October 13 2015

by Ian Gooding on October 13, 2015

Bumbling Bruins and Blue Jackets, thoughts on 3-on-3, injury updates, plus more.

I carved a Halloween pumpkin today. Then I looked at Tuukka Rask’s stats over his first three games. Both are frightening.

My keeper goalie for my Industry Experts team, Rask was lit up for six goals on 23 shots to the Lightning on Monday. That brings his total to 14 goals allowed over three games, which calculates to a 4.72 goals-against average and a .846 save percentage. And oh yeah, the Bruins dropped their first three games – all at home – and now they play their next 8 of 11 games on the road. I don’t recommend giving up on top-level talent this early, even if the Bruins’ situation is difficult to stomach.

If there’s any sort of silver lining, it’s that Zdeno Chara returned to the lineup on Monday. Held without a point with a -2 in 21 minutes of icetime, he’s too far past his prime to get it all done himself. Chara’s return means that recently waived Matt Irwin (no points, -5) is off to the AHL. This is not an experienced defense, which could make life difficult for Rask.

Another bright spot for the Bruins was the power play. The B’s scored all three of their goals on the power play, with David Krejci and Torey Krug each collecting three power-play points and Loui Eriksson scoring two power-play goals. All are mainstays on the Bruins’ first power-play unit.

POWER PLAY

#1           35%       BERGERON,PATRICE – ERIKSSON,LOUI – KREJCI,DAVID – SPOONER,RYAN

#1           60%        KRUG,TOREY

In spite of what appears to be a long road ahead, there is still some fantasy value to be had on this team. With Dougie Hamilton out of the picture, Krug’s icetime is going to shoot through the roof, as it is already up nearly five minutes per game from last season. As well, fantasy owners seemed to shy away from Krejci in drafts, but he has five points in three games so far. Even-strength linemate David Pastrnak was held without a point on Monday, but he also has three points in three games. With no Brad Marchand in the lineup at the moment, expect the young Pastrnak to be leaned on more heavily.

EVEN STRENGTH

#1

  22.6%

BELESKEY,MATT – KREJCI,DAVID – PASTRNAK,DAVID

*

It seems as though the Blue Jackets begin almost every season as if they are an expansion team that can’t keep up with the rest of the NHL. I didn’t think that would be the case again this season, as I agreed with most of the Dobber preseason panel that they would make the playoffs. Yet here they are in a familiar spot, 0-3 after a loss to the Sabres in a battle of winless teams.

If you found my piece over at Sportsnet, I recommended Bobrovsky this week. So my apologies after the 4-2 loss. Like Rask, Bobrovsky has had his struggles early on, allowing four goals in each of his first three games. His goals-against average stands at a horrific 4.65, while his save percentage is a scary .850. Again, stay the course. I wouldn’t have suggested Bob this week on my Sportsnet piece if his schedule wasn’t favorable.

From that game, here’s Jack Eichel’s second NHL goal, scored on Bobrovsky right after picking Boone Jenner’s pocket.

*

John Tavares scored a goal and added two assists in the Islanders’ 4-2 win over Winnipeg. Not much to add here about Tavares – you know that’s what he’s all about.

But I’ll provide something else about the Islanders: You may want to add Thomas Greiss to your “goalies to start” list for the week. Greiss started his second game of the season, earning his first win. There don’t seem to be any recent updates on Jaroslav Halak’s status, so Greiss should be the starter for the immediate future. The Islanders play two more games this week (home dates against Nashville and San Jose), so feel free to add him if you are in a goaltending pinch.

*

In his Monday Ramblings, Dobber thought that Sam Gagner deserved a chance to be in the Flyers’ lineup after missing the first two games as a healthy scratch. That made sense, considering that a shakeup was needed after the Flyers were handed their lunch by the Panthers to the tune of 7-1 on Saturday. So guess who was in the lineup for the rematch and assisted on the game’s only goal?

Gagner only played 15 minutes in this game, assisting on Brayden Schenn’s goal. I’m thinking if that Gagner doesn’t have decent linemates, his fantasy value will be minimal and he may end up as a healthy scratch again.

Steve Mason missed this game because of a “personal matter,” so Michal Neuvirth picked up the shutout. I also had Mason as a potential sit for the Sportsnet piece, and that was even before the news on Monday. According to CBS Miami, Mason’s absence is not expected to be long-term, but it’s not known which goalie will start on Wednesday.

*

Rookie Robby Fabbri is out indefinitely with a concussion and has not joined the Blues on their Western Canada road trip. Either Scottie Upshall or Scott Gomez is expected to draw into the lineup to replace Fabbri (St. Louis Post-Dispatch).

So far Fabbri has had solid linemates in Jaden Schwartz and Jori Lehtera. Assuming he is back with those linemates, he would be a player who should be owned in more than 2 percent of Yahoo leagues.  

*

The Canucks/Ducks game was fairly dull for 60 minutes. Not much happening from both a real-life and a fantasy perspective. Kevin Bieksa was facing his former mates for the first time. That’s about it.

But 3-on-3 overtime sure grabs everyone’s attention these days. The shine will probably wear off at some point, but right now it looks like the greatest invention since hockey itself and perhaps even the wheel. Okay, I’m overstating just a little here. But you get the idea.

A couple of scenarios that I hadn’t seen in my limited exposure to 3-on-3 overtime played out tonight. First, what happens when a team takes a penalty, as Alexander Edler did in this game? The answer is a 4-on-3 power play (but wouldn’t a 3-on-2 power play be something to watch?) Second, what happens when a player returns to the ice from a penalty during overtime? The answer is that the teams play 4-on-4 overtime until the next whistle, then return to 3-on-3. Wouldn’t that be funny watching a team set up on the power play, yet have someone skate off right in the middle of a scoring chance.

In case you were wondering, it is possible for teams to play 3-on-3 OT for five minutes and not score. The Ducks could not capitalize on their power play, and they ended up losing to the Canucks in the shootout.

Ryan Miller looked great in this game, stopping 28 of 29 shots he faced plus 2 of 3 in the shootout. With him on a roll to start the season (1.60 GAA, .948 SV%), don’t be surprised if he starts again on Tuesday night in Los Angeles. Jacob Markstrom is sidelined with a hamstring issue, so journeyman Richard Bachman is currently the Canucks’ backup. But remember to check Goalie Post for updates on the Canucks’ goaltending situation as well as for the rest of the league.

Thanks for reading, and enjoy your Tuesday.