Lundqvist's first good start in a month, Huberdeau shooting more, JVR's broken foot and more.

Henrik Lundqvist with a quality start (and win) last night. If you aren’t familiar, a quality start as defined by our friend in the industry, Rob Vollman, is a start where a goalie posts a save percentage of .917 or higher. It fluctuates every year based on the league average save percentage, but right now it’s around .917.

Why is this important? Because the last time Lundqvist made a quality start was December 9. Over a month ago. Yikes, has it ever been tough times for Lundqvist owners the past month. You knew he’d slow down after his outrageous start to the season but how poorly he has played is something else.

Check out Lundqvist’s career monthly splits:


























I am reticent to put too much stock into this. Going back through the years sometimes Lundqvist has been bad in December and sometimes it has been his best month of the season. This strikes me as somewhat random.

On the plus side, Lundqvist does seem to get stronger in the second half so if you want to hang your hat on any of this, hang it on the worst being behind you.


Anyone else interested in what’s going on with Jayson Megna? He made a splash in his Ranger debut with a couple of points. Now he’s skating on a line with Rick Nash and Derek Stepan for about 15 minutes a night. Check out the full lines from last night:




















It has only been a couple of games of this and Megna has not produced. He needs to keep producing to hang on but what really interests me is now Oscar Lindberg is getting scratched as the rookie sat out last night. The Rangers can’t exactly be sitting talented players but this is where we are at. I am intrigued.


Ryan Spooner has got to be one of the posterchildren for why you show patience with prospects. He was drafted in the second round back in 2010, did two more years of junior hockey, three years in the AHL with a couple cups of coffee in the NHL thrown in and now he’s busting out before our eyes five years after he was drafted. Who has that kind of patience? None of my keepers from back in 2010 are even active any more. I couldn’t tell you anyone I drafted in those leagues.

Spooner has seven points in six games since David Krejci went down. He has gone on these binges before only for it to dry up but Spooner is seeing bigger minutes with Krejci out so you get the sense that this is for real. He was only at like 14 per game with Krejci in the lineup but the in last six games Spooner has seen over 15 minutes in each of them. He also shooting more than ever with 20 SOG in these six games.

Don’t look now but Jimmy Hayes is up to 10 goals, having scored five goals in the past six games. You can snap him off of waivers if you want but my sense is he will finish with south of 20 goals and 40 points so he isn’t a long term solution.


San Jose went on the road to face the Flames in Calgary. You just knew there would be fireworks given the splits for these two teams.

The Sharks blew the doors off Karri Ramo for five goals on 18 shots. Not a good look. Martin Jones did better allowing just four goals on 35 shots for the win. I don’t trust either of these guys but I am more inclined to favour them when Ramo is at home and Jones is on the road given their splits. I know lots of folks don’t buy that stuff, and there are certainly arguments against it, especially sample size but we are reaching a point in the season where the sample is large enough to buy into it.

Johnny Gaudreau got his, because scoring in the Saddledome is what he does. I don’t know how much you like to look ahead but it could be worth examining the Flames’ home/road schedule during your head-to-head playoffs to see if the Flames have lots of road games during that stretch.

For instance, if your H2H playoffs are the last three weeks of the season March 21-April 10 the Flames play seven of 10 on the road. I might look at trading Gaudreau for someone of similar talent but a more favourable split if those were my playoff dates.

Give Michael Ferland a look. He is skating with Gaudreau and Sean Monahan on the Flames’ top line. A goal and an assist for Ferland last night. Also seven hits.


Tomas Hertl was on the top line with Joe Pavelski and Joe Thornton once again, skating almost 19 minutes. No points for him, however but I like this spot. Three more games for the Sharks this week.

Tommy Wingels saw just 2:04 of ice time last night after colliding with teammate Joonas Donskoi. Wingels is officially questionable for tonight’s game in Winnipeg with an upper-body injury, which I suspect is a concussion.

Logan Couture scored his first goal of the season. He is still working his way back into game shape. I imagine he really busts out after the All-Star break.


A couple of goals for the Sedin twins to knock off the steaking Panthers.

You know the Sedins are good though. More intriguing is the continued production of Bo Horvat who has four goals and six points in a four-game scoring streak. I don’t know where he fits in once Brandon Sutter returns but my suspicion is back down the depth chart. Still, it’s nice to see these flashes right now.

Thumbs up to Jacob Markstrom for derailing his former team’s winning streak. He really seems to be taking over the job in Vancouver. Granted, Ryan Miller is on the shelf but Miller isn’t what he used to be and probably shouldn’t be a starter anymore.

It’s got to be a little tough for the Panthers to see Markstrom finally establishing himself when he could have been their long-term starter but ultimately acquiring Roberto Luongo helped add a veteran presence to this emerging young team. Would Markstrom, even now 25 years old have been able to bring that calming influence?

Don’t forget, Luongo was once the captain of an NHL team. That’s how much respect and influence that guy has.


The Panthers were without Aaron Ekblad last night after being hit from behind the other night in Edmonton. The official word is that Ekblad is day-to-day with an upper-body injury.

Ekblad was missed as the Panthers turned to a four-forward look on their lone power play of the night with Brian Campbell as the lone defenseman. Campbell is nice but power plays seem to really require that booming shot from the point these days.

Jonathan Huberdeau scored his third goal in the last four games. He has six goals since the start of December after scoring just one in the first two months of the season. Kudos to Huberdeau for shooting the puck more as he is on pace for 192 SOG.

Adam Gretz looks at why the Panthers have been one of the hottest teams in the league:

And while Barkov and Huberdeau are both excellent young players, Jagr is still the guy that is driving the bus for this group. Since the start of last season when Barkov and Huberdeau have been on the ice with any other winger that isn't Jagr, their goal advantage drops down to 17-11 (still very good) while their shots percentage drops to a dismal 46.6 percent. If you look at their numbers from only this season without Jagr, they are even worse (in what is an admittedly small sample size)


Another four-point effort for Anze Kopitar. What a beauty. After a brutal start in which Kopitar scored just three points in 10 October games, Kopitar has 32 points in the last 32 games and he will probably score 40 in the next 40. This is especially true if he and Tyler Toffoli continue skating together.

The downside here is that Jeff Carter starts to go invisible. He did skate 22 minutes in their overtime game against St. Louis the other night but otherwise has seen 14:24 and 13:25 in games since returning from injury. Maybe he is being eased back in but Carter is not skating on the top power-play unit, which hurts him tremendously.

Alec Martinez scored the game-winner to end a six-game scoreless drought. He is another King who if you eliminate October is doing great. Just one point in 10 October games. After that, Martinez has scored 14 in 32. Throw out the first month for the Kings who were just crap to start and this is a juggernaut.

Two assists last night thrusts Drew Doughty back on the path for a 50-point season. That would be his first 50-pointer since he broke out with 59 in his sophomore season. Remember when he broke out and we all thought he was going to be throwing up 60-pointers every other year? It’s been tough times.


Huge blow to the Leafs (see what I did there?) as James van Riemsdyk will miss the next 6-8 weeks with a broken foot.

The Leafs have recalled Josh Leivo who has 30 points in 35 AHL games this season so maybe he gets a shot. I’m looking for Joffrey Lupul to claim a larger role but wait and see where everyone plays.

Tyler Bozak is really hurt by this, as is PA Parenteau. JVR’s linemates will certainly miss him. Bump their season end total down 5-10 points because of this, unless Lupul or Leivo is a hit.

Read more on Leivo here.


Tough times on the injury front for the Blues as all of Jake Allen, Jay Bouwmeester, Carl Gunnarson and Magnus Paajarvi are week-to-week with injuries. Paul Stastny, meanwhile, is day-to-day but may be ready to go today.

Jordan Binnington is already up to replace Allen but we probably see a ton of Brian Elliott here. This might be the last hurrah for Elliott so if you have him, now is the time to make a trade push.

The Blues have recalled Ty Rattie and Chris Butler as well. Rattie is intriguing but we have never seen him get much of a chance to produce at the NHL level. Maybe now he gets his shot but it is unlikely.

Here’s what the Blues went with for practice lines yesterday:





Gotta love this spot for Jori Lehtera and Robbie Fabbri. I like it any time a guy gets a chance to skate with Vladimir Tarasenko but unlike Paajarvi, Fabbri has the juice to actually produce in this spot. And of course, we know the chemistry Tank and Lehtera have dating back to their KHL days.

This could all change if Stastny can get back into the lineup but it seems likely the Fabbri-Lehtera-Tarasenko line will stick for the near future as they skated together over the weekend.

All these defenseman injuries likely puts a hold on all these Kevin Shattenkirk rumours floating around. I can’t understand why the Blues would want to deal him anyway. We all know how important depth is come playoff time but Shattenkirk is more than depth, he’s a premiere puck-mover.

I do suppose that now is the time to move Shattenkirk if the Blues don’t think they’ll be keeping him past this contract. With one year left at a great number, Shattenkirk’s value is at its high point.


A couple of Jets injury notes:

Mark Scheifele will not play tonight and it looks like he is set to miss the next week.

Meanwhile, Mathieu Perreault does appear ready to go for tonight.


Really entertaining profile on Dallas Eakins, looking to take the slow road back to the NHL.


Thanks for reading. You can follow me on Twitter @SteveLaidlaw.