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The Daily Puck: Bad Actor

Ben Rauscher

Ben Rauscher writes about fantasy sports for RotoWire.

The DAILY PUCK for January 3, 2011
by Ben Rauscher, RotoWire Writer

What a weekend for sports with all the college bowl games, the final week of the NFL and a tremendous weekend of hockey, which included the Winter Classic at Heinz Field in Pittsburgh. This year's version of the game saw the Eric Fehr lead Capitals steal a 3-1 victory over the host Penguins, but more interestingly was the shenanigans in the waning seconds of the game as a scrum broke out and the teams departed without shaking hands. Now, nowhere does it say that the teams have to meet in the middle and shake hands, but it has been done in the past and it was quite apparent when the two teams decided against it. Great rivalry indeed...

Sunday Night Summary

- There were eight games on the docket for Sunday, maybe trying to make up for the light night on New Year's Day (oh yeah ... HAPPY NEW YEAR!). The highlights include:

ATL @ MON - The Canadiens were looking to win back-to-back games for the first time in nearly a month, but couldn't overcome Ondrej Pavelec's tremendous 47-save performance. Montreal did manage a point, but saw Dustin Byfuglien notch his sixth game-winning goal and third in the overtime period to tie Steven Stamkos for the league lead in game-winning goals. James Wisnieski continued his torrid pace by recording a pair of assists in the loss.

PHI @ DET - The Flyers ended their four-game road trip in Detroit with a 3-2 win and a chasing of goalie Jimmy Howard from the Red Wings' net as they scored all their goals in their 19-shot second period. Lots of streaks fell this trip as Philly finally lost in Vancouver, but won in Detroit for the first time since November 4th, 1988 (Philadelphia was 0-14-2 at Joe Louis Arena).

NYR @ FLA - Tomas Vokoun recorded his fifth shutout of the season and carried his team to a .500 record for the first time in nearly two months. David Booth opened the scoring with a power-play marker - his 10th goal of the season - and it stood up for the game winner.

DAL @ STL - Dallas was trying to avoid a third straight loss when they visited the Blues and came away with a 4-2 win. Kari Lehtonen broke a personal four-game losing streak and ran his record to 6-1-0 in St Louis, while Brad Richards had a goal and a pair of assists and Brendan Morrow tallied twice. Alex Steen had his 13th in the loss.

CLB @ NAS - In the Blue Jackets' last 14 games in Nashville, the team has not managed a win going a horrific 0-9-5 and with only four wins in 24 attempts, it can be said that the Predators hold an advantage over the visitors.  Sunday saw the Jackets back in Nashville and the result was no different as the home team took a 4-1 decision on the back of Shea Weber's one-goal, two-assist performance. Predators' netminder Pekka Rinne won his second start in a row. One bad note for Nashville in this game was that they lost Cal O'Reilly to a broken fibula in his right leg. O'Reilly had six goals and 12 assists in 38 games before suffering the injury.

PHO @ MIN -- The Wild were booed by hometown fans in Friday's loss to Nashville which saw the squad fall to 3-6-1 at home over the last 10 games. In Sunday night's game, Minnesota allowed four goals in the third period and needed a last minute goal from Pierre-Marc Bouchard to push the game into overtime where oft-maligned blueliner Cam Barker scored his first of the season to take a 6-5 decision. Andrew Brunette led all scorers with a three-point night (1G, 2A).

VAN @ COL - Vancouver started its 13-1-2 run back on November 24th, 2010 with a 4-2 win over the Avalanche. Fast forward to the third day of 2011 and the Canucks just keep on winning as they hung on for a 2-1 win with the help of a Roberto Luongo's 31 saves. Mason Raymond scored in first game back from a thumb injury and rookie Alexandre Bolduc had his first NHL goal and two-point game of his career. Paul Stastny scored his 15th of the season with about six minutes left in the third to make the end of the game very exciting.

CHI @ ANA - Both team captains, Ryan Getzlaf (nose) and Jonathan Toews (shoulder), were sitting in the press box watching as the Ducks handed Chicago their third straight loss by a 2-1 final. Jonas Hiller made 39 saves and Corey Perry scored his 21st of the season early in the second period that held up as the game winner.

Around The Rink

- Alexander Ovechkin's acting skills haven't improved with his recent head commercials as he seemed just a bit too exuberant at the end of Saturday's Winter Classic when he jumped into his goaltender's arms. 

- Dwayne Roloson has left the depths of the standings in New York for the top with the Lightning. Tampa Bay sent minor-league defenseman Ty Wishart to the Islanders and now have three goalies to manage - Rollie the Goalie joins Mike Smith and Dan Ellis in the blue paint. Roloson is 6-13-1 this season with a 2.64 goals-against average and .916 save percentage in 20 games and will become a free agent at the end of the year.

- Keeping with goalie news, Pascal Leclaire is once again battling injury... maybe this isn't news after all.


- Mike Weber is a defenseman for the Sabres and has recorded his entire season's scoring in the last three games, scoring twice and adding three assists while skating to a plus-6 rating. He is a former second-round draft pick, but has been known primarily for his defensive skill set.

- Since returning from injury nine games ago, Vincent Lecavalier has scored four goals and chipped in with three assists. There may still be a relative buy-low window with Vinny, but fantasy owners better get on it soon.

- I have always liked Jason Pominville's game and it appears to have returned. He has produced points in 11 of his last 14 games and is currently riding a four-game point streak (3G, 5A) highlighted by Saturday's two-goal, two-assist performance.


- With no goals in December and only five assists to show for his last 11 games, Alexander Semin is firmly planted
on the cold list.

- If anyone though John-Michael Liles would keep up the torrid pace he set to start the season, they either acquired him during the run or held on to him after turning down some offers. Whatever the case, Liles has only four helpers in his last 12 games.

- I often show a recent stretch of games to give reasons behind why a player finds himself on the cold list, but in Martin Brodeur's case, we need only look at his season totals. He currently sports a putrid 5-18-1 record with a bawdy .882 save percentage and 3.15 goals-against average. He does have three shutouts if that's any consolation.

Recommended Pickup

- Lots of injuries in Nashville and they are looking for some offense, so they snagged Marek Svatos on waivers when the Blues signed him to a contract. The kid has some skills, but wasn't in the NHL to start the season for a reason. If your fantasy team needs a bit of a boost, there is opportunity for Svatos to claim significant minutes.

Monday Game Information - FIVE Games on the Slate

Florida @ Carolina, 7:00pm EST

Probably starter - Tomas Vokoun

Byron Bitz - Out; the sports hernia surgery has taken longer to recover from and he recently suffered a setback.

Probable starter - Cam Ward

Joni Pitkanen - Out; an upper-body injury will keep him off the ice for a third straight game, but the talk is he is going to join the team on the upcoming road trip that starts on Wednesday in New York.
Jussi Jokinen - Out; a lower-body injury has also kept him off the ice the past two games and he will miss his third on Monday.

Boston @ Toronto, 7:00pm EST

Probable starter - Tim Thomas

Gregory Campbell - Questionable; coaching staff call him 50-50 to go on Monday as he is on the tail end of an illness that has sidelined him for the past two games.

Maple Leafs:
Probable starter - Jonas Gustavsson

Jean-Sebastien Giguere - Out; still hurting from a groin injury and no news on a potential return this season (or ever..?)
Brett Lebda - Questionable; the light-scoring rearguard is fighting an illness that might rock the fantasy world and see him in the press box.

New York Islanders @ Calgary, 9:00pm EST

Probable starter - Rick DiPietro

Many long-term injuries, but none recently to add and no new news on impending returns (we are looking at you Kyle Okposo)

Probable starter - Henrik Karlsson

No new injuries to note.

Chicago @ Los Angeles, 9:00pm EST

Probable starter - Marty Turco

Jonathan Toews - Probable; Riding a three-game losing streak, if Toews is ready to go from a shoulder injury, then the Blackhawks will use him.

Probable starter - Jonathan Quick

Alexei Ponikarovsky - Out; he has already missed a game to an undisclosed lower-body injury, but it is doubtful he gets back on the ice soon... and even more doubtful that fantasy squads miss his seven points.
Willie Mitchell - Out; whatever injury he is battling now will keep him out for another week or so.

Vancouver @ San Jose, 10:30pm EST

Probable starter - Roberto Luongo

No new injuries to note.

Probable starter - Antti Niemi

Joe Pavelski - Questionable; the infamous lower-body injury may keep Pavelski from skating Monday.
Torrey Mitchell - Questionable; a lower-body injury (yes, another one) will likely see Mitchell miss his fifth straight game.

Starting Goalie Recap

Florida (Tomas Vokoun) @ Carolina (Cam Ward); 7:00pm EST
Boston (Tim Thomas) @ Toronto (Jonas Gustavsson); 7:00pm EST
New York Islanders (Rick DiPietro) @ Calgary (Henrik Karlsson); 9:00pm EST
Chicago (Marty Turco) @ Los Angeles (Jonathan Quick); 9:00pm EST
Vancouver (Roberto Luongo) @ San Jose (Antti Niemi); 10:30pm EST

**For complete starting goalie details, please visit the GOALIE GRID.