The NHL is back at it tonight with six games on the schedule. Here are some notes and comments on tonight’s matchups. As always, be sure to check out the Starting Goalies section and the Team Lineup pages. Both are updated throughout the day.
The night kicks off with an interesting mactup as the New York Rangers visit the Philadelphia Flyers. As most hockey fans remember, the last time the Rangers visited Philly, things did not end well. With this on their mind, expect the Rangers to come out swinging.
Both teams will be playing their “top” guy in net tonight, as Henrik Lundqvist and Sergei Bobrovsky are expected to start. Ryan Callahan, Artem Anisimov and Brandon Dubinsky have carried the Rangers offense thus far, with Callahan leading the team in point with thirteen and Callahan leading the team in goals scored with seven. The Flyers have found offense from most of their lines this season, but Claude Giroux stands out as the game changer for the Flyers this season. He has scored four goals over his past five games and has also collected seven points during the same time frame.
The big news in from the Columbus Blue Jackets/Atlanta Thrashers matchup is that netminder Mathieu Garon has helped a once struggling team pull within a point of first place in the Central division. With goalie Steve Mason struggling this season, Garon finds himself starting for the second consecutive time and is fresh off a 29 save shutout of the Montreal Canadians. Garon is 3-0-0 this season with a 1.15 GAA and a .957 SV%. For the Thrashers, Niclas Bergfors is rebounding nicely after a slow start. The 23-year old has scored a goal in his last four games and has six points over his last five games.
After compiling 20 points from their first line consisting of Joe Thornton, Dany Heatley, and Patrick Marleau, the Sharks were shutdown by the Minnesota Wild on Tuesday. Heatley has been busy in the scoring department this season, collecting three power play goals and tallying nine points over his last five games.
The scoring Sharks will have their work cut out for them tonight, as they’ll be facing one of the hottest netminders in the NHL right now, Jaroslav Halak. Halak has won his last four starts and has allowed a total of five goals over those four starts. Two of the four starts were shutouts, which came against the Pittsburgh Penguins and the Nashville Predators. Good news for the Blues, as defenseman Erik Johnson appears to be o.k. after an injury in practice, but he’s a definite go for tonight’s game.
The Vancouver Canucks will visit the Colorado Avalanche in Denver tonight, looking to secure their fifth straight win. While Robert Luongo is 3-0-1 with a 1.75 GAA and a .945 SV% over his last four games, Cory Schneider gets the nod tonight. Schneider has played well as a backup role this season, winning his only two starts and posting a 0.86 GAA and a .968 SV%. In his one career start against the Avs, Cory is 0-0-1 with a 3.69 GAA and a .886 SV%.
Chris Stewart of the Avs has been playing as good as anyone in the NHL this season and is more and more becoming a household name. Over this last five games, Stewart has nine points and has scored four goals in his last two games. In 11 career games against the Canucks, Stewart has one goal, three assists, and a plus-minus rating of minus-5.
Our game of the night takes us to the Staples Center in Los Angeles where the Tampa Bay Lightning take on the Kings. The Bolts suffered a disappointing loss to the Anaheim Ducks last night in overtime, but I fully expect them to be full of energy again against the first place Kings. On an interesting note, Steven Stamkos and Drew Doughty will face off tonight and they were selected 1st and 2nd overall during the 2008 NHL Draft. Speaking of Doughty, he’s a go for tonight and you can expect him to be 100 percent.
While Stamkos leads the world in scoring right now and it simply appears he shows zero signs of slowing down, his linemate Martin St. Louis also looks pretty good, posting seven points over his last five games including three goals of his own. Kings center Jarret Stoll has quietly posted big numbers for the offense this season, collecting two goals and a total of six points over his last five games.
Well that wraps up what should be an action-packed night of hockey. Be sure to check us all day as we bring you the most relevant fantasy hockey news possible. You can follow us on twitter @dailyfaceoff as we will continue to bring you information on starting goalies, team lineups and major injury updates as well as provide in-depth injury updates and player rankings in the future.