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Line Combo Look: East - Jan 9, 2011

Welcome to Line Combo Look where we take a somewhat weekly look around the league at 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 Jan 9th, 2011.

Boston Bruins

Guess who leads the Bruins in PP time over the last five games.... Dennis Seidenberg.  Don't get too excited though as he's only on pace for 30 points.  Just like last and the year before.

Second on the team?  It's Michael Ryder.  Has Boston been trying to move some of the PP time around lately or something?   Ryder has been lining up next to Savard and Lucic at ES.  But even with all those good signs... we'd be surprised if he hit 50 points.

Carolina Hurricanes

With Joni Pitkanen out, Joe Corvo and Jamie McBain have been seeing more time on the PP lately.  Corvo has six points in his last six and McBain has five in his last five.  Pitkanen returned on Sunday, so these hot streaks may not continue.

Florida Panthers

One of the things that has driven us crazy all year is that David Booth has been toiling in the third line.  Remember the Panthers are not stacked for offensive choices here.  With Chris Higgins out with injury, Booth took his spot with Weiss and Frolik.  He had two assists, so we're hopeful this will get him a longer look on the top unit.

Dmitry Kulikov was one of the players we thought had some breakout potential at the start of the season.  He was great in junior and we knew the Panthers didn't have a ton of offensive weapons from the blueline.  He started out with zero points in his first 12 games but he has five in his last 10.  Hey, it's a start.  Most encouraging is he leads the team with an average of 2:33 PP TOI over the last five games.

Montreal Canadiens

Looks like James Wisniewski is comfortable in Montreal.  He leads the team in PP TOI by a mile (4:33) and has six points in five games with the Habs.  P.K. Subban and Jaroslav Spacek have both lost signifant PP time since The Wiz came on the scene.

Max Pacioretty may not be getting much PP time, but he is lining up to some decent linemates (Brian Gionta and Scott Gomez) and has been a little hot lately (four points in last five).  He was going pretty well in the AHL (32 points in 27 games) so he might help you out in deep leagues.

Speaking of hot AHL players... recent call-up, David Desharnais had 45 points in 35 AHL games.  He's lining up as the 3rd line center in Montreal but seeing barely any PP time.

New Jersey Devils

The Devils actually scored some goals yesterday (the first time they cracked three goals since Nov. 22nd) and the top line was Dainius ZubrusPatrik Elias and Brian Rolston.  Elias has been pretty hot lately (six pts in last five) so maybe you want to pick him up off the scrap heap.

Jason Arnott's season has been bad... he's on pace for 34 points and a -22.  His .43 ppg this year is the slowest pace of his career (he's only been under .6 once!).  But if you're thinking he's due to come around, you might want to look at his linemates (Adam Mair and Nick Palmieri) and realize that the odds are not looking good.

New York Islanders

With no James Wisniewski around Andrew MacDonald is the go-to guy on the PP for the Isles.  [Stifles laughter]. He's done pretty well so far as he has five points (all on the PP) in six games since The Wiz left.  The .44 ppg pace he's on is more than what he averaged in the AHL (.39) so don't expect him to keep this up.

New York Rangers

More shuffling on broadway as tiny Mats Zuccarello is up on the quasi-first line with Dubinsky and Stepan.  He's getting some decent PP time (6th on team last five games).  After a slow start he's got three points in his last three games.

Marian Gaborik owners can't be too happy with this news... their star sniper is playing with Sean Avery and Artem Anisonov at even strength.

Marc Staal has been picking up a ton of PP time lately.  He was 5th on the PP depth charts but Torts has been leaning on him heavily.  Over the last five games he's average 4:10 with the man advantage... good for #1.  Not #1 among d-men... #1 on the whole team.  He only has 3 points (all PPP) in his last ten games but lots of encouraging signs here.

Philadelphia Flyers

James van Riemsdyk seems to be pulling his socks up a bit.  Both his PP and ES TOI has been increasing lately and he's been seeing time on a line with Mike Richards (and Nodl).

Pittsburgh Penguins

Big news Jordan Staal fans.  He's back and he's playing with Evgeni Malkin.  So far it's been ugly (zero points in four games) but once he gets going expect a 50-60 point pace.  As a Malkin owner, what I want to know is when does Geno qualify on the wing?

Tampa Bay Lightning

Big news from last night as Steven Downie was playing on line #3 (with Mattias Ritola & Teddy Purcell).  Ryan Malone took his spot on the top line.  Downie's value plummets if he can't find a way back up to the 1st unit.

Speaking of Teddy P... it's looking like it's time to drop him.  He's no longer on a scoring line or seeing good PP minutes.  His hot streak (15 points in 16 games) is a distant memory as he has only two points in his last ten games.