Ramblings: McDavid bags Leafs, Eaves Hat-trick, Tavares Streaking (Feb. 12)

by steve laidlaw on February 12, 2016
  • Hockey Rambling
  • Ramblings: McDavid bags Leafs, Eaves Hat-trick, Tavares Streaking (Feb. 12)

Ramblings: McDavid bags Leafs, Eaves nets a hat-trick, Tavares streaking and more.

Ho hum, just a five-point night for Connor McDavid, no big deal. There should probably be some sort of tax for this coming against the Leafs’ skeleton squad with JVR and Bozak on IR, Nazem Kadri nursing a lower-body injury, Dion Phaneuf traded, etc. but no those points all count the same.

Jordan Eberle meanwhile, notched his first career hat-trick, while adding an assist and Benoit Pouliot had four assists.

That’s 12 points for McDavid in six games since returning from injury. Eberle and Pouliot have each scored 10 in that span.

Taylor Hall isn’t faring quite as well with the McDavid line running hot. Hall is now scoreless in four straight and he has just two assists in these six games with McDavid back in. He is also goalless in eight straight games and 14 of his last 15.

I’ve watched most of these games, and it’s not like Hall hasn’t had chances. He got robbed by poor Jonathan Bernier a couple of times last night. It should be mentioned that Hall saw just 14:08 last night as McDavid and Eberle took the majority of the power-play minutes skating 6:20 each with the man-advantage. But as I have pointed out before, Hall does most of his damage at even strength so losing PP time may not be as damaging to him as it would be to most players.

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Alexander Ovechkin had himself one of those nights that make him the #1 player in rotisserie leagues scoring a hat-trick with 10 SOG.

With the top line doing the heavy lifting Washington’s second line took a back seat for the first time in a while. Thus ends Andre Burakovsky’s eight-game scoring streak. He still has 14 points in the last 12 games.

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Zach Parise finally found some offense netting three assists. He has assists in three straight games.

Check out the Wild lines:

20.85%

EV

COYLE,CHARLIE – KOIVU,MIKKO – PARISE,ZACH

16.6%

EV

GRANLUND,MIKAEL – NIEDERREITER,NINO – POMINVILLE,JASON

13.9%

EV

FONTAINE,JUSTIN – HAULA,ERIK – VANEK,THOMAS

12.36%

EV

CARTER,RYAN – STOLL,JARRET – ZUCKER,JASON

5.41%

PP

COYLE,CHARLIE – KOIVU,MIKKO – PARISE,ZACH

 

I would only consider Parise, Mikko Koivu or Charlie Coyle off this team right now.

How buried is Jason Zucker skating on the fourth line and seeing just 7:34 for ice time? That’s damn near dead, buried, right there.

No Jared Spurgeon last night:

Can’t see him missing too much time. Matt Dumba reaped the rewards seeing top unit PP time and 24:26 overall, notching an assist and registering six SOG.

Dumba would do splendidly on a team that could give him more rope. I was listening to a Rob Vollman interview where he suggested a Loui Eriksson + sweetener for Dumba swap. Not the worst notion. I think most people are all waiting for the Wild to chase down Jonathan Drouin, however. If the Wild are willing to float Dumba out there, they will have no end of offers. And  sorry Oiler fans, you aren’t getting Dumba for Nail Yakupov.

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Another hat-trick to report on? Yes indeed. Patrick Eaves lit up the Blackhawks for three goals in the first period last night. Lindy Ruff is going through his annual Eaves phase. You could scoop him off the waiver wire if you want a brief boost but we know that this won’t last. Ruff will get bored of it or Eaves will get hurt (he always gets hurt) and that’ll be the end of it.

Eaves has points in four straight games of which Patrick Sharp has scored in none. Good time to make a pitch to the Sharp owner in your league.

I have been offered Sharp in a salary cap league and I’m not biting because of his contract. If all things were equal I would be all over the chance but the opportunity cost of having a 35-year-old with a $5.9M cap hit for next season just isn’t something I want a part of when I could presumably use my cap space on someone younger or hell, two cheaper but more productive players on the aggregate.

John Klingberg goals in December and January combined: one.

Klingberg goals in five February games: four.

That’s one way to break a slump. Klingberg is back into a tie with Brent Burns for second in defenseman scoring and all of this with Jason Spezza out of the lineup.

Back-to-back wins for Kari Lehtonen in which he faced 40 or more shots. I mention this because it is impressive but I certainly don’t think it means he is taking over the crease. The Stars net is a teeter-totter of mediocrity.

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No Artemi Panarin for the second straight game due to illness. Does the Breadman have a yeast infection?

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It might be happening, folks. John Tavares might finally be getting his shit together. He has points in four straight and nine of the last 11 games. He has five goals and 14 points in those 11 games. I’m not saying he will sustain this pace for the rest of the season but if he can that’ll get him to 80 for the season – he has 43 in 50 right now.

Johnny Boychuk has two goals in four games since returning to the lineup. Not bad for a guy coming off of a shoulder injury. Of course, it’s still Nick Leddy manning the point on the top power-play unit.

Leddy had an assist by the way. He has 15 points in his last 18 games and is available in 46% of Yahoo! leagues.

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With Jonathan Quick day-to-day Peter Budaj was called up on an emergency basis. Jhonas Enroth got the start, however, and while he has been good for the Kings he was not so much last night stopping 25 of 29.

No specifics on Quick but here’s the play where he got hurt on Tuesday.

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John Tortorella promised to get former 70-point scorer Nick Foligno more involved before last night’s game and more involved he was. Two assists for Foligno, his first points since before the All-Star break. He skated over 20 minutes for the first time since January 5th. It was an overtime contest so factor that in. Also, Foligno was still skating on the third line with William Karlsson and Matt Calvert so the situation isn’t perfect.

Foligno did have a nice run in December and into early January before an injury shelved him for two weeks. These are the first signs of life since returning from that injury.

The Blue Jackets extended Ryan Murray with a two-year bridge deal worth $2.825 annually. Apparently, Murray is one of just three Blue Jackets to dress for every game this season, which is a nice change considering all the time he has missed through the first few years of his career. Not sure he ever achieves universal fantasy relevance but it’s nice to see he is finally fitting in.

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Chris Stewart had an assist in just 9:07 of ice time. He left the game with an upper-body injury after fighting Dalton Prout and did not return. Concussion?

Stewart has been intriguing skating alongside Ryan Getzlaf and David Perron the past couple of weeks.

Perron, by the way, had a goal and an assist after going scoreless in the previous three games. He has 10 points in 10 games with the Ducks but we are starting to see some signs of fading. Maybe time to cycle to the next hot option.

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Don’t look now but Jarome Iginla has points in four straight games capped off by last night’s three-point performance. He led all Avalanche players with 3:20 on the power play as he double-dipped skating on both units. This is not a trend, however so do not be seduced. Iginla will be lucky if he gets to 50 this season.

Remember how awesome it was when Patrick Roy loaded up the Avalanche top line with Nathan MacKinnon, Matt Duchene and Gabriel Landeskog? This monstrosity of a lineup is the opposite of that awesomeness:

24.02%

EV

MACKINNON,NATHAN – MCLEOD,CODY – TANGUAY,ALEX

17.32%

EV

COMEAU,BLAKE – LANDESKOG,GABRIEL – SODERBERG,CARL

15.35%

EV

IGINLA,JAROME – MARTINSEN,ANDREAS – WAGNER,CHRIS

13.78%

EV

DUCHENE,MATT – GRIGORENKO,MIKHAIL – MITCHELL,JOHN

 

I am a fan of Roy as a coach but I cannot defend what he has going here even if it was a winning lineup last night.

Since their torrid November Duchene has 21 points in 33 games, Landeskog has 17 in 31 and MacKinnon has 20 in 33. The Avalanche are 19-11-3 in those games and are back in the playoff hunt. Sadly, the trio going off isn’t necessarily making for a winning team so the madness prevails.

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Also double-dipping was Dion Phaneuf skating 3:48 on the power play second only to Erik Karlsson. They both had a pair of power-play assists.

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Michal Neuvirth was activated off of IR but Steve Mason got the start again for Philly last night. Good move as he stopped 41 of 42 for the win. Mason has played well lately so it’s tough to see Neuvirth regaining the starting gig that he had won ever so briefly. Story of Neuvirth’s career, injuries always derailing him.

Last night Radko Gudas gave you 17 PIM, four hits and six blocks. The huge PIM totals thanks to a five-minute major for charging coupled with two fights. Look at this predatory hit on Daniel Catenacci. Once upon a time Gudas would have been celebrated for that hit. It is no longer that time. Look for a suspension coming here, this is not his first incident.

As much fun as a player like this is to own in a rotisserie league I am not sure he belongs in the real NHL. These incidents are coming all too frequently and he doesn’t do enough otherwise to warrant keeping around. Sure, the Flyers have a roster spot for him but they haven’t had a good group of defensemen in years.

Matt Read was a healthy scratch last night after being held scoreless in three straight Flyer losses. With the Flyers getting a win, you wonder if they don’t run back their forward group once again:

20.35%

EV

COUSINS,NICK – RAFFL,MICHAEL – SCHENN,BRAYDEN

16.14%

EV

BELLEMARE,PIERRE-EDOUARD – VANDEVELDE,CHRIS – WHITE,RYAN

16.14%

EV

GAGNER,SAM – UMBERGER,R.J. – WEAL,JORDAN

15.79%

EV

GIROUX,CLAUDE – SIMMONDS,WAYNE – VORACEK,JAKUB

 

Nick Cousins scored the first goal of his NHL career in a two-point night centering the second line. He saw just 10:46 of ice time but skating with a hot Brayden Schenn is a decent spot to be in.

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The Sabres’ Catenacci left the game and entered the concussion protocol. No word on how long he’ll be out for.

Justin Bailey made his debut for the Sabres skating 11:54. He was a minus-two but also landed seven SOG, which is rather impressive especially in the limited ice time he saw. I’d show you the Sabres’ lines but they were basically tossed in the blender last night. No discernable pattern.

 

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The Canadiens have placed Jeff Petry on IR. No timeline for his return but you have to figure at least a week with this designation.

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Jason Garrison will miss the next three to five weeks with a lower-body injury. This thrusts the Lightning’s need to add to their blueline into the limelight. Last season they dealt with some injuries on the back end and ended up with eight able-bodied defensemen come playoff time. Look for them to go a similar route because you cannot overstate how important depth is in the playoffs.

The scuttlebutt is that the Lightning are continuing to push to bring Cody Ceci back in a Jonathan Drouin trade. Maybe acquiring Dion Phaneuf loosens the Senators up a bit on that front. Whether they can make it work or not will be interesting but this really highlights what I felt was the biggest mistake of the draft 2013 draft: when the Lightning chose Drouin ahead of Seth Jones.

Now, maybe the presence of Jones leads the Lightning to never signing Anton Stralman, which would leave them approximately where they are today but there are endless “what ifs?” regarding that draft decision, especially now that Jones has been dealt from Nashville for Ryan Johansen.

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It sounds like Erik Gudbranson and Aleksander Barkov will miss the next two games for Florida but the Panthers are hopeful they will be ready to play on Monday.

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This is great, Doug MacLean explains why he took Gilbert Brule instead of Anze Kopitar at the 2005 NHL entry draft.

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Make sure you check out the latest prospect ramblings over at Dobber Prospects.

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Dobber’s latest for Puck Daddy looks at some studs and duds from around the league.

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TSN ranks the top 50 NHL-affiliated prospects.

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Thanks for reading. You can follow me @SteveLaidlaw.