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Scott Cullen

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Maroon making his mark; Sissons, Staal, Holtby and more in Scott Cullen’s Statistically Speaking.

28-year-old Oilers winger Patrick Maroon has to be enjoying his opportunity to skate on Connor McDavid’s left side. After notching his first career hat trick, and taking on Bruins behemoth D Zdeno Chara in a fight, Maroon was the star in a 4-3 win at Boston.

He’s been moved on to McDavid’s wing for the past couple of games, a good chance to play with a game-breaking talent with whom he had some success after arriving in Edmonton last season.

Maroon has six points (5 G, 1 A) in the past five games, and already has a career-high 14 goals this season. If he can stick with McDavid, those numbers will keep climbing.

For his part against Boston, McDavid chipped in a couple of assists and is back on top of the scoring race with 45 points in 40 games.

HEROES

Colton Sissons – In one of the season’s more unlikely developments, Nasvhille’s checking centre recorded a hat trick in a 6-1 win at Tampa Bay. How unlikely was it? Sissons had no points and two shots on goal in his previous 12 games.

Eric Staal – Minnesota rallied to win 5-4 at San Jose, led by Staal’s two goals and an assist. He has 15 points (7 G, 8 A) in the past 11 games, and 33 points in 37 games this season is his best points-per-game rate (.89) since 2012-2013.

Braden Holtby – Rebounding from his last start, in which he was pulled after the first period, the Capitals netminder delivered a 29-save shutout in a 5-0 win to end Columbus’ 16-game winning streak. He has a .941 save percentage in his past 13 starts.

ZEROES

Brandon Dubinsky – On a night that Columbus’ winning streak came to an end, Dubinsky was on the wrong side all night, with team-worst possession numbers (6 for, 14 against, 30.0 CF%, 1-10 scoring chances) as well as being on the ice for four goals against in a 5-0 loss.

Valtteri Filppula and Evgeny Namestnikov – The Lightning forwards were both on the ice for three even-strength goals against in a 6-1 loss to Nashville.

Tanner Pearson and Devin Setoguchi – The Kings wingers were on the ice for three 5-on-5 goals against in a 4-0 home loss to Detroit.

Andrei Vasilevskiy – Perhaps the starter’s role is getting a little heavy in Tampa Bay, as Vasilevskiy gave up five goals on 18 shots in a 6-1 loss to Nashville. He has a .868 save percentage in his past six games.

Sergei Bobrovsky – Columbus’ winning streak had to end sometime and it crashed to a halt when Bobrovsky surrendered five goals on 23 shots before getting pulled in a 5-0 loss at Washington. He had posted a .941 save percentage in the previous 14 starts since he last suffered a loss.

VITAL SIGNS 

Ryan O’Reilly – Playing his first game in a couple of weeks after having his appendix removed, O’Reilly had two assists in a 4-3 overtime loss at Chicago.

James Neal – Nashville’s power forward is sidelined by an upper-body injury.

Mike Ribeiro – It looked like the Predators benched Ribeiro, who was having a poor game (1 for, 9 against, 10.0 CF%, 1-4 scoring chacnes) at Tampa Bay, as he finished with 8:14 of ice time and didn’t take a shift in the third period.

Mikkel Boedker – The Sharks made Mikkel Boedker a healthy scratch for their 5-4 loss to Minnesota. Boedker has been a disaster of a free agent signing, managing two goals and eight points in 38 games. 

Anton Lander – The Oilers recalled Lander from the AHL, where he had 21 points (10 G, 11 A) in 13 games and he played 6:26 at Boston, his first NHL game since mid-November. 

Spencer Abbott – Next up in the audition for a left wing spot alongside Jonathan Toews and Marian Hossa – who returned from injury against Buffalo – is Abbott, a 28-year-old who had played one NHL game for the Maple Leafs in 2013-2014. He was called up from the AHL, after scoring 21 points (8 G, 13 A) with a minus-12 rating in 30 games for Rockford.

Ty Rattie – Claimed on waivers from St. Louis, Rattie got an immediate look on Carolina’s top line, with Victor Rask and Jeff Skinner while facing his former Blues teammates. Rattie has some offensive upside, but has managed a modest four goals and eight points in 31 career NHL games.

SHORT SHIFTS

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Patrick Kane is fifth in the league with 40 points.

Blackhawks RW Patrick Kane scored the overtime winner and added two assists, with 10 shot attempts (7 SOG), in a 4-3 win over Buffalo. He has 12 points (4 G, 8 A) in the past 10 games…Blackhawks C Artem Anisimov scored two goals against Buffalo, giving him eight points (7 G, 1 A) in the past nine games. He leads the league with a 26.9% shooting percentage…Red Wings LW Andreas Athanasiou contributed a goal and two assists in a 4-0 win at Los Angeles. He had two points (1 G, 1 A) in his previous 11 games…Red Wings LW Thomas Vanek scored a couple of goals, giving him eight points (4 G, 4 A) in the past eight games…Red Wings rookie RW Anthony Mantha produced a goal and an assist, and has 11 points (6 G, 5 A) in the past eight games…Bruins C Patrice Bergeron had a goal and an assist, with 11 shot attempts (7 SOG), in a 4-3 loss to Edmonton; he has four points (3 G, 1 A) in the past four games…Capitals defencemen John Carlson and Nate Schmidt both had a goal and an assist in a 5-0 win over Columbus. Carlson has 12 points (5 G, 7 A) in the past 13 games, and Schmidt, coming off a healthy scratch, had one assist in his previous 16 games…Capitals C Evgeny Kuznetsov added two assists, and has 16 points (1 G, 15 A) in the past 15 games…Predators C Mike Fisher had a goal and an assist at Tampa Bay, and has four points (2 G, 2 A) in the past four games…Predators RW Calle Jarnkrok had a couple of assists; he had one assist in his previous 11 games…Predators C Ryan Johansen also had two assists, and has 12 points (2 G, 10 A) in the past 12 games…Hurricanes C Derek Ryan scored a pair of goals in a 4-2 win at St. Louis, snapping a seven-game scoring drought…Hurricanes C Jordan Staal and LW Brock McGinn both contributed a couple of assists. Staal has five points (1 G, 4 A) in the past six games, while McGinn had no points in his previous 10 games…Sabres RW Kyle Okposo earned a goal and an assist at Chicago, giving him five points (2 G, 3 A) in the past four games…Wild LW Zach Parise put up a goal and two assists at San Jose, and has nine points (3 G, 6 A) in the past nine games…Wild C Mikko Koivu scored two goals, giving him eight points (3 G, 5 A) in the past five games…Wild LW Jason Zucker and RW Mikael Granlund both added a couple of assists. Zucker has eight points (3 G, 5 A) in the past six games, and Granlund has 17 points (5 G, 12 A) in the past 13 games…Sharks D Brent Burns had two assists, giving him 23 points (9 G, 14 A) in the past 21 games…Sharks LW Patrick Marleau and RW Joel Ward both had a goal and an assist; Marleau has five points (2 G, 3 A) in the past four games while Ward had one assist in his previous eight games...Predators G Pekka Rinne stopped 27 of 28 shots in a 6-1 win at Tampa Bay and has a .927 save percentage in his past six starts.

Oilers C Mark Letestu wasn’t on for any goals, but spent his whole night at Boston in the Edmonton zone (0 for, 13 against, 0-5 scoring chances)…Even in a losing effort, Blue Jackets LW Brandon Saad had a strong territorial game (17 for, 4 against, 81.0 CF%, 11-1 scoring chances) at Washington…Lightning checkers J.T. Brown and Cedric Paquette had a solid score-effects showing (13 for, 3 against, 81.3 CF%, 4-1 scoring chances) in a 6-1 loss to Nashville…Wild RW Chris Stewart had a terrible possession game (3 for, 19 against, 13.6 CF%, 0-12 scoring chances) in a 5-4 win at San Jose. 

FIRSTS

Jared Coreau – Detroit’s 25-year-old rookie goaltender, an undrafted free agent out of Northern Michigan, posted a 34-save shutout in a 4-0 win at Los Angeles, his first career shutout in his fifth career game.

FANTASY FOCUS

Players with low on-ice shooting percentage that may be worth buying low:

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The percentages should improve in Florida, most notably for Aaron Ekblad.

Aaron Ekblad and Keith Yandle – The Florida defencemen can’t be held responsible for on-ice shooting percentages of 4.2% and 4.7%, respectively. Ekblad had been on the high side (7.7% and 9.0% in his first two seasons), while Yandle has been under 6.6% once in his career.

Ryan O’Reilly – Back in the lineup, the Sabres pivot has struggled to a 4.3% on-ice shooting percentage in the first half of this sason, down from 6.9% last season and a career-high 9.4% the year before.

Patrice Bergeron – The numbers are slowly starting to come around for Bergeron, but his 5.2% on-ice shooting percentage is a career low; his career mark sits at 7.7%.

Anze Kopitar – The first place that Kopitar could start, in terms of improving on-ice shooting, is finishing his own chances – his shooting percentage of 4.1% is way off his career rate of 12.1% -- but a 5.3% on-ice shooting percentage is still far below his norm – his previous low is 7.5%.

Much of the data included comes from corsica.hockeystats.hockeyanalysis.com www.hockey-reference and www.naturalstattrick.com

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