Another two points last night gives David Backes six points in his last three games and his amazing stat stuffing season continues. He's on pace to approach 50 points, 200 PIMs and 200 shots. Backes is probably only behind Scott Hartnell (who btw had four points last night) as the best points & PIMs combination in fantasy hockey this year.
Paul Martin has six points and a +9 over his last six games. He won't give you the shots or PIMs but otherwise he's a pretty solid start right now.
Along with most guys on Pittsburgh, Kris Letang has elevated his game lately with five points in his last five games. Its been an up-and-down season for Letang but with the Penguins resurgence lately and Ryan Whitney moving on, he seems to building his confidence and using his vast offensive skills more often.
A dman who is not using his offensive skills too much lately is Dion Phaneuf. Only six points in his last 20 games and only one of those points has come on the PP. He's on pace for 11 goals and 45 points which will both be new career lows. He's still a top tier fantasy dman because of his PIMs and shots but he's taken a giant step backwards from last year when he was easily the top fantasy dman in the league.
We haven't seen anything spectacular from Valtteri Filppula this year and we must say that we expected more but he has been cruising along lately at a very Red Wing-ish efficiency putting up 15 points in his last 20 games. One of the most impressive parts of his season is that only two of his points have come on the PP, so imagine if he was given some decent PP time. He's one to keep in mind for your playoff pool and for the future.
Kyle Okposo has been averaging over 20 minutes a game over the last little while and has also taken on the additional responsibility of playing the point on the PP. He seems to be enjoying it as he has goals in three straight games and really played well last night by firing eight shots on net. So the Islanders youth movement seems to be paying off for KO but another kid who's been thrown into the fire lately, Josh Bailey, was invisible last night. His three goals and 20 points this year make us wonder (again) why they didn't send this kid back to junior this year.
We didn't notice any huge changes from Bob Gainey's first game behind the Habs bench. He seemed to give little bumps in ice-time to guys like Saku Koivu and Matt D'Agostini, but overall nothing earth-shattering. We'll keep our eye on this situation to see if there is anything that will help you squeeze out a few more points down the stretch.
Injury Updates (see our Injury Updates page for a consolidated list of injuries):
Sheldon Souray was forced to leave last night's game in the 2nd period with a lower body injury. Coach Craig MacTavish said afterwards that Souray wanted to return to the game so it doesn't sound too serious, we should know more today.
Jason Arnott left last night's game with an undisclosed injury... we're working on finding out the details.
Brent Burns has missed the past three games with an "illness", well we find out now that it may be due to post-concussion syndrome... wonderful. So Burnsy could be on the shelf for a few more games or a while, you never know when the head is involved.
This is an older one but one that we missed... Alexandre Picard has only played in two of Ottawa's last 17 games due to alternating upper and lower body injuries. It's the lower body's turn to breakdown and the team says that he'll be out 3 to 4 weeks with this one.
Returning to action from the injured list last night was: Maxim Afinogenov, Daymond Langkow and Tomas Holmstrom.
What's distracting us today? We offer for your viewing pleasure, last night's highlight of the night as Wade Belak drops Donald Brashear with an atomic left... who said Saskatchewan doesn't produce nuclear weapons?