With six games on the NHL schedule tonight, let’s take a look at some of the more interesting matchups heading into tonight’s action. As always, be sure to check out our Starting Goalies section for all of your starting netminders.
Between splitting time in Europe and on the road, the Carolina Hurricanes will finally play in front of their home fans tonight, as they host the Washington Capitals at the RBC Center.
The big story for the Capitals over the past few games have been injuries to Mike Green and Semyon Varlamov. A team that once seemed to be fully loaded on at the defensive spot, has found itself struggling for healthy bodies. While Green is expected to play tonight without restrictions, Varly’s timetable for a return is unknown.
Rookie defenseman John Carlson has six points this season, but is also dealing with an injury, and is listed as day-to-day. His game status remains uncertain for tonight. Michal Neuvirth will get the starting nod tonight and has been excellent to start the year. He’s 5-2 with a 2.53 GAA and a .919 SV%. Alexander Semin, not Alex Ovechkin, leads the team in goals this season, but both Russians have eight total points.
The Canes have played well, but not great over their first seven games. Netminder Cam Ward has won his last two decisions while facing an average of 41 shots over his last two games. Captain Eric Staal has recorded four points over his last three games and has looked good on the line with winger Jussi Jokinen.
If you tune into this game, be sure to check out the play of 18-year old center Jeff Skinner. He continues to look great this season, averaging over sixteen minutes of ice time per game and has recorded two points over his last three games.
Next stop on the Daily Deke takes us to Montreal, where the Habs host the surprising New York Islanders. With everyone writing the Isles off before the season started, they’ve held their own in a tough division thus far. The Habs are playing their second game in as many days and come off an overtime thrilling win via the hands of Andrei Kostitsyn.
The Isles find themselves training the Pittsburgh Penguins in the Eastern Conference, but have played well thanks to the play of veteran netminder Dwayne Roloson and wingers Blake Comeau and PA Parenteau. Parenteau has collected eight points this season, and has currently recorded a point in his last four games. Roli get’s the starting nod tonight and while he was slated to help keep Rick DiPietro healthy with spot starts here and there, he now finds himself auditioning for the starting job. The veteran has won his last two starts, allowing just two goals on 60 total shots.
Winger Andrei Kostitsyn has been red-hot over his past four games. He’s collected six points during that time, including four goals and has also recorded back-to-back multi-point games over his last two. Not only did the Habs win last night in overtime, but they also received some good news regarding Andrei Markov, as the defenseman is likely to be returning to the lineup this weekend.
Carey Price will be making his ninth consecutive start tonight, and just when you thought he would play every game this season, the Habs announced that backup Alex Auld will play during the next game or two. Hopefully Price is starting to win Habs’ fans over again, as he’s collected four wins over his last five starts. Even better, Price has allowed just two goals over his last two games.
If you like scoring, then this next matchup is for you. Sidney Crosby and the Pens visit Tampa Bay to take on Steven Stamkos and the Bolts. Both teams have been lights-out to start the year, but both teams are coming off losses.
Everyone knows what Crosby can do, but have you seen the points the Pens’ defenseman have put up? Paul Martin and Alex Goligoski have seven points each over their first nine games. Marc-Andre Fleury finally put a “W” in his win column this season, but is still 1-3 with a 3.25 GAA and a .859 SV% to start the season. MAF will get another crack at it again tonight, as veteran Brent Johnson takes a night off.
It should be interesting to see how Crosby fares against his former coach, Guy Boucher, who took over the reigns in Tampa Bay.
Steven Stamkos leads the NHL in points this season and has been simply put – scary good so far. Stammer has collected a point in every contest except one this season, and has colelcted six points over his last three games. Netminder Mike Smith gets the starting nod tonight and although he’s 4-0 this season, don’t be fooled by his play. Smith has allowed 3.11 GA this season and has allowed six goals over his last two games. Dan Ellis hasn’t been much better, but I fully expect Ellis to overtake Smith as the number one goalie before it’s all said and done.
Our final matchup of the night concludes in Chicago, as the Los Angeles Kings pay visit to the United Center to take on the Chicago Blackhawks. For the Kings, it’s their second game in three days, and for the Hawks, they’re looking to end a two-game losing streak.
The Kings have been great in every department except the power play this season. After a slow offensive start for Anze Kopitar, he’s really come on over his last few games. Kopitar has recorded five points over his last four games and has netted goals in his last two contests, both being power play goals, which is good news for the Kings. Prospect Jonathan Bernier plays between the pipes tonight, giving Jonathan Quick a night off after a shootout win in Minnesota on Monday night.
Winger Dustin Brown, who was given a game misconduct for his hit on Monday night, won’t be facing a suspension, so be sure to have him active in your daily fantasy leagues. However, the Kings are still without defenseman Drew Doughty, who is still sidelined with concussion symptoms.
Chicago jumped out to an early 2-0 lead against Columbus, but were only disappointed to lose to the Blue Jackets 3-2. The Hawks will give the netminding job to Marty Turco for tonight’s contest with the hopes of Turco igniting another winning streak. Turco has won four of his last five starts while posting a 2.65 GAA this season. Patrick Sharp and Marian Hossa have eleven points a piece, but Hossa has went missing during the last three games, as he’s failed to record a point. Sharp on the other hand, is tied with Steven Stamkos for most goals int he league and has already recorded four multi-point games this season. Tomas Kopecky missed the Hawks last game due to an injury, but he appears likely to be good for this intense matchup.