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Scott Cullen

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San Jose is strong down the middle; Eriksson, Kuznetsov, fantasy and more in Scott Cullen’s Statistically Speaking.

HEROES
Logan Couture – After posting two goals and an assist, with 10 shot attempts (8 SOG), in a 6-3 win at St. Louis, the Sharks centre has 12 points (5 G, 7 A) in the past eight games. Couture has endured a difficult season, with a broken leg then surgery for an arterial bleed in his leg combining to limit him to just 28 games.

Joe Thornton – It’s great the Couture is picking up his production, but Jumbo Joe scored two goals and added two assists in a 6-3 win at St. Louis. He’s put up 39 points (10 G, 29 A) in the past 29 games.

Loui Eriksson – The Bruins winger scored twice in a 6-4 loss to Columbus, and has eight points (7 G, 1 A) in the past seven games.

Evgeny Kuznetsov – Washington’s playmaking pivot produced a goal and an assist in a 3-2 win over Arizona, giving him 25 points (5 G, 20 A) in the past 17 games. He’s fifth in the league, with 62 points in 58 games.

ZEROES

Troy Brouwer and Paul Stastny – The Blues forwards were both on for three goals against (and none for) at even strength in a 6-3 loss to San Jose.

Lucas Lessio – The Habs rookie was stuck with the worst possession stats of the night (1 for, 7 against, 12.5 SAT%).

VITAL SIGNS

Brian Elliott – The Blues goaltender apparently suffered a lower-body injury and left St. Louis’ 6-3 loss to San Jose early. Jake Allen, sidelined with his own injury for the past six weeks, returned to the St. Louis net once Elliott was hurt.

Matt Tennyson – The Sharks defenceman was knocked out when he was hit from behind by Blues winger Ryan Reaves.

SHORT SHIFTS

Capitals LW Alex Ovechkin had a goal and an assist in a 3-2 win against Arizona. He has 30 points (25 G, 5 A) in the past 27 games…Sharks LW Tomas Hertl scored a couple of goals in a 6-3 win at St. Louis, and has five points (4 G, 1 A) in the past five games…Sharks D Marc-Edouard Vlasic contributed a pair of assists, and has 15 points (3 G, 12 A) in the past 17 games…Blues RW Vladimir Tarasenko put up a goal and two assists in a 6-3 loss to San Jose, giving him seven points (3 G, 4 A) in the past six games…Blue Jackets RW Boone Jenner had a pair of goals in a 6-4 win at Boston. He had two goals and no assists in his previous eight games…Blue Jackets C Alexander Wennberg had two assists, giving him five points (1 G, 4 A) in the past five games. He also won one of 14 faceoffs (7.1%)…Blue Jackets defencemen Dalton Prout and Fedor Tyutin effectively controlled play at even strength (20 for, 5 against, 80.0 SAT%) against Boston...Predators G Pekka Rinne stopped 28 of 29 shots in a 2-1 shootout win at Montreal. He has a .966 save percentage in his past three starts.

FANTASY FOCUS

Some longshots getting bigger roles due to injured teammates:

Mike Santorelli – With Chris Stewart out, the Ducks winger has moved onto Ryan Getzlaf’s line, and has six points (3 G, 3 A) in the past six games. Owned: 0.0%

Melker Karlsson – Sharks winger Tommy Wingels is out with an upper-body injury, so Karlsson has landed a primo spot alongside Logan Couture and Joonas Donskoi. Owned: 0.1%

Robby Fabbri – As injuries continue to ding the St. Louis lineup – Alexander Steen is the latest to go on the shelf – the rookie winger is getting more opportunities to produce. He has seven points (3 G, 4 A) in the past eight games. Owned: 2.8%

Brendan Leipsic – Toronto has four regular forwards, plus prospect Josh Leivo, on IR so Leipsic is getting a look alongside Nazem Kadri on a scoring line. Leipsic has 37 points (16 G, 21 A) in 49 AHL games and scored in his only NHL game this season. Owned: 0.0%

Much of the data included comes from www.war-on-ice.comstats.hockeyanalysis.com www.hockey-reference and www.naturalstattrick.com

Scott Cullen can be reached at scott.cullen@bellmedia.ca