The Sabres made the first huge splash before the trade deadline and finally parted ways with Ryan Miller. While this will only worsen the Sabres ability to win games, it seems they are on the right track to rebuild. Last night they were able to defeat a very strong team in the Sharks and Enroth lead the way by stopping 36 of 38 shots. Tyler Myers had one of his more memorable games by scoring a goal and 2 assists with a plus-3 rating. Matt Moulson, Cody Hodgson and Brian Flynn also scored for the Sabres.
The Sharks' Antti Niemi has been struggling lately, and while he made the Finnish Olympic team, he did not play a game. He let in 3 goals on 19 shots and seems to be on a cold streak. It would be interesting to see how many starts he gets down the stretch, but he still remains the clear number one in San Jose. Joe Thornton and Dan Boyle were still able to get on the board with an assist on Patrick Marleau's goal. Boyle accounted for one more assist on the Sharks' only other goal of the night.
This game was full of entertainment from both teams' top stars. Shane Doan scored both goals for the Yotes, one on the powerplay, and Oliver Ekman-Larsson was able to tally an assist on both goals. Mike Smith got the night off with Thomas Greiss getting the start, and he didn't fair too well against a strong Avs team. He let in 4 goals on 33 shots and the Avs were successful on 2 of their powerplays.
The story in Denver continues to be the play of Semyon Varlamov. He is surely a Vezina candidate and is a big reason for the Avs success this season. He stopped 40 of 42 shots and only gave up goals on the penalty kill. He will likely keep this up, so as long as he stays out of trouble, he should be one of the league's best goalies down the stretch. As for the scoring, the usual faces made their presence felt against the Yotes. Ryan O'Reilly and Matt Duchene picked up an assist a piece, while P.A. Parenteau recorded a goal. There were a few multi-point performances with Nathan MacKinnon notching 2 assists and Paul Stastny recording both a goal and an assist. The best player on the ice was Avs' captain Gabriel Landeskog, He had a goal, 2 assists, 1 PPP, a plus-2 raiting and 3 hits. He continues to be one of the best all-around players in fantasy hockey.
In a very close battle, the Wild and Canucks went all the way to a shootout to decide the final tally of the night. Both goals were scored in the first period, with Ryan Kesler tallying a shorthanded goal. The Wild replied with a powerplay goal from Zach Parise, which was assisted by Jason Pominville and Mikael Granlund. The story of the night were both goalies. Darcy Keumper put in another solid outing with a 30-save victory, improving his record to 10-3-2. He is making it quite difficult for the Wild to deal for a goalie, and with Miller gone, it seems the Wild are running out of options.
In Vancouver, Eddie Lack has been a reliable starter when Roberto Luongo is unavailable. He stopped 22 shots last night but was unable to steal the victory in a very memorable shootout. Both teams had 6 players shoot before a goal was let in, and the 7th shooter Justin Fontaine ended it for the Wild. Down the stretch, Lack would be a solid option as an extra goalie, but if you own Luongo, owning him as a cuff is an absolute must. It will be interesting to see how the goalie situation is managed in Vancouver as the season concludes.
In the lowest scoring affair of the night, the Anaheim Ducks were able to continue their unbelievable season by shutting out one of the top teams in the Western Conference. The lone goal scorer of the night was Andrew Cogliano. Saku Koivu and Cam Fowler tallied assists on the goal, while the game remained scoreless after the first period.
Shot totals were quite low, with both goalies facing less than 20 shots. Jonas Hiller came away with the 18 shot shutout, while Brian Elliot let in one goal on 19 shots. With the Jaroslav Halak trade to Buffalo and Ryan Miller making his way to St. Louis, it will be quite the goalie situation with both Elliot and Miller manning the crease for the Blues. If Miller comes in and steals the show, Elliot will surely lose some ground as the Blues' starter.
Play of the Night
While there were some other nice plays to choose from, like Myers' setup for Moulson; the MacKinnon, Landeskog and Stastny connection deserves some bump after their beautiful goal last night. They completely undressed the Yotes' defense en route to the Avs' third goal of the night, and earned the FHS Play of the Night honors in the process.
Fantasy Three Stars of the Night
First Star - Gabriel Landeskog: 1 G, 2 A, 1 PPP, +2, 2 Shots, 3 Hits, 1 Blocked Shot
Second Star - Jonas Hiller: 1 W, 0.00 GAA, 1.00 SV%, 1 SHO
Third Star - Tyler Myers: 1 G, 2 A, 1 PPP, +3, 2 Shots