Around the Rink
Thursday was a night of shutouts in the NHL. On the West Coast, Jonathan Quick hit his stride with a 19-save blanking of the always ripe-for-shutouts Sabres. Meanwhile, on the east side of things, Justin Peters unexpectedly blanked another team with an absent offense (the Isles), while Martin Brodeur showed he's still got life in his pads with the NHL-record-extending 122nd shutout of his career.
It's been a rough year for Brodeur overall – fitting right in with the past few seasons – but he's been heating up lately, having only allowed two goals in his last three outings. At 41, we keep expecting him to hang up the skates, and he keeps refusing. Is this the last year? Marty's contract runs out at the end of the year and one has to imagine the Devils are starting to look ahead to moving on with Cory Schneider as the franchise centerpiece. Despite only having won once, Schneider's season numbers are much stronger than Brodeur's. I'm sticking to my preseason prediction that in the end, the younger minder starts about 60 percent of New Jersey's games.
The Staal brothers in Carolina are having just a disaster season – just 13 points between them (nine of them Eric's) over 30 combined games, a major contribution to Carolina's 6-7-3 record. Of course, the goaltending situation hasn't helped, though Peters at least brought some stability to the nets Thursday. Still, despite his consecutive solid outings, he's not a guy who lends himself to a lot of trust. Cam Ward may be back soon, but it's not like the 'Canes were playing well with him in net either. In the end, it all falls on the Staals, who are the cornerstones of this team by design.
Projected Goalie Starters (all times Eastern)
For updates on the projected goalies later in the day, check our Projected Goalies Grid.
Devils (Cory Schneider) at Leafs (Jonathan Bernier), 7:30
Predators (Carter Hutton) at Jets (Ondrej Pavelec), 8:00
Flames (Karri Ramo) at Avalanche (Jean-Sebastien Giguere), 9:00
Sabres (Ryan Miller) at Ducks (Jonas Hiller), 10:00
Injury News for Teams Playing Friday
Eric Gelinas, D (foot) – Injured in Thursday's game
Patrik Elias, LW (upper body) – Placed on IR Thursday
Bryce Salvador, D (foot) – Still not skating
Ryane Clowe, LW (concussion) – Still hasn't resumed skating
Jon Merrill, D (face) – Sat out Thursday
Dave Bolland, C (ankle) – Expected to be out months
Pekka Rinne, G (hip) – Now expected to be out well into December
Matt Hendricks, C (upper body) – Didn't go Wednesday
Mike Fisher, C (lower body) – Didn't play Wednesday
Evander Kane, LW (lower body) – Missed second straight game Wednesday
Jim Slater, C (hernia) – Underwent surgery Thursday; out indefinitely
Curtis Glencross, LW (knee) – Expected out six weeks
Matt Duchene, C (foot) – Missed Thursday's practice, but likely for Friday
Ryan Wilson, D (back) – Out Friday
Alex Tanguay, LW (knee) – Still out at least another week and a half
Christian Ehrhoff, D (lower body) – Left Thursday's game
Saku Koivu, C (concussion) – Didn't return Wednesday, but possible for Friday
Viktor Fasth, G (lower body) – Skated at practice Wednesday
Matt Beleskey, LW (thumb) – Practicing this week; returning next week
Zach Parise, LW, MIN – In his first season in a Wild sweater, Parise had a solid strike-shortened campaign, but arguably one that fell short of expectations. After a relatively quiet start to his 2013-14 campaign (five points in nine games), he's turned it on, recording points in seven of his last eight games – 10 in all over that span. Roll him with glee.
Derek Stepan, C, NYR – Another slow starter, Stepan's started getting all over the scoresheet of late, tearing off seven points – four goals, three assists – in his last five games while skating top-line minutes for the Rangers. No surprises here, as he was expected to build on last year's nearly point-per-game breakout, and he's certainly making strides toward doing that.
Roberto Luongo, G, VAN – During a run of high-quality opponents, Luongo's posting his best stat lines of the season. Notorious for his cold Octobers, Luongo hasn't lost in regulation over three November games – but going back, he's actually allowed two or fewer goals in six straight outings. And, of course, he plays nearly every game for the always productive Canucks.
Jacob Markstrom, G, FLA – Markstrom has had an opportunity with Tim Thomas getting hurt, but he hasn't done a very good job taking advantage of it. The young Swede's won just one game – back on Ot. 11 – and has allowed 11 goals in his last three outings, though he's at least pulled out a couple points from overtime losses.
Nail Yakupov, RW, EDM – While Yakupov certainly seems to be on the outs in Edmonton already, he's supposedly still not available by trade. He should be in fantasy, however, as owners look to cash out on his top-pick status and get someone who can help them more immediately. Yakupov's been a disaster all year, but never more than in the last three games – no points, just five shots on goal and a minus-7 rating.
Cory Conacher, LW, OTT – Expected to begin a rise to stardom in Ottawa after looking great for the Bolts last year, Conacher's instead gotten off to a terribly slow start this season, totaling just three points in 15 games so far. The only bright side for Conacher is that he skated 12 minutes Thursday after single-digit minutes the last three games; that said, he made almost no impact in the win over Montreal.
Radko Gudas, D, TB – Fantasy leaguers whose formats utilize PIM have to be thrilled with the Tampa blueliner's contribution – six points, a plus-6 and 57 penalty minutes already on the year. With increased minutes lately has come increased production, as he's managed points in five of the last seven games and has played 20-plus minutes in five straight. He's more than a tough guy – he's a well-rounded fantasy contributor, and he should be nearly universally owned at this point.