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The Daily Puck: Play Coyle With Me

Andrew Fiorentino

Managing hockey editor, talent wrangler, football columnist, FSWA's 2015 fantasy hockey writer of the year. Twitter: @akfiorentino

Around the Rink

I don’t know if the Capitals are really getting all the credit they deserve for the level of dominance they’ve thrown down this year. I mean, obviously everyone has Alex Ovechkin & Co. (should we start calling them Evgeny Kuznetsov & Co.?) pegged as the league’s best team, but we’re talking Michael Jordan-esque ownership of opponents here. Out of 58 games this year, they’ve only lost 14 (with four of those in overtime). The next-best team at avoiding the loss column is Dallas, and the Stars have nine more losses than the Caps do.

What’s more, after Monday’s win over Arizona, the Caps’ goal differential of plus-61 is more than double that of the next-best team (Chicago, plus-28), and their 23 home wins actually match or exceed the total wins of three NHL clubs (the Leafs, Canucks and Oilers).

But hey, the Caps are off Tuesday, so we’ll have to concern ourselves with the actions of mere mortals on this particular evening. In that vein, there are a couple opportune situations to which I’ll call your attention, starting with a game involving Washington’s Monday night victim, the Coyotes.

Arizona’s swing to the east continues with a road game in Tampa Bay, where the Lightning have generally held serve this year. With the promising prospect of facing either rookie Louis Domingue playing his second game in two nights or fellow rookie Niklas Treutle in his first NHL start, the Bolts have a great chance to pile up some goals and push their winning streak to four games.

The Red Wings’ Petr Mrazek has taken a couple on the chin lately, but he played well in Ottawa over the weekend and gets another shot at redemption Tuesday against a Blue Jackets team that sits dead last in the Metropolitan Division. The Jackets have been better lately, with a 6-2-2 record in their last 10 games, but they’re also on the back end of a back-to-back set and thus are projected to roll out backup goalie Curtis McElhinney in his first start since returning from a lengthy stint on injured reserve. This should be a nice bounce-back game for the frustrated Wings, losers of four straight.

Projected Goalie Starters (all times Eastern)

Rangers (Henrik Lundqvist) at Devils (Cory Schneider), 7:00 PM
Flyers (Michal Neuvirth) at Hurricanes (Cam Ward), 7:00 PM
Predators (Carter Hutton) at Maple Leafs (James Reimer), 7:30 PM
Blue Jackets (Curtis McElhinney) at Red Wings (Petr Mrazek), 7:30 PM
Coyotes (Louis Domingue) at Lightning (Ben Bishop), 7:30 PM
Islanders (Thomas Greiss) at Wild (Devan Dubnyk), 8:00 PM
Stars (Antti Niemi) at Jets (Ondrej Pavelec), 8:00 PM
Senators (Craig Anderson) at Oilers (Cam Talbot), 9:00 PM
Flames (Jonas Hiller) at Kings (Jonathan Quick), 10:30 PM

For updates on projected goalies later in the day, check our Projected Goalies Grid.

Injury News for Teams Playing Tuesday

New York Rangers
Rick Nash, LW (leg) – Remains week-to-week
Ryan McDonagh, D (head) – Won’t play Tuesday, but could return Thursday or Saturday

New Jersey Devils
Stefan Matteau, LW (face) – Hit IR last week
Michael Cammalleri, LW (hand) – Tuesday status questionable
Jiri Tlusty, LW (wrist) – Done for season after surgery
Patrik Elias, LW - Elias (knee) skated lightly on his own Thursday, Tom Gulitti of The Record reports. (2/11/2016)

Philadelphia Flyers
Claude Giroux, C (upper body) – Not playing Tuesday
Steve Mason, G (undisclosed) – Left Saturday’s game; Tuesday status unclear
Michael Del Zotto, D (wrist) – Regular season over following surgery
Jordan Weal, C (upper body) – Out at least two more weeks
Sean Couturier, C (foot) – Tuesday status looking optimistic

Carolina Hurricanes
James Wisniewski, D (knee) – Still rehabbing from surgery; no clear timeline
Justin Faulk, D (leg) – Took warm-ups Sunday; could be back Tuesday

Nashville Predators
Eric Nystrom, LW (foot) – Set to miss extended time on IR
Gabriel Bourque, LW (upper body) – Recalled from AHL injury loan

Toronto Maple Leafs
Leo Komarov, LW (suspension) – Two more games on ban
Joffrey Lupul, LW (abdomen) – Timeline unclear
Milan Michalek, LW (finger) – A few weeks away
Matt Hunwick, D (undisclosed) – Tuesday status unclear
Stephane Robidas, D (knee) – Remains out indefinitely
James van Riemsdyk, LW (foot) – Out another 2-to-4 weeks by original timeline
Tyler Bozak, C (head) – Skating, but Tuesday status unclear
Jared Cowen, D (hip) – Should be nearing return from IR
Josh Leivo, LW (upper body) – Tuesday status unclear

Columbus Blue Jackets
David Clarkson, RW (upper body) – Skating, but timeline remains unclear
Jared Boll, RW (throat) – Nearing a return; was questionable Monday
Sergei Bobrovsky, G (groin) – Skating, but no timetable yet

Detroit Red Wings
Jonathan Ericsson, D (lower body) – Won’t play Tuesday, but should return Saturday
Johan Franzen, RW (concussion) – Remains out with no timeline

Arizona Coyotes
Boyd Gordon, C (upper body) – Practiced without contact Monday
Mike Smith, G (lower body) – Traveling with team, but not ready to return
Joe Vitale, C (concussion-related issues) – Done for season
Anders Lindback, G (Achilles) – Done for season

Tampa Bay Lightning
Nikita Kucherov, RW (lower body) – Day-to-day; Tuesday status unclear
Jason Garrison, D (lower body) – Out at least another week-plus

New York Islanders
Mikhail Grabovski, C (upper body) – Won’t play Tuesday
Calvin de Haan, D (lower body) – Team hopeful he can return on current road swing

Minnesota Wild
Jason Zucker, LW (upper body) – Ruled out for Tuesday
Jonas Brodin, D (broken foot) – Hopes to begin skating in a few days

Dallas Stars
Patrick Eaves, RW (illness) – Not likely to play Tuesday
Travis Moen, LW (lower body) – Will return Tuesday or Thursday

Winnipeg Jets
Bryan Little, C (head) – Could return to the lineup Tuesday
Mark Stuart, D (hand) – Out another 3-to-5 weeks

Ottawa Senators
Clarke MacArthur, LW (concussion) – Hoping to return in early March

Edmonton Oilers
Eric Gryba, D (knee) – Out at least a month
Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, C (hand) – Still can’t practice
Oscar Klefbom, D (infection) – Could be nearing a return, they said two weeks ago
Andrew Ference, D (hip) – Had season-ending surgery

Calgary Flames
Dennis Wideman, D (suspension) – Halfway through 20-game ban
Kris Russell, D (lower body) – Has missed four; Tuesday in doubt
Ladislav Smid, D (upper body) – Placed on IR prior to weekend
Karri Ramo, G (knee) – Torn ACL ends season

Los Angeles Kings
Anze Kopitar, C (lower body) – Hasn’t been ruled out for Tuesday
Marian Gaborik, RW (knee) – May be out until playoffs
Jordan Nolan, RW (undisclosed) – Skating, but unlikely for Tuesday
Matt Greene, D (shoulder) – Done for season

Hot

Alex Ovechkin, LW, WAS – With 55 points on the year, Ovechkin is in an unfamiliar position – he’s second on the Caps in scoring, with the aforementioned Kuznetsov leading him by a solid seven ticks. But any question of whose team this is has been firmly put down by Alexander the Gr8 over the last eight games, in which he’s poured in 10 goals on a whopping 58 shots to go with a couple helpers. The beauty of this year’s Capitals is that Ovie doesn’t need to do it all himself – but he still can.

T.J. Brodie, D, CGY – A rare game off the scoresheet Sunday won’t throw any doubt into the minds of Brodie’s ecstatic fantasy owners, who’ve watched with glee as the slick puck-moving blueliner has racked up 11 assists over the last nine games. It’s less than ideal that he’s only put eight shots on goal in that span, and with just 57 total shots in 49 games, last year’s 11 goals will be awful tough to match – he’s still stuck on four for the season. But Brodie also could blow by last year’s career-high 41 points within a week, and it’s quite possible that even this season doesn’t match the best of what the 25-year-old will ultimately offer in the course of his career.

Cold

Mike Green, D, DET – In six games since returning from a groin injury, Green has exactly zero points, and while he continues to play huge power-play minutes (6:19 out of a total of 14:58 on Sunday; 12 of his 21 points have come on the man advantage), the 30-year-old often looks lost at even strength. As a result, dating back to the game before his injury, Green’s failed to meet his 20 minutes of average ice time in five of the last seven. If anyone should be in the market for an offensive defenseman at the trade deadline, it’s the Wings, and if they get one, Green’s playing time could dry up even more.

Recommended Pickup
Charlie Coyle, RW, MIN – Already on pace for his best NHL season, Coyle’s seen his arrow point up since the Wild’s coaching switch; he has three goals in four games under fellow Massachusetts native John Torchetti. That’s just the latest good news in what’s been a longer-term increase in value for Coyle – over the last 13 games, he’s seen his ice time and power-play time spike to averages of 19:27 and 3:46, respectively. Both those figures are multiple minutes higher than Coyle’s season averages, and with veterans Thomas Vanek and Jason Pominville both in decline, there’s no reason he won’t continue enjoying a first-line role both at even strength and the man advantage moving forward. Coyle remains widely available; time for us to fix that.

The author(s) of this article may play in daily fantasy contests including – but not limited to – games that they have provided recommendations or advice on in this article. In the course of playing in these games using their personal accounts, it's possible that they will use players in their lineups or other strategies that differ from the recommendations they have provided above. The recommendations in this article do not necessarily reflect the views of RotoWire.