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NHL Barometer: Crowning Achievement

Jan Levine

Jan Levine

Levine covers baseball, basketball and hockey for RotoWire. In addition to his column writing, he's the master of the MLB and NHL cheatsheets. In his spare time, he roots for the Mets.

This week's article includes a hot power forward in the Arch City, a young D-man growing exponentially in Montreal, a key center down in TB and a sophomore center struggling in the city of Brotherly Love.

First Liners (Risers)

Nik Antropov, C, WPG -
Yes, that's correct, you do see the name Nik Antropov in bold to the left. After seeing his production drop precipitously the last two years and getting off to a horrible start in this one, Antropov is back on the fantasy radar screen. Antropov scored again Thursday, giving him goals in two straight and points in four consecutive. During this recent hot stretch, he has notched six of his 13 points on the season. The rug may get pulled out from under his feet at any time, but for now, ride Antropov.

Adam Henrique, C, NJD -
Henrique started hot, had a major lag and now appears to be hot again. Henrique notched points in six of his first seven games after returning from injury only to post just one assist in his next nine games. Recently, Henrique has put up a point in four of his seven March games, including two goals and an assist Wednesday against Philadelphia and five goals in those seven games.

Chris Stewart, RW, STL -
Stewart figured in all three St. Louis goals Thursday night, scoring two and assisting on another in a 3-0 win over Phoenix. It was the second straight two-goal game for Stewart, who has multiple points in four of the last six games. No one is hotter than Stewart right now. The goals give him 13 this season, and his 26 points (27 games) leads the Blues. A recent move to the top line has worked out quite well for Stewart, who has put last year's struggles far behind him.

Pascal Dupuis, LW, PIT -
Dupuis netted two third-period goals - including the game-winner - in Pittsburgh's 3-1 victory over Toronto on Thursday. Dupuis has six goals and seven points in his last five games. During that same stretch, the winger has registered 26 shots, 12 hits and three blocked shots. For the season, Dupuis has 13 goals and 19 points in 28 games, with 12 of his scores coming at even strength, which may be the only negative about his fantasy value.

Brad Boyes, RW, NYI -
Boyes had a goal and an assist in the Islanders' 2-0 win over Tampa on Thursday, giving him goals in back-to-back games. Boyes now has seven goals and 16 assists in 26 games, though with a minus-nine rating. Just as P.A. Parenteau rebounded skating alongside John Tavares, so has Boyes, as he has put last year's debacle behind him.

P.K. Subban, D, MTL -
Subban had a goal and an assist while skating a season-high 30:50 in Montreal's shootout win Wednesday over Ottawa. He has multiple points in four of the last five games. While we avert our eyes from his seven giveaways in the game, let's celebrate Subban's offense. He's producing points at a ridiculous rate lately, registering 12 points in the last eight games and is at a near point-per-game pace for the season (20 points in 21 games), making the two-year deal he signed after his mini-holdout look like bargain.

Jake Muzzin, D, LA -
A few weeks ago, Slava Voynov was profiled; this week, it's Muzzin's time. Muzzin is getting his first significant playing time at the NHL level this season and has five goals and six assists in 22 games. He's also a plus-11 on the year. Muzzin has taken advantage of the absence of several L.A. defensemen to seamlessly fit into the blueline for the defending Stanley Cup champions.

Jake Allen, G, STL -
Allen, making his fourth start in the last five games, stopped all 28 shots faced Thursday in St. Louis. The win was Allen's fourth straight and bumps his overall record to 7-1. The Blues have supported him well; scoring at least four goals in his previous six wins while Allen's save percentage was a pedestrian .903 entering the game. However, he's stopped 69 of the last 71 shots faced (.972 save pct.), including 28 Thursday in a 3-0 win over Phoenix. It was the first shutout of Allen's NHL career and it looks like, for the time being, he has supplanted Jaroslav Halak as the Blues' main man between the pipes.

Sergei Bobrovsky, G, CMB -
Bobrovsky, who had a solid February, has really stepped up his game in March. Bobrovsky stopped 39 of 40 shots in a 2-1 shootout loss to the Blackhawks, his seventh straight solid start this month, during which he has gone 5-0-2 and posted a .962 save percentage. Overall, Bobo has given Columbus everything it could expect and more, and could end up getting an extension to remain a Blue Jacket.

Others include Alexander Killorn, Matt Duchene, Tomas Plekanec, Sidney Crosby, Patrik Berglund, Ryan O'Reilly, Steven Stamkos, Anze Kopitar, Brian Gionta, Jeff Carter, Mike Ribeiro, Eric Staal, John Tavares, Michael Cammalleri, Ryan Getzlaf, Jonathan Toews, David Backes, Shawn Matthias, Sam Gagner, Carl Soderberg, Chris Kunitz, Phil Kessel, Blake Wheeler, Brad Marchand, Alexander Semin, Michael Ryder, Tyler Seguin, Clarke MacArthur, Dustin Brown, Jiri Tlusty, Nick Foligno, Jarome Iginla, Martin St. Louis, Zach Parise, Shane Doan, Ryan Suter, Andrei Markov, Dustin Byfuglien, Jakub Kindl, Chris Phillips, Joe Corvo, Kimmo Timonen, Francois Beauchemin, Jack Johnson, Jared Spurgeon, Kris Letang, Shea Weber, Kevin Shattenkirk, Dion Phaneuf, Slava Voynov, Ondrej Pavelec, Tuukka Rask, Jonas Hiller, Niklas Backstrom, Pekka Rinne, Kari Lehtonen and Carey Price.

Training Room (Injuries)

Vincent Lecavalier, C, TB -
Lecavalier, who has had an up-and-down campaign, suffered a lower body injury Tuesday and has been placed on IR by the Lightning. There is no specific timetable for Lecavalier's return, but GM Steve Yzerman acknowledged the center, who is not said to be facing surgery for his unspecified injury, likely will be out for more than seven days. Vinny got off to a huge start, and then went 11 games without a goal between finally notching one Tuesday prior to getting hurt.

Kris Versteeg, RW, FLA -
Versteeg, who injured his right leg Wednesday, is slated to have season-ending knee surgery. Versteeg entered the year looking to build upon a 2011-2012 campaign that saw the crafty winger set career highs in goals (23) and points scored (54). A hip injury put a damper on an already productive season, and this year has been worse, as several injuries will end up limiting him to just 10 games. With Stephen Weiss (wrist) and Versteeg now out for the year, Florida has lost the potential to trade two of its most available and possibly attractive assets.

Joffrey Lupul, RW, TOR -
Lupul, whose forearm was broken by a slapshot from teammate Dion Phaneuf during a Jan. 23 game against the Penguins, was limited at practice Wednesday. Although it's a good sign that he's practicing, Leafs coach Randy Carlyle cautioned that it would be unwise to rush Lupul, who had 67 points in 66 games before being sidelined with a separated shoulder last year, back into the lineup before he's fully ready.

Tobias Enstrom, D, WPG -
Enstrom, out with a shoulder injury, returned to a non-contact practice Thursday. It was Enstrom's first practice with the team since suffering the injury Feb. 15, so he'll likely need a few days to round back into playing shape. Don't expect him back in the lineup until next week, assuming he endures no setbacks in his recovery. When he does return, given his point potential, activate him immediately.

Others include Evgeni Malkin (UBI, likely out 10 more days), Jamie Benn (wrist, may play Saturday), Alexander Steen (shoulder, back in action with a bang Thursday with a goal and two assists), T.J. Oshie (rib cage, DTD), Patrick Sharp (shoulder, out 3-4 weeks, skated Thursday), Ville Leino (hip, will play Saturday for first time this season), Michael Grabner (shoulder, IR), Patric Hornqvist (UBI, out through Sunday), Vladimir Tarasenko (concussion, light-skating with teammates), Todd Bertuzzi (back, still sidelined), Tuomo Ruutu (hip, practiced with his teammates for first time this year Thursday), Erik Johnson (concussion, returned to action this week), Viktor Fasth (UBI, DTD) and Martin Brodeur (back, inching closer to returning).

Fourth Liners/Press Boxers (Fallers)

Sean Couturier, C, PHI -
Couturier has failed to score in 10 consecutive games. Call it a sophomore slump but the Flyers' 20-year-old center has only seven points (2G, 5A) in 26 games this season after scoring 27 points with a plus-18 rating in his rookie campaign a year ago. He should probably ride the pine until he finds his scoring touch.

Martin Erat, RW, NAS -
Erat is in the midst of a 17-game goal-scoring drought. His last goal came Feb. 5 against St. Louis, and he's only managed six assists since. Erat's power outage this season comes as somewhat of a surprise, given that he's arguably been the most consistent scorer on the Predators roster the last eight seasons, scoring at least 49 points in each year. Then again, Erat hasn't had much help either, as the Preds as a team are struggling to score this season, ranking dead last in the NHL with 2.08 goals per game. Bottom line, until Erat and the Preds find a way to turn things around, use a more dependable fantasy scoring option on your roster if you have one.

Sheldon Souray, D, ANA -
Souray scored his first goal in 13 games Friday in the Ducks' win over Calgary. He had one point over that span. Souray, like last season, got off to a fast start in his new surroundings and then proceeded to disappear a bit. Souray is still one of the league leaders in plus-minus and has nine points this season. It's doubtful his next scoring slump will last this long, but Souray has disappeared in the past. Use him accordingly.

Ben Bishop, G, OTT -
Bishop was expected to start in net for the Senators when they took on the Canadiens on Wednesday but was supplanted by Robin Lehner. Bishop hasn't been in the crease since March 6 and all signs point to him having been surpassed as coach Paul MacLean's goalie choice while Craig Anderson's ankle still heels.

Others include Pierre-Marc Bouchard (still a healthy scratch), Mikael Granlund (has gone from healthy scratch to demotion to the AHL), Daniel Briere (zero goals since Feb. 18), Cory Conacher (in another down swing in up-ad-down rookie season), Tomas Fleischmann (zero goals and just three assists since Feb. 26), Roman Josi/Ryan Ellis (neither has showed they can replace Suter), Tyson Barrie/Stefan Elliott (both sent to AHL), Matt Carle (nothing last 11 games, not living up to six-year, $33 million deal he signed this offseason), Ryan Miller (rumors that he could be on way out in Buffalo) and Miikka Kiprusoff (struggling since return from injury).