Credit for Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, Stamkos sniping, Quick stopping pucks, lineup news, Fantasy tips and more in Scott Cullen’s Statistically Speaking.
Ryan Nugent-Hopkins – The Oilers centre had a couple of assists for the third straight game and has 10 points (3 G, 7 A) in the past five games. As a No. 1 overall pick, in 2011, Nugent-Hopkins comes under a lot of scrutiny. Because Edmonton hasn’t had anything resembling success during his short tenure, he takes a lot of criticism.
But, let’s be fair. He is tied for the scoring lead from that draft class, with No. 1 pick Gabriel Landeskog and since 2000, there are a dozen players who had more than 181 points through their age 21 season. Considering that the Oilers have a dozen games remaining, RNH could easily climb to 11th and a point-per-game finish would put him ninth.
Anyway, given that production, it’s way too soon to start wondering about whether Ryan Nugent-Hopkins will be a No. 1 centre. If he’s not already, ranking 24th among centres with 49 points, then he’s on the cusp at age 21.
Steven Stamkos – The Lightning sniper had two goals and an assist in a 4-2 win over Montreal, and has 10 points (7 G, 3 A) in the past nine games. Stamkos is tied for second in the league with 39 goals, but his shooting percentage (16.6%) and goals per game (0.55) are down, closer to 2010-2011 levels, which is still very good, but not quite as otherworldly as 2011-2012 through 2013-2014 (19.5%, 0.68 goals per game).
Jonathan Quick – Stopped all 25 Arizona shots sent his way in a 1-0 Kings win. Since Valentine’s Day, Quick has a .942 SV%, which ranks third in the league among goaltenders with at least 240 minutes played:
TOP GOALTENDER SV% SINCE FEB. 14
|Jonathan Quick||Los Angeles||14||.942||.941|
|Cam Talbot||N.Y. Rangers||13||.940||.942|
|Ben Bishop||Tampa Bay||9||.940||.941|
|Cory Schneider||New Jersey||13||.939||.952|
Jonathan Bernier – Not all his fault, but the Maple Leafs goaltender allowed three goals on four shots before getting yanked 8:08 into the game at Edmonton.
Mike Weber, Rasmus Ristolainen - A tough night for the Sabres defence pair, spending most of their night matched against Nicklas Backstrom and Alex Ovechkin, as Weber (10 shot attempts for, 29 against, 25.6%) and Ristolainen (11 for, 29 against, 27.5%) were victims in Ovi's shooting gallery.
LINEUP NEED TO KNOW
Rasmus Ristolainen – The second-year Sabres defenceman has played more than 28 minutes in each of the past two games.
Chad Ruhwedel – The undrafted free agent defenceman, who was signed in the spring of 2013, played his first game of the season for the Sabres, and picked up an assist, in a 4-3 shootout loss to Washington. Ruhwedel had 31 points (8 G, 23 A) and was plus-1 in 59 AHL games before he was promoted.
Brian Flynn – The Montreal winger suffered a facial injury after playing just 20 seconds at Tampa Bay and did not return.
Capitals LW Evgeny Kuznetsov scored a goal on 10 shot attempts (8 SOG), and then the winner in the shootout, giving Washington a 4-3 win over Buffalo; the rookie has four points (2 G, 2 A) in the past four games…Capitals LW Alex Ovechkin didn’t record a point, but registered 22 shot attempts (9 SOG) at Buffalo…Oilers LW Benoit Pouliot scored a pair of goals in a win over Toronto, giving him 16 goals in 46 games this season and, as always, he has positive shot differentials (50.8 SAT%, +3.4 Relative SAT%)…Oilers RW Jordan Eberle had a goal and two assists in a 4-1 win over Toronto, giving him 11 points (4 G, 7 A) during a five-game point streak…Oilers G Ben Scrivens stopped 28 of 29 shots in a 4-1 win over Toronto...Kings D Andrej Sekera had a stellar possession game (21 shot attempts for, 5 against, 80.8%) against Arizona.
Andy Andreoff – A third-round pick of the Kings in 2011, Andreoff scored his first NHL goal – the only goal in a 1-0 win against Arizona – in his 15th career game.
It’s a busy night, with nine games on the schedule. Here are some players to consider for your lineup:
Patrick Sharp – He’s way overdue, shooting a career-low 6.2% this season, but Sharp has been moved up to play with Jonathan Toews and Marian Hossa on Chicago’s top line. That’s worth a look, isn’t it?
Jonathan Huberdeau – One point behind Nick Bjugstad for the Panthers’ scoring lead, Huberdeau has eight points (2 G, 6 A) in seven games this month.
Andrej Nestrasil – Nine points (2 G, 7 A) in the past nine games, while playing more than 16 minutes per game, for the Hurricanes rookie.
Steve Downie – With injuries hitting the Penguins’ forward lines, the league’s penalty minute leader was skating with Sidney Crosby at the morning skate.
Drew Stafford – Playing in Winnipeg has helped Stafford regain some offensive flair and he’s put up five points (4 G, 1 A) in the past six games.
Scott Cullen can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org