Michael Finewax

Hockey Daily Dose

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Dose: Phil the Thrill

Wednesday, February 05, 2014


It was a busy night in the NHL on Tuesday so I'll get into the games quickly, but I want to start off by telling everyone how good Phil Kessel has been, and especially over the last three seasons.

 

Kessel is the only player in the NHL to be in the top ten in scoring for each of the last three seasons including this one. Not Sidney Crosby, nor Evgeni Malkin and not even Ryan Getzlaf, Corey Perry, Alex Ovechkin, John Tavares or Patrick Kane have done what Kessel has accomplished.

 

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While you're at it, please also read Rotoworld writers @RyanDadoun@CoreAbbott@cyclelikesedins,  @kbrownroto and @katshockey for the latest news.


Editor's Note: Rotoworld's partner FanDuel is hosting a $1,200 Fantasy Hockey league for Wednesday's NHL games. It's just $10 to join and first prize is $275. Starts Wednesday at 7:30pm ET. Here's the FanDuel link.

 

This season (after Tuesday's games):

 

Sidney Crosby - 75

Ryan Getzlaf - 64

John Tavares - 64

Patrick Kane - 63

Phil Kessel - 61

Corey Perry - 59

Alex Ovechkin - 58

Kyle Okposo - 58

Patrick Sharp - 57

Joe Thornton - 56

 

2012-13

 

Martin St. Louis - 60

Steve Stamkos - 57

Alex Ovechkin - 56

Sidney Crosby -56

Patrick Kane - 55

Eric Staal - 53

Chris Kunitz - 52

Phil Kessel - 52

Taylor Hall - 50

Pavel Datsyuk 49

Ryan Getzlaf - 49

Mike Ribeiro - 49

 

2011-12

 

Evgeni Malkin - 109

Steve Stamkos - 97

Claude Giroux - 93

Jason Spezza - 84

Ilya Kovalchuk - 83

Phil Kessel - 82

James Neal - 81

John Tavares - 81

Henrik Sedin - 81

Patrik Elias - 78

Erik Karlsson -  78

 

There you have it. For everyone who still bashes former Leafs GM Brian Burke for this trade, Kessel could be the first Maple Leaf to be in the top ten of scoring for three straight seasons since Darryl Sittler managed to do so from 1975-76 through 1977-78.

 

The most surprising stat thus far is the outstanding offensive play of Kyle Okposo this season as he is tied for seventh with Alex Ovechkin.

 

Editor's Note: Rotoworld's partner FanDuel is hosting a $6,000 Fantasy Hockey league for Thursday's NHL games. It's $25 to join and first prize is $1,200. Starts Thursday at 7pm ET. Here's the FanDuel link.

 

Winnipeg @ Carolina

 

The Jets won 2-1 on a goal with 1:03 left in the third by third liner Chris Thorburn who picked up only his second goal of the season as Jacob Trouba set up the winger. Thorburn's goal made a winner of coach Paul Maurice who made his return to Carolina after being fired for the second time on November 28, 2011. The Jets did not get a power play opportunity while the Hurricanes had three. Ondrej Pavelec stopped 28 shots and is now 18-21-4 this season. Pavelec is 7-2 since Maurice took over, giving up only 20 goals in the nine games. The Jets are now within a couple of points of a playoff spot while Carolina is still only three points in arrears of the eighth and final playoff spot in the East.

Vancouver @ Boston

 

The Canucks continue to reel as they have lost five straight in regulation time and two straight since coach John Tortorella returned from a 15 day suspension. Jarome Iginla and Vancouver native Milan Lucic led the way for the Bruins with each picking up a goal and an assist in the 3-1 win over the Canucks. Raphael Diaz, who the Canucks picked up on Monday in a trade with Montreal for Dale Weise, scored in his Vancouver debut. It was also his first goal of the season. The Canucks are just hanging on to a playoff spot, depending on the outcome of the Phoenix-Dallas game but even if the Coyotes lose in regulation, they are only one point behind with two games in hand. Boston is firmly entrenched in the second spot in the East as they now trail the Pittsburgh Penguins by only five points.

 

Colorado @ New York Rangers

 

If the Rangers decide to trade unrestricted free agent-to-be Ryan Callahan, his two goal and three point night in a 5-1 win over the Avalanche will certainly not hurt his trade value, nor will his seven hits as he led the Rangers in that category as well. Henrik Lundqvist has been outstanding of late and it continued against Colorado as he turned aside 27 of 28 shots to win his ninth game in his last 11. Lundqvist is in superb form heading into the Olympics as he has given up only 16 goals in his last 11 games while turning aside 318 shots for a .952 save percentage and a 1.46 GAA. This is the Henrik Lundqvist that poolies selected in the first round. It was not a good night for the top Colorado line of Ryan O'Reilly, Jamie McGinn and Matt Duchene as they were each minus-five.

 

Calgary @ Montreal

 

It was Michael Cammalleri's first game back in Montreal after he was dealt to the Flames in January 2012, but it was the player he was traded for who made the big impact as Rene Bourque scored the winner in a 2-0 shutout over Calgary. Bourque has struggled of late as it was only his second goal in 21 games and now has eight goals and 10 points in 44 games. Carey Price kicked aside all 27 shots as he is now 2-1-1 in his last four, stopping 134 of his last 138 shots. He could get the start for Canada at the Olympics.  Mark Giordano saw his nine game point streak come to an end, although he did have four shots and four blocked shots.

 

Toronto @ Florida


If you watched this game, it looked like the Florida Panthers were the playoff team and the Maple Leafs were the fourth worst team in the NHL. But that's not the case. The Leafs, who were 9-1-1 heading into Tuesday's action, were outshot 48-21 by the lowly Panthers and the game would have been long gone if Jonathan Bernier had not been sensational in the first two periods. It was only 1-0 after two with Bernier stopping 36 shots after being outshot 37-12. The Panthers even scored on the power play as they scored for the second time in 50 opportunities. The only offensive bright spot for Toronto was that David Clarkson found the back of  the net for only the fourth time this season while Tom Gilbert, Jesse Winchester, Shawn Matthias and Marcel Goc into the empty net, scored for Florida. Tim Thomas stopped 20 shots for his 15th win of the season.

 

New York Islanders @ Washington

 

Evgeni Nabokov stopped all 22 shots in a 1-0 shutout but the star of the game was Michal Neuvirth who made this sensational save on Frans Nielsen, Andrew MacDonald scored the lone goal of the night in the nation's capital as the Islanders won for the first time in six games. Thomas Vanek is on the trade block after reportedly turning down a seven year deal worth $50 million. The Islanders are 10 points out of a playoff spot and there are too many teams to pass to make it worth keeping him after the trade deadline.

 

 Ottawa @ St. Louis

 

It was a wild one in St. Louis as Sens goalie Robin Lehner stopped 46 shots in regulation and overtime before Kyle Turris scored in the fifth round of the shootout to give Ottawa a 5-4 win over the Blues. Jason Spezza led the way with a goal and three points to give him 10 points in his last eight contests. He still hurts you in the plus-minus category at minus-21 which is 815th best in the NHL but he is up to 15 goals and 42 points in 52 games after his current hot streak. Kyle Turris scored once in regulation and has been a better fantasy player this season than Spezza as he has 19 goals and 43 points in 57 games but is a plus-18. Jordan Leopold, Brenden Morrow, T.J. Oshie and David Backes with his 20th, scored for the Blues. It was Leopold's first goal as a Blue and his first in 38 games.

Tampa Bay @ Minnesota

It was quite a return for Jared Spurgeon who played for the first time in 15 games after suffering a foot injury as he assisted on both goals in a 2-1 win over the Lightning. Dany Heatley is just an average forward at best at this stage of his career but he potted his 11th of the season which turned out to be the winner. Darcy Kuemper played a strong game in goal for the first time in three outings as he stopped 35 shots while his counterpart Ben Bishop gave up two goals on 26 shots. Nino Niederreiter, who will play for Switzerland at the upcoming Olympics scored for the 10th time this season while Valtteri Filppula continued his fine season with his 20th to break up the shutout. Steve Stamkos did not play but is looking to return on Saturday.

 

Dallas @ Phoenix

Antoine Roussel's first goal in 19 games turned out to be the winner as the Stars upended the Phoenix Coyotes 3-1. Ryan Garbutt has turned into an offensive asset for the Stars and fantasy owners as he scored once and picked up an assist, to give him 11 goals and 20 points this season. Mike Smith played very well for the second game in a row as he stopped 37 of 39 shots and has stopped 60 of his last 63. Kari Lehtonen picked up his 21st win of the season with 27 saves. Boy, is Antoine Vermette hot. He scored his 21st of the season and is on an eight game point streak with eight goals and 11 points. The two teams meet again on Saturday in Dallas.

 



Michael Finewax is entering his 10th season as the Senior Hockey Writer and Editor for Rotoworld. You can follow him on Twitter @mfinewaxhockey.
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