Long morning, so let’s cut to the chase.
(Randy Carlyle/Leafs thoughts to come on Thursday.)
LIGHTNING 4, CANADIENS 2
-- Man, it's honestly kind of unbelievable that the Tyler Johnson (two goals) - Ondrej Palat (two assists) - Nikita Kucherov (two assists) line just keeps chugging along. At this point, I wonder if GM Steve Yzerman should just be pondering different ways to help Steve Stamkos keep pace ... maybe consider a small asset for decent forward-type trade? It's not like this is a crisis, but what if things dry up for That Line?
-- I've expressed some disappointment in P.K. Subban's season, though mainly from a greedy fantasy owner standpoint. He's been quite good in the last three games, generating four PIM and three SOG last night after collecting four assists in his previous two contests. It's remarkable that his three-assist night on Jan. 2 came without a single SOG.
-- Sergei Gonchar collected two assists on Tuesday, but seriously, three straight games without a SOG? It's hard for me to resist believing that Gonchar might be taking opportunities from players who are simply more capable in cashing in.
CANUCKS 3, ISLANDERS 2
-- I wonder if Brock Nelson is finally hitting the wall after I conceded that he's useful in fantasy. He only has a goal (and a garbage one in that) in his last seven games and suffered a -3 rating on Tuesday. Not surprising if he's merely hitting a lull, but if you want to drop him even just for a short while, I get it. (There’s a solid chance you could get him back later on.)
-- Then again, maybe it was just an off night for certain Islanders. John Tavares managed to play 21:36 without a single SOG.
-- Alexandre Burrows didn't cash in on his reunion with the Sedin twins. I wonder if that will be short-lived, as honestly, Radim Vrbata is probably best suited for the role when he's healthy.
-- Nick Bonino only has three points in 14 games since generating 21 in 24. I'd cut bait if you haven't already.
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SHARKS 4, WILD 3 (OT)
-- This seemed like a great opportunity for the Wild to grab a win, but with Zach Parise spending time with his ailing father, it's not as surprising that they lost. Best of luck to the Parise family.
-- Jason Pominville collected two assists, putting him to 30 points in 38 games. His puck luck is still surprisingly weak (eight goals on 122 SOG, just 6.6 shooting percentage), but hopefully he's not giving up on shooting altogether with a piddling two SOG in four games.
-- Talk about a clutch pickle: Marc-Edouard Vlasic has two straight game-winning goals.
-- Maybe he's better off in some ways as a forward, yet Brent Burns, pizza-loving defenseman has been quite prolific too. He has six points in his last four games and his full seasons stats are almost as lush as his facial hair.
AVALANCHE 2, BLACKHAWKS 0
-- How, you might ask? The answer is Semyon Varlamov: he stopped all 54 shots as Colorado won despite just 24 SOG of their own. I picture Joe Sakic and Patrick Roy having breakfast, talking about how BRILLIANT they are.
-- Nathan MacKinnon scored two points despite just 13:25 TOI. Why not let the kid work things out on the ice more than on the bench? Just a thought.
-- Despite being outclassed last night, Corey Crawford has been A-OK overall. Even so, Chicago affords goalies real luxuries; I wonder if they should really get to the bottom of who their backup should be.
Hey, when you're as good as they are, you can waste time with such diversions. Right?
DEVILS 4, SABRES 1
-- Honestly, I don't know if there's a team I wouldn't invest in heavily when they're facing the Sabres. At minimum, whoever's in net should be in for a relatively easy night.
On that subject, Cory Schneider has won three of four games and is facing minimal shots lately.
-- Congrats to Patrik Elias, who crossed the 1,000-point barrier with a goal and two assists last night. Honestly, he kind of seems boring by association by playing for the Devils, but he truly deserves the "underrated" (though not underpaid) moniker.
-- Before you call Adam Larsson a total bust, note he's still only 22. It would be nice to see more progress, but still.
FLYERS 2, SENATORS 1 (SO)
-- Flyers broadcasts should edit games down to just Philly power plays. Watching that unit is like taking a portal to a universe in which this team does everything right. Hey, life's little treasures.
-- Mike Hoffman continues to be solidly productive with three goals and one assist in his last five games. If you're asking "Who IS that guy?" Well, he's 25 and was the 130th pick of the 2009 NHL Draft. So there's that.
-- I love how much Claude Giroux is firing the puck: eight SOG last night, 153 in 39 games. I wouldn't be thunderstruck if he ended up with 30 goals overall.
-- Steve Mason's had such a bizarre career. He's 7-12-6 with an impressive .919 save percentage after stopping 41 out of 42 shots on Tuesday.
PREDATORS 3, HURRICANES 2
-- Nashville's truly arrived in that they can pull out the beloved lackadaisical win against a mediocre team.
-- Ryan Ellis continues to thrive: two goals, two assists in his last three games. With just four SOG in that span, he's getting some serious bounces, though.
-- Roman Josi, however, could very well be jumping another level. He has 10 points in his last nine games and gets the ice time needed to be a regular threat. He's only owned in 68 percent of leagues, and I say he's a quality depth option.
Scoring defense was the thing I was most excited about regarding Nashville this season, and it appears that's really coming to the forefront now.
BLUE JACKETS 4, STARS 2
-- Columbus is a tough team to figure, as they're a lot better than their record indicates. Throw that statement out when Curtis McElhinney's in net, though.
-- Speaking of bad backups, how many games are the Stars going to throw out with Anders Lindback? They might as well trade a junk pick to St. Louis and cross their fingers that Martin Brodeur could be a little better and fill some seats.
-- If you're in a PIM league, Antoine Roussel's clearly enough of an offensive fixture that he's an easy add if you're hurting in that category. Easily one of my favorite pests.
-- I have to admit that Nick Foligno's resounding, continued success is a bit of a surprise. Might as well ride this wave out, either way; his three assists give him eight points in a five-game streak.
BLUES 6, COYOTES 0
-- Man, Mike Smith is just a catastrophe. I think even people who enjoyed ribbing him have moved on, as it's beyond ugly.
-- It seemed like the Blues top line was all Alexander Steen and T.J. Oshie, at least for fantasy purposes ... and then David Backes scored four goals in succession. St. Louis can have this line and the STL line rotate dominate nights and the rest of the league would just cower in fear.
-- Brian Elliott is 2-0-0 with two goals allowed since returning from injury. Overall, he's 10-5-1 with a .933 save percentage in 2014-15. A lot of people mock him, but I think he's been a perfectly passable netminder, especially since he's generally been cheap. A superstar? Hardly, but that's not the standard for every single player, anyway.
-- Paul Stastny's really getting it together. He has five points in a three-game point streak and eight points in his last six contests. I don't expect many seven-SOG nights, but he's settled in with St. Louis nonetheless.
RED WINGS 4, OILERS 2
-- It looks like Tomas Jurco suffered back spasms and won't play against the Flames on Wednesday night.
-- Jordan Eberle's done an admirable job producing lately, with four goals and one assist in his last four games. I wouldn't be surprised if he has a significantly stronger second half after scoring 10 goals and 25 points through his first 40 games.
-- Viktor Fasth hasn't won a game since Nov. 9. Yikes.
-- How much should Justin Schultz receive with his next contract and how much will he receive? He's a lucky guy.