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Hockey Daily Dose

Sens' rookies charging fast

by Jimmy Hascup
Updated On: October 4, 2018, 4:04 pm ET

Will there be any trade movement on Monday, as the 3 p.m. ET deadline looms?

 

Of course, I kid. But day by day, more pieces are sent packing. One of the biggest dominoes, Antoine Vermette, fell late Saturday as the Blackhawks sent a first-rounder and a prospect defenseman Klas Dahlbeck to Arizona. Vermette is a solid guy at the faceoff dots, but his two-way value was way overblown during this trade season. He's an excellent depth player for Chicago, which will probably use him in a second-line center role, but Vermette is not a difference maker and probably more of a third-liner at this point. Kudos to the Blackhawks front office for being aggressive (also adding Kimmo Timonen), despite Patrick Kane's extended absence.

 

Let's get to the 10 recaps.

 

RED WINGS 4, PREDATORS 3

 

— For those unaware, this game provided the wake-up call that the Red Wings are the real deal. Detroit has been a strong — plus-50% — possession team all season with balance throughout the lineup. Saturday was no different as the Red Wings handed the Predators back-to-back home losses for the first time this season. Despite the overall 40-25 shot differential from Nashville, the Red Wings were even at five-on-five. It all resulted in the Red Wings ending their road trip 4-1-1.

 

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— Aside from being a good five-on-five team, Detroit’s power play is setting them apart. The league’s top man-advantage squad was the difference here as Tomas Tatar scored his 25th in the third to give the Red Wings the 4-3 lead. Tatar seems to be one of those guys who will thrive with higher-than-average scoring rates (16% this year).

 

— The rest of Detroit’s scoring came from guys unlikely o find a home on fantasy rosters: Brandan Smith, Drew Miller and Alexey Marchenko, with his first NHL goal. I’m very curious to see what kind of moves this front office makes by Wednesday afternoon.

 

Mike Fisher, Shea Weber and Matt Cullen (who also had an assist) scored for Nashville. Fisher, at 34, is showing some of his best offense lately, with points in three in a row and five points over five games. He has 15 goals and 33 points this year.

 

Pekka Rinne (21 saves) has one win — 1-3-1 — over his past five games. During that stretch, he has given up 16 goals, with seven over his past two. He has more than left the door open for Carey Price to seize the Vezina Trophy.

 

PANTHERS 5, SABRES 3

 

— This is why you never judge a game after one period. The Sabres held a 2-0 advantage that had you scratching your head as to why Florida was even fashioning itself as a contender at the deadline. Shots were 10-6 Buffalo. The Panthers would fire 37 more shots on goal, compared to eight for Buffalo. The chasm revealed on the possession chart is a sight to behold.

 

Brandon Pirri picked up two power-play goals and nine shots in 19:00. Quite a return after not playing in 18 days because of an upper-body injury. There is certainly promise here; I’m just not sure it’s worthy of trying this late in the season.

 

Derek MacKenzie (goal, assist), Scottie Upshall and Nick Bjugstad picked up the other goals. Brad Boyes recorded three assists. Bjugstad also had four penalty minutes and seven shots on net.

 

— In his debut with the Panthers, Jaromir Jagr played 17:09. he was a minus-one with three shots on goal. I think he’ll fit in well here, though his debut was nothing to get excited about.

 

— What an odd win for Roberto Luongo. Make 11 saves on 14 shots and get a win, his first in four games. 

 

— Remember when Cody Hodgson was an up-and-coming star? His journey has been full of roadblocks, to put it kindly. Even after the goal-assist effort, he has four goals and 11 points this season.

 

SENATORS 4, SHARKS 2

 

— The Senators rallied from one down to score three unanswered in the third and win their fifth consecutive game. Meanwhile, the Sharks’ freefall continues, with three losses in a row.

 

Filip Forsberg is the favorite to win the Calder Trophy. But the Senators have several promising rookies of their own, two of whom are charging fast. Mike Hoffman scored twice and had an assist. He has six points and three goals over his past five games, which is good for 23 goals and 39 points on the year. Hoffman also has a plus-23 rating.

 

Mark Stone is the other talented rookie, and he was not to be totally outdone by Hoffman. He had a goal and an assist, and he now has 15 and 39 on the season. Both players are five points behind Johnny Gaudreau for second among rookies in points. Stone has actually driven play slightly better than Hoffman, despite not getting as many offensive-zone starts.

 

— What a great story Andrew Hammond has been. Let's not forget that he's considered a rookie, too, so make it three rookies with notable performances for Ottawa. Literally coming out of nowhere to now win five games in a row, while allowing five goals in that span. He made 28 saves Saturday. His shutout streak lasted 174:11.

 

Patrick Marleau and Tommy Wingels notched goals for San Jose. While Marleau has three goals over his past five games, he has just 14 and 45 points this season. Worth noting he has 184 shots on goal, with a 7.6% scoring rate, well below his career average.

 

CANADIENS 4, MAPLE LEAFS 0

 

Carey Price is not only putting together a Vezina Trophy-worthy season, but also one worthy of the Hart Trophy. He made 30 saves Saturday, winning his fourth game in a row. Price leads the league with 36 wins, 1.88 GAA and a .936 SV%. He also has six shutouts. 

 

David Desharnais picked up two goals, so he now has five points over his past five games. Even with this “hot” streak, the center isn’t worth much of a look as he has only 11 goals and 38 points this season.

 

— After scoring Saturday, Tomas Plekanec has matched his point total (43) from 81 games last season. He’s one goal away from last season’s mark, too.

 

— Nothing of note for the Leafs in this one … the intrigue rests with what the front office does with this roster by Monday’s deadline. 

 

HURRICANES 5, ISLANDERS 3

 

— It doesn’t get any more embarrassing than this, if you’re a team such as the Islanders that has Stanley Cup aspirations this season. The Islanders were flat-out dominated by the Hurricanes — 41 to 24 shots on goal, 57 to 39 shot attempts at five-on-five.

 

— You wouldn’t know this by their record, but the Hurricanes have actually been a an under-the-radar good possession team. Twelfth in the league in shot attempts. Their struggles stem from a poor shooting percentage and save percentage.

 

Jay McClement (two), Brad Malone (goal, assist), Justin Faulk and Michal Jordan recorded the goals for Carolina. Nobody here made any fantasy impact other than Faulk, who aside from a minus-16 rating, has been a fantasy stud. He has points in three consecutive games, and five points over his past five, along with loads of shots on goal (four on Saturday).

 

Cam Ward (21 saves) was not good. He was just lucky his team controlled the play so much. Chad Johnson made 36 saves.

 

John Tavares, Nikolay Kulemin and Michael Grabner each potted goals. Tavares is putting together a season that should warrant MVP votes.

 

DEVILS 2, BLUE JACKETS 0

 

— With the way Price and Rinne have performed this season, Cory Schneider will not come close to winning the Vezina. But it’s not crazy to think that on a better team, with more support, his season would get more notoriety as one of the best in 2014-15. He made 33 saves for his fourth shutout. He has a 2.19 GAA and .927 SV%. Don’t think people realize how much of a one-man team he’s been. Now, the Devils need to just find some scoring.

 

Andy Greene and Travis Zajac (empty net) lit the lamp for New Jersey. Greene is one of those bidding first-pair gems — he won’t wow you offensively but he’s very steady. Zajac, who has goals in back-to-back games, has shown he’s more of a defensive specialist.

 

Sergei Bobrovsky was activated from the injured reserve. Don’t expect Curtis McElhinney (17 saves) to get much action as the season winds down. 

 

David Clarkson had an active debut, with two penalty minutes, two shots on net and four hits. He played 16:13. Don’t think he’s near the 30-goal, 46-point guy from several years ago, but he should be a little better than he was in Toronto.

 

BRUINS 4, COYOTES 1

 

— The best news for the Bruins: their five best players had impressive games, starting with Tuukka Rask, who made 31 saves for his second win in a row. Boston is not as good as it was once, so Rask will be key to the playoff push, now more than ever.

 

Zdeno Chara scored on the power play and added an assist. While he is not the fantasy force — five goals, 17 points in 43 games — he once was, Chara continues to be integral to sustaining their attack. We need to lower fantasy expectations for him next year, however.

 

Patrice Bergeron and Milan Lucic also matched Chara’s night. Lucic has been a shadow of his self from last year, when scored 24 goals and had 59 points. Can’t stress enough how important his production is for Boston down the stretch, especially without David Krejci.

 

Martin Erat scored for Arizona. He carries a $4.5 million cap hit and is no longer a 20-goal forward, but carries a lot of value for a team that needs a possession driver and has cap space.

 

Mike Smith lost his eighth game in a row. He also got pulled in the second period after giving up four goals on 20 shots. His season in a nutshell: a disaster. Louis Domingue made 14 saves in relief.

 

FLYERS 4, RANGERS 2

 

— In Michael Del Zotto’s postgame interview, he said he’d be lying if games against the Rangers, his former team that traded him, didn’t mean more to him. Nice to hear that honesty; I definitely believe players have an extra chip on their shoulder after a team gives up on you. Del Zotto got the game-winner on a shorthanded wrist shot in the third period. With eight goals, he has more than in 113 games with the Rangers and Predators the past two seasons. He might be the Flyers' best blueliner.

 

Steve Mason (34 saves, first start since Feb. 8 because of knee surgery) might never get the love he deserves after such a disappointing start to his career, but he’s actually been pretty good in Philadelphia. He has a 2.25 GAA and .926 SV% this season, in 36 games. Now he just needs to stay healthy.

 

Michael Raffl, Matt Read and Wayne Simmonds (empty net) also scored for Philadelphia. Simmonds has 25 goals, will likely crack the 30-goal mark for the first time in his career.

 

— Was this the last game for Mats Zuccarello in a Rangers uniform? There are rumors that the Rangers have put him on the block as contract discussions have not gone well. It would be a huge mistake for the Rangers to move him and not find a way to keep him in New York.

 

John Moore scored his first of the season, while J.T. Miller got his sixth. Both of those guys have been mentioned in various rumors as well.

 

Cam Talbot (30 saves) lost in regulation for the first time since Feb. 7, a span of 10 games. On a whole, he hasn’t been that amazing, though he did make some big saves Saturday. He’s been lucky the Rangers’ offense has made it a non-issue.

 

BLUES 2, OILERS 1

 

Paul Stastny wasn’t brought into St. Louis to basically be a 50-point player and 15-goal scorer. That’s what his production projects to at this point; even after the goal-assist game, he has 12 goals and 36 points this season. He has the chance to flip the script as the season winds down, and into the playoffs.

 

— Dmitrj Jaskin is being transitioned slowly at the NHL level, and I’m a believer that he’ll eventually be an impact fantasy player. He has 10 goals and 14 assists after his goal Saturday. Jaskin also logged a career-high 17:07.

 

Justin Schultz scored for the first time since Feb. 2, 11 games without one. He only had one assist during that dry spell, too. It’s been a disappointing year to say the least for the 24-year-old.

 

WILD 3, AVALANCHE 1

 

— At this point, there’s really nothing else you can say about how good Devan Dubnyk (33 saves) has been since he joined the Wild. Not only has his arrival changed the course of their season, it’s also affecting fantasy leagues in a big way too, I’m sure. He is 15-3-1 with a 1.64 goals-against and .937 save percentage in Minnesota.

 

— The Wild got goals from Jason Pominville, Erik Haula and Justin Fontaine, the last two also getting an assist, too. Fontaine has been rolling lately, with four of his eight goals and seven of his 22 points coming over his past six games. Still not worth a look in any fantasy leagues, though.

 

Semyon Varlamov has been unable to do it all on his own this year, like he was in 2013-14. In fact, he’s having a rough go of it lately, allowing 15 goals over his past four games, two of which were wins.