HEADS UP: Our weekly 'Fantasy Five' article is live over at HockeyDraft.ca... in which we recommended that you drop Radim Vrbata right before he scored last night.
Tim Thomas is looking great so far as he posted his second shutout of the season last night and has only allowed three goals on the season so far... but the hottest goalie going right now might be Jaroslav Halak as he's posted back-to-back shutouts and lowered his averages to 1.55 & .939. Two impressive things about Halak's start: (1) He's beating good teams like PHI, CHI twice, PIT and then previously undefeated NSH last night; and (2) The Blues are playing great defense in front of him as they've only allowed 25.5 shots/gm so far this year, the lowest in the league.
T.J. Oshie extended his point streak to seven games last night with an assist and now has 1+8=9 during the run... you know we're loving this as we're huge Oshie fans around here and it certainly doesn't hurt our cred either as we predicted Oshie would have a big breakout this year (70+ points) in the Breakout Bible.
Chris Stewart with the hat-trick for Colorado last night and he is off to a monster start with 7+5=12 during a seven game point streak. He's also on pace for 172 PIMs & 270 shots right now so it could be a huge fantasy season for him.
Peter Budaj struggled in relief of Craig Anderson last night as he gave up five on 19 shots but ended up with the win in Calgary. He's now given up at least four goals in each of his three starts this year. We mentioned yesterday that he might get you a few wins but it could be ugly and that we'd pass.
Columbus rookie Kyle Wilson had two points last night, now has goals in two straight games and five points in his first six NHL games dating back to last year when he was with Washington. We're going to have a post on lesser known guys like this later today, so we'll keep you in suspense regarding our thoughts on Wilson until then.
Antoine Vermette was bumped off the top line (& #1 PP unit) in Columbus after a poor start to the season with only 1+3=4 through his first nine games. He's still seeing plenty of ice-time (played as season high 22:11 last night) but playing with Umberger & Dorsett isn't likely to help get him going.
Don't look now by Brian Elliott has won three of his last four and stopped .924 of the shots he's faced in those games. The Senators still give up too many shots for our liking (32.9 /60mins over the past four) so Elliott's still a bit of a risk... unless you're desperate for wins as there's no return in sight for Pascal Leclaire.
The Oilers gave Khabibulin his first night off and threw Devan Dubnyk into the fire as he faced 41 shots but looked strong by only allowing two goals... his team didn't help him too much and he ended up taking the SOL.
We've given Taylor Hall a hard time for not producing, so we have to give him kudos for his first goal and adding an assist last night against Columbus despite seeing a season low 13:27 of ice-time.
Kari Lehtonen is descending back to earth in a hurry as after starting the year with four straight wins he's now 1-4-0 in his last five with a 3.45 gaa & .883 sv%. He's not as bad as he's been lately but not as good as he was at the start of the year... his true level is somewhere in between.
Michael Frolik & Wojtek Wolski were some high-profile healthy scratches last night. Frolik is off to another slow start with only two assists in his first seven games and for a Panthers team that needs him to score, that's unacceptable (and he knows it). Not sure what Wolski did to deserve this, likely just message-sending by the coach to kick him in gear. I'd expect both guys to be back in the lineup next game and they'll likely respond.
The CBJ's Chris Clark had two assists last night and has six of those and a plus-5 in his last six games... this guy did top 50 points just four years ago but we don't recommend you pick him up as this streak won't last.
Tyler Seguin stuck it to the Leafs by scoring a goal last night and the Bruins confirmed after the game that they won't be sending him back to Jr.
The Islanders did the right thing and returned Nino Niederreiter to Jr.
Speaking of Jr., Kirill Kabanov was traded from Moncton to Lewiston... doubt that will change his attitude at all but thought some people might want to know.