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Scott Cullen

TSN.ca Analytics

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Tampa Bay's Russian factor is positive, Kuznetsov continues to climb in the scoring race, Kopitar, Kane, fantasy and more in Scott Cullen's Statistically Speaking.

HEROES

Nikita Kucherov - The Lightning sniper had a goal and an assist in a 6-4 win over Edmonton. He has 26 points (13 G, 13 A) in the past 20 games. Kucherov is one of six Russians (Kuznetsov, Tarasenko, Panarin, Malkin, Ovechkin) among the top 20 scorers in the NHL this season.

Vladislav Namestnikov - Skating on Tampa Bay's top line, with Ondrej Palat and Steven Stamkos, has worked out well for the second-year forward, who had a goal and an assist, along with great possession stats (14 for, 2 against, 87.5 SAT%), in a 6-4 win over Edmonton. He has 10 points (4 G, 6 A) in the past six games.

Evgeny Kuznetsov - Speaking of Kuznetsov, Washington's playmaking centre recorded four assists in a 6-3 win at Columbus, and has 15 points (4 G, 11 A) in the past nine games. With 48 points in 46 games on the season, he's climbed to fourth in the NHL scoring race, behind Patrick Kane, Jamie Benn and Tyler Seguin.

ZEROES

R.J. Umberger, Scott Laughton and Matt Read - The Flyers trio couldn't get out of their end against Toronto (1 shot attempt for, 13 against, 7.1 SAT%), on the ice for two Maple Leafs goals in a 3-2 loss.

Max Pacioretty, Tomas Plekanec and Brendan Gallagher - Montreal's top line was on for three even-strength goals against in a 4-1 loss to Boston.

T.J. Brodie - Calgary's ace blueliner struggled against New Jersey, with poor possession stats (13 for, 22 against, 38.5 SAT%) while on the ice for three goals against in a 4-2 loss.

Anders Nilsson - Edmonton's goaltender continued his rough stretch, allowing five goals on 30 shots in a 6-4 loss at Tampa Bay. He has a .855 save percentage in his past seven appearances.

Sergei Bobrovsky - Making his first start since Deceber 8, the Blue Jackets goaltender allowed five goals on 27 shots in a 6-3 loss to Washington.

VITAL SIGNS

Nathan Beaulieu - Suffered a lower-body injury, playing just 4:43 against Boston. Newly-acquired Victor Bartley or Greg Pateryn could move into the lineup if Beaulieu is out.

Scott Hartnell and Fedor Tyutin - The pair of veterans were healthy scratches for Columbus in their 6-3 loss to Washington.

Zack Kassian - Scored a goal and an assist in Edmonton's 6-4 loss at Tampa Bay. Those are his first points of the season, but he's averaged 15:17 of ice time per game in four games with the Oilers.

FIRSTS

Kerby Rychel - Getting an opportunity to play in Columbus, the 2013 first-round pick scored his first career goal, his 21st career game, and added an assist in a 6-3 loss to Washington.

Esa Lindell - The 2012 third-round pick made his debut on the Dallas blueline playing 14:01 in a 3-2 loss at Los Angeles. The 21-year-old had 25 points (7 G, 18 A) and was plus-9  in 41 AHL games before getting promoted.

SHORT SHIFTS

Kings C Anze Kopitar had a pair of assists in a 3-2 win over Dallas, giving him 20 points (4 G, 16 A) in the past 12 games… Blackhawks RW Patrick Kane had a goal and an assist in a 4-1 win at Nashville. The league's leading scorer has 21 points (9 G, 12 A) in the past 12 games…Blackhawks LW Artemi Panarin had a pair of assists at Nashville, giving him 14 points (6 G, 8 A) in the past 12 games…Bruins RW David Pastrnak scored a goal and added an assist, while playing a team-low 7:05, in a 4-1 win at Montreal…Flames LW Johnny Gaudreau assisted on both Calgary goals in a 4-2 loss at New Jersey, giving him six points (2 G, 4 A) in the past five games…Devils LW Reid Boucher had a goal and an assist in a 4-2 win over Calgary, scoring for the second straight game since he was recalled from the AHL…Devils D Adam Larsson had a goal and an assist against Calgary, giving him six points (1 G, 5 A) in the past six games…Devils RW Lee Stempniak also had a goal and an assist, and has four points (2 G, 2 A) in the past four games…Rangers LW Rick Nash had a pair of assists in a 3-2 overtime win against Vancouver; he has seven assists in the past seven games…Rangers C Derek Stepan added a goal and an assist, and has four points (1 G, 3 A) in the past three games…Capitals C Nicklas Backstrom tallied a pair of goals in a 6-3 win at Columbus; he has 12 points (5 G, 7 A) in the past 10 games…Capitals C Marcus Johansson had a goal and an assist at Columbus, giving him 15 points (8 G, 7 A) in the past 14 games…Capitals LW Alex Ovechkin contributed a goal and an assist at Columbus, and has eight points (7 G, 1 A) in the past seven games…Capitals RW Justin Williams had a pair of assists at Columbus, and has nine points (5 G, 4 A) in the past six games…Blue Jackets D Seth Jones had a pair of assists in the loss, and has four assists in the past three games…Lightning LW Alex Killorn put up a goal and two assist in a 6-4 win vs. Edmonton, giving him five points (2 G, 3 A) in the past five games…Lightning C Steven Stamkos had a pair of assists against Edmonton, and has 15 points (9 G, 6 A) in the past 14 games…Lightning LW Ondrej Palat added a goal and an assist; he has five points (2 G, 3 A) in the past four games…Kings C Vincent Lecavalier has scored goals in three straight games...Lightning D Anton Stralman had an outstanding game against Edmonton, on the ice for 17 shot attempts for and one against (94.4 SAT%) at even strength.

Bruins G Tuukka Rask stopped 38 of 39 shots in a 4-1 win at Montreal. He has a .935 save percentage in his past 20 games…Devils G Cory Schneider had 26 saves on 28 shots in a 4-2 win against Calgary, and has a .939 save percentage in his past 12 games…Maple Leafs G James Reimer turned aside 31 of 33 shots in a 3-2 win at Philadelphia. He has a .945 save percentage in his past 15 games…Blackhawks G Corey Crawford had 38 saves on 39 shots in a 4-1 win at Nashville. He has a .948 save percentage in his past 19 games.

FANTASY FOCUS

Players being added the most in TSN leagues, yet still available in more than 50% of leagues:

Bo Horvat - The second-year centre has 10 points (6 G, 4 A) in the past eight games, and is effectively the best centre in the Canucks lineup while Henrik Sedin is injured. Owned: 31.5%

Andrew Shaw - Skating on a line with Jonathan Toews and Marian Hossa has its benefits and Shaw has seven points (2 G, 5 A) in the past six games. Owned: 24.9%

Brock Nelson - The Islanders' leading goal-scorer has seven points (5 G, 2 A) in the past six games. Owned: 45.1%

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

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