Leighton on crazy streak... Leino: one to watch... Tazer set on kill... Kostitsyn makes surprising return... Kabanov changes tune... bearding it up.
Okay Michael Leighton is officially amazing. A 30 save shutout last night gives him four straight wins with only four goals allowed over that span. Looks like Leighton and the Flyers might get a chance at the Stanley Cup. No, we also didn't think we would be ever writing that line.
Ville Leino looks to be finding his stride the last eight games. He has 11 points over that span... including his 1+1=2 from last night. Everyone knows this kid has some talent and this hot streak might give the Flyers (and him) a bit more confidence. He was a hot ticket breakout before this season but now with the shine gone you can get him as a flyer next year.
Jonny Toews... strike that, he really doesn't seem like a Jonny does he? Jonathan Toews continued his drive to the Conn Smythe as he picked up 1+1=2 last night. 11 games, 22 points. Insane. He looks ready to take the next step and finish top 5 in the league in scoring.
Duncan Keith was another star for the Hawks 30+ minutes played and two assists to boot. He has a point in six of his last seven now.
Even though the Sharks were outplayed, one bright spot was Patrick Marleau's picking up both Shark goals. He has a six game, seven point streak going but he'll need a bit of help if the Sharks are going to get back in this thing.
This one shocked us a bit. We told you a few days ago that Sergei Kostitsyn was back skating with the team... we didn't really think he would hit the lineup though. But guess what happened last night? He played only five minutes and had zero points. Not great, but at least he's on the ice again.
In the AHL, Manchester Monarchs and Hersey Bears are playing off in the East Finals. Manchester has superstud Jonathan Bernier between the pipes while Michal Neuvirth does the job for Hersey. They are two of the better goaltending prospects out there and they showed it last night... a 1-0 win for Bernier (his third shutout of the playoffs). Both of these guys might help you next season, especially Bernier, who we think could make a big splash in 2010-11.
Speaking of the Bears, Hersey has four of the top six two scorers thus far in the playoffs. Chris Bourque (20 points in 13 games) and Alex Giroux(19 in 13) are of them and they are also 1-2 in the league. They are not big prospects for the Capitals but both have put up monster seasons in the AHL (70 pts in 49 games for Bourque & an incredible 103 points in 69 games for GIroux). If we had to take a flyer on one, it would be Giroux, but even he's a longshot to contribute to fantasy squads.
Prized prospect Kirill Kabanov has seen his value fall... alot. He was once taggedas a potential #1 but now he's sitting around 30. One reason for the drop was due to fears he might be KHL bound after leaving Moncton for Russia earlier this year. Well Kirill wants to set the record straight: "I’ll never come back to Russia [to play hockey]. I’m trying to show I can play in the NHL. It doesn’t matter what the [draft] number is. If a team picks me, I’ll sign the contract right away." We would be willing to bet there is a lot more going on behind the scene here... check out the Globe & Mail story for more details.
So Dave Tallon is the GM in Florida. The Cats are receiving lots of praise for this move... after all he is the guy who gets most of the credit for rebuilding the Blackhawks We're not as high on Tallon as most. It didn't take a genius to draft Kane or Toews and he's signed players to some terrible long term deals (Huet and Campbell in particular). His resume looks like a mixed bag (at best) to us.
Nothing to report on injuries. We don't remember the last time we could say that. Sweet.
What's distracting us today?
- Something's been driving us crazy lately. There are quite a few examples of this from this year but the most glaring has to be the Penguins losing in seven games (to a crazy hot goalie) and now the talk about trading Malkin. There's a lot of luck in any series... but I guess writing a story that a team was unlucky doesn't really sell papers. We guess this is when the good GM's earn their money... ignore the papers and use their heads. Great minds must think alike because Jonathan Willis had some similar thoughts and proves his point by tossing a coin.
- The 10 of the best playoffs beards, according to SI.com
- Finally a heartwarming little commercial featuring Pat Lafontaine, Neal Broten and Mike Richter. Couldn't Richter have found a better jersey than the one he's wearing?
(stick tap to Hockey Wilderness for the video)