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Crashing the Net takes you around the league touching on hot and cold players, battles for ice-time and what’s going on in net.
Blake Geoffrion, Sabres
In 11 games as an NHL player, Blake has scored six goals while posting a +6 rating. That’s some pretty good stuff for the 2006 second round draft pick with the famous hockey name. He upped the offensive ante on Sunday when he scored on all three shots he took against the Sabres for a hat-trick. His future is bright, and right now he is producing enough offense to help those in deep leagues.
Joe Pavelski, Sharks
A scoring change in the last game took away Pavelski’s hat-trick, but don’t feel to sorry for him. Little Joe has scored at least two points in 4-straight games as the offensive side of his game has erupted, and during those four games Pavelski has scored three goals while handing out eight assists. He’s also taken at least four shots on net in 6-straight contests. He’s rounding into perfect form just in time for the playoffs.
Teemu Selanne, Ducks
The Finnish Flash is now tied for 30th in league history with 1,327 points (Pierre Turgeon), 49th in assists with 699 and he’s tied for 8th with 232 power-play goals (Dino Ciccarelli). Yeah, Selanne is historically good. Teemu has only one goal in seven games, but he has still handed out six assists for a point-per-game pace which is actually slightly behind his season long rate (he has 67 points in 63 games). Just 22 goals from 650, the question is, will he return for another season to make a run at that mark?
Johan Franzen, Wings
Not only is he now dealing with a slightly strained groin, The Mule simply hasn’t been able to score of late. On the year his numbers are solid – they include 27 goals and 24 assists in 69 games – but since he scored an amazing five goals on February 2nd Johan has lit the lamp one time in 20 games. Think about that. He scored five times as many goals in one game as he has in the last quarter of the NHL season.
Ryan Smyth, Kings
First the good. Smyth has his customary 20 goals (it’s the 11th time in his career that he has hit that plateau despite constantly being in and out of the lineup with injuries – something he has actually avoided this year given that he has appeared in all 72 of the Kings’ games). Now the bad. He’s been brutal in March with two points in nine games. He’s also been saddled with a (-8) rating on the month. Moreover, Smyth hasn’t scored a goal since February 23rd, a stretch of 12 games, and going back to the start of February he has one goal in 22 games. Yikes.
R.J. Umberger, Blue Jackets
In each of his three years with the Blue Jackets, R.J. has recorded at least 21-goals and 46 points, so his 21 scores and 51 points are exactly what one would expect. He’s also been a +5 performer this season, a strong total for a guy who recorded a (-26) mark the past two years. Still, his point production has dried up of late. Umberger hasn’t scored a goal in six games, has just one in 12 games, and just two in 20 contests. It’s not like he has been dishing the puck off for scores either as he has just three helpers in 11 March games. Umberger has given you solid production this season, but he’s clearly limping to the finish line in the point producing column.
Martin Brodeur, Devils
Johan Hedberg was 7-1-1 with a 1.43 GAA in February holding down the fort while Brodeur was out of action due to injury. So much for that miraculous run as Hedberg hasn’t seen the ice since February 25th. Why? Because Martin Brodeur remembered that he wasn’t Bob Essensa but instead an all-time great. Since February 27th Brodeur is 8-3 and only once in that time has he allowed more than two goals. In fact, over his last 14 appearances he is 11-3 with a GAA of 1.55 (he also has a .924 save percentage). With his recent run of awesomeness – yes I just used that word – Brodeur has dumped his GAA down to 2.45 on the year. Welcome back Mr. Brodeur.
Ray Emery, Ducks
Dan Ellis is 6-2 for the Ducks since he was added to help cover the gaping hole in net with Jonas Hiller out with a case of vertigo. However, Ellis has allowed eight goals in his last two outings which has opened the door for Emery to get some work in net. Back in the NHL now that his body is healed after hip surgery, Emery has allowed two goal on 72 shots leading to a 0.87 GAA and .972 save percentage with the Ducks. He’s clearly moving into the lead in net for the Ducks. However, there is one caveat – Hiller appears to, finally, be moving in the right direction. There is no established date for his return to action, but reports seem to suggest that it could happen by the middle of next week. When he returns both Ellis and Emery figure to be nothing other than Hiller’s caddy.
Braden Holtby, Capitals
The NHL’s First Star of the week ending March 14 after going 4-0 with a 1.05 GAA, Holtby has been sent to the minors since Semyon Varlamov is healthy enough to play in net. Michal Neuvirth is also back , and after his 33 save shutout against the Devils the Caps made the decision to send Holtby down. You gotta feel for Holtby, and even if the Caps are right and he is their third best goalie, you have to question the wisdom of demoting the NHL’s reigning player of the week don’t you?
Tim Thomas, Bruins
Thomas leads the NHL in GAA (2.08) and save percentage (.937) so he has clearly been an elite option, and probably the leader for the Vezina trophy. However his play has slumped of late as he has won just one of four starts as he has allowed a total of 14 goals in that time leading to a 3.62 GAA. Again, it’s completely unfair to throw Thomas under the bus given how spectacular he has been this season, but it should still be pointed out that after posting a 1.81 GAA prior to the All-Star break that he has added a full goal to that mark since (2.88). Damn the regression gods.
* Five teams play four games this week: Boston, Florida, Ottawa, Philadelphia and Pittsburgh.
* Three teams play only two games this week: Chicago, Dallas and Minnesota
Ray Flowers can be heard daily on Sirius/XM Radio on The Fantasy Drive, 5-8 PM Eastern, on Sirius 211 and XM 147.