Around the Rink
I’m going to get to the highlight reel moves from Clarke MacArthur and Reto Berra, but first: The big news before game action Wednesday was that the Kings announced Jonathan Quick will be out until around Christmas. That’s tough for the Kings, though they’ve been fortunate to discover that Ben Scrivens can come up big in the clutch. Scrivens now leads the league in save percentage, goals against, and shutouts. If you’ve got Quick in your league you’re hoping you’ve got your own Scrivens to lean on while Quick is eating up a bench spot. You’re actually hoping that your team’s Scrivens is the Kings’ Scrivens.
Once the puck dropped last night we were supposed to be watching what was sold as the marquee match-up: Ovi vs. Sid. As much as it’s a great narrative to watch these two play each other, I find myself less interested in that story as they age. Maybe because the game is more complicated than two superstars facing off against each other. Maybe it’s because there really aren’t fireworks between the two players.
Maybe it’s because the other three games provided plenty of excitement, while the Pens’ 4-0 rout of the Caps lacked the fire you were told there would be.
The Ducks and Devils traded off the lead a few times in a nail bitter, with the special teams taking center stage in a game that could have had twice as many goals if it wasn’t for some good goaltending and a lot of missed opportunities.
In Ottawa Clarke MacArthur made a nifty between the legs pass to Kyle Turris for a goal in the Sens loss to the Wild. Catch this one? That’s a pretty pass.
That game went back and forth a few times too. The Wild only pulled it out when Mikko Koivu cut into the slot on an odd-man rush and scored the go-ahead goal with under three minutes to go.
Dany Heatley took a fair share of boos in his return to Ottawa, then tucked one in from behind the net in the second period.
It’d be fair to assume that the MacArthur pass had to be the play of the night (the look on Turris’ face after he scored showed that he thought that was the play of the night), but then Reto Berra made a bicycle kick save on Jack Johnson that instantly short-listed itself for save of the year.
Anyhow, point is that last night was a good night and the least interesting part of it might have been the “marquee” match.
Ok. To the good stuff. Busy night tonight.
Projected Goalie Starters (all times Eastern)
For updates on the projected goalies later in the day, check our Projected Goalies Grid
Blues (Jaroslav Halak) at Bruins (Tuukka Rask), 7:00
Predators (Marek Mazanec) at Maple Leafs (James Reimer), 7:00
Sabres (Ryan Miller) at Flyers (Steve Mason), 7:00
Hurricanes (Cam Ward) at Red Wings (Jimmy Howard), 7:30
Blackhawks (Corey Crawford) at Jets (Ondrej Pavelec), 8:00
Rangers (Henrik Lundqvist) at Stars (Kari Lehtonen), 8:30
Avalanche (Semyon Varlamov) at Coyotes (Mike Smith), 9:00
Panthers (Tim Thomas) at Oilers (Devan Dubnyk), 9:30
Devils (Cory Schneider) at Kings (Ben Scrivens), 10:30
Lightning (Ben Bishop) at Sharks (Antti Niemi), 10:30
Injury News for Teams Playing Thursday
Patrik Berglund, C (upper body) – Is close to coming back, but will be out Thursday.
Jordan Leopold, D (hand) – Will miss two months after surgery.
Adam McQuaid, D (leg) – Has been skating and may return Thursday.
Dennis Seidenberg, D (lower body) – His status is unclear for Thursday.
Marc Savard, C (concussion)
Filip Forsberg, RW (upper body) – Is day-to-day.
Eric Nystrom, LW (upper body) – Practiced Wednesday and may play Thursday.
Pekka Rinne, G (hip)
Dave Bolland, C (ankle) – Is on long-term IR.
Tyler Bozak, C (hamstring) – Not expected back until Saturday.
Mark Fraser, D (knee) – Practiced Wednesday, but remains questionable for Thursday.
Tyler Ennis, LW (undisclosed) – Missed practice Wednesday, but should suit up Thursday.
Nothing serious to report.
Anton Khudobin, G (ankle) – Is a week from returning.
Joni Pitkanen, D (heel)
Alexander Semin, LW (concussion) – Is out indefinitely.
Jeff Skinner, LW (upper body) – Is practicing again, but remains a question mark for Thursday.
Kevin Westgarth, RW (upper body) – Is taking contact at practice again and could return soon.
Daniel Alfredsson, RW (groin) – Is not practicing with the team.
Danny DeKeyser, D (shoulder) – Was placed on long-term IR Wednesday.
Stephen Weiss, C (groin) – Is hoping to return Saturday.
Bryan Bickell, LW (lower body)
Michal Handzus, C (hand)
Marian Hossa, RW (lower body) – Remains day-to-day, with the team sharing very little on his status.
Nikolai Khabibulin, G (groin) – Is on IR.
Mike Kostka, D (foot) – Remains out Thursday.
Zach Bogosian, D (lower body) – His status is unclear, but is likely out Thursday.
Paul Postma, D (leg) – Is on IR.
Jim Slater, C (hernia) – Is out long term following surgery.
Mark Stuart, D (hip) – Could return soon.
Jacob Trouba, D (neck) – Still isn’t taking contact at practice.
Taylor Pyatt, LW (concussion) – Still hasn’t been cleared for contact.
Alex Chiasson, RW (face) – Will be reevaluated Thursday morning after taking a puck to the face Wednesday.
Ray Whitney, LW (upper body) – Could return Thursday.
Matt Duchene, C (oblique) – Had a setback Wednesday.
Alex Tanguay, LW (knee) – Was placed on IR Tuesday.
Ryan Wilson, D (back) – Is on IR.
Lauri Korpikoski, LW (upper body) – Did not practice Wednesday. He’s unlikely to suit up Thursday.
Zbynek Michalek, D (lower body)
Scott Gomez, C (groin) – Is officially day-to-day, but has missed six games and has no updated status for Thursday.
Ed Jovanovski, D (hip) – Isn’t likely to return until the end of the month at the earliest.
Mike Weaver, D (illness) – No update on if Weaver will be rejoining the team.
Richard Bachman, G (lower body)
Philip Larsen, D (undisclosed) – Is questionable.
Steven MacIntyre, LW (knee)
Tyler Pitlick, C (knee)
Ryane Clowe, LW (concussion) – Still hasn’t returned to practice.
Bryce Salvador, D (foot) – Ditto.
Anton Volchenkov, D (leg) – Is out through Saturday at least, could be longer.
Jeff Carter, C (foot) – Is skating again, but is still a ways from a return.
Kyle Clifford, LW (head) – Is skating, but remains on IR.
Matt Greene, D (upper body) – Is on long-term IR.
Jonathan Quick, G (groin) – Will be out until around Christmas.
Keith Aulie, D (upper body) – Could be back very soon.
Mark Barberio, D (upper body) – His status is unclear, but will likely be out Thursday.
Brian Lee, D (knee)
Mattias Ohlund, D (knee)
Tom Pyatt, RW (collarbone) – Is expected back after Thanksgiving.
Steven Stamkos, C (leg) – Will be out for quite awhile.
Adam Burish, RW (back)
Brent Burns, LW (mouth) – Is reportedly close to a return, though we’ve heard that before.
Raffi Torres, LW (knee)
Tuukka Rask, G, BOS: No heads are going to explode with shock (Scanners anyone?) when I say that Rask has been outstanding. Some unexpectedly hot goaltenders, like Josh Harding, Ben Bishop, and Ben Scrivens, are getting a lot of ink right now, but Rask is carrying Boston on his back. Outside of a poor showing against Ottawa, he hadn’t let in more than one goal in a game over the last six games. The Bruins aren’t helping him out much either. Tuesday’s win over the Rangers belonged to Rask, who stopped 43 of 44 in a 2-1 win where Boston only took 22 shots. On the season Rask has an impressive 1.61 goals against, .946 save percentage, and two shutouts.
Gabriel Landeskog, LW, Paul Stastny, C, Ryan O'Reilly, C, COL: With Matt Duchene out the Avalanche need their other scorers to step up and fill the void. These three have already been shouldering the load. O’Reilly has two goals and two assists in the last three games, as well as eight points in his last eight games. Stastny has 12 points (7G, 5A) over the last 11 games. Landeskog has five points (2G, 3A) in the last five games and 14 points in the last 14 games. These three are delivering for owners.
Zach Parise, LW, MIN: Parise’s linemate Mikko Koivu was talked about in the hot section on Tuesday and they go hand in hand. (Worth mentioning that Koivu’s numbers are even better now with 12 points in his last eight games, 20+ minutes in nine straight, and game-winning goal in two of last three.) Parise is on a similar trajectory as Koivu. He’s got 15 points in his last 14 games (6G, 9A). The top line in Minnesota is delivering.
Corey Crawford, G, CHI: Despite the fact that he's winning games, his save percentage has been below .900 four of the last five games, including a .773 save percentage against Nashville on the 16th. Uglier than that was his short-lived appearance against Colorado Tuesday where he gave up three goals on seven shots for a .571 save percentage. Crawford was solid through the beginning of the season and should return to form, but it’s been a disappointing run.
Dustin Brown, RW, LAK: Yeah, Brown scored and was a plus-3 in Tuesday’s win over Tampa Bay, but prior to that he had six games without a point and has just two goals in his last 18 games. Brown isn’t expected to put up a ton of goals, but you hope for more than what he’s giving you.
Marc-Edouard Vlasic, D, SJS: Vlasic was explosive through the start of the season. I’d still argue that Vlasic is having a breakout season, but for fantasy owners the production has really trailed off. He opened the season with five points in four games and continued to produce throughout October. But that production has disappeared. He doesn’t have a point in six games and has been held without a goal in eight.
Daniel Briere, C, MTL / Tomas Kopecky, RW, FLA – Ok. Neither are red hot, but they may be available in your league. Briere is less likely, but after a slow start and a prolonged injury there’s a chance. He’s got three points in four games since returning. Montreal has had a tough time finding offense, but he’s bringing some and maybe they’re rounding a corner after Tuesday’s 6-2 trouncing of Minnesota. Kopecky may be available because he was absolutely terrible through the start of the season. He had zero points through the first 16 games of the season. Zero! Kopecky is full of offensive potential and now has two goals and an assist in his last three games. The Panthers are exactly a high-octane offense, but if he doesn’t completely disappear again he could be a decent role player for your team.