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Right on Schedule: Holiday happenings

by | Rotowire.com
  •  

For most, Santa Claus visits just as you're entering into your slumber on Christmas Eve. For Tom Fenton, good 'ole Santa came early when Phoenix G Ilya Bryzgalov (flu) became ill Thursday afternoon. With Bryzgalov unable to suit up for the game against the New York Rangers at Madison Square Garden, the Coyotes, desperate for a warm body to backup Jason LaBarbera, signed the 26-year-old former goalie Fenton to a 1-day contract. Of course the very next morning Phoenix recalled Matt Climie, who was 13-5 with the San Antonio Rampage of the AHL, and Fenton was out. But hey, it still makes a good story. Rather than goalies, let's focus on a few teams anxiously waiting with milk and cookies hoping the jolly old feller will bring an offensive breakout.

Though Nashville (17-9-6) is keeping pace with first place Detroit, it has little to do with their offense. After collecting four goals in the first three games of the season, Steve Sullivan is managing to lead the team with just 10 goals. If the Preds are to continue their persistence in the Central division, Sullivan, (ten points in the last 12 games) is going to have to find the back of the net more. Some good second-line center Cal O'Reilly has pitched in a bit with 12 assists (18 points) this season, but if he is to stay in Nashville all season, he needs to shake his streakiness. Though a plus-4 in his last five games, he is pointless over that span.

Until their embarrassing 6-1 home loss to Los Angeles, Nashville had been on a roll. Even after watching number one goalie Pekka Rinne head to the injured reserve, the Preds had been undefeated in ten games. Rookie backup goaltender Anders Lindback posted two shutouts and went undefeated in seven games. Reports say Rinne, after undergoing arthroscopic surgery earlier this month is back at 100 percent. However, just as you could hear the zippers of Mark Dekanich’s travel gear heading back to Milwaukee (AHL), Lindback gave up three goals on nine shots against Los Angeles and Dekanich came in to clean up. All of a sudden … it's Rinne's job to lose again?

Under the AHL tree:
RW Chris Mueller in 30 games played is a plus-8 and has 12 goals (18 points)
LW Linus Klasen in 27 games played has 13 goals (24 points)
D Teemu Laakso in 27 games is a plus-4 and has 11 points
D Jonathan Blum in 29 games has 16 points

This week: @ CHI vs. OTT, @ STL

After a relatively terrible 2009-10 campaign for Cam Ward, it seems he is back to his old self with a 14-9-3 record and 2.54 GAA. Problem is, if his record is to ever reflect that change, the Carolina Hurricanes (15-12-4) have got to get their offense going. Despite the fact that Eric Staal and Jeff Skinner have combined for merely five points in the month of December, the Hurricanes are winners of their last four games. And now, GM Jim Rutherford has decided to unwrap his gift(s) a little early this season.

Last week, Carolina called up D Bryan Rodney and Zach Boychuk. Rodney, who has appeared in three games since his recall, has 18 points in 28 games with Charlotte of the AHL. Boychuck is second in the AHL's scoring with 32 points (10G, 22A) in 28 games. Though an uneventful, 5:51 of ice time, I believe the moons are aligning here for Boychuck. Having already tapped the system once, here's what's left for the NHL's All-Star game hosts.

Under the AHL tree:
C Zac Dalpe is averaging a point a game (12 goals, +10) in just 19 games played
RW Jerome Samson who had 37 goals (78 points) with last season, is a plus-11 with 31 points this season
D Brett Carson is a plus-4 and has seven assists in just 19 games
RW Jared Staal won't be getting a call to Carolina anytime soon, but he was recently promoted to the AHL. So far, the youngest Staal is pointless in ten games this season with Charlotte.

This week: @TB, vs. MON, WAS

Let's play four: ATL, PIT, STL, TB, VAN
Let's play two: BOS, BUF, CHI, COL, OTT, SJ, TOR

A few other gifts unwrapped early (link) this holiday season

Montreal, desperate to jump start their veterans, called up LW Max Pacioretty. Pacioretty, only 22, proceeded to collect a goal and an assist in his second NHL game.
This week: @ DAL, CAR, NYI

Losers of their last eight games, Washington will try to scare its team back into production. As suggested earlier in the year, RW Andrew Gordon got the call Friday. Though he had 16 goals (points) with AHL Hershey before being called up, reportedly head coach Bruce Boudreau will ease him into the Capitals lineup with a few spot starts. He quickly got a chance last Saturday night. Gordon was a minus-1 in a modest 12 minutes of ice time.
This week: @ OTT, vs.NJ, PIT, @CAR

Relaxing for the Holidays:

-Toronto (12-16-4) starts off the week hosting Atlanta (18-11-5), takes five days off and heads to the Meadowlands to take on the New Jersey Devils (9-21-2) this Sunday.
-As hot as your talent from Philadelphia (22-7-5) is, you may want to sit them. After hosting the Florida Panthers (14-16-0) to start the week, the Flyers won't play again till next Tuesday.
-The New York Rangers (20-14-1) schedule this week is separated only by a clash with the Tampa Bay Lightning (18-10-4) at Madison Square Garden on Thursday night.

No fairytale, this is assured

The Calgary Flames are beginning to defrost, and Mark Giordano is a big part of it. He has a colorful 40 PIM total and nine points in his last 10 games. A 15-goal, 35 assists season is possible this year.
This week: @ MIN, CLB, DAL

Are the New York Islanders (6-18-6) on your opponents’ schedule?

They have been very giving this holiday season, with a 65/104 GF/GA ratio. Most of their gifts have come on the road (2-11-3); so with two of their three games this week away from Nassau Coliseum, I'm sure your opposing players will be marked as "nice" on Santa's list.
This week: vs.TB, @NJ vs. MON

Team Away Home Total
Atlanta 2 2 4
Pittsburgh 2 2 4
St. Louis 1 3 4
Tampa Bay 3 1 4
Vancouver 3 1 4
Anaheim 3 0 3
Carolina 1 2 3
Calgary 3 0 3
Columbus 1 2 3
Dallas 0 3 3
Detroit 1 2 3
Edmonton 3 0 3
Florida 3 0 3
Los Angeles 1 2 3
Minnesota 1 2 3
Montreal 3 0 3
New Jersey 1 2 3
Nashville 1 2 3
N.Y. Islanders 1 2 3
Phoenix 3 0 3
Washington 1 2 3
Boston 0 2 2
Buffalo 0 2 2
Chicago 0 2 2
Colorado 0 2 2
Ottawa 1 1 2
San Jose 0 2 2
Toronto 1 1 2
N.Y. Rangers 0 1 1
Philadelphia 0 1 1
  •  
 
 
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Player News
Victor Hedman
Bolts' Hedman Caps Series With Goal
Victor Hedman, D, TB
7:50 AM
News: Victor Hedman had a goal in Tuesday's season-ending loss to the Canadiens in Game 4 of their first-round matchup.
Analysis: Although the Bolts ended up getting swept, Victor Hedman managed to produce for those who owned him in playoff pools, recording a point in each of the final three games. All and all, it was a successful season for the blueliner, who set a career high with 55 points during the regular season.

Carey Price
Habs, Price Finish Off Sweep
Carey Price, G, MON
7:48 AM
News: Carey Price stopped 20 of 23 shots to lead the Canadiens to a Game 4 victory and a sweep of the Lightning on Tuesday.
Analysis: Carey Price coughed up a two-goal lead in this one before Max Pacioretty scored the game-winner and series-clincher with just 43 seconds left in the third period. The netminder was somewhat up-and-down during the four-game series, but managed to ride his offense to victories in each game.

Stephane Da Costa
Sens' Da Costa Wins Team MVP
Stephane Da Costa, C, OTT
7:47 AM
News: Stephane Da Costa (face) received the team MVP award for AHL Binghamton on Saturday.
Analysis: The center missed a couple weeks after requiring plastic surgery on his face due to a high stick, but was able to return to the lineup Saturday. After the game, Stephane Da Costa received the team's MVP award for the season. He posted three goals and an assist in 12 NHL games with the Senators this year, and could be a big part of the team next season.

Patrick Marleau
Sharks' Marleau Nets OT Winner
Patrick Marleau, C, SJ
7:46 AM
News: Patrick Marleau scored the OT winner in Game 3, adding an assist, a plus-2 rating, four shots, and 23:26 of ice time.
Analysis: Patrick Marleau has scored in all three postseason games thus far, totaling five points, fourth best in the league.

Joe Thornton
Thornton Has Five-Game Point Streak For Sharks
Joe Thornton, C, SJ
7:43 AM
News: Joe Thornton had an assist, two penalty minutes, and played 20:41 in a Game 3 win over LA.
Analysis: Joe Thornton has points in five straight, with three of those happening in the postseason. He's been playing as well as he did all season and is even shedding the season-long stigma that he's only good for assists. He has two goals, an assist, and eight shots through the first three games.

Tommy Wingels
Wingels' Physical Play Sending A Message For SJ
Tommy Wingels, C, SJ
7:39 AM
News: Tommy Wingels had an assist and nine hits in the Sharks' Game 3 win over LA.
Analysis: Tommy Wingels is the full package. He can put points on the board (three assists in three games) and never misses a chance to finish his checks. His ceiling may be low, but he has consistently raised that ceiling throughout the season.

Matt Duchene
Avs' Duchene Nearing Return
Matt Duchene, C, COL
7:36 AM
News: Matt Duchene (knee) could return before the end of the first round, the Denver Post reports.
Analysis: The center skated hard Tuesday, and while he's not expected to be back for Game 4 on Thursday, there's still a chance Matt Duchene could return before the series is over. He racked up 23 goals and 47 assists in 71 games during the regular season, and would provide a much needed boost to the struggling Colorado power play that has gone just 1-11 through the first three games of the playoffs.

Tomas Hertl
Hertl Scores Second Postseason Goal For Sharks
Tomas Hertl, C, SJ
7:36 AM
News: Tomas Hertl had a goal and six shots in a Game 3 win over LA.
Analysis: Questions about whether Tomas Hertl can bounce back after his injury? Those have been squashed. The rookie has two goals and an assist through three playoff games.

Matt Nieto
SJ's Nieto Nets First Postseason Goal
Matt Nieto, LW, SJ
7:34 AM
News: Matt Nieto scored on one of two shots in a Game 3 OT win over Los Angeles.
Analysis: Matt Nieto has a goal and three assists through three games. He is quickly proving that San Jose has more than one exciting rookie forward on the team.

Brent Burns
Burns Opens The Scoring For Sharks In Game 3
Brent Burns, RW, SJ
7:30 AM
News: Brent Burns had a goal, two penalty minutes, eight hits, and a team-leading seven shots in Game 3.
Analysis: Brent Burns' 16 postseason shots ranks third in the league. He's creating opportunities and is likely to continue to produce. He has two goals and an assist through the first three games.

 
 
 
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