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Monday Daily Puck: Schwartz Worth Wait

John Toperzer

John has written for since 2003 and serves as the beat writer for the Pittsburgh Penguins and Pittsburgh Pirates. He’s worked for the Pirates for 17 years, written for the Penguins’ Web site as the first game-day editor, and rooted for the Steelers dating back to the Immaculate Reception.

Around the Rink

Columbus has scored only one goal in its last two games, but Brandon Dubinsky continues to find ways to contribute. In Friday’s tilt, Dubinsky registered 10 shots on goal and Tuesday he dished out seven hits against the Bruins. The Blue Jackets travel to Boston on Monday, and over the last 10 games Dubinsky has had a hand in nine of 24 team goals. He makes for a decent play in Beantown.

Loui Eriksson was once a guaranteed 60-point player with Dallas. Injuries and a rocky transition to Boston have helped to limit his offensive production to sub-50 point campaigns in his first two Bruins seasons. This year he resembles the player fantasy owners came to appreciate with the Stars. Eriksson has scored six goals in his last eight games and the last five have all come on the road. Pretty impressive. He’s totaled 46 points in 59 contests and is on pace for 60-plus.

Phoenix’s Martin Hanzal doesn’t seem to get the respect he deserves. Perhaps it’s because he hasn’t suited up for 70 games since the 2010-11 campaign. Whatever the case, the centerman has put up a pair of three-point nights over the last week and collected five hits in his other game. Hanzal has also collected five points on the power play in 10 games and tallied an assist the last time he squared off against Washington.

The Caps, which host Phoenix on Monday, have a four-game Week 21 slate, including three home tilts. The secondary talent often fares well in these runs, so guys like Jason Chimera and Justin Williams will get a chance to shine. Chimera has 31 points (16 goals, 15 assists) in 57 games, including a career-high nine PP points. He cooled off in January but has rebounded with three goals in his last six games. Williams has also notched three goals in six contests, adding three helpers, too.

Shea Weber is due for the Predators. He’s got just one point in his last seven games after collecting three goals and five points in his previous four. Weber also has a liking for games against the Habs. He’s totaled nine points in 10 career games against the Canadiens, including a goal and two assists the last time the two teams met. Look for him to get back on track Monday.

Andrei Markov is another defenseman who has seen ups and downs in 2015-16. His numbers were off-the-chart good in October and November – he collected 18 points in his first 25 tilts. In the next two months he compiled just seven points in 25 games. It’s probably safe to say his numbers have normalized and he’s putting a nifty streak together with two goals and six points in nine February contests. Nothing fancy, but more of what’s typically expected from the veteran blueliner.

Fantasy owners looking to deploy Joe Thornton on Monday should have no problems. Thornton has 49 points in 45 career games against the Blues and scored a goal in the most recent meeting. Brent Burns, not surprisingly, also has some of the best numbers versus St. Louis. Burns has registered nine goals and 21 points in 35 games. He’s also averaging nearly a point per game on the road (26 points in 31 games).

St. Louis suffered a big blow over the weekend with the loss of Alexander Steen. Steen won’t even be reevaluated until a month from now. In the meantime, Jaden Schwartz hasn’t wasted any time getting back in the groove of things. Schwartz has scored four goals and five points in five games since returning from injury. He also tallied three assists the last time he played the Sharks. You know what to do.

Projected Goalie Starters (all times Eastern)
For updates on the projected goalies later in the day, check our Projected Goalies Grid

Columbus Blue Jackets (Curtis McElhinney) at Boston Bruins (Tuukka Rask), 7:00 PM
Arizona Coyotes (Louis Domingue) at Washington Capitals (Braden Holtby), 7:00 PM
Nashville Predators (Pekka Rinne) at Montreal Canadiens (Ben Scrivens), 7:30 PM
San Jose Sharks (Martin Jones) at St. Louis Blues (Brian Elliott), 8:00 PM

Injury News For Teams Playing Monday

Columbus Blue Jackets
David Clarkson, RW - Clarkson (upper body) has been skating for the past few days.
Jared Boll, RW - Boll (neck) still looking to return from injury.
Sergei Bobrovsky, G - Bobrovsky (groin) no timetable for return.
Paul Bittner, LW - Bittner (hip) out.

Boston Bruins
Torey Krug, D - Krug questionable with arm issue.
Malcolm Subban, G - Subban (larynx) out.
Ryan Spooner, C - Spooner (illness) could return Monday.
Chris Kelly, RW - Kelly (femur) out.

Arizona Coyotes
Boyd Gordon, C - Gordon (upper body) on injured reserve.
Mike Smith, G - Smith (lower body) likely out again Monday.
Joe Vitale, C - Vitale (concussion-related issues) out rest of season.
Anders Lindback, G - Lindback (Achilles) on IR.

Washington Capitals
Jakub Vrana, RW - Vrana (wrist) out.
Jay Beagle, C - Beagle (hand) out.

Nashville Predators
Eric Nystrom, LW - Nystrom (foot) on injured reserve.
Gabriel Bourque, LW - Bourque (upper body) recalled from his long-term injury loan.

Montreal Canadiens
Brian Flynn, C - Flynn (lower body) out.
Daniel Carr, LW - Carr (knee) out.
Carey Price, G - Price (leg) out.
Jeff Petry, D - Petry (lower body) likely out.
Tom Gilbert, D - Gilbert (lower body) likely out.
David Desharnais, C - Desharnais (foot) on injured reserve.

San Jose Sharks
Tommy Wingels, RW - Wingels (upper body) will once again sit out Monday.
Brenden Dillon, D - Dillon (upper body) will miss Monday's game.

St. Louis Blues
Alexander Steen, LW - Steen (upper body) on IR.
Steve Ott, C - Ott (hamstring) out.
Alex Pietrangelo, D - Pietrangelo (knee) on injured reserve.


Benoit Pouliot, LW, EDM – This is like taking candy from a baby, not that I’ve ever done so. Pouliot playing with Connor McDavid is a fantasy match made in heaven and fantasy owners still aren’t taking advantage with any regularity. Pouliot is only owned in 21 percent of Yahoo! leagues. That’s crazy. Pouliot is available to help fantasy owners like few others. Since McDavid returned Feb. 2, Pouliot has scored four goals and 13 points in 10 games. He’s the type of midseason pickup fantasy owners win leagues with.

Jake Allen, G, STL – He’s not hot yet, but he could be real soon. Brian Elliott played well in Allen’s absence but he got lit up for four goals on 22 shots in his last start. Enter or better yet, re-enter Mr. Allen. Allen has a tough task ahead of him Monday, hosting the San Jose Sharks, but a solid performance could put him back atop the goalie ratings in St. Louis. For a while it looked like Elliott wasn’t ever going to lose again, but the timing of Elliott’s weak showing Saturday and Allen’s activation of IR over the weekend should put a smile on Allen and his fantasy owners.


Justin Braun, D, SAN – He was a sneaky pickup back in late December and early January. He even tallied a trio of assists Jan. 9 against Toronto. Since then, he’s chipped in with one helper in the last 18 games. Seventeen points in 37 games looks a lot better than 18 points in 55, and that’s where Braun stands right now. Of course, it’s doubtful too many fantasy owners will win or lose leagues because of the San Jose blueliner, but how often do owners cling to a fungible player like Braun too long? Herein ends the public service announcement to keep monitoring your fantasy squad all season long. Florida’s Alex Petrovic has five points, a plus-9 rating and will help out in shots, blocks and hits if you’re looking for a cheap replacement to Braun.

Recommended Pickup

Erik Haula, C, MIN – The coaching change in Minnesota has reinvigorated the Wild offense and no player has taken better advantage of the new situation than Haula. The 25-year-old Finnish forward was named the No. 1 star of Sunday’s NHL Stadium Series’ romp over Chicago. Haula netted one goal and assisted on two others in a 6-1 victory. That gives him four multipoint efforts in his last seven contests. It remains to be seen whether Minnesota’s resurgence is a trend or simply a function of the firing of Mike Yeo, but in the meantime Haula is putting up respectable fantasy numbers.

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.