This article is part of our The Daily Puck series.
Around the Rink
Retired stroke-survivor and former NHLer, Nils Ekman, will likely have his television tuned to Monday night's matchup featuring two of his three old teams, San Jose and Pittsburgh, as they square off against one another in California.
Penguins GM Jim Rutherford might want to give coach Mike Johnston a little suggestion to start Thomas Greiss in goal. As we know, players tend to perform well against former mates and Greiss played four seasons in San Jose. Starting goalie, Marc-Andre Fleury, notched a shutout in Los Angeles on Saturday, so make sure Greiss gets the nod before going with him.
Joe Pavelski is a no-brainer against Pittsburgh. He tallied three assists versus the Pens the last time the teams met. Furthermore, he's riding a season-high five-game point streak (1G, 5A) which includes five power-play points. Pavelski's feeling it right now, as evidenced by his six shots on goal in the last tilt.
Jordan Eberle collected a goal and two assists Sunday. His numbers against Detroit – five goals and seven points in 13 games – are better than another Edmonton star, Ryan Nugent-Hopkins. RNH potted a hat trick and four points Sunday but has just two points in nine career contests versus the Red Wings.
Defenseman Marek Zidlicky might not win many awards for his defense, but the veteran has already scored two goals in three games since coming to Detroit from New Jersey. He's got 18 points (1G, 17A) in 38 tilts against the Oilers and his plus-18 is by far his best against any NHL team.
Nick Leddy recently signed a big deal with the Islanders, but that hasn't slowed him down. In fact, he's totaled four points in his last four games. Leddy's also done well against the Leafs, with a goal and six points in six career contests.
Dion Phaneuf compiled a plus-2 rating the last time Toronto and New York met. For his career, the defender has scored nine points (3G, 6A) in 19 games against the Isles. Phaneuf has points in two of his last three and makes for a decent play at home Monday.
Rickard Rakell scored one goal and assisted on another the last time Anaheim and Vancouver played each other. The Ducks offer studs like Corey Perry and Ryan Getzlaf, but fantasy owners looking to dig a little deeper might want to consider Rakell. After a slow start, the Swede has 18 points (5G, 13A) in his last 25 tilts.
Radim Vrbata hit the 25-goal plateau Saturday with a pair of goals, giving him three markers in his last two games. He was a fantasy hot-button in the preseason and has rewarded fantasy owners. Vrbata, who has 10 goals and 20 points on the man advantage, has played well over the course of his career against Anaheim – he's got 35 points in 47 contests.
For whatever reason, Mike Ribeiro has always seemed like a maligned player. We won't worry about that, we'll just say he's got 41 points in 42 games against the Coyotes over the course of his career. He's been a big part of Nashville's success in 2014-15 and should be good for a point or two Monday against the team he toiled for a season ago.
Land mines await poolies looking for Coyotes against Nashville, though a mitigating factor is that Arizona is at home Monday. Martin Erat holds a plus-2 rating over his last eight games, which isn't much, unless you play for the 'Yotes. He recently had a three-game point streak and the player versus his ex-team once again applies here. I'd say the Preds are pretty happy with Filip Forsberg, though.
Projected Goalie Starters (all times Eastern)
For updates on the projected goalies later in the day, check our Projected Goalies Grid
New York Islanders (Jaroslav Halak) at Toronto Maple Leafs (Jonathan Bernier), 7:30 PM
Edmonton Oilers (Ben Scrivens) at Detroit Red Wings (Jimmy Howard), 7:30 PM
Anaheim Ducks (Frederik Andersen) at Vancouver Canucks (Eddie Lack), 10:00 PM
Nashville Predators (Pekka Rinne) at Arizona Coyotes (Mike Smith), 10:00 PM
Pittsburgh Penguins (Marc-Andre Fleury) at San Jose Sharks (Antti Niemi), 10:00 PM
Injury News For Teams Playing Monday
New York Islanders
Kyle Okposo, RW - Okposo (eye) skated with the Islanders on Saturday morning, Arthur Staple of Newsday reports. (3/7/2015)
Mikhail Grabovski, C - Grabovski (upper body) was placed on injured reserve Friday, and per Newsday's Arthur Staple, his injury is a concussion. (2/20/2015)
Tyler Kennedy, LW - Kennedy (upper body) resumed skating Saturday morning. (3/7/2015)
Toronto Maple Leafs
Nazem Kadri, C - Kadri missed a team meeting Sunday morning and could be held out of Monday's game against the Islanders, Jonas Siegel of TSN 1050 reports. (3/8/2015)
Brad Ross, LW - Ross was suspended 20 games Wednesday for violating the AHL's Performance Enhancing Substances Program, James Mirtle of the Globe & Mail reports. (1/14/2015)
Nathan Horton, RW - Horton (back) was traded to the Maple Leafs on Thursday in exchange for David Clarkson. (2/26/2015)
Stephane Robidas, D - Robidas (shoulder) will be shut down for the remainder of the season, David Alter of the Leafs' official site reports. (3/8/2015)
Steve Pinizzotto, RW - Pinizzotto has cleared waivers, TSN's Darren Dreger reports. (12/30/2014)
Benoit Pouliot, LW - Pouliot (illness) won't play Sunday against the Hurricanes. (3/8/2015)
Anton Lander, C - Lander (shoulder) skated on the Oilers' second line at Saturday's practice, Jim Matheson of the Edmonton Journal reports. (3/7/2015)
Taylor Hall, LW - Hall will be out six weeks with a lower-leg injury, reports Rob Tychkowski of the Edmonton Sun. (2/10/2015)
Tyler Pitlick, RW - Pitlick (spleen) practiced in a non-contact capacity Monday. (3/2/2015)
Nikita Nikitin, D - Nikitin (shoulder) practiced in a non-contact jersey Monday. (3/2/2015)
Viktor Fasth, G - Fasth (knee) is being listed as out indefinitely. (2/18/2015)
Iiro Pakarinen, RW - Pakarinen (knee) wasn't a participant in Friday's morning skate and is expected to miss the game later in the evening against the Blackhawks, Jack Michaels of the Oilers Radio Network reports. (3/6/2015)
Detroit Red Wings
Alexei Marchenko, D - Marchenko (oblique) was able to get in a skate Thursday, MLive.com's Ansar Khan reports. (3/5/2015)
Johan Franzen, RW - GM Ken Holland said Franzen (concussion) is expected to return before the regular season ends, Helene St. James of the Detroit Free Press reports. (3/3/2015)
Darren Helm, LW - Helm (oblique) skated briefly by himself before Saturday's practice, Ansar Khan of MLive reports. (3/7/2015)
Jonas Gustavsson, G - Gustavsson, who gave way to Jimmy Howard to begin the third period of Sunday's 5-3 loss to the Bruins, suffered an unspecified injury during the contest, Ted Kulfan of the Detroit News reports. (3/8/2015)
Tim Jackman, RW - Jackman is slated to miss 4-6 weeks due to a lower-body injury, Curtis Zupke of NHL.com reports. (3/4/2015)
James Wisniewski, D - Wisniewski (foot) expects to rejoin the Ducks on their upcoming three-game road trip, Eric Stephens of the Orange County Register reports. (3/5/2015)
Sheldon Souray, D - GM Bob Murray said Souray's career remains in jeopardy as a result of his season-ending wrist procedure in January, NHL.com's Curtis Zupke reports. (9/1/2014)
Matt Beleskey, LW - Beleskey (shoulder) will travel to Canada for Monday's game in Vancouver and Wednesday's game in Calgary, Lance Pugmire of the LA Times reports. (3/6/2015)
Korbinian Holzer, D - Holzer (concussion) skated with the Ducks at Friday's morning session, NHL.com's Curtis Zupke reports. (3/6/2015)
Sami Vatanen, D - Vatanen (lower body) will travel to Canada for Monday's game in Vancouver and Wednesday's game in Calgary, Lance Pugmire of the LA Times reports. (3/6/2015)
Chris Tanev, D - Tanev (concussion) appears to have suffered a setback in the recovery process, Blake Price of TSN 1040 AM reports. (3/3/2015)
Ryan Miller, G - General manager Jim Benning said Wednesday that Miller's MRI confirmed a sprained knee, which will keep him out for approximately 4-to-6 weeks, TSN 1040 AM reports. (2/25/2015)
Chris Higgins, LW - Higgins will not play in Saturday's game against the Sharks due to a lower-body injury. (3/7/2015)
Brad Richardson, C - Richardson (ankle) resumed skating back in Vancouver on Wednesday, Jeff Paterson of TSN 1040 AM reports. (2/25/2015)
Kevin Bieksa, D - Coach Willie Desjardins indicated Tuesday that Bieksa (hand) is at least a week away from a return to action, Jon Abbott of TSN 1040 reports. (3/3/2015)
Yannick Weber, D - Weber exited Saturday's game against the Sharks with an apparent injury. (3/7/2015)
Anton Volchenkov, D - Volchenkov (lower body) joined the team for Wednesday's practice, John Glennon of The Tennessean reports. (2/25/2015)
Eric Nystrom, LW - Nystrom (lower body) is expected to be out for the next four weeks, Mike Organ of The Tennessean reports. (3/6/2015)
Martin Hanzal, C - Hanzal underwent back surgery Tuesday, formally spelling ending his season, Craig Morgan of FOX Sports Arizona reports. (2/18/2015)
Mikkel Boedker, LW - Boedker (ruptured spleen) has been ruled out for the rest of the season. (3/1/2015)
Pascal Dupuis, RW - Dupuis (blood clot) skated on his own Tuesday morning. (12/2/2014)
Christian Ehrhoff, D - Ehrhoff (concussion) will not play Saturday against the Kings. (3/7/2015)
Olli Maatta, D - Maataa will undergo shoulder surgery Wednesday, ending his season. (1/13/2015)
Anton Zlobin, LW - Zlobin underwent season-ending surgery Tuesday, Jonathan Bombulie of the Luzeme County Citizen's Voice reports. (12/2/2014)
San Jose Sharks
Matt Irwin, D - Irwin (upper body) will not play in Monday's game against the Penguins, Curtis Pashelka of the Bay Area News Group reports. (3/8/2015)
Mike Brown, RW - Brown (leg) skated with the Sharks at Saturday's morning practice, Kevin Kurz of CSN Bay Area reports. (2/28/2015)
Raffi Torres, LW - Torres (knee) underwent a successful procedure on the torn ACL in his right knee Wednesday, David Pollak of the San Jose Mercury News reports. GM Doug Wilson said the Sharks expect to have Torres fully healthy for the start of training camp in September. (2/26/2015)
Elias Lindholm: The Carolina winger announced his "keep-ability" for 2016 fantasy leagues Sunday, scoring a hat trick while adding a pair of helpers. It seems like there aren't many players with five-point weeks, anymore, let alone five-point games. Not surprisingly, the 20-year-old's season has played out like a fantasy roller-coaster in Raleigh – that's to be expected. Hold the Swede for 2015-16 and you will likely be rewarded.
Kris Russell: The Flames have sent in the cavalry since losing Mark Giordano, with Russell taking over some of Giordano's duties. Russell scored twice in a remarkable comeback against the Sens on Sunday, giving him five points in his last three. Poolies will want to snap him up as he could continue pointing with an increased role.
Semyon Varlamov: Colorado Avalanche coach Patrick Roy said Sunday that Varlamov suffered a lower-body injury, though he apparently injured his shoulder earlier. Whatever the case may be, fantasy owners are in a tough spot. Varlamov has already missed time with a lower-body injury, so a recurrence could sideline him during the fantasy stretch drive. At the same time, hot goalies on bubble teams make for the perfect fantasy weapon. Stay tuned for further updates.
Michael Del Zotto: The defender is out for at least one week with an
upper-body injury. Del Zotto was playing like it was 1999 (or 2011-12, more accurately) for the Flyers, with seven goals and 18 points in 30 games since serving as a healthy scratch. Fantasy owners – who likely paid next to nothing for the surprising fantasy producer – will be forced to look elsewhere for "free" points on the blue line in Week 23.
Ian Cole: This is more of a flier than anything, but Pittsburgh plays four times in the coming week, including three at home. The defenseman spot in leagues which use maximum games often is underfilled – especially as compared to right wing, for instance. The pickings can get pretty slim in this category, making Cole a decent speculative pick right now. He has one assist in three games for the Pens since coming over from St. Louis.