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Wednesday Daily Puck: Flyers Raking In Goals

Dan Pennucci

Dan Pennucci

Dan Pennucci has covered hockey for Rotowire since 2002 and is the author of Blue Line Buzz since 2011 as well as being the co-author of Morning Skate. He also is a contributor to Talking Red, a New Jersey Devils blog and podcast. He is an English teacher and formerly wrote for The Coast Star in Manasquan, New Jersey where he and his sports section won several New Jersey Press Association awards. Dan Pennucci is a supporter of the New Jersey Devils, Washington Nationals and Chelsea FC. He's attended sporting events in six countries.

Around The Rink
The weather wreaked havoc on the mid-Atlantic region Tuesday, causing one of the four games played in that area to be pushed to Wednesday. The Islanders, Capitals and Devils all managed to get their tilts in Tuesday evening, but the Flyers and Hurricanes will battle in South Philly on Wednesday night.

Philadelphia has established itself as one of the league’s hottest teams and made a major move last week in locking up its goaltending situation, signing Steve Mason to a three-year extension worth $4.1 annually. Mason followed this up by allowing four goals on 24 shots in the team’s eventual 6-4 win over the Islanders Saturday. Whether the Flyers will be exposed as a team that doesn’t insulate its goaltenders remains to be seen, but the team is scoring goals in droves, averaging four goals over its last three contests.

The Flyers are vying for one of the Metropolitan’s guaranteed playoff spots while Carolina is clamoring with five other teams for the third spot and a potential wild card. Goalie Anton Khudobin has been giving the Canes serviceable netminding in the wake of Cam Ward’s injury, allowing more than two goals in just two of his last seven starts. The Canes also received some good news on Tuesday as Alexander Semin was named to the Russian Olympic team after an initial snub; the enigmatic winger has three goals in the last two games and produced a seven-game points streak between Christmas and the New Year.

-Detroit and Chicago battle in one of their few interconference clashes this season as the Wings look to stay relevant in the Eastern Conference’s playoff race. Chicago has cooled off offensively a bit but that was only natural. Corey Crawford delivered several big performances last week in guiding the Hawks, including an impressive outing in Sunday’s shootout win over Boston.

Projected Goalie Starters (all times Eastern)
For updates on the projected goalies later in the day, check our Projected Goalies Grid

Carolina Hurricanes (Anton Khudobin) at Philadelphia Flyers (Steve Mason), 6:00 PM
Montreal Canadiens (Carey Price) at Pittsburgh Penguins (Marc-Andre Fleury), 7:00 PM
Chicago Blackhawks (Corey Crawford) at Detroit Red Wings (Jonas Gustavsson), 8:00 PM
Phoenix Coyotes (Mike Smith) at Calgary Flames (Karri Ramo), 9:30 PM

Injury News For Teams Playing Wednesday

Carolina Hurricanes
Joni Pitkanen, D - Still recovering from Achilles injury. Remains out.
Cam Ward, G - Working out off ice, recovering from lower body injury.

Philadelphia Flyers
Zac Rinaldo, LW - On IR with an ankle injury.

Montreal Canadiens
Alex Galchenyuk, C - Skated on his own Monday, still out with a broken hand.
Travis Moen, LW - Minor lower-body injury nagging him.
Ryan White, RW - Skated on his own Monday, dealing with upper-body injury.
Davis Drewiske, D - Skating on his own, recovering from shoulder injury.

Pittsburgh Penguins
Joe Vitale, C - On IR with a wrist injury
Beau Bennett, RW - About a month away from returning
Brian Gibbons, C - Remains on IR with a lower body injury.
Chris Conner, RW - Recovering from hand surgery
Andrew Ebbett, C - Remains out with a broken ankle.
Tomas Vokoun, G - Still out with a blood clot in his pelvis, but was taken off blood-thinning medication this week.
Pascal Dupuis, RW - Remains out with ACL surgery looming in February.

Chicago Blackhawks
Nikolai Khabibulin, G - Out another four months after shoulder surgery

Detroit Red Wings
Stephen Weiss, C - Out until late February with hernia surgery.
Pavel Datsyuk, C - Remains out with a groin injury.
Jimmy Howard, G - Will miss at least a week with a knee injury suffered Monday.
Johan Franzen, C - Could return from a concussion Wednesday
Cory Emmerton, C - Did not play Monday, hand injury, doesn't sound serious.
Jonathan Ericsson, D - Will return to the lineup Wednesday against Chicago.
Joakim Andersson, C - Placed on injured reserve Tuesday, groin injury.
Jonas Gustavsson, G - Will start Wednesday against Chicago in return.
Daniel Alfredsson, RW - Out Wednesday against Chicago with a back injury.

Phoenix Coyotes
Martin Hanzal, C - Did not take part in Tuesday's practice but could play Wednesday.

Calgary Flames
Paul Byron, C - Left Monday's game with a lower-body injury and did not return.
Michael Ferland, LW - Knee surgery on Saturday, out for season.
Patrick Sieloff, D - Recently resumed off-ice training after missing time with a staph infection.
Michael Cammalleri, C - Cammalleri was placed on injured reserve due to a concussion.
Curtis Glencross, LW - Glencross is still out with a high-ankle sprain. 2-3 weeks away from returning.

Hot
David Legwand, C, Nashville- The longest tenured Predator not named Barry Trotz has been delivering solid numbers for a team usually not associated with scoring goals. Legwand’s efforts of late have seen the Preds win a few games, but it’s his seven points over the last four contests that have grabbed the attention of owners in daily leagues and those looking for potentially a cheap scoring pickup. He has just one goal in the last seven tilts, but he’s put up at least a point in the last four games, including notching three assists one week ago against Calgary. You know Legwand is going to see scoring minutes, but what he does with them isn’t always a guarantee. Still, he’s an experienced player and you could do worse.

Andrej Meszaros, D, Philadelphia- Several years ago, Meszaros was a solid option for owners in leagues which rewarded secondary statistics such as hits, blocked shots and plus-minus; he’d fallen off the last two-plus seasons, mostly due to injury, but the veteran has been active for one of the league’s hottest offensive teams. Meszaros has points in five of the last seven games, with three of those being multi-point efforts, including a two-goal game Saturday against the Islanders. Given the light slate of games Wednesday and the Canes-Flyers game from Tuesday being pushed back a day, Meszaros is worth a look. Keep in mind though that this production has come with limited power-play time.

Nazem Kadri, C-Toronto- The much-maligned center has been one of the Leafs steadier players the last week with six points in the last four games, including a pair of two-point games in the last two tilts. Kadri has two goals and four helpers over the last four contests and is seeing close to 20 minutes per-night again. He added one of the Leafs’ many tallies in Tuesday’s win over Colorado as well. It’s hard to say when Kadri will again fall out of favor in Toronto, but he can produce when he’s given the chance, just be aware.

Joe Pavelski, C/W-San Jose- Yes, Pavelski probably isn’t available in your league, but the versatile Sharks’ forward has nine goals in the last two weeks, including six in the last three contests. Buoying those numbers are a natural hat trick from Saturday’s boat race against Tampa Bay and two tallies against Calgary on Monday. It’s worth noting that Pavelski grabbed the game-winning goal in both of those games, game-winners that actually had some meaning as opposed to the first goal in a 5-0 rout. Owners might want to think about selling high on Pavelski. San Jose has a tendency to score in droves and then forget how to do so for a stretch.

Cold
Michael Stone, D, Phoenix- Stone has scattered 13 points since grabbing four goals in three games back in November. He’s a talented young defender who can fire a puck, but he’s a victim of situation considering Keith Yandle and Oliver Ekman-Larsson eat most of the Coyotes’ power play. Stone has not registered a point in six games after snagging five over a five-game span bridging December and January. Stone has potential, but he also isn’t seeing the power-play time needed to get the scoring chances his dynamic teammates are afforded. Stone could be an option in deeper leagues, just don’t expect terribly consistent numbers, as nine of his season’s 13 points have come in eight games.

Daniel Briere, RW, Montreal- Briere has become one of the latest whipping boys for the Montreal media after being a healthy scratch earlier this month. He responded to that benching by grabbing two goals and an assist against Ottawa on January 4 only to not register a single point since that game, a span of six contests. Those six games and his three-point effort sandwich a 10-game pointless streak. Briere isn’t exactly in the good graces of Montreal’s coaching staff, having seen his ice time limited the last six games. The Habs take on a Pittsburgh team who allowed five goals to Florida on Monday, meaning they might be a little hungrier Wednesday.

Jeff Skinner, LW/C-Carolina- One of the league’s hottest players from late December until early January, Skinner has fallen off his point-per-game pace and is gripping the stick a bit tightly now with no points in his last four games. Skinner saw a demotion a few games ago, but hasn’t seen his ice time dip too much. The odds of him being this cold for this long of a stretch are slim, as he is too talented of player to remain quiet.

Recommended Pickup
Martin Hanzal, C, Phoenix- Hanzal will likely be in the lineup when Phoenix battles Calgary on Wednesday. Even if he isn’t back, he’s been a quietly valuable player in leagues which reward secondary categories such as hits, as Hanzal is averaging three hits per-game with 59 total penalty minutes. His 34 points won’t set the league afire, but he’s seeing plenty of power-play time and is well worth a look in deeper leagues. He was close to playing Monday against Toronto and should suit up Wednesday. Hanzal did not practice Tuesday.