Around the Rink
So, things aren't going so great for the Canucks right now. They went 2-4-0 while John Tortorella was suspended following his much-publicized locker-room-hallway feud with Flames coach Bob Hartley, and his return Monday didn't cure what's been ailing Vancouver – they dropped a 2-0 decision to a Detroit team that suffered a goalie injury midgame. This is a team that badly needs a shakeup in the trade market – Alexandre Burrows is positively screaming "change of scenery," they have no one that even vaguely resembles a proper second-line center, and the back end of the blue-line corps is just ugly.
Work those phones, Mike Gillis; your team is teetering on the edge of a playoff spot. Don't fall off on the wrong side.
Outside of the guys who have already broken out as stars, not too many young players get to go to the Olympics, so it's nice to see 24-year-old Gustav Nyquist crack the Swedish roster as a replacement for his injured Red Wings teammate Johan Franzen. Nyquist is making terrific headway on a breakout of his own this year, with 23 points in 31 NHL games (plus 21 in 15 AHL games), and his white-hot play of late surely had a lot to do with earning the nod. He's got eight goals and five assists in the last eight games, including his first career hat trick on Sunday. It's amazing how the Red Wings keep developing these guys, one after another.
The Flyers came into San Jose on Monday night to face the Sharks, who had beaten them in nine straight games, and it looked like more of the same when they entered the third period trailing 2-1 – but they scored three unanswered goals in the period's first four minutes to chase Antti Niemi and added another one later on for a nail in the coffin. As he often has been, Claude Giroux was the key – since slumping to the tune of six points in the first 13 games of the year, he's been on a spectacular pace, with 49 points in 44 games. He's probably not gonna put up 90 again this year, but an 80-point season is not just within reach – it's likely.
Projected Goalie Starters (all times Eastern)
For updates on the projected goalies later in the day, check our Projected Goalies Grid.
Canucks (Roberto Luongo) at Bruins (Tuukka Rask), 7:00
Avalanche (Semyon Varlamov) at Rangers (Henrik Lundqvist), 7:00
Jets (Ondrej Pavelec) at Hurricanes (Anton Khudobin), 7:00
Flames (Reto Berra) at Canadiens (Carey Price), 7:30
Maple Leafs (Jonathan Bernier) at Panthers (Tim Thomas), 7:30
Islanders (Evgeni Nabokov) at Capitals (Braden Holtby), 7:30
Senators (Craig Anderson) at Blues (Jaroslav Halak), 8:00
Lightning (Ben Bishop) at Wild (Darcy Kuemper), 8:00
Stars (Kari Lehtonen) at Coyotes (Mike Smith), 9:00
Injury News for Teams Playing Tuesday
Brad Richardson, C (undisclosed) Out Monday
Kevin Bieksa, D (undisclosed) – Placed on IR on Monday
Yannick Weber, D (undisclosed) – Left Friday's game; sat out Monday
Mike Santorelli, C (shoulder) – Season-ending labrum surgery
Chris Tanev, D (thumb) – Placed on IR; out through Olympics
Andrew Alberts, D (head) – Out indefinitely
Adam McQuaid, D (leg) – Expected to sit out 'til Olympic break concludes
Dennis Seidenberg, D (knee) – Out for the year
Cory Sarich, D (back) – Out indefinitely
Alex Tanguay, LW (knee) – Sat again Monday; could return this week
Paul Stastny, C (ankle) – Out Monday; Tuesday return not impossible
David Van der Gulik, RW (undisclosed) – No information, but he's on IR
New York Rangers
Derek Dorsett, RW (leg) – Will be back after Olympics
Jim Slater, C (sports hernia) – Slow and steady wins the race
Matt Halischuk, RW (forearm) – Has been skating, but no further news
Grant Clitsome, D (back) – Season-ending surgery
Paul Postma, D (leg) – Having some AHL conditioning time
Evander Kane, LW (hand) – Placed on IR retroactive to Jan. 26
Joni Pitkanen, D (heel) – Still out for the year
Kris Russell, D (upper body) – Returned to practice Monday
Curtis Glencross, LW (ankle) – Post-Olympic return looks likely
Karri Ramo, G (knee) – Out indefinitely with MCL injury
Ryan White, RW (upper body) – Back at practice at end of last week
Alex Galchenyuk, C (broken hand) – Skating; may return to full practice this week
Davis Drewiske, D (shoulder) – Traveling with the team, but not cleared to play
Toronto Maple Leafs
Dave Bolland, C (ankle) – Likely out through Olympics
David Clarkson, RW (elbow) – Probable for Tuesday return
Trevor Smith, LW (undisclosed) – Got over hand injury, but suffered another
James van Riemsdyk, LW (illness) – Sat out Monday's practice due to flu
Peter Holland, C (foot) – Won't go Tuesday
Carter Ashton, LW (hand) – Won't be ready Tuesday
Mike Mottau, D (leg) – On IR with no updates for a couple weeks now
New York Islanders
Travis Hamonic, D (concussion) – Practiced Sunday
Aaron Volpatti, LW (upper body) – Missed Monday's practice
Brooks Laich, C (groin) – Practiced Monday, but sounds like he's still limited
Mike Green, D (concussion) – Practiced briefly Monday; likely to be held out through break
Mikhail Grabovski, C (ankle) – Expected out through Olympics
Jack Hillen, D (leg) – Got back to practice this weekend
Chris Phillips, D (undisclosed) – Skated on his own Monday morning
Mark Stone, RW (undisclosed) – Ditto
St. Louis Blues
Vladimir Sobotka, C (leg) – Placed on IR; will have to sit out Olympics
Tampa Bay Lightning
Valtteri Filppula, C (lower body) – Probable for Tuesday
Steven Stamkos, C (leg) – Targeting a return to the lineup Saturday
Anders Lindback, G (ankle) – Injury may be serious
Brett Bulmer, LW (ankle/knee) – Out about another 3-5 weeks
Jared Spurgeon, D (foot) – Good chance to play Tuesday
Justin Fontaine, LW (illness) – Missed Monday's practice
Mikko Koivu, C (ankle) – Unlikely to return this week; Olympic status in doubt
Josh Harding, G (illness) – Not traveling with team; MS seemingly acting up again
Stephane Robidas, D (leg) – Skating on his own
Henrik Lundqvist, G, NYR – It's been a long road, but the King is finally in his castle again. Lundqvist has won eight of his last 10 games, only allowing more than two goals once in that span. He's allowed one or no goals in five of his last seven starts. In short, he's back, he finally has more wins than regulation losses, and the Rangers in general are trending sharply upward. Perhaps the only thing that'll get in the way of Lundqvist's success will be the Olympic break – it'll be no vacation for Henrik, who will be the No. 1 goalie for a Swedish team that's likely to go deep in the tournament.
Anton Khudobin, G, CAR – Cam Who? Khudobin was just named the NHL's First Star for the month of January after posting a 10-4-0 record with a .927 save mark and 2.19 GAA, and he doesn't have the look of a flash in the pan, especially considering the lack of success that Cam Ward and Justin Peters have had in goal for Carolina this year. Ward's back from IR and his AHL conditioning stint now, but don't think that Khudobin's going to relax his grip on the No. 1 role for the Hurricanes so easily. Perhaps Ward's return will prove useful in prying Khudobin away from his fantasy owners via trade, though.
Antoine Vermette, C, PHO – It's been a long time since Vermette was a scorer to be feared, as he hasn't produced much since his 27-goal, 65-point 2009-10 campaign, but he's returned to the 20-goal club with a vengeance this year. Much of that damage has been done lately – eight of Vermette's goals on the year have come in Phoenix's last nine games, and he's got three assists in that span to boot. It's hard to expect the 31-year-old pivot to keep up anything like what he's doing on his current seven-game point streak, but he's seeing consistent minutes (including power-play time), and there's no reason to think that won't be the case for the rest of the year.
Tim Thomas, G, FLA – Let's make this quick and painless. Thomas has allowed 14 goals in his last three games. He hasn't won or posted a save percentage over .900 in a game since Jan. 21; he hasn't allowed fewer than three goals in a game since Jan. 14. His fantasy value's been middling and remains so; his real-life value as a trade chip for the Panthers is dropping like a rock. It's not all his fault – Thomas has only faced fewer than 30 shots twice in 13 starts since returning from injury in early January – but he's clearly no longer that guy who can near-single-handedly will his team to victory.
Mason Raymond, LW, TOR – Raymond was the toast of Toronto after putting up a surprising 11 points in 14 games to start the season, but things have been falling off steadily since. He hasn't cracked double-digits points for a month since October, and he's got just a lonely goal and no assists in his last five games. Of his 33 points on the season, just eight have come in his last 21 games, dating way back to Dec. 19. Still, this year's been a huge improvement over his last two (and arguably three) campaigns.
Jonathan Huberdeau, LW, FLA – A couple weeks ago, it looked like Huberdeau was finally breaking out of the slump he's been mired in all season, as he collected points in three straight games, but he's gone scoreless in five straight since as his perhaps-predictable sophomore swoon continues. Huberdeau has only 21 points on the season, and he's managed just six in 20 games since returning from a brief absence due to a foot injury. All in all, he's been a total disaster, so now's a good time to buy him low in keeper formats. The talent that made him 2011's No. 3 pick hasn't gone anywhere.
Martin Erat, RW, WAS – I can't tell you that it feels good to recommend a player who has no goals on the season – though he does have 21 assists through 49 games – but Erat is in the unique and profitable position of having been elevated to the Capitals' top line, right alongside Alex Ovechkin and Nicklas Backstrom. Those are some pretty darn good linemates to have, and you won't find many guys on the wire skating alongside that kind of talent. Erat played more than 20 minutes for the second time in five games against Detroit on Sunday, tallying an assist – his fifth in the last five games – and two shots on goal. He's never been a great goal-scorer, but he's better than this and he looks revived. The Caps have two games left before the Olympic break – they host New Jersey and Winnipeg – and I think Erat is going to score a goal in one of them. You heard it here first.