Avalanche of goals and saves, Jets and Preds fill penalty box, plight of the Penguins, plus more…

The early game of the day saw the Rangers playing the Senators in Ottawa. There wasn’t a whole lot of scoring, as both teams were held to just a power-play goal each before the shootout.

Something I’ve noticed about the Senators that has changed since the start of the season: Mark Stone is off the first-unit power play, replaced by Mika Zibanejad. Although Stone has two power-play assists this month, he is still without a power-play goal this season. Three goals and 12 assists was probably not the statline we expected to see from Stone, considering the goal-scoring run he went on late last season. But the healthy assist total – second only to Erik Karlsson on the team – makes up for the lack of goals.

So how is Zibanejad doing on the power play, you ask? He has power-play assists in back-to-back games and a five-game assist streak overall. He is playing on a line with Bobby Ryan, who after a slow start has points in nine of his last ten games.

Here are the Sens’ lines for this game:

23.57%  EV           HOFFMAN,MIKE – STONE,MARK – TURRIS,KYLE

19.01%  EV           PUEMPEL,MATT – RYAN,BOBBY – ZIBANEJAD,MIKA

18.25%  EV           CHIASSON,ALEX – MICHALEK,MILAN – PAGEAU,JEAN-GABRIEL

9.13%    EV           LAZAR,CURTIS – NEIL,CHRISTOPHER – SMITH,ZACK

1.9%      PP           MICHALEK,MILAN – RYAN,BOBBY – TURRIS,KYLE – ZIBANEJAD,MIKA

1.52%    PP           CHIASSON,ALEX – HOFFMAN,MIKE – LAZAR,CURTIS – STONE,MARK

It was interesting to see the aging Dan Boyle selected as the third shootout contestant for the Rangers, considering his career shootout percentage is a pedestrian 27 percent. But he took advantage of the situation in scoring the winner. Boyle is in his final year in my salary cap keeper league, and I have been trying desperately to trade him (drops are limited in this league). He is still owned in roughly 30 percent of fantasy leagues, so someone out there probably still wants him for their fantasy team. Just not me.

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Remember back in the summer when we were all worried that Patrick Kane wouldn’t play this season? I had moved Kane down quite a way on my pre-draft rankings, and the Kane owner in my keeper league seemed willing to give him away for peanuts.

Without getting into the particulars of the case, Kane walked away a free man and is now rewarding the fantasy owners that either stuck with him or took a chance on him. With a goal against St. Louis on Saturday, Kane now has at least one goal in his last six games and at least one point in his last 12 – the NHL’s longest streak this season. Thanks to that points streak, he is now tied for the NHL scoring lead with 26 points.  

What I was the most interested in about the Hawks prior to this game was the news that Marko Dano would move up to one of the scoring lines alongside Jonathan Toews and Marian Hossa. Dano finished with an assist while being robbed by Jake Allen for a potential goal.

Holy jumpin’ indeed.

Frozen Pool had the following lines listed for the Blackhawks, although Dano finished with only 5:58 of icetime, so Joel Quenneville must have juggled his lines during the game.

17.67%  EV           KRUGER,MARCUS – SHAW,ANDREW – TERAVAINEN,TEUVO

13.95%  EV           ANISIMOV,ARTEM – KANE,PATRICK – PANARIN,ARTEMI

10.7%    EV           DANO,MARKO – HOSSA,MARIAN – TOEWS,JONATHAN

10.23%  EV           GARBUTT,RYAN – KERO,TANNER – MASHINTER,BRANDON

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The Canucks aren’t playing great hockey right now. But one Canuck making the most of his opportunity to play with Daniel Sedin and Henrik Sedin is Jannik Hansen, who scored another goal in 21 minutes of icetime in a loss to the Leafs. Thanks to a goal and three assists against the Blue Jackets earlier this week, Hansen now has five points in his last three games. He has thrived playing alongside the Sedins recently, although Radim Vrbata seems to be the overall preferred option. But feel free to take a flier on Hansen as long as he is riding shotgun with the Sedins.

By the way, Hansen nearly had a second goal in this game. But after video review, the goal was disallowed after it was determined that Hansen directed the puck in with his skate. Should this goal have counted? A bit of an iffy call, but I’m biased because I’m a Canucks’ fan. So you be the judge.

As for the Leafs, James Reimer made 43 saves in what was his third consecutive win in his seventh consecutive start. Congratulations if you started him in a weekly league this week (I sure didn’t). It wouldn’t be a total shocker if he gets the start over Jonathan Bernier for the second of back-to-backs on Sunday against the Rangers.

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I’m instantly regretting benching Matt Duchene in a weekly league. After a slow start and while dealing with some recent trade rumors, Duchene now has multiple points in three consecutive games. Both he and Mikhail Grigorenko scored a goal and added two assists, while Nathan MacKinnon scored two goals and added an assist. Grigorenko’s goal was his first as an Av. And yes, they were all playing on the same line.

I know the Avs’ line combinations this season haven’t been kind to Duchene, and his being the odd man out is likely perpetuating the trade rumors. But this week’s output is the reason that you should stay patient with Duchene – he’s still a young talent (not yet 25) who has both a 60-point and a 70-point season already under his belt. He may end up as a first-line center with a new team, which you’d probably be happy with.

One Av that I’m happy to say that I added this week is goalie Reto Berra. Probably no one thought the Avs would win this game 6-1, but in spite of the above mentioned scorers, Berra was the rightful first star with 39 saves. Because of Berra’s recent fine play (only three goals allowed in his last three games), there is no need for the Avs to rush Semyon Varlamov back from a groin injury that he sustained earlier this week.

And you knew it was a matter of time, but Mike Condon fell back to earth in allowing four goals on 11 shots before giving way to Dustin Tokarski. The hit to Condon’s ratios seems minimal, as he now holds a 2.06 GAA and .921 SV%. He has to be allowed to have one stinker, right?

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I can distinctly remember moving Craig Smith to my bench recently. So of course it was he who scored a goal and added two assists in the first period of the Preds’ one-touchdown annihilation of the Jets. And yes, that was Seth Jones with a goal and two assists of his own in that game.

But this game between the two Central Division rivals will be remembered more for its penalty minutes – a season-high 156 penalty minutes, including 104 in the third period alone. It’s been common practice since the beginning of time for the team on the wrong end of a blowout to start gooning it up. Although the Jets didn’t exactly send out Ogie Oglethorpe and Tim McCracken in the third period, Mark Scheifele shooting the puck in the Nashville net after the play was whistled was certainly a passive-aggressive move that is considered a no-no by hockey traditionalists.

If you play the entire clip, you’ll see both the Predators and Jets breaking fire code with all the players that they are trying to fit into a Volkswagen penalty box. If you’re in a league that counts penalty minutes, the following regularly-rostered fantasy players may have helped your team (unless you’re in a progressive league that counts penalty minutes as a negative stat):

Jacob Trouba – 12 PIM

Dustin Byfuglien – 10 PIM

Tyler Myers – 14 PIM

Filip Forsberg – 10 PIM

Mike Ribeiro – 12 PIM

By the way, circle January 5 on your calendar, kids. That’s the next time the Jets and Preds meet, and they’ll be back in the Music City.

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That’s a big fat donut for all your Penguins players on Saturday, thanks to Cory Schneider and the surprising New Jersey Devils. We all know by now that the Penguins are struggling, namely Sidney Crosby, who was a -2 in this game and is down to -8 on the season.

Evgeni Malkin’s comment about the Penguins being “mad at each other” is certainly telling. When I watched the Penguins play on Friday against Columbus, the power play looked very perimeter-ish and it showed, going 0 for 6. So with the 0 for 3 tonight, the Penguins are a combined 0 for 13 over their past three games with the man advantage. That puts the Penguins’ power play – yes, the power play of the Pittsburgh Penguins – at a 12.3 percent efficiency rate this season. That’s 29th in the NHL. 29th! I probably don’t have to tell you who is on the first unit of that power play, either!

If reading the above was discouraging to you, or just to soak yourself in more Penguins’ anguish, you can discuss your problems on the Crosby Owner Therapy Thread on the Dobber Forums.

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At least Jakub Voracek owners can breathe a little easier. Voracek scored his first goal of the season, and it couldn’t have come at a better time (37 seconds into overtime). With seven points and a -6 in 17 games, Voracek makes a great buy-low candidate. The 81 points from last season is clearly a mirage, though, considering his previous career totals. So unfortunately for his owners, his draft-day value will probably be higher than his end-of-season value.

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Another busted slump, although not as severe… Ryan Johansen scored his first goal in 14 games and his first goal under new coach John Tortorella. Perhaps he is adapting to Torts’ system, but his 14:20 icetime in this game seems a bit low for a player of his caliber.

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Lastly, Vive la France…