The Rangers made a huge splash at the trade deadline and last night may have been the start of great things to come. Martin St. Louis got on the board with a powerplay point after Derek Stepan's goal, while Brad Richards picked up the other assist. Ryan McDonagh continued his success on the penalty kill with another shorthanded goal. Rick Nash and Stepan were the best players of the night, picking up a goal and an assist each to help their team past the Hurricanes.
The Canes did not muster much offense and gave up the lead late in the third period. The Rangers were able to score three straight goals in the last seven minutes to steal the victory. Jordan Staal and Jeff Skinner were the lone goal scorers for the Canes, while Alexander Semin and Ron Hainsey were the only players credited with an assist. Anton Khudobin faced a whopping 43 shots and was able to kick away 40 of them. He has been a solid performer in fantasy, but with a little help from the offense, he could be a lot better in the wins column too.
The Red Wings put on an absolute clinic last night and had some solid fantasy performers in the process. Both Gustav Nyquist and Johan Franzen finished with four points a piece, and were extremely dominant throughout the game. David Legwand had a solid showing with his new team, scoring a goal and 2 assists with 3 shots on net. Jonas Gustavsson was given a free pass for the night, as he came away with the win despite letting in 4 goals on 25 shots.
The Devils had a tough outing last night but were at least able to contribute from a fantasy perspective. Adam Henrique continued his dominant showing recently, scoring 2 goals on 3 shots and was one of only two plus players. The other, Patrik Elias, scored a shorthanded goal for his only point on the night. Jaromir Jagr was the only other goal scorer on the night for the Devils, but will continue to be one of the better fantasy contributors on the team. One Devils' player who had a night to forget was goaltender Cory Schneider. He let in 7 goals on just 33 shots and came away with an atrocious .788 save percentage. He should bounce back from this pretty soon.
The story of the night was Roberto Luongo. Making his return to the Panthers, Luongo was able to get a shutout against the struggling Sabres. He stopped all 25 shots and is ready to get back to being an undisputed number one goalie. Though his team may be worse in terms of skill, you would have to assume his fantasy value has gone up based on playing time and how good he feels moving home. Dmitry Kulikov and Jesse Winchester were credited with goals, while Brad Boyes, Nick Bjugstad, Scottie Upshall and Scott Gomez picked up the assists.
The Sabres had another tough outing offensively and it affected anyone who is fantasy relevant on their team. The most interesting case, however, would be the goalie situation and Michal Neuvirth. He finished the game with 42 saves on 44 shots and looked good in his first game. He was brought in for Jaroslav Halak and could be of some use down the stretch. He will compete with Jhonas Enroth for starts, but if last night was an indication of things to come, Neuvirth could see a lot more starts this season.
The Flames have been looking pretty good lately and their young players are coming alive. Joe Colborne came away with 2 goals on 2 shots and had 4 hits as well. Flames' workhorse Mark Giordano had 2 assists to go along with 6 penalty minutes and 1 hit. Joni Ortio has become the short-term starter in Calgary and will likely battle Karri Ramo for starts in the future. Reto Berra was around prior to the deadline, but his trade to the Colorado Avalanche dictated Ortio's new role on the Flames.
Sticking with the trade deadline, the New York Islanders were the talk of the town, after taking less than credible assets for Thomas Vanek. After losing the services of Matt Moulson, it seemed everything went wrong for the Iles. They have been in need of a goaltender for quite some time but decided to go a different route. Kyle Okposo had a solid game with a goal, 4 penalty minutes and 4 shots on net. Youngster Ryan Strome picked up an assist and should be a future fantasy stud in the making. In net, Anders Nilsson had a night to forget with 4 goals on 23 shots.
Pittsburgh Penguins 3, Anaheim Ducks 2 - SO
This was an entertaining game and both powerhouses kept it going till the very end. It was tied 1-1 going into the third, and Corey Perry and Evgeni Malkin made it 2-2 before the end of the frame. Perry finished with 2 goals on four shots, while buddy Ryan Getzlaf finished with 2 beautiful assists and 3 shots. Jonas Hiller was effective but let in 2 goals on just 17 shots to force the sudden death. He still maintains a ridiculous record and will close out the season as the best team's goaltender. Keep him rolling.
Malkin was able to score on a powerplay goal and assisted on Deryk Engelland's first period goal. James Neal and Sidney Crosby picked up the assists on Malkin's powerplay marker. Marc-Andre Fleury finished the game with 29 saves on 31 shots and performed well in the shootout. It was his 33rd win on the season and he will continue to pile them up as the Penguins turn it up for the playoff run.
Fantasy Play of the Night
This will be the first time since inception that the Fantasy Play of the Night will have to be called the Fantasy "Plays" of the NIght. While there were a few great candidates, both goals scored by Perry were simply gorgeous. Him and Getzlaf teamed up and took apart the Penguins on both goal. With that said, you guys can be the judge of which play was better.
Fantasy 3 Stars of the Night
First Star - Johan Franzen: 2 G, 2 A, 1 PPP, +4, 6 Shots
Second Star - Gustav Nyquist: 1 G, 3 A, 1 PPP, +4, 8 Shots, 1 Hit
Third Star - Roberto Luongo - 1 GS, 1 W, 0.00 GAA, 1.00 SV%, 1 SO
Enjoy the Saturday games folks!