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The Daily Puck: Red Hot Red Wings

Ben Rauscher

Ben Rauscher

Ben Rauscher writes about fantasy sports for RotoWire.

Around the Rink

There is no better place to start than in Washington where the Caps are now winners of three in a row, have put some distance between them and Tampa Bay for the division, sit atop the Eastern Conference standings and have the best record in the league (though Detroit has played four fewer games).

Alexander Semin is the hottest Cap scorer as he tallied in Sunday's SO win over Carolina to follow up the hat trick he laid on the Lightning. He seems to be picking up the slack left behind by Alexander Ovechkin, who is not exactly cold right now with a three-game assist streak (seven helpers over that span). AO and Semin sit 3-4 in scoring for the league, with Nicklas Backstrom rounding out the top-10.

Sticking with the CAR-WAS tilt, the Hurricanes once again managed to force overtime with a last gasp goal. This time is was Eric Staal scoring with three ticks on the game clock and got an assist on the team's first goal of the game. With 27 points, Staal is tied for seventh in league scoring.

The only Washington player disappointing is Mike Green with 13 points (5G, 8A). He sits behind surprise leader Dustin Byfuglien with 25 points (9G, 16A) and John-Michael Liles at 23 points (4G, 19A). Byfuglien has an advantage being used as a hybrid player who sees most of his minutes on the blue line, but gets excellent offensive opportunities when used as a forward. Byfuglien scored his ninth and had three assists in Sunday's 4-1 win over the Bruins.

You have to feel bad for Tuukka Rask, who went from late-season starter last year taking the Bruins to the playoffs with a personal 22-12-5 record. In the postseason, Rask took a 4-2 series win over Buffalo and Ryan Miller before staking a 3-0 series lead over the Flyers. Maybe losing four straight games to Philly broke something in him, or Tim Thomas is just playing superb hockey, but Rask's 4-1 loss Sunday night put his season record at 1-6-1 and that is simply brutal. He is keeper material only and a must-add if Thomas goes down, but waiver fodder in all other scenarios.

The only other game played Sunday saw the Red Wings' Jimmy Howard beat the Blue Jackets in Detroit to take both ends of the home-and-home series.

HOT

I will move Dustin Byfuglien up from last week's list as he is now riding a five-game point streak where he has notched four goals and five assists.

Derek Stepan may not have scored on Saturday night, but he had a six-game point streak up until that point (3G, 4A).

Teddy Purcell is seeing some offensive success seeing some additional offensive minutes with Simon Gagne and Vinny Lecavalier still on the shelf. Purcell has five assists and three goals over his last seven games.

Jimmy Howard is a befuddling 13-2-2 this season with a stellar 2.49 GAA and the Red Wings are getting rolling - watch out!

COLD

Tuukka Rask's play this season, including a 22-save, four-goal loss in Atlanta on Sunday, likely will see his starts limited as the year plays out.

Jaroslav Halak has a record of 2-5-1 over his last eight starts, being pulled in one and allowing six and seven goals in two others. He lost both games to Dallas over the weekend.

Steven Stamkos has now gone two games without a goal. TWO GAMES!?! Stop all 50-in-50 talk...

Claude Giroux hasn't notched a point in his last three and has only two goals over the last seven games. Buy low period or missed the sell high time?

Recommended Pick-up

Teddy Purcell is gaining confidence and it's paying off on the score sheet. Pay attention to when Lecavalier and Gagne are slated to return in order to jump on the next waiver gem, but ride Purcell until then.

Projected Goalies

Pittsburgh (Marc-Andre Fleury) @ New York Rangers (Henrik Lundqvist), 7pm EST
Edmonton (Devan Dubnyk) @ Ottawa (Brian Elliott), 7:30pm EST
Dallas (Kari Lehtonen) @ Carolina (Cam Ward), 7:30pm EST
Minnesota (Niklas Backstrom) @ Calgary (Miikka Kiprusoff), 9pm EST
Los Angeles (Jon Quick) @ Anaheim (Jonas Hiller), 10pm EST

Injury Roll Call

Pittsburgh @ New York Rangers

Penguins:

Jordan Staal - Out, skating before practice, anticipates a mid-December return.

Rangers:

Marian Gaborik - Questionable, day-to-day with flu-like symptoms.
Chris Drury - Out, skating without a stick as he recovers from a broken left index finger. Anticipated mid December return.
Vinny Prospal - Out, not back until the new year due to knee surgery.

Edmonton @Ottawa

Oilers:

Ales Hemsky, Questionable, day-to-day with a mild groin injury.
Nikolai Khabibulin, Out, suffering from a pulled groin muscle, but is skating with a return expect in the next few games.

Senators:

None

Dallas @ Carolina

Stars:

Mark Fistric - Out, placed on IR Friday with a groin injury.

Hurricanes:

None

Minnesota @ Calgary

Wild:

Chuck Kobasew - Probable, out with a groin injury then off due to personal reasons, he could be in Monday's starting lineup.
Guillaume Latendresse - Out, sidelined indefinitely after undergoing surgery to repair a torn labrum and bilateral sports hernia.
Pierre-Marc Bouchard - Out, no updated timetable on return from post-consussion syndrome.
Josh Harding - Out, sidelined indefinitely after undergoing surgery to repair torn ACL and MCL in the right knee.
James Sheppard - Out, recovering from knee surgery and has started underwater running. Hopes to see late-season action.

Los Angeles @ Anaheim

Kings:

Scott Parse - Out, hip injury with no known timetable for return.
Willie Mitchell - Out, his fractured wrist will undergo an X-ray next week and should provide a clearer picture than some time in December.
Alexei Ponikarovsky - Out, will join Mitchell in getting X-rays done to his broken finger to see if he can get back in action before the end of December.
Colten Teubert - Out, wrist injury.

Ducks:

Lubomir Visnovsky - Questionable, day-to-day with back spasms that forced him to miss Saturday's game.
Joffrey Lupul - Out, but nearing a return from a blood condition that had sidelined him since early September. He has joined the Syracuse in the AHL for a conditioning stint.

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