Elliott gets the call & we make a call... starters beware... Stamkos unstoppable... Kariya stoppable... slight upgrade for Lehtonen (tbd)... Getzlaf ok, Emery maybe not... so stupid a caveman must do it
Its worth noting that the Senators went right back with Brian Elliott after he was pulled in their last game on Saturday and he responded by stopping 27 of 29 to record the win over Calgary. We thought they'd give Pascal Leclaire a chance but clearly Elliott's their guy... this is our #1 fiercest Crease Conflict right now but giving Elliott the start last night tips this one in his favour, we'll update that today.
More goalie news as a number of backups are really pressing... Antti Niemi started and won his second in a row for the Hawks, beware Cristobal Huet owners... Tuukka Rask got the call for the fourth straight game and he hasn't lost in regulation and has only given up six goals over those four games... Rick Tocchet can't take Antero Niittymaki out of the net, even if you wanted to, as he's 7-0-1 with a 1.10 & .965 over his last eight games.
Marty Biron got into his first game since December 27th and picked up his first win since November 13th. He looked very shaky from what we saw but we're guessing the Islanders were showcasing him for a trade... good luck with that.
Matt Stajan only had one point in his first four games for the Flames but he was 1+1=2 last night and he, Hagman and Iggy clicked for six combined points.
Steve Stamkos extended his point streak to 10 games last night and he's been pretty much unstoppable lately with 8+8=16 during the streak.
Two goals last night for Paul Kariya and although we've been keeping him on our radar (due to his track record & our desperation to find a LW) those were his first goals in last 11 games and he's 2+4=6 and a minus-4 in his last 10 games. His current pace will put him below 40 points on the season... weak.
James Neal was 1+2=3 last night, has five points in his past two games and 5+4=9 in his last ten... he's one of the bigger breakouts this year as he's on pace for 34+29=63 after a 37 point rookie season last year.
With a 3-pointer last night, Matt Cullen has reached the 40 point level for the seventh time in his career but rather remarkably, he has never topped 50 points. Well he's had 4+9=13 in his last 13 games and that's put him on pace for 54 points.
The Thrashers continued their push for the playoffs (yes, seriously, they're only three points out) as they dumped their former franchise goalie Kari Lehtonen on the Stars for Ivan Vishnevskiy. Likely this means the Stars will be trading Turco shortly and while they get a goalie with a lot of talent, he's about as durable as a taco shell. I guess this helps Lehtonen's fantasy value but we'd hold off and see how he does before betting the farm (or anything for that matter). Vishnevskiy is a former 1st rounder who's a decent blueline prospect, putting up encouraging numbers in the AHL this year.
Injury Updates (see our Injury Updates page for a consolidated list of injuries):
The big injury news is that Ryan Getzlaf's MRI was clear and while he's likely to miss a few games, or even the next three before the Olympics, he should be ok to play in Vancouver.
The Flyers are saying that Ray Emery is fine and should be back soon but there are rumours out there that he may need surgery for his hip injury and could be out long-term... we should find out more soon.
Marian Gaborik suffered a deep cut to his knee in practice yesterday but its not too serious and while it may force him to miss a game or two this week, he should be ok for the Olympics.
Returning to action from the injured list last night was: David Krejci, Tuomo Ruutu, Mike Ribeiro, Johan Franzen and Stephen Weiss.
What's distracting us today? This video bothers us on several levels. We can't believe these caveman guys are still around... does anybody still (if they ever did?) find them amusing? The NHL should not be associating itself with this kind of thing. Having said all that... they picked the perfect team to visit.
(the assist goes to Kukla's on that one)