Injuries are awful, especially in the cases in which they mar what would otherwise be brilliant careers.
More minor ones can open the door to learn something about a given team, though. In that regard, the Anaheim Ducks enter a fascinating stage.
With Sami Vatanen and Matt Beleskey added to the list of the waddling wounded, statheads might get their wish as the “other shoe” might drop for Anaheim. Tonight’s upcoming game against the Tampa Bay Lightning serves as an intriguing test, then.
This is a good reminder to keep tabs on injuries and other news:
OK, with that out the way, let’s get capping.
CAPITALS 3, PENGUINS 1
-- Is Alex Ovechkin at his best the more he makes people mad, or is it just a coincidence?
I'm not sure, but he's really been on a post-NYE tear with 20 goals in 22 games since 2015 rolled around (plus nine assists). He's now on a five-game point streak with six goals and four assists ... not to mention a plethora of shots. Perhaps the All-Star break did him some good, too?
-- Steve Downie's offense remains sporadic (sure, he hit 10 goals on Tuesday, but that represents his first point since Jan. 27), but with a league-leading 187 PIM, one can handle the uneven offense, at least in penalty-friendly formats. He currently has at least 47 more PIM than anyone else in the NHL.
-- While he's played more games, it's impressive that Braden Holtby (27-12-9) now has more wins that Marc-Andre Fleury (26-12-6) this season. With Holtby and Ovechkin playing so well and a decent-enough supporting cast, Washington is not a team to take lightly.
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STARS 4, BLUES 1
-- Well, who needs Tyler Seguin, right?
All kidding aside, Seguin could be out for two months, so seeing some early chemistry between Jamie Benn (first career hat trick) and Jason Spezza (assists on all three goals) is promising. So far, it looks like Erik Cole is the lucky guy who gets to be their passenger.
-- Not time to recommend Jyrki Jokipakka just yet, and not ONLY because most people will stumble at the "player search" stage of the fantasy recruitment process.
PREDATORS 5, SHARKS 1
-- In deeper formats, it's difficult to argue with Melker Karlsson's fringe value. The reasoning is simple: No. 68 seems like he has a stable home on a line with Joe Thornton and Joe Pavelski. He's producing so-so results in that format, so if he gets dropped, get rid of him quickly.
(And, again, he's borderline either way at this point in his career.)
-- I'm not sure why, exactly, Filip Forsberg suffered a mild demotion in Nashville, but now it's a top line of Colin Wilson, Mike Ribeiro and James Neal while Craig Smith is with Mike Fisher and Matt Cullen.
Not a great deal for the possible 2015 Calder winner, but Nashville just keeps chugging along. Neal hit his 20th goal, Ribeiro continues to pile up apples and Smith had two goals of his own.
-- Speaking of goals, Shea Weber already has 14, putting him in striking distance for his third 20+ goal season. Nutty stuff.
-- Weather conditions threatened this game, so between that and potential Visa issues, Cody Franson and Mike Santorelli's Preds (re-)debuts were put on hold. It says a lot that Viktor Stalberg couldn't crack the lineup even with such upheaval taking place.
-- Since returning to action, Marc-Edouard Vlasic has zero points and a -5 rating. No reason to panic, but that's obviously not an ideal start.
DEVILS 2, SABRES 1 (SO)
-- Barely beating Buffalo isn't exactly the most emphatic way to start, but New Jersey could be in for a micro-surge. Last night began a six-game homestand and a run in which nine of their next 10 games take place in Newark.
-- Considering his horrific 3-15-2 record, Michal Neuvirth's .911 save percentage isn't so bad. I wonder when he'll win again after claiming his last victory on Nov. 15?
-- Cory Schneider remains under .500, as this win improves him to 20-22-5. He broke a three-game skid on Tuesday.
-- What's the most tantalizing Jaromir Jagr trade destination? If you want a more practical choice, Montreal is the first locale that pops into my head, especially considering his connection with Tomas Plekanec.
PANTHERS 3, MAPLE LEAFS 2
-- No wonder Roberto Luongo let up a goal (second allowed of the night) in the third period: Florida totally sat on its 3-1 lead. In that final frame, Toronto had 16 shots and Florida only had one. Before that, both teams were in snooze mode, but still.
I've said it before, but far too many NHL underdogs really hurt their charm factor by playing extremely boring hockey. It's one of the things that really bums me out about the sport in its Pretty Close to Dead Puck, Too era.
-- Another remarkable thing about this game: all but one of the goals came on the power play.
-- Jimmy Hayes added another goal, giving him 17 on the season. He's now matched his combined totals from a smattering of games in 2011-12, 12-13 and 13-14.
-- In the past seven games, it's been goal-or-nothing for Nick Bjugstad. Luckily, he's gotten a goal in most of them, as he has five in that span.
BLUE JACKETS 5, FLYERS 2
-- There must have been some serious screaming going on in the second intermission in that CBJ locker room. Philadelphia generated a 30-13 shot advantage through the first two periods before things were a little more moderate (14-12 in Philly's favor) in the third.
-- I know Michael Del Zotto gets some criticism for his all-around game, but he's been productive lately, especially with one goal and two assists in his past two games. I wouldn't add him in too many formats just yet, but I highly recommend him in daily fantasy, as he's dirt cheap.
ISLANDERS 4, HURRICANES 1
-- While Josh Bailey is hit-or-miss, Anders Lee is making no mistake about taking advantage of being on John Tavares' line. He has three goals and five assists in the past six games, only failing to record a point or more in a single contest during that stretch.
-- Strong showing from Chad Johnson, who stopped 37 out of 38 shots for a much-needed win. His overall numbers are still brutal (7-7-0, .883 save percentage), but games like these may give him a chance to step in for Jaroslav Halak slightly more often.
-- It looks like Anton Khudobin's rebound has been dunked back in his face. He's lost three straight games and only played in 3:25 of another appearance on Jan. 30. As good as he was in limited backup work before this season, the sample size was so small that maybe it was foolish to get excited about his potential.
If it makes the Hurricanes brass feel any better, I thought he had a chance to be a nice asset going forward, too.
-- Nick Leddy is on an eight-game pointless streak and only has an assist in his past 12 games. The Isles' scoring defense can be a little confusing in general, as Lubomir Visnovsky was a healthy scratch and Johnny Boychuk has been a little banged up. At least Travis Hamonic has been playing well lately, however.