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Line Combo Look: East - Dec 15th, 2010

Welcome to LCL where we take a somewhat weekly look around the league and any recent changes to line combos or power play set ups.

I'm using quite a few resources to put this post together but, like always, I'm relying pretty heavily on FH911.  Click on our Latest NHL Line Combo page for a complete listing of each team lines.

Today we'll look at the East (click here for the West).  All statistics are for games up to Dec 14th, 2010.

Buffalo Sabres

Good news for Nathan Gerbe owners as the tiny man has played the last five games on the top line with Vanek and Roy.  He has two points over that span.  He doesn't get much PT (~12 min / game) and hardly touches the ice with the man advantage but this is still an encouraging sign.  Right now he's only of interest to those of you in deep keeper leagues.

Carolina Hurricanes

Over the last three games Eric Staal has had five different wingers: Tuomo Ruutu, Chad LaRose, Jussi Jokinen and Jeff Skinner.  So don't get too comfortable with the lines in Carolina.

Also a little interesting stat for you... the Hurricanes have ZERO power play goals in their last five games.  Lucky for them Cam Ward has been so hot.

Montreal Canadiens

Some weird happenings on the Habs PP TOI leaderboard over the last five games: Yannick Weber (#1), Mathieu Darche (#4) and Alex Picard (#8) are all playing more than normal.  Weber is intriguing if he can keep up that PP time.  He has two points in his last four.

New Jersey Devils

I don't want to anybody all riled up but Ilya Kovalchuk, Travis Zajac and Patrik Elias are all playing at a point-a-game pace over the last four games.  Maybe these guys are waking up?  Also, Kovy was switched to a line with Arnott and Zajac was playing with Elias in their last game.

New York Rangers

The Rangers continue to shuffle their lines but we really hope the Dubinsky-Anisimov-Callahan line sticks.  I really like all three of them.  They have been playing together for three games now and had a big game (six points total) on Tuesday night.

Ottawa Senators

While many were picking Peter Regin for a breakout year, we were warning you that he and Nick Foligno would probably swap spots throughout the year and both would finish around 40 points.  Regin is back on the 4th line and Foligno is up on #1.  They are both on pace for less than 30 points (sorry I guess we over-projected) so you probably don't care anyway.

Alex Kovalev's demotion to the 4th line lasted all of one game.  He's been playing with Jason Spezza since then.  I think he needs a trade so he can frustrate a new set of fans.

Pittsburgh Penguins

Welcome back Evgeni Malkin.  Two PP goals and he was lining up next to Crosby.  Think his owners are a little more comfortable today?  If those lines stick Malkin could eventually get winger eligibility in most leagues (who knows what Yahoo! will do) and that would be HUGE.  Chris Kunitz was out injured so we'll play close attention to what happens when he returns.  Pascal Dupuis was the other winger on the big line.

Tampa Bay Lightning

Teddy Purcell played his first game with Stamkos and St. Louis and picked up 1+1=2.  I always liked Purcell (he had some nice AHL seasons) and thought he just needed a shot.  He's getting it in TBay and making it count.  He's on pace for a breakout 57 points and would make a great pickup in most leagues out there... especially if he can stick with Stamkos.

Toronto Maple Leaf

Tyler Bozak was back on the #1 line with Kessel and Armstrong for the last three Leaf games... he even picked up two assists in his last two games.  A few more games like that and he'll be on pace to score more than 30 points.

Francois Beauchemin hasn't been playing on the PP lately... like at all.  He's only average 26 sec / game the last five games.  When Brett Lebda is getting 5X the playing time you are, it's not a good thing.

Washington Capitals

Ovie, Backstrom and Semin were all on the same line... I guess to provide a spark for the struggling Caps.  It didn't work out well, as they were hammered 7-0 by the Rangers.  Expect to see Semin back on L2 again.