A Calgary defenceman gets in the way like no one else, Dallas’ top line dominates, Johnny T, lineup news, Fantasy tips and more in Scott Cullen’s Statistically Speaking.
Kris Russell – The Flames defenceman had a pair of assists and blocked 15 shots while playing a career-high 32:22 in a 4-3 shootout win at Boston. The Bruins player most affected was Reilly Smith, who had five shots blocked during the game and while he was on for 66.7% of shot attempts when on the ice against Russell, Smith was on for 56.3% of the unblocked shot attempts.
Over the past two seasons, Russell has blocked more shots than anyone, and it’s not really close.
BLOCKED SHOTS, 2013-2015
|Dan Girardi||N.Y. Rangers||304||144||2.11|
|Alex Pietrangelo||St. Louis||301||145||2.08|
Stars top line – Dallas wingers Jamie Benn and Patrick Eaves barely left the offensive zone against Florida, both one for 17 shot attempts for and one against (94.4%), while centre Jason Spezza was strong too (21 shot attempts for, 4 against).
John Tavares – The Islanders centre picked up a goal and an assist in a 4-3 win at Nashville, giving him 16 points (7 G, 9 A) in the past 11 games, enough to move into a tied for the scoring lead with 67 points in 66 games.
Blues big guns – Alexander Steen, David Backes, T.J. Oshie and Alex Pietrangelo were on the ice for all three goals against in a 3-1 loss at Philadelpha.
Deryk Engelland – Being pressed into a role beyond his capability since Mark Giordano was injured, Engelland was on for three shot attempts for and 24 against (11.1%) in a 4-3 shootout win at Boston. Flames forward Drew Shore wasn’t much better (5 shot attempts for, 27 against, 15.6%).
Kari Lehtonen – Allowed three goals on 14 shots, before getting pulled, in Dallas’ 4-3 shootout win at Florida.
LINEUP NEED TO KNOW
Alex Ovechkin – The league’s leading goal-scorer, who is tied for the points lead, is out with a lower-body injury, so the Capitals went with a top line of Marcus Johansson, Nicklas Backstrom and Andre Burakovsky in a 2-1 loss to Minnesota.
Jeff Petry – Played a season-high 26:25 in Montreal’s 4-3 shootout loss at Los Angeles.
Dan Ellis – Called up with Roberto Luongo and Al Montoya hurt, Ellis stopped 29 of 32 shots in his first start of the season for the Florida Panthers.
Canucks getting healthy – RW Alex Burrows, RW Zack Kassian and D Alexander Edler all returned to the Vancouver lineup for a 3-2 shootout loss at Arizona. Kassian rejoined the Sedins, while Burrows skated with Shawn Matthias and Chris Higgins.
Flames D Dennis Wideman recorded a pair of assists, and has 10 assists in the past 11 games…Lightning C Steven Stamkos contributed a couple of assists in a 4-2 win over Toronto; he has 15 points (9 G, 6 A) in the past 14 games…Panthers D Dmitry Kulikov had a Gordie Howe Hat Trick in a 4-3 shootout loss to Dallas…Canadiens C David Desharnais had a pair of assists in a 4-3 shootout loss at Los Angeles; he has 17 points (4 G, 13 A) in the past 17 games…Bruins D Zdeno Chara had a dominant possession game (34 shot attempts for, 8 against, 81.0%) against Calgary despite starting 42.9% of his shifts in the offensive zone…Wild C Erik Haula had a strong possession showing (14 shot attempts for, 3 against, 82.4%), despite 33.3% offensive zone starts, in a 2-1 win at Washington…Flyers G Steve Mason stopped 28 of 29 shots in a 3-1 win against St. Louis…Wild G Devan Dubnyk turned aside 24 of 25 shots in a 2-1 win at Washington.
A few players to keep an eye on:
Alexander Wennberg – The Blue Jackets rookie has one points in the past seven games and has gone 16 games without a goal, but he’s playing first-unit power play and has played more than 16 minutes in seven straight games, hitting a career-high 20:51 last game.
Andrej Nestrasil – Getting first unit power play time in Carolina and has 10 points (3 G, 7 A) in the past 10 games. Sometimes a team falling out of playoff contention gives young players an opportunity to shine.
Zach Bogosian – Has only two points in nine games with the Sabres since coming over from the Jets, but is getting opportunity, playing 27 minutes per game, including first-unit power play time.
Scott Cullen can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org