James Reimer started his first game since he was knocked out of action against the Habs Oct. 22 following a collision with Brian Gionta, which produced concussion-like symptoms. Reimer was fine given the layoff and his peripherals against the Bruins coming in (3-1-0, 2.46/ .930) were outstanding, but you’ve got to feel for the guy. A Leafs goalie returning from the IR against the Bruins is kind of like Superman returning from a little R&R at the Fortress of Solitude and responding to a breaking and entering call at Kryptonite Industries.
David Perron (1G, -1, 19:05 TOI, 5:08 PP to lead team, 1 SOG) missed 97 games due to his concussion, but he was back in action tonight for the Blues and even his parents were in attendance for this one. He opened on a line with Patrik Berglund and Matt D’Agostini, which pushed the miserably-producing Chris Stewart (he scored tonight and has points in three straight for the first time all season) onto a line with Jason Arnott and Vladimir Sobotka. Alex Steen, David Backes and T.J. Oshie remained together to begin this tilt. Perron, as you’d imagine, received a really warm welcome from the crowd when he was introduced at the start. Hitchcock offered this on his returning forward following the game: "Holy smokes, he's really going to help us out. About four more like him and we'll be fine."
Patrick Kane has back-to-back two-assist games since returning to the wing from centre and he ripped six shots on net tonight too. Marian Hossa had eight himself in a two-goal effort.
Speaking of Kanes, how can you not love Evander’s game this season after shaking off that slow start? The kid has taken another step in his development this season and he’s a real threat for standard league owners across the board on a nightly basis now. He has points in five straight, but he’s been cruising for awhile now. Linemate Bryan Little has 11 points in his past nine games now and Blake Wheeler has eight points in eight games.
Stop me if you’ve heard this zinger before. Rick DiPietro walks into an arena... and leaves with an injury. Groin this time. Al Montoya... you’re up again. Nino Neiderreiter also left this one with concussion-like symptoms.
Bright side for the Isles? Matt Moulson potted four goals when he hadn’t even had a single multi-goal game on the season coming into this one against the Stars. He has scored in four straight now. John Tavares has five assists in his two December games after closing out last month with a six-game pointless skid. P.A. Parenteau, the third member of that line, pushed his point streak to four games with seven points in that span.
Ryan Miller backed up in the last game and started Saturday for the first time since the Milan Lucic entanglement. Miller had given up 18 goals in five starts before the big man sent him flying, so Miller used his healing time well and may have rediscovered his game. He stopped 32/34 in a 3-2 win over the Preds. The strangely ironic part of this one is that Miller was run by Jordin Tootoo in the crease and Miller, as you’d expect, was PISSED. He started punching Tootoo immediately as they were both on the ground and Miller’s teammates came in to help their goalie. Tootoo got a charging major and was tossed. Paul Gaustad, who was also punching Tootoo, earned 4 + 10 for his troubles.
Steven Stamkos was held without a shot for the first time this season by the Rangers. He had 89 in 24 starts coming in.
What are your thoughts on realignment? HNIC’s Satellite HotStove spent much of tonight’s second intermission segment discussing what’ll be on the agenda for the Board of Governors. Two proposals. One basically flipping Winnipeg for Detroit and keeping everything else the way it is.
The other proposal would see four conferences: 1) Los Angeles, Anaheim, San Jose, Vancouver, Calgary, Edmonton, Colorado and Phoenix. 2) Detroit, Chicago, St. Louis, Minnesota, Nashville, Columbus, Winnipeg and Dallas, 3) Montreal, Toronto, Ottawa, Boston, Buffalo, Florida and Tampa Bay and 4) Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, Rangers, Islanders, New Jersey, Washington and Carolina.
Phoenix’s relocation, if it happens, would be the wild card.
There would be home-and-homes with every team in the league, which I love as a fan.
Western teams, which already travel a lot, are apparently generally in favour of it. Many Eastern teams may be opposed to the travel wear & tear and the extra costs on that front.
The playoff set-up doesn’t seem too clear at this point though, which makes it a little difficult to proffer a real opinion on it all. Still, any general thoughts on that set-up in terms of the regular season?
Andrei Markov’s latest surgery – this one to clean up some debris and whatnot – will keep him out a minimum of three weeks. You knew when you drafted him back in September he’d spend time in your IR slot, but... yikes.
Mike Richards’ owners, who had been elated with the way he was putting the puck in the net with such regularity over the past few weeks, were dealt a serious blow when he was placed on the IR with a potential concussion. The Kings took on the Habs in the only matinee today and sans Richards, the top nine opened as such with Jarret Stoll taking the expected L2 C slot: Simon Gagne - Anze Kopitar - Dustin Brown/ Dustin Penner - Jarret Stoll - Justin Williams/ Brad Richardson - Andrei Loktionov - Trent Hunter. It’s also worth noting that Simon Gagne picked up the extra slack on PP1 today without Richards there. Kopitar, Brown, Drew Doughty and Jack Johnson are the other four. Dustin Penner, incidentally, was back in action today for the first time since Nov. 10 because of his hand injury amd he scored his first goal of the season. He's up to three points in 15 GP.
In an H2H league and trying to find a few potential bargains now for late-season playoff pushes down the line? Drew Doughty ended a nine-game pointless drought today and had just 2-5-7 in 20 GP coming in. He’s going to pick up the pace and there are many a frustrated owner struggling through choppy seas in early December.
It’s always a roll of the dice to spot-start a goalie in fantasy, but if you’re looking for an extra start for the week to max out in net, it looks like Ty Conklin will go for the Wings @COL Sunday. He’s only started three games this season and his ONLY action of November was a relief appearance Nov. 17, but he did notch a 29-save shutout against these same Avs in Colorado Oct. 8.The Wings carry a seven-game winning streak into this one.
Pete DeBoer told reporters today that he expects we’ll see Travis Zajac in game action by Christmas. He’s “real close” in his recovery from that torn Achilles tendon. With the expectation that Patrik Elias will likely stay in the middle and with Adam Henrique having so much success in the last month, the Devils won’t necessarily have to rush Zajac right back onto the top line or even into the top six. L1 C is where he’ll end up eventually though, regardless of how well Henrique is faring. DeBoer did make a point of praising Henrique’s play today and that the coach would find a spot for Henrique somewhere because he’s earned it.
Not for nothing, but it’s worth noting that Zach Parise quietly has a four-game point streak intact and his game is slowly coming together.
Devils’ beat reporter Tom Gulitti tweeted this after the game: Kovalchuk on Jets' fans booing him: “They should support me. Maybe I’m one of the reasons why they moved here, right?"
Chris Neil was back from his ankle injury tonight. He missed nine games and began the night on L4 with Jesse Winchester and Zenon Konopka. Bobby Butler replaced the scratched Nikita Filatov on L1 with Jason Spezza and Colin Greening. Daniel Alfredsson has helpers in four of five now, incidentally, and Nick Foligno has 13 points in his past 14 affairs.
Joni Pitkanen has points in four straight since returning to the line-up and he sees a steady diet of first power play unit time.
This was the second start for Tyler Ennis since returning from injury and he’s skating with Derek Roy and Drew Stafford. Ennis had a goal here, which was his first point of the season too. Ville Leino had a pair of assists here and has points in three of four, so he’s finally showing some signs of life. He was with Luke Adam and power forward prospect Zack Kassian tonight.
Eric Nystrom scored again and has five goals in his past five games. He’s on a line with Vernon Fiddler and Radek Dvorak.
Should you be so inclined, you can follow me on Twitter.
- Ramblings - The Sharks are due, Zach Werenski, Nick Bonino, Michal Kempny, Isle's prospects and more (May 24)
- Ramblings: Sharks in Cup Final, Krug, Miller, Florida and Vancouver Trade (May 26)
- Ramblings: On Elliott, Kempny, Korpisalo, Griffith and Koekkoek (May 25)
- Top 10 PIM players (2016)
- Eastern Edge: Offseason Outlook for the Hurricanes and Bruins
- West: 2016 Offseason Outlook – Minnesota and Los Angeles
- Top 100 Keeper League Goalies - May
- Cage Match: Band-Aid Boys - Embrace or Avoid?