The NHL kicks off the weekend with 11 games on tap for this evening. We’ll take a look at some notes and comments surrounding these matchups.
Ottawa travels to Boston to take on the Bruins and have quietly been a surprise team in the month of November, winning four of their last five games. They’ll get some help on defense, as Filip Kuba returns to the lineup, who has yet to play this season after breaking his leg in training camp. Here are the updated lines with Kuba in the mix. Brian Elliott is back in between the pipes after a night off; after winning his last four meetings and has posted a 1.75 GAA during those four straight wins.
After watching Tuukka Rask lose his fifth consecutive start of the season, the Bruins will go with Tim Thomas, who has yet to lose a game this season. Thomas is 17-7-2 with a 2.01 GAA and a .934 SV% against the Sens during his career. Timmy T has also shut the Sens out this season already, adding to his total of five shutouts against Ottawa. David Krejci is still out for Boston with concussion symptoms.
Washington takes their six game win streak on the road this evening as they head to Buffalo to face the Sabres. Alexander Semin will look to improve upon his already fantastic week, as he’s collected four goals and seven points in his past three games. Semin will see what he can do against netminder Ryan Miller, who is expected to play between the pipes for the first time in two weeks. Career against the Caps, Miller is 10-6-0 with a 2.55 GAA and a .915 SV%. The Caps enter this game leading the entire hockey world with a total of 3.56 goals per game.
Daniel Sedin and Henrik Sedin each have 18 points apiece this season for the Canucks and fantasy owners love seeing one of them score because you usually know that whichever brother doesn’t score, the other will have the assist. Roberto Luongo will have another start, after winning four of his last five games.
Having scored just three goals over their last three games, the Toronto Maple Leafs have lost seven straight games. Searching for something new, the team recalled Nazem Kadri and Keith Aulie on Friday. Here are the updated lines with the rookies in the linuep.
Hoping for a bounce-back game, the Carolina Hurricanes travel to Montreal to take on the Habs. The Canes were stomped at home by the Flyers earlier in the week, so expect them to play aggressively against the Canadiens on the road tonight. Jeff Skinner and captain Eric Staal have identical stat lines right now, with each having 16 GP, six goals, nine assists, and a plus-minus rating of minus-3. Netminder Cam Ward was pulled early in the second period against the Flyers but has pretty good numbers against the Habs, especially while playing at the Bell Centre going 6-0-1 with a 1.55 GAA and a .950 SV%.
The Habs are riding a huge momentum boost after their shutout of the Vancouver Canucks and win over the Boston Bruins this week. Carey Price continues to silence his critics after his performances over his past two games. After a 34 save shutout performance against the Canucks, Price won his other start against the Bruins with another 34 save performance. Habs’ defenseman have gotten into the offensive mix over the past two games, as P.K. Subban, Andrei Markov, and Roman Hamrlik have all scored in their last two victories.
Scoring at will is something the Flyers have done all season long thus far, scoring 3.31 goals per game over their first 16 games. Besides Claude Giroux and Jeff Carter doing all the scoring, Ville Leino has chipped in with four points over his last five games. A lot of folks talk about the great play of Michal Neuvirth from the Capitals this season, but Sergei Bobrovsky has created his own headlines this season. “Bob” will making his ninth consecutive start tonight and currently ranks sixth in the NHL with .931 SV% and seventh in the League with a 2.09 GAA. He’s also currently tied second with Jonathan Quick of the Kings in wins with nine.
Could this be the turn around that Marc-Andre Fleury needed? After a 15 save win over the Bolts last night, the Penguins head to Atlanta to take on the Thrashers. MAF is 9-4-0 with a 2.24 GAA and a .918 SV% against Atlanta during his career. Evgeni Malkin has been quiet this season by his standards in the stats section this year, but he’s enjoyed success against Atlanta in the past – posting 24 points over 16 games, including seven goals and a plus-minus rating of plus-9.
Colorado Avalanche players have been dropping like flies this season to the injury bug, but the team keeps winning. They’ll look to continue their winning theme against an old foe, the Detroit Red Wings. Peter Budaj has played well filling in for an injured Craig Anderson this season, posting a 5-2-1 record with a 2.61 GAA. Avs’ forward Chris Stewart continues to push his name to the top of the list in stat categories, collecting four points over his last five games.
Detroit has won four of it’s last five games and besides the offense from Dan Cleary and Pavel Datsyuk among others, netminder Jimmy Howard is playing like a top-five goalie this season. Howard, who has lost once this season, is 5-0-1 with a 2.30 GAA and a .920 SV% this season at home. During the Avs-Red Wings first meeting, Howard allowed four goals, but team fell during a shoot out to the Avs.
Dave Bolland is back for the Chicago Blackhawks tonight and the updated lines will look like this. Nashville is coming off a 3-2 SO win over the St. Louis Blues, but had lost five straight prior to that, but received some good news as winger Martin Erat and defenseman Ryan Suter will play for the Preds tonight.
Jaroslav Halak gets the night off, as Ty Conklin will start against the Coyotes tonight. The Blues are still adjusting to life without T.J. Oshie, but have some scoring lines that get the job done.
Wojtek Wolski was mentioned on last week’s Crashing the Net article as a possible pickup with Shane Doan out. Over his last five games, Wolski has collected four points. Ilya Bryzgalov has quietly carried the Yotes this season. He’s currently third in NHL in shots against (456) and saves (417). His success will determine the outcome for the Coyotes this season.
I said yesterday that if there was ever a game for Jarome Iginla to break out of his funk – it would be against the Phoenix Coyotes, well that didn’t happen. Iginla posted a plus-minus rating of minus-4 and didn’t record a shot on 16:47 of ice time last night. After an embarrassing lost on the road, the Flames will have another tough test of taking on San Jose at home.
While it appears as if Antero Niittymaki may have the number one job in San Jose, Antti Niemi will get the nod tonight against Calgary. Niemi has lost his last four, but hopefully he can get back on track against a slumping Flames team. Defenseman Kent Huskins is a go tonight after hurting his foot blocking a shot against the Isles during the last game.
Finally, the Los Angeles Kings host the New York Islanders at the Staples Center, where the Kings are 7-0-0 this season. It would seem to be popular opinion that the Kings will move to 8-0-0 at home give the fact that the Isles have lost nine straight games, but this could be a trap game for the Kings, as the Isles are hungry for any type of point in the standings. The Isles will have Rob Schremp back tonight, who has appeared in just three games this season due to a back injury. On a positive note for the Isles, defenseman James Wisniewski is currently eighth in the NHL among defenseman in total points with 12.
The second line for the Kings continues to carry the offense for the Kings this season thus far. Winger Justin Williams leads the team with 15 points and Jarret Stoll has 13 points and is currently second on the team in goals scored with five.
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