The Colorado Avalanche are ready to sell. That’s smart, because they are terrible, and they need assets. Reportedly, even Matt Duchene and Gabriel Landeskog are on the trade block. Now that’s selling. However, while they may be the first, they shouldn’t be the last. A couple more teams should be joining the Avalanche in selling soon.
The Coyotes, obviously, should put almost everybody on the trade block. They don’t have many assets, only really a stray Radim Vrbata here or there, but they should try. Vancouver is playing better recently, and they are on the outskirts of the playoff race, but the time has come for them to sell as well. Although, moving the Sedin twins is probably impossible. New Jersey should probably consider it, with somebody like Michael Cammalleri likely to grab a decent return. Then, of course, there’s Detroit. The Wings are going to miss the playoffs for the first time in decades. They have a lot of veterans on their last legs, or close to it. The time has come to rebuild for the first time since, literally, the ‘80s. Colorado has gotten a headstart on their fire sale. Detroit shouldn’t wait much longer to join them.
Flyers (PP: 5, PK: 18) at Bruins (PP: 23, PK: 2), 1:00 p.m.
Expected Goalies: Michal Neuvirth (6-2-0, 3.18, .876), Tuukka Rask (21-9-3, 1.95, .926)
Key Injuries: Matt Beleskey (knee), Tuukka Rask (upper body), Mark Streit (shoulder)
Neuvirth hasn’t been good this season, but Philadelphia’s other netminder Steve Mason has a 3.66 GAA and a .865 save percentage in his last seven games. Rask got hit in the neck with a puck in his last game, but he’s expected to be fine. That makes this a nice battle of Boston’s goal prevention versus Philly’s goal scoring. Both Boston and Philly are in the top 10 in shots allowed per game, with Boston ranked second (26.7). Now that Wayne Simmonds has slowed down, Brayden Schenn is now king of power-play goals for the Flyers. He has 10 of them to Simmonds’ eight, and Schenn has a lower shooting percentage, too. David Pastrnak hasn’t scored a goal in his last 12 games, although he does have five assists in his last five games. He’s also taken 40 shots in those 12 games, so it’s not like he hasn’t been putting pucks on net. Patrice Bergeron has put a whopping 158 shots on goal, but has only lit the lamp eight games.
Rangers (PP: 3, PK: 10) at Canadiens (PP: 7, PK: 23), 7:00 p.m.
Expected Goalies: Antti Raanta (10-4-0, 2.28, .921), Carey Price (20-7-4, 2.28, .922)
Key Injuries: David Desharnais (knee), Alex Galchenyuk (knee), Brendan Gallagher (hand), Andrei Markov (lower body), Andrew Shaw (concussion), Nick Holden (personal), Rick Nash (groin), Marc Staal (concussion), Mika Zibanejad (leg)
Facts are facts, and Price has not been good recently. In his last seven starts, he has a 3.66 GAA and a .881 save percentage. Montreal’s penalty kill is also concerning, especially against New York’s power play. The Canadiens are also dealing with quite a few injuries on offense, although the Rangers aren’t exactly full strength either. Still, on the season, these are two of the highest scoring teams in the NHL. Phillip Danault is currently Montreal’s top center, which means he gets to play pivot with Max Pacioretty and Alexander Radulov alongside. Perhaps that’s why he has seven points in his last eight games. Pavel Buchnevich returned after a lengthy absence Friday against Toronto, registering an assist in the process. However, he will be sitting out this game as he eases into his return from his back injury. Since New York’s other three left wings are Chris Kreider, Michael Grabner, and Jimmy Vesey, though, they won’t really miss him for one night.
Penguins (PP: 4, PK: 24) at Red Wings (PP: 30, PK: 13), 7:00 p.m.
Expected Goalies: Matt Murray (13-4-1, 2.28, .925), Petr Mrazek (9-11-4, 3.19, .893)
Key Injuries: Darren Helm (shoulder), Jimmy Howard (knee), Niklas Kronwall (lower body), Brendan Smith (knee), Joe Vitale (concussion), Brian Dumoulin (jaw)
Murray returned after a three-game absence, but he let in four goals on 33 shots. However, when you look at his overall numbers, there’s not really a reason for concern. That’s especially true given Detroit’s offense. The Wings are only scoring 2.38 goals per game, and of course they have the league’s worst power play. It hasn’t been all bad for Detroit, though. Thomas Vanek has 27 points in 31 games, and Anthony Mantha has 20 points in 27 games. He also is tied for the team lead in goals with 11. Dylan Larkin also has 11, but he also only has five assists, and he’s a woeful minus-17. To the surprise of nobody, Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin are among the league’s scoring leaders with 45 points apiece. However, even Crosby can’t keep up a 21.7 shooting percentage. Kris Letang is a well-established entity, and by now you’ve probably heard that Justin Schultz is having himself a fine season. A couple other Penguins blueliners are having decent seasons, though. Ian Cole has 15 points, and is also a plus-18. Trevor Daley has 12 points, but he’s played in 36 games to Cole’s 41, and Daley has four power-play points while Cole has only one.
Predators (PP: 15, PK: 14) at Avalanche (PP: 28, PK: 25), 3:00 p.m.
Expected Goalies: Pekka Rinne (15-11-6, 2.42, .919), Calvin Pickard (7-11-1, 3.06, .902)
Key Injuries: Erik Johnson (leg), Roman Josi (upper body), James Neal (upper body), P.K. Subban (upper body), Colin Wilson (undisclosed)
Both Josi and Subban are banged up, but the Predators fortunately have defensive depth, Mattias Ekholm and Ryan Ellis can step up and replace some of that value. Jarome Iginla only has five goals and six assists, but he has put 85 shots on goal in 40 games. Perhaps a trade could give him a little boost.
Maple Leafs (PP: 6, PK: 8) at Senators (PP: 19, PK: 9), 7:00 p.m.
Expected Goalies: Curtis McElhinney (2-1-2, 2.39, .924), Mike Condon (0-0-0, 0.00, 1.000)
Key Injuries: Craig Anderson (personal), Andrew Hammond (ankle), Joffrey Lupul (abdomen)
The Maple Leafs played Friday, which means the newly acquired McElhinney could be in net for Toronto. The Leafs give up 32.6 shots on goal, so McElhinney might find things more difficult than he did in Columbus. Eight of Mike Hoffman’s 12 goals have come on the power play.
Blue Jackets (PP: 1, PK: 15) at Panthers (PP: 24, PK: 5), 7:00 p.m.
Expected Goalies: Sergei Bobrovsky (26-6-2, 2.00, .931), James Reimer (6-6-3, 2.59, .916)
Key Injuries: Sergei Bobrovsky (illness), Aleksander Barkov (undisclosed), Nick Bjugstad (lower body), Jonathan Huberdeau (achilles)
Bobrovsky’s illness shouldn’t keep him from playing in this game. What could, possibly, is the fact Columbus also played Friday. So did the Panthers, of course, which is why Reimer may be getting the start instead of Roberto Luongo. The matchup between Columbus’ power play and Florida’s penalty kill should be interesting to watch. Can the Panthers keep the likes of Cam Atkinson and Nick Foligno in check?
Islanders (PP: 25, PK: 20) at Hurricanes (PP: 18, PK: 1), 7:00 p.m.
Expected Goalies: Jean-Francois Berube (0-2-1, 3.27, .901), Michael Leighton (2-1-0, 3.53, .875)
Key Injuries: Eddie Lack (concussion), Brett Pesce (undisclosed), Mikhail Grabovski (concussion), Travis Hamonic (knee)
You can’t like New York’s power play in this one, even if Cam Ward doesn’t play and Leighton gets the start. The Hurricanes have really relied on Ward since Lack suffered his concussion, though. John Tavares picked up a hat trick Friday, giving him 14 goals. He had cooled down a bit so this is a good thing to see. Brock McGinn surprisingly scored two goals Friday. He has three goals in his last two games, but only four on the season.
Ducks (PP: 8, PK: 16) at Coyotes (PP: 26, PK: 28), 8:00 p.m.
Expected Goalies: John Gibson (17-10-7, 2.34, .920), Mike Smith (7-11-5, 2.83, .918)
Key Injuries: Simon Despres (head), (abdomen), Nate Thompson (achilles), Alex Burmistrov (not injury related), Max Domi (hand), Martin Hanzal (upper body), Jordan Martinook (upper body), Brad Richardson (leg), Ryan White (lower body)
Arizona gives up the most shots in the league, and they will be playing on the second night of a back-to-back. That bodes well for the Duck with the most shots on goal…Jakob Silfverberg? Yep, Silfverberg has taken 123 shots in 44 games, scoring on 13 of them. The Coyotes are basically relegated to just having Radim Vrbata at the forward position.
Wild (PP: 13, PK: 4) at Stars (PP: 21, PK: 29), 8:00 p.m.
Expected Goalies: Devan Dubnyk (22-7-3, 1.77, .940), Antti Niemi (9-7-4, 2.84, .912)
Key Injuries: Ales Hemsky (hip), Mattias Janmark (knee), Jamie Oleksiak (hand)
People may think of Minnesota’s goal prevention first, because of Dubnyk’s stellar numbers, but the Wild are actually fourth in goals scored. Dallas, meanwhile, is giving up three goals per game. That bodes well for Eric Staal and Charlie Coyle, among others.
Jets (PP: 20, PK: 26) at Kings (PP: 17, PK: 11), 10:00 p.m.
Expected Goalies: Michael Hutchinson (4-8-2, 3.30, .890), Peter Budaj (19-11-3, 2.10, .917)
Key Injuries: Jonathan Quick (groin), Tyler Toffoli (lower body), Marko Dano (lower body), Patrik Laine (concussion), Tyler Myers (lower body)
The Kings only give up 25.7 shots on goal per game. That doesn’t bode well for Mark Scheifele, Blake Wheeler, and the gang. Alec Martinez (24) and Drew Doughty (23) are second and third in scoring for the Kings. That’s some good production from the blue line.
Flames (PP: 11, PK: 17) at Oilers (PP: 12, PK: 19), 10:00 p.m.
Expected Goalies: Chad Johnson (15-9-1, 2.26, .923), Cam Talbot (21-12-6, 2.49, .917)
Key Injuries: Micheal Ferland (lower body), Andrew Ference (hip), Darnell Nurse (ankle), Tyler Pitlick (knee)
The man who actually leads the Oilers in goals is down in the “Recommended Pickup” section. Milan Lucic has 13 power-play points. Johnson got the start Friday, making 34 saves on 36 shots in a loss. Will he get back-to-back starts, or will Brian Elliott make an appearance? If Johnson starts again, it will be five starts in a row.
Blues (PP: 9, PK: 6) at Sharks (PP: 21, PK: 11), 10:30 p.m.
Expected Goalies: Jake Allen (17-11-3, 2.76, .900), Martin Jones (21-13-2, 2.24, .917)
Key Injuries: Tomas Hertl (knee), Paul Martin (undisclosed), David Schlemko (upper body), Carl Gunnarsson (lower body)
The Blues and Sharks are both in the top five in shots allowed per game. However, while San Jose only gives up 2.29 goals per contest, St. Louis cedes a whopping 3.02. Good for Brent Burns and Joe Pavelski. Not good for Vladimir Tarasenko.
Patrick Maroon, LW, EDM – Maroon has been a frequent pickup target recently, but there are still plenty of leagues where he is still available. The reason for the excitement is probably because he’s scored seven goals in his last eight games, and he’s added one assist for good measure. Just as important, in those eight games he’s averaged 18:10 of ice time and put 27 shots on goal. Maroon has a career high in goals already, and while his shooting percentage is a bit high, the number of shots he’s registered recently is still encouraging. He’s had as big of a role as he ever has, so the fact he’s having a career year is probably not merely a fluke.