Crashing the Net: Time Is Running Out
The end of the regular season is closing in on us quickly, but that doesn't mean that there aren't a handful of rather unexpected sources of production working on some runs of success right now. We'll also touch on a few veterans who have finally started to up their offensive game as well.
Patrice Bergeron (concussion) seems likely to return to game action Wednesday which is great news for a guy who has dealt with multiple concussion related situations during his career. Bergeron skated on a line with Milan Lucic and Tyler Seguin at practice. Maybe that trio will spark Milan who has one goal in 10 games and two in 26 contests. How is that possible Milan? Did you forget that you averaged 28 goals the past two seasons. Check out that shooting percentage as one of the main culprits. Lucic was at .173 and .175 the past two years. This season, that marks has nearly been cut in half at .090. He's also averaging just 1.68 shots a game after posting a 2.01 mark the past two seasons.
Mikael Grandlund is back with the Wild, but that doesn't mean he will be in the lineup. The supremely talented youngster has been ineffective, in terms of putting up points this year, with seven in 24 games. He was a healthy scratch on Monday and can't be trusted to be active in anyone's lineup right now.
Mikhail Grigorenko has been called up by the Sabres as the QMJHL season is over for his club. The 12th pick in last year's draft, Mikhail recorded five points in 22 games earlier this season with the Sabres. He saw little ice-time in his first run in the bigs and it might be more of the same as the Sabres make one final push for the playoffs.
Scott Hartnell lit the lamp three times Monday for the Flyers, his 7th career hat-trick. Even with that game he still has only three goals in his last nine games. Hopefully this outing helps to break him out of his point producing funk that has pretty much engulfed his season (10 points in 26 games).
Phil Kessel. Everyone seems to love to hate this guy, but he's one highly efficient offensive performer, even if there's a lot of up and down in his game. Phil has been on an monster tear of late with goals in his last four games. Even better, he has lit the lamp six times in those four games. He's also dished out two helpers. All told he has 16 goals in 42 games which puts him back on the pace that would equate to 30 goals in a complete season. What, you thought he wouldn't light the lamp with frequency? Sometimes these things just go in spurts. With his recent run his shooting percentage is now .110. His career rate is .108.
Jason Pominville has recorded six points in six games with the Wild. Four of those points have been on pucks he slipped past the goaltender. One of those goals has been with the man advantage, and one has gone for a game winner. Someone is liking life with his new club.
Patrick Sharp returned from a shoulder injury to play in two games, but he's now sat out the last two games as he's dealt with continued issues with his wing. It's been a rough season for the scoring forward, but since the 'Hawks don't play again until Friday maybe he won't miss any more game action.
Brian Campbell update. Still a (-19) skater on the year. He's recorded two points in his last five games while taking a total of three shots on net in five games. So many points, so few shots at a keeper.
Matt Carle has 19 points and is a +1 skater on the year. Not very exciting. Still, his pace would equate to about 37 points on the season, right in line with his totals of 40 and 38 points the last two seasons. He's also lit the lamp four times this season, one fewer time than the five goals he's recorded the last two seasons.
Grant Clitsome. Get past the name and check out the production. The Jets skater has two goals in his last three games, four points in his last four games, and he's a +7 skater in his last three forays onto the ice. Cha-ching for this waiver-wire add.
Drew Doughty is back at it, and by “it” we mean back to being a fantasy force. It's been a long season for the blue liner, but he's kicked on the afterburners of late with a whipping four goals in his last five games. He had one marker in his first 37 trips to the ice.
Jack Hillen has five points in four games for the Caps. No one expected that from a guy who recorded six points in 55 games last season and one who has one points in his first 13 games this season. Hillen is also a +6 skater in those four games for those of you looking for a blue line boost.
Luke Schenn skated over 33 minutes Monday against Montreal, a season-high. He also blocked four shots and dished out five hits in the outing. He leads blue liners this season with 157 hits, including 12 in his last four games. He’s pretty darn rough and tumble, and he's currently on pace for an 82 game total of over 300 hits. His career best mark was 270 last season.
Sheldon Souray has had one hell of a season for the Ducks. He may only have 16 points, but he's lit the lamp seven times, has 46 PIMs, and has posted a stellar +26 rating that is fourth in hockey, and the best mark from a rearguard.
P.K. Subban has six points in his last five games to push him to 36 points in 36 games. He recorded 36 points in 81 games last season and 38 in 77 games as a rookie.
Craig Anderson is back at it for the Senators and he's allowed five goals in three games since returning from an ankle issue. Being that he's appeared in only 18 games, and that he missed so much time with that ankle issue, many seem to have forgotten that while he's been on the ice this season there has been nary a better keeper as evidenced by his 1.52 GAA and .949 save percentage.
Ho-hum. Sergei Bobrovsky was named the NHL's First Star of the Week after posting a 0.71 GAA and .971 save percentage. He was 1st star 3/4-3/10, 3rd star 3/11-3/17 and 3rd star for the month of March.
Ilya Bryzgalov has won one of his last three outings, and his current 2.86 GAA is only four tenths of a goal above the mark he posted the past two seasons. He's been awful at home this season with a 6-11-1 record coupled with a 3.23 GAA.
Brian Elliott, what can we say? He's got three shutouts in four games and has allowed two goals in four games. Still, his save percentage on the season is .894. Is there a streakier keeper in the NHL? Obviously you start him every time he's out there at this point, but it's also worth noting that he is dynamic at home (7-3 with a 1.63 GAA, .938 save percentage) and a disaster on the road this season (1-4-1, 4.31 GAA, .813 save percentage).
Ray Emery has one loss this season among his 17 decisions. Wow.
Antti Niemi pitched his fourth shutout of the season Monday. The Sharks have been up and down this season, but he's trending up right now having allowed four goals in his last three games. He's working on a stellar 2.13 GAA an a .925 save percentage – both would be career bests.
Carey Price has allowed 12 goals in his last three outings to drop his save percentage down to .908 while his GAA has risen to 2.50. The save percentage would be a four year low while the GAA would be a three year high.
Jonathan Quick is still a .500 keeper at 15-12-3. He's also failed to push his save percentage up to 90 percent as the mark is wresting at .898. He's been one of the most disappointing players in fantasy this season.
James Reimer was a decent add to a club this season. Guess what. He's becoming a fantasy star at this point. Reimer is 17-5-5 for the Leafs and he's won four of his last five starts while he's allowed seven goals to drop his GAA to 2.36. The Leafs have their goalie of the future.
Mike Smith is no Brian Elliott, but he's tending some fine net at the moment. Smith has allowed a total of six goals in his last five outings even though he has only two victories in that time. Way to support him Coyotes. Oh, and he's dealing with yet another issue as well, a lower-body injury that sidelined him for Monday's game.
Ray Flowers can be heard daily on Sirius/XM Radio on The Fantasy Drive on Sirius 210 and XM 87, Monday through Friday at 5 PM EDT. Ray's analysis can be found at BaseballGuys.com and his minute to minute musings can be located at the BaseballGuys' Twitter account.