Daily Deke: Bruins & Pens matchup; St. Louis is rolling

Updated: November 11, 2010 at 6:52 am by Reggie Yinger

After seven games last night, the NHL is back at it with six games scheduled tonight.  Be sure to check out the Starting Goalies and Team Lineups page.  Both are updated continuously throughout the day, giving you the most accurate information on the internet.

New Jersey and Buffalo will start their backup goalies tonight, as both of their current starters are out with injuries.  Ryan Miller has missed three games for Buffalo and Martin Brodeur has missed just one game for the Devils.  Both are expected back in action later in the week.  Sabres’ winger Thomas Vanek has struggled along with the rest of Buffalo this season, collecting just seven points over his first 15 games, but hasn’t recorded a point in his last five games.

Hockey fans should expect a physical matchup when the Penguins and Bruins square off tonight in Pittsburgh.  Along with a good matchup, fans can expect some fireworks based on last year’s hit from Matt Cooke to Marc Savard.  This year, the newest acquisition, Nathan Horton, has quickly adjusted well to Boston, collecting 11 points over his first 11 games.  The Bruins had a terrific top line of Horton, Milan Lucic and David Krejci, but those plains were halted when Krejci suffered a concussion last weekend.  Blake Wheeler moves from the wing position to the center spot with the team making some other changes. Here are the updated lines for the Bruins.  Keep in mind Michael Ryder may or may not play tonight which would give way to rookie Jamie Arniel making his debut.  Netminder Tim Thomas is still undefeated this season despite allowing three goals on 25 shots against the Capitals during his last outing.  Thomas is first in the NHL in GAA with 1.05 and first in the NHL in SV% with a .967 SV%.

Pittsburgh is still searching for answers regarding the play of netminder Marc-Andre Fleury this season.  Fleury is 1-6-0 this season with a 3.55 GAA and is winless in his last four starts and more recently, he was yanked in favor of Brent Johnson after allowing two goals on five shots against the Phoenix Coyotes.  Johnson will get the nod tonight and is 4-3-1 during eight career games against the Bruins with a 2.95 GAA and .906 SV%.  Defenseman Kris Letang is averaging 0.87 points a game this season and has complimented Sidney Crosby well thus far.

Jaroslav Halak is proving that last season’s palyoff run was no fluke.  The recently acquired netminder for St. Louis is 8-1-1 this season with a 1.46 GAA and will be facing a Columbus Blue Jackets offense that is generating 2.38 goals per game this year.  With winger David Perron out with a concussion, the Blues have searched for guys to step up and Alexander Steen has done just that.  Steen has collected six points over his last five games, including scoring the only two goals in his last contest against the Rangers.

Columbus appears likely to send struggling netminder Steve Mason up against the Blues tonight.  Mason has not started the last three games for Columbus, giving way to the hot hand of Mathieu Garon, who is 4-1-0 this season with a 1.28 GAA.  Derick Brassard, who was featured in this week’s Crashing the Net waiver wire pickups, continues to tear things up with the top line of Rick Nash and Jakub Voracek.  Brassard has collected points in each of his last seven games and has also scored three goals in his last five played.

Patrick Kane and the Blackhawks currently have a three-game losing streak at home this season and will look to rectify the situation when they hose the Coyotes tonight.  Marian Hossa has returned for the Hawks, logging over 21 minutes during his return against the Oilers.  After scoring in four straight games at one point this season, Patrick Sharp has failed to score in his five games.  Marty Turco, who is listed in the top ten in shots against and saves this season, has a career 18-14-2 record against Phoenix with a 2.32 GAA and a .905 SV%.

The Ducks will host the struggling Islanders this season after coming off a huge overtime win against the Sharks thanks to a Lubomir Visnovsky goal.  Speaking of Lubomir, he’s scored in his last two games while collecting six points over his last four games.  Fantasy owners should expect a big game from Teemu Selanne against the Isles tonight.  In 20 career regular season games, Selanne has 18 points (eight goals) and a plus-minus rating of plus-3.

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Reggie Yinger

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