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Friday's Face-Off: Who's the Rookie?

Ray Flowers

The co-host of The Drive on SiriusXM Fantasy Sports Radio (Sirius 210, XM 87: M-F at 5-8 PM EDT), Ray Flowers has spent years squirreled away studying the inner workings of the fantasy game to the detriment of his personal life. You can follow Ray on Twitter (@BaseballGuys), he never sleeps, and you can also find more of his musings at

It's Friday, so it's time to send you off to a weekend of fun and games with a review of some of the most important stories from the frozen pond.


Gabriel Landeskog has been an excellent performer in his rookie season for the Avalanche, but it's not been until recently that his offense has made him a star in the fantasy game. In 12 games in February Gabriel recorded 13 points including five goals. On the season has has 18 goals, 40 points, a plus-21 rating, 169 hits and 208 shots on goal. Overall production like that moves the needle in the fantasy game.

Terrible news out of Philly. James van Reimsdyk will likely miss 4-6 weeks after injuring his foot Thursday. JVR broke his foot and will have surgery on March 6 to correct what ails him. It's possible that JVR might not play again this season, even when the playoffs are considered. After recording 21 goals and 40 points last season JVR has only 11 goals and 24 points in 43 games this season.

Steve Sullivan may not play on Saturday after leaving Wednesday's game with a lower body injury. Figures. Sullivan was just getting hot with points in six-straight games (2g, 7a).


Corey Crawford has allowed seven goals on his last 20 shots an as a result he has been pulled from each of his last two starts. He isn't likely to lose his starting gig to Ray Emery, but that could change quickly if he doesn't get his game back on track quickly. Comparing the numbers of both keepers there isn't much difference.

Crawford: 2.94 GAA, .900 save percentage
Emery: 2.72 GAA, .910 save percentage

Well lookie here, Steve Mason actually played well Thursday night as he recorded his first shutout of the year as he made 33 saves against the Avalanche. Even with the shutout, Mason still owns a .889 save percentage that would be laughable if it wasn't so sad. The shutout also broke a stretch of four games in which he allowed 15 goals in just 216 minutes (4.17 GAA).

Ryan Miller, have a week. Or make that, have a great couple of days. Miller has recorded back-to-back shutouts in his last two outings, an impressive feat by any measure. The fact that they came in back-to-back nights is even more impressive. Miller stopped all 43 shots that the Ducks threw at him before he shut down the Sharks on their 30 shots. Miller has upped his save percentage to .915 while dripping his GAA to 2.58, numbers that are nearly identical to his career marks (2.57 GAA, .915 save percentage).

Carey Price won Thursday night, his first victory in five starts and just his second in eight starts. Price is just 23-24-9 on the year despite a solid 2.42 GAA. However, Price has seen his performance dip a bit of late as he has allowed at least three goals in seven of his last eight appearances.


Mike Smith was the NHL's First Star of the Month of February, and with good reason. Even though he lost his first start in March, his February effort was one for the record books. Smith went 11-0 with two shutouts. That's right, there wasn't a single loss on his ledger, not bad for a guy who went 6-10-4 the previous two months. Smith also posted a 1.42 GAA in the 11 contests as he allowed one or zero goals in eight of his 11 starts. Smith also managed to post an insanely high save percentage of .952 in February. I told you it was a month for the ages.


3: The number of goals Stephen Weiss has recorded in his last three games. What makes that so surprising is that he had gone 11 games without a goal prior to his recent mini-streak, and that he had two goals in his previous 30 games of action.

4: The number of consecutive games that Tyler Ennis has recorded one point for the Sabres. In each game he has one assist. Going back a bit further Ennis has three goals and six assists over his last 12 contests. Still, his total of 14 points in 30 games is a disappointment after he recorded 49 points in an 82 game rookie season last year.

4: The number of assists that David Legwand has produced in his last three games for the Predators. With his hot spell, Legwand is up to 26 helpers on the year which falls right in line with his run of four-straight season between 22 and 29 helpers. Legwand also has 40 points, the fourth time in fives years that he has hit that level.

5: The number of times in six seasons that the Devils Patrik Elias has recorded 20 goals after he hit the mark again Thursday. The only time Elias missed the mark was in 2009 when he recorded 19 goals in just 58 games. Elias is up to 59 points in 62 games and seems intent on hitting the 70-point mark for the first time since 2008.

8: The consecutive games in which Evander Kane has recorded a point. I'm not just talking about dishing out a helper here and there either. Kane recorded four points Thursday in his best game of the stretch, but overall he has seven goals and seven assists. Wow is right. The third-year forward has already set career bests in goals (26) and points (46).

8: The number of assists that Joe Thornton has in his last seven games played for the Sharks. Thornton lost a seven-year run of at least 50 helpers last season when he had just 49. With 45 assists already, Thornton is well on pace to join the 50 club yet again. After a slow start to the year, Thornton has really picked up the point production of late with six multi-point games in his last 12 games during which time he has recorded 21 points.

20: The number of points that Claude Giroux has racked up in his last 13 games (5g, 15a). Giroux has all of those points, including seven on the power-play, but he is merely a plus-one skater in that time which doesn't exactly bode well for his two-way play. Giroux loves playing on Thursday and Saturday's as he has 42 of his 75 points on those two days. To put it another way, Giroux has 42 points in just 31 games on those two days and 33 points in his other 28 games.

Ray Flowers can be heard daily on Sirius/XM Radio on The Fantasy Drive on Sirius 210 and XM 87, and Saturday's from 3-4 PM he hosts the SiriusXM Fantasy Hockey Show. Ray's baseball analysis can be found at BaseballGuys' Twitter account.To email Ray a question for next week’s piece, drop him a line at