HEADS UP: Our weekly 'Fantasy Five' featuring is living over at HockeyDraft.ca... from the 'you can't win them all' file we tell you to drop Antti Niemi yesterday and he posts a shutout last night. We also gave a shout-out to The Pipeline Show, which is the best thing on radio... outside of a douple play of Led Zeppelin.
Taylor Hall & Jordan Eberle enjoyed their first visit to Toronto as Hall potted two and Eberle had three points. The team is starting to role and so are the kids, or vice-versa... Hall has 5+2=7 with a plus-6 & 24 shots in his last eight games and Eberle has 1+5=6 & a plus-6 in his last five and moved to within one point of Skinner for the rookie scoring lead.
Boston dropped the eight-ball on Tampa last night but they spread the scoring around so we'll mention that Milan Lucic continued to build on his breakout season with another two points, plus-3 and four shots. He has 6+4=10, plus-6 with 8 PIMs & 22 shots over his last 10 games. He's been so consistent too as he has points in 18 of his 24 games this year.
Yikes... Mike Smith was some kinda awful last night, giving up five goals on 22 shots and some of them you had to wonder if his water bottle was filled with gin & tonic as he looked tipsy. Dan Ellis gave up three goals on 10 shots in relief, possibly sipping from the same
flask bottle. This is our #1 Crease Conflict right now but to have a fight you need to have two willing combatants and neither of these guys seems to want this job... the answer may eventually be "none of the above".
Justin Braun had a PP goal last night for the Sharks and now has 1+3=4 over his last three games... this is a nice start and very promising but he's only filling in for a number of minor injuries and will likely be on his way back to the AHL soon... although I said the same thing about Shattenkirk when he was heating up.
Crosby. Another hat-trick. Is anyone really surprised? He extended his point streak to 14 games where he has 15+14=29.
Marian Gaborik had 3+1=4 last night, PPG/GWG, plus-3 with 8 sogs, so nice night for him and his owners. That's his second four point night in his last 10 games to go along with 2+3=5 in the other eight games so he's giving you eruptions every few weeks but not really consistent production.
Sean Avery joined Gaborik on the top line last night and had three assists... don't expect this to continue... the points or the assigment as Torts likes to tinker but keep an eye on it if you're desperate for a few points with your PIMs.
Michal Neuvirth got his first start in six games for the Caps last night and while he wasn't terrible, stopping 19 of 21 in a loss, that's not enough when Varlamov has won four in a row, so look for Varlamov to get the call for the next little while.
P.K. Subban was a healthy scratch last night for the Habs... I wouldn't be too concerned, he played 25 minutes the night before so I think they're just sending him a little message and he should be back in there logging heavy minutes again shortly.
After all that the Kings are sending Brayden Schenn back to Jr., so he'll get a chance to lace them up with Canada at the WJCs later this month.
The Marco Sturm trade to LA is not done and may not ever get done but the fact that neither team denied it makes me think that it will probably go through at some point, unless Sturm's knee is not up to snuff.