Ramblings: The New York Islanders – get’em while they’re hot

***

The Midseason Guide is still available and can still help you! Besides the second-half projections, this beauty will also have players on the trade block (and what it means), prospects ready to make the jump for a dozen games down the stretch, the lowdown on undrafted or unsigned free agents (both in college and in Europe) and much more. Order it here

*

SERVER UPDATE! Take this for what it’s worth, given the false alarm I had on this 10 days ago – but we have tentatively set a target time of Thursday night to move the sites over to the new server. When that happens, all sites will be down for two hours and when they are back up I’m sure some of the functions on Frozen Pool will be broken. We’ll work quickly to fix.

Of course, if this gets delayed again then I’ll relay to you what happened in the Monday Ramblings.

*

So who gambled on Carter Hutton against the Penguins? Yeah right.

The Pens scored 23 goals over their prior four games, but Hutton – he of the 20-game 0.892 SV% going in – shut them out. Go figure. Hutton’s SV% is now at .901 vs. Allen’s 0.897. At this point, Ken Hitchcock sees the danger of missing the playoffs and Hutton (though still terrible) is performing slightly better than Jake Allen. If Allen can’t string together wins soon then they may start leaning on Hutton. Allen was given the night off last night. Completely. As in, he wasn’t even the backup.

David Perron has seven points in his last eight games, and 22 in his last 33 (55-point pace). So that’s his usual production rate, when you skip his time with Edmonton, Pittsburgh and Anaheim.

*

Alex Galchenyuk re-injured his knee and sat out last night. No word on how long he is out, but it’s obviously concerning. Here were the line combos without him:

#1 26.2% DANAULT,PHILLIP – PACIORETTY,MAX – RADULOV,ALEXANDER

#2 20% ANDRIGHETTO,SVEN – FLYNN,BRIAN – SHAW,ANDREW

#3 19.5% BYRON,PAUL – LEHKONEN,ARTTURI – PLEKANEC,TOMAS

#4 18.1% CARR,DANIEL – DE LA ROSE,JACOB – MITCHELL,TORREY

This puts Danault back in play for fantasy hockey purposes, though he wasn’t in on either of Radulov’s goals. He has 16 points in his last 23 games despite that. Most of his points this season have come while playing with Pacioretty.

*

Chad Johnson owners are in a bit of trouble. After getting rocked for four goals on just 21 shots on January 19, he got pulled quickly on the weekend when he gave up three goals on four shots. And now this. Last night he gave up five goals despite facing just 20 shots. Maybe his team needs to let him see more shots? His confidence may be shot – it adds up to 12 goals allowed on just 45 shots! His SV% has plummeted to 0.913, and that’s a backup goalie stat.

Brian Elliott has gone four games without a win, but at least three of those four games were reasonably adequate performances. Look for Elliott to start getting leaned on more.

*

The Islanders continue to win. Since firing the coach they are now 3-0-1 and have scored 13 goals while allowing seven. I’ve been pushing to get Thomas Greiss in my leagues and I think it would be wise if you did the same. The Isles are going to have a huge second half and he’s going to be ridden for a ton of games. That being said, they still won’t make the playoffs – too little, too late in my opinion.

John Tavares has six points in the four games with Doug Weight as coach, and he has 11 points in his last seven games in all. Climbing back into the scoring race, though much like his team there is still a ways to go. He played with Josh Bailey and Nikolay Kulemin last night, because Anders Lee was out with an illness.

It’s a shame about Lee because he has 22 points in his last 27 games (66-point pace) after kicking off the year with a very droppable two points in 18.

Bailey is one point shy of last year’s 81-game total (32). His career high is 41 points, which he should hit by mid-February.

*

The key to the Islanders win over the Blue Jackets? No penalties. The Jackets are lethal in the power-play department. So no power plays means no points for Sam Gagner.

The Isles had two quick goals early in the third which led to John Tortorella pulling Sergei Bobrovsky (four goals allowed on 24 shots). It was the third time this season that Bob had been pulled, with the last occasion coming when Washington snapped Columbus’ big winning streak.

*

Speaking of Washington and streaks – the Caps had their own streak snapped yesterday. Fourteen games without a regulation loss. And you could tell that Barry Trotz really wanted to keep it going – he gave Alex Ovechkin his most ice time he’s seen in seven weeks (21:02). That’s notable because Ovy’s ice time has been kept down this season to ensure that he’s fresh for the playoffs. Ovechkin also had an eight-game points streak that was snapped in the 3-0 loss.

And kudos to Sens goalie Mike Condon who bounced back huge after giving up seven goals just two days earlier. To come back and get a shutout against one of the league’s best teams – while facing over eight minutes of Ovechkin on the power play – is impressive.

*

Patrick Marleau scored again, following up his four-goal game. With 17 now he’s got an outside shot at getting his eighth career 30-goal season. That would be great for his pocketbook, as blind GM’s won’t recognize the eroding skills and sign him to something silly in the summer when he’s a free agent. Marleau’s SH% is ridiculously high at 14.5%, and he’s tracking to finish with just 13 assists.

Lost in the Marleau madness is the fact that Marc-Edouard Vlasic (circa 2015-16) is back. I suspect he was playing injured throughout November and/or facing some poor puck luck. Because under Peter DeBoer his job description has changed for the better (for fantasy hockey). And my faith in this had faltered after his first 31 games (seven points). That was production not unlike the Vlasic of old. But he has nine points in his last 13 contests, which is about what he was doing (maybe a little higher) over the course of 91 regular season and playoff games (51 points) last year. Anyway, if you drafted and later dropped Vlasic expecting ‘X’ points from him – well, he’s getting ‘X’ points now and I think he’ll continue as long as he stays healthy.

*

Patrik Laine was back in the lineup for the Jets. And he was back with Mark Scheifele and Nik Ehlers

Ondrej Pavelec got the start again and I bet Winnipeg brass cringed on that last Marleau goal. The Jets were down 3-2 and had Pavelec held them in it and stopped everything in the second half of the third, well then he’d have some market value. NHL GM’s are looking for any sign of clutch play – they want to find sneaky-good value in a goalie who is being misused. Instead, they saw a goalie who deserved his stint in the minors.

*

Andrei Vasilevskiy had a huge confidence boost last night in a 5-2 come-from-behind win. He had lost six consecutive starts but then last game came on in relief of Ben Bishop and stopped all six shots. And then last night Vasilevskiy got the win. This, after I confidently dressed Bishop for the week believing that he had re-emerged as the top goalie for TB. So the questions in net will continue for this team…

*

Artemi Panarin has just six points in his last 12 games. But one of those points, an assist, came last night. An even better sign that he is shaking his slump – he had a season-high seven shots on goal.

Jonathan Toews again played with Richard Panik and Ryan Hartman, and he continued his hot hand with another two points. But his line was on the ice for four of Tampa’s goals, so perhaps Coach Quenneville does some more fiddling.

*

Six points in four games for Patrick Eaves. He scored the tying goal and a shootout goal on 18:20 of ice time (and 4:51 of PP time). He is two points shy of his career high – and not to curse him, but he still hasn’t been hurt yet. Perhaps this is the year? With three more goals and three more points he will have 21 and 33, which would each be career bests.

Here were Dallas’ line combos last night:

#1           25.7%    BENN,JAMIE – EAKIN,CODY – EAVES,PATRICK

#2           19%        ROUSSEL,ANTOINE – SEGUIN,TYLER – SPEZZA,JASON

#3           18.1%    KORPIKOSKI,LAURI – SHARP,PATRICK – SHORE,DEVIN

#4           17.6%    CRACKNELL,ADAM – MCKENZIE,CURTIS – RITCHIE,BRETT

*

Jared Coreau faced an astounding 49 shots on goal last night, so it’s no wonder that he took the OT loss. He had only faced 37 shots in his prior two starts combined.

*

Evander Kane took 14 shots on goal in his last two games, to go with his three assists and plus-4 rating. He’s playing with Brian Gionta and Zemgus Girgensons and it’s almost as if he’s trying to earn his way backup to the top line with Eichel.

Speaking of Eichel… hoo boy…