A fantasized look at the NHL action from Saturday night
Roller coaster season so far for Marc-Andre Fleury owners, but he only had to make 18 saves for the win in a game where Pittsburgh outshot the Devils almost two-to-one. In Fleury's three wins this year, he's allowed only one goal each game. In his two losses he's allowed five and four. Stop it.
After opening the year with three straight wins, Martin Brodeur has now lost three n a row. No coincidence that Kovalchuk has just one assist in the three losses. Kovy was an ugly minus-3 in yesterday's game and Brodeur took the 5-1 loss.
Sidney Crosby and Chris Kunitz have not lost that loving feeling. Each posted 1+2=3 and a plus-4 vs. the Devils. Crosby took it one step further for the fantasy line of the night, adding five shots, two hits, and winning 14 of 21 faceoffs.
Zach Boychuk logged 12 minutes of ice time and had one shot in his debut for the Penguins. The good news is he looked like a decent fit with Malkin and Neal, so expect that experiment to continue for at least another game or two. Boychuk has had some success producing in the AHL (16+16=32 in 37 games for Albany this year), so it will be interesting to see if he can take advantage here.
For the third time in four games, Alex Galchenyuk had two assists, and he's off to a great rookie start with seven points in seven games. He also had three shots, went 9-for-11 in face-offs while logging a season high 15:03 TOI. Welcome to the Calder race.
After going pointless in his first four games, Lars Eller had a nice little breakout with 1+2=3, plus-2, two PIM and three SOG. Rene Bourque and David Desharnais each had a pair of goals for the Camadiens.
P.K. Subban found the scoresheet in his first game back, with an assist, plus-1, three hits and two PIM in 18:02 TOI. He and Andrei Markov led the team in powerplay time with 6:39 and 6:31 respectively, so let's welcome Raphael Diaz back to relative fantasy irrelevancy...although he did still log 3:40 on the PP.
Continuing his flying start was Carey Price - he stopped 30 of 31 shots for his fifth consecutive win, and he appears to have stolen Henrik Lundqvist's peripherals with a 1.82 GAA and .932 SV% on the year so far.
Ryan Miller was pulled after four goals on 21 shots, and his owners have to be a little concerned as he's lost four of five with a 3.60 GAA and .892 SV% over that span.
Sam Gagner had an assist to continue his streak of at least a point in all eight games so far. Yakupov's addition is going to go a long way in curing Gagner's consistency issues.
Speaking of Yakupov...I hope Oilers fans will never forget the favor Nikolai Khabibulin did them in securing the pick that landed Yaks. He has five goals in seven games and in the last two games he's crept up over 16 minutes TOI.
Paul Stastny with the empty netter and just like that, three goals on ten shots in his last two games. This after one assist in six games to start the year.
If you kept the faith or bought low on Matt Duchene, you've gotta be enjoying his hot start, 2+7=9, plus-8, 23 SOG, ten hits and seven blocks over eight games. Another nice well-rounded game from him last night, two assists, plus-2, six shots, three hits, one block, and 16-8 in faceoffs.
Semyon Varlamov rebounded with a 3-1 win after losing three straight, but overall he's a decent 3-4 with .919 SV% / 2.41 GAA peripherals.
With at least a point in all but two games so far this season, Johan Franzen is off to a nice start with 2+6=8, plus-4, 23 SOG and 14 PIM in eight games. He chipped in a goal on four shots last night.
Damien Brunner has a six game point streak (4 G, 2A) going and per-game he's averaging 3.6 shots, 17:59 TOI and 5:24 TOI-PP so far this year. Because Ken Holland never really gets tired of being a genius.
Steve Mason snagged his first win of the year but generally, he will remain horrible. If you actually got the W out of him, either your team is in serious goalie trouble or you are a masochist.
It's still early, but Patrice Bergeron is shooting the puck a lot more this year than in recent history. After three seasons of modest shot production (184, 211, 191), this year he has 30 shots in eight games, or an 82-game pace of 300+. This will level off, but it's not like he hasn't done it before, firing 310 shots back in 2005-06.
Cory Conacher played a season-high 16:16 but no honey for the badger on this night. Minus-1, two shots.
Mr. Steven Stamkos has goals in five straight games, and last night was his first multi-goal game of the year as he bagged a couple on seven shots. Oh yeah, and two PIM, five hits, one PPG and 55% in the circle. Ho-hum.
I guess Kirk Muller can't be blamed for trying to catch Dan Ellis magic two nights in a row, but yeah...didn't work out so well. Ellis allowed four goals on eight shots before giving way to Cam Ward. Ward was a little better, stopping 10 of 11 in relief.
At the other end of the rink, the Hurricanes more than doubled Philly's shot output, firing 42 at Ilya Bryzgalov who walked away with the 5-3 win and a .926 SV%. Hurts to think that when he signed with Philly, he was expecting Pronger in front of him for the next bunch of years.
Claude Giroux snapped a three-game pointless skid going 1+1=2, but six points and 20 shots in nine games just isn't nearly enough for being drafted top five in most leagues. Plenty of time left to go on a roll though, and it might be worth seeing if his owner is the impatient type.
Over his last five games, Eric Staal has six goals, three assists, plus-8, six PIM, and 20 shots. 1+1=2 last night.
Alex Goligoski just can't seem to get it going. No points again last night and he has just three assists in nine games.
Dustin Brown scored two goals on seven shots and he's scored in two in a row now.
Justin Williams was everywhere, firing nine shots and scoring his first of the year.
Drew Doughty had two assists for three points in his last two games, and although the Kings lost this one, it looks like they're beginning to wake up offensively.
Jiri Hudler had an assist and has points in all three of his games so far.
Jarome Iginla is still looking for hist first goal but he chipped in a PP helper and with 24 shots in six games, the goals are coming soon.
Patrick Kane led the Hawks again with 1+1=2 and a beauty in the skills competition. He's on a huge roll, held off the scoresheet only once this year.
Pekka Rinne picked up his second win in a row, this time in the shootout vs. Antti Niemi and the Sharks, who suffered their first loss of the year. Niemi (.958 SV%) and Rinne (.963 SV%) both end up looking good with a 0.92 GAA.