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The Daily Puck: It's Good to be King

Kevin King

Kevin King

Kevin is a suffering Tottenham supporter living in Buffalo, New York, where also suffers from being a Buffalo Bills fan. He covers Major League Soccer and the English Premier League for Rotowire.

*Pucks drop Saturday at 2 p.m. Eastern

AROUND THE LEAGUE

-- Anze Kopitar easily gets the star of the night from Friday. Kopitar netted three times as the Kings grabbed a huge 4-2 win in Columbus. With playoffs starting in a lot of leagues, Kopitar made his owners some money with a ridiculously hot week that isn't even over yet.

-- Allow me to look ahead to next season real quick as I type a sentence I never thought I would type. The NY Islanders are going to be scary. The Isles have won 12 of their 20 games since the All-Star break, and dare I say they are one of the most exciting teams to watch.

Who's Hot

Brad Boyes (RW) Buffalo -
Boyes netted a gigantic game-winner against Boston on Thursday night and has three goals and three assists in six games since joining the Sabres at the trade deadline. There's an outside chance that he is available in your league, and if so he is definitely worth picking up for the stretch run.

Anze Kopitar (C) Los Angeles -
Heading into Friday night, Kopitar was on a pretty ridiculous roll, and all he did to add to that streak was put up a hat trick in L.A.'s 4-2 win over Columbus. Anze now has 19 points (8 G, 11 A) in the last 14 games, and he has not gone more than two games without getting on the scoresheet this season.

Braden Holtby (G) Washington -
Not even Bruce Boudreau could have expected to get what he has been getting out of Holtby between the pipes for the Caps. The 21-year-old has not allowed more than one goal in his last six games, winning five of those contests and dropping one in overtime. Do the Caps finally have their answer in goal?

Who's Cold

Keith Ballard (D) Vancouver -
Ballard isn't expected to score all too often, but you would think that playing on an explosive Canucks team would prevent 14-game scoring droughts. He did have 28 points (8 G, 20 A) last season and 34 points (6 G, 28 A) two years ago, so his five points (2 G, 3 A) is disappointing and may be the only thing going wrong with the Canucks right now.

Tim Thomas (G) Boston -
For most goalies this is hardly a cold streak, but for Thomas we can call it one. Timmy hasn't gotten a win in his last three starts for the B's, and he has posted a 3.33 goals-against over that stretch. It was a bit of a surprise to see him start on back-to-back nights on Friday, and that may be the last time we see that this season after he looked very average.

Lee Stempniak (RW) Phoenix -
There may not be a streakier player in the entire NHL. Stempniak was unbelievable last season for the 'Yotes, netting 14 goals in his first 18 games after coming to the desert from Toronto at the trade deadline. That player has not been there in any way, shape or form this year.

Recommended Pickup

Braden Holtby (G) Washington -
Even if you don't need help at the goalie position, you need to grab Holtby just so nobody else in the league can grab him if he is still out there. He's still staggeringly available in almost 80 percent of leagues on CBS, but that is sure to change before lineups are set for next week.


INJURY ROLL CALL

Montreal (Carey Price) vs. Pittsburgh (Marc-Andre Fleury), 2 p.m

Montreal:

Brent Sopel (D) - Out indefinitely with broken hand.
Jaroslav Spacek (D) - Out 2-4 weeks after undergoing arthroscopic knee surgery a little bit more than a week ago.

Pittsburgh:

Nick Johnson (RW) - Out indefinitely with concussion.

Buffalo (Ryan Miller) vs. Toronto (James Reimer), 7 p.m

Buffalo:

Drew Stafford (RW) - Questionable for Saturday with hamstring injury.
Paul Gaustad (C) - Questionable because of an upper-body injury.
Patrick Kaleta (RW) - Out. Will still be at least a week until he returns from severe knee bruise.
Jochen Hecht (LW) - Hecht will be in the lineup after missing more than a week with upper-body injury.

Toronto:

Fredrik Sjostrom (RW) - Out. Will miss about a week with upper-body ailment.

NY Islanders (Nathan Lawson) vs. New Jersey (Martin Brodeur), 7 p.m

NY Islanders:

Casey Cizikas (C) - Out with hand injury. Will undergo CT scan on Monday to determine extent of the injury.
Doug Weight (C) - Out with back injury. Has resumed practicing but is not likely to return this season.
Mark Streit (D) - Out. Has not been cleared for contact as he remains sidelined with shoulder injury.
Rick DiPietro (G) - Out. Back in practice with the other injured Isles, and an idea on when he can return should come soon.

New Jersey:

None

Atlanta (Ondrej Pavelec) vs. Philadelphia (Sergei Bobrovsky), 7 p.m

Atlanta:

Patrice Cormier (C) - Doubtful with upper-body injury that kept him out Wednesday and Friday.

Philadelphia:

Chris Pronger (D) - Questionable. The Flyers and Pronger won't talk about details of the injury that is believed to be a bruised hand.

Columbus (Steve Mason) vs. Carolina (Cam Ward), 7 p.m

Columbus:

None

Carolina:

None

Tampa Bay (Mike Smith) vs. Florida (Tomas Vokoun), 7 p.m

Tampa Bay:

Pavel Kubina (D) - Out, serving three-game suspension for hit on Chicago's Dave Bolland.
Steve Downie (LW) - Doubtful but nearing a return from an injured ankle.

Florida:

Scott Timmins (C) - Out with concussion.
Shawn Matthias (C) - Out with ankle injury and is expected to return at some point next week.
Evgeny Dadonov (RW) - Out with finger injury and should also return some time next week.
Alexander Sulzer (D) - Out with oblique injury that he suffered last weekend.
Jack Skille (LW) - Out with high ankle sprain. Won't be back for 2-4 weeks.

Detroit (Jimmy Howard) vs. St. Louis (Jaroslav Halak), 8 p.m

Detroit:

Brian Rafalksi (D) - Out. Says he will return to the lineup Wednesday.
Chris Osgood (G) - Out, targeting a March 17 return.
Patrick Eaves (RW) - Out. Expected to miss about a week with groin injury.

St. Louis:

David Perron (RW) - Out with concussion.
Alexander Steen (C) - Out. Will miss more than a month with injured ankle.
Barret Jackman (D) - Out with finger injury that might keep him out the rest of the season.

Colorado (Peter Budaj) vs. Nashville (Pekka Rinne), 8 p.m

Colorado:

John-Michael Liles (D) - Out for Saturday but is near returning from a leg injury.

Nashville:

Kevin Klein (D) - Out with bruised foot.

Vancouver (Roberto Luongo) vs. Calgary (Miikka Kiprusoff), 10 p.m

Vancouver:

None

Calgary:

None

NY Rangers (Henrik Lundqvist) vs. San Jose (Antti Niemi), 10:30 p.m

NY Rangers:

None

San Jose:

Dan Boyle (D) - Doubtful with upper-body injury but is very, very close and should return within the week. Outside shot he could be back Saturday night.

TRANSACTIONS

Paul Postma (D) Atlanta - Assigned to Chicago (AHL)
Lance Bouma (C) Calgary - Recalled from Abbotsford (AHL)
Kyle Wilson (C) Columbus - Assigned to Springfield (AHL)
Doug Janik (D) Detroit - Assigned to Grand Rapids (AHL)
Dennis Endras (G) Minnesota - Signed two-way contract with the Wild for 2011-12 season.
Teemu Laakso (D) Nashville - Assigned to Milwaukee (AHL)
Mark Borowiecki (D) Ottawa - Signed two-year, entry-level deal with the Senators.
Chris Summers (D) Phoenix - Assigned to San Antonio (AHL)
James Livingston (RW) San Jose - Signed to entry-level contract
Dave Scatchard (C) St. Louis - Assigned to Peoria (AHL)

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