Last night's action featured a lot of firsts for rookie defencemen and that's exciting so let's get to it.
Pittsburgh Penguins' freshman blueliner Brian Dumoulin nabbed his first NHL assist when his point shot was deflected into the net. His powerplay time came at the expense of fellow rookie Olli Maatta (with Kris Letang and Paul Martin on the IR), but Maatta owners needn't worry long-term as Maatta is the stronger and younger prospect.
Congrats to Morgan Rielly on his first NHL goal. The Toronto Maple Leafs' fifth-overall pick in 2012 (Brian Burke had him first, guys) is a top prospect that has struggled to crack the line-up this season, but this should help his cause. Toronto's blueline is deep from a fantasy perspective: on the power play Dion Phaneuf and Cody Franson ate up over five minutes each while Rielly and Jake Gardiner garnered over three minutes each. Poor John-Michael Liles - can't recommend owning him unless (or until?) he's traded.
If you're a fan of peripherals, you could do a lot worse last night than Robert Bortuzzo: 1A, +2, 7 PIMs, 2 shots, 6 hits.
Sidney Crosby scored a goal to run his streak to seven games (11 points). Crosby has been solid this season, but fantasy owners were probably hoping for a little more from a finally healthy (knock on wood) Best Player In The World.
Marc-Andre Fleury stopped 25 of 26 for the win.
Here's hoping you took advantage of your window of opportunity to buy low on Evander Kane. After missing six games Kane returned with a goal, an assist, a chip on his shoulder, +2, six shots and two blocked shots.
Mark Scheifele also filled the scoresheet (1G, +2, 2 PIMs, 4 shots, 2 hits). His stats on the year are somewhat disappointing with only 13 points in 35 games, but eight of those points have come in the last 11 games, all one-point efforts, so he's finding some consistency. Bryan Little scored a powerplay marker for the Winnipeg Jets, while RJ Umberger and Fedor Tyutin answered for the Columbus Blue Jackets.
Ryan Johansen notched a helper to run his streak to eight games and 11 points. He led all #Lumbus forwards in ice time and played in all situations. The 21-year-old has emerged as a force in fantasy hockey and ice hockey alike, so if you were patient with him in a keeper league, you can officially begin gloating now, assuming you haven't already.
Bobby Ryan continued his dominance over the St. Louis Blues (26 points in 19 career games) with a goal and an assist. He and Kyle Turris (one assist) are playing well together this season, allowing Ryan to overtake Erik Karlsson for the Ottawa Senators' scoring lead with 32 in 35.
Cody Ceci is another rookie blueliner who scored his first NHL goal last night - an overtime game-winner for his home-town team in front of his friends and family, so if you are in a fantasy league that awards points for overdone-but-nonetheless-endearing narratives, you just earned some serious points my friend. Ceci featured on the powerplay for fewer minutes than Karlsson but more than Patrick Wiercioch, which feels about right. This was his third game and he's one to own in keeper leagues as his AHL play has been very solid for a rookie, and last night's goal was just resplendent. Jean-Gabriel Pageau scored the other Sens goal.
Chris Stewart scored two in the second. He's a streaky player who has been switched to "on" right now with four goals and five points in his last three games after six pointless games - make sure he's activated on your roster. His frequent linemates Vladimir Sobotka and Jaden Schwartz were out so he lined up beside Derek Roy instead, and Roy assisted on both goals - a great breakaway feed on the first and a smart pass from behind the net on the second.
Paul Stastny woke up this morning and thought it was 2006, as he put up two goals and two assists like it was something you'd expect of Paul Stastny. Let's hope he doesn't notice the nine-game pointless super-slump he just busted and realize it's 2013. Other Colorado Avalanche notables: P.A. Parenteau: 3A; Matt Duchene: 2A, 7 shots; Nathan MacKinnon: 1G, 7 shots).
Sergei Gonchar played over six minutes with the advantage and earned an assist, bringing him up to ten points on the year, six of which have come in the last four games. His shots are down this year and he hasn't found the net yet so a prudent approach is to wait and see before deciding whether this 39 year-old truly has truly returned to form. Then again, 'prudent' doesn't win a lot of hockey pools.
Late update: Continuing the theme, defenceman Kevin Connauton scored his first NHL goal for Dallas. If Kevin Connauton is on your fantasy radar, your fantasy radar is probably too sensitive.