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Scott Cullen

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A Stars centre on a scoring streak; Vermette, Stone, Stamkos, Bishop, fantasy and more in Scott Cullen's Statistically Speaking.

Dallas Stars centre Jason Spezza had a goal and an assist in Friday's 5-2 win against Chicago then added a pair of goals in Saturday's 5-4 OT loss to St. Louis. He has eight points (7 G, 1 A) during a six-game goal and point streak.

Known more as a playmaker throughout his career, Spezza has been pulling the trigger more frequently. In the past 10 games, he's logged 38 shots on goal (his career high is 3.03 shots on goal per game), while playing 16:31 per game.

Ice time is down, but shots and goals are up. That works.

HEROES

Antoine Vermette - Scored a goal and added an assist in Friday's 4-1 win at Calgary before putting up two goals and an assist in Saturday's 4-0 win at Edmonton, giving the Coyotes pivot nine points (4 G, 5 A) in the past five games.

Mark Stone - Enough with the ex-Senators. How about a current one? With a goal and two assists in Saturday's 4-0 win at Toronto, Stone has 14 points (4 G, 10 A) in the past 10 games.

Steven Stamkos - The Tampa Bay sniper put up two goals and an assist in Sunday's 4-0 win at Columbus. He has 13 points (9 G, 4 A) in the past 13 games.

Ben Bishop - Stopped all 37 shots that he faced in Sunday's win at Columbus, and has a .954 save percentage in his past nine starts.

ZEROES

Dan Girardi - That the Rangers blueliner might struggle possession-wise isn't anything new but, even by Girardi's standards the weekend was rough (18 for, 45 against, 28.6 SAT%).

Eric Staal - There may be better times ahead for Staal, who now has Rick Nash skating on his wing, but he managed one shot, and two shot attempts, in more than 33 minutes of ice time over two games this weekend.

Corey Crawford - Chicago's goaltender, my Vezina pick through the first three quarters of the season, allowed four goals on 20 shots before getting pulled in Friday's 5-2 loss at Dallas.

VITAL SIGNS

Henrik Lundqvist and Rick Nash - The Rangers lineup received a boost when their starting goaltender and power forward returned from injuries for Saturday's 3-2 overtime loss at Detroit.

Evgeni Malkin - Pittsburgh's star centre is out 6-8 weeks with a hand (??) injury suffered in Friday's 3-2 win at Columbus. He had a couple of assists in the game, and had 19 points (8 G, 11 A) in his past 15 games.

Mike Smith - Returned to the Coyotes net Saturday, after missing more than three months, and delivered a 44-save shutout at Edmonton.

T.J. Brodie - The Calgary defenceman missed Friday's loss to Arizona with an upper-body injury, just as Dennis Wideman returned from his suspension.

Sergei Bobrovsky - Returned to the Columbus net Friday, for his first action since January 21, and stopped 61 of 68 shots in two weekend losses.

Valtteri Filppula - Tampa Bay's centre played a little more than five minutes in Sunday's 4-0 win at Columbus, before suffering an upper-body injury.

FIRSTS

Dominik Simon - With Malkin injured, the Penguins called up Simon, a fifth-round pick in last summer's draft, who had 38 points (18 G, 20 A) and a plus-4 rating in 54 AHL games. Simon recorded an assist in Sunday's 5-3 win at the Rangers.

Stephen Johns - Acquired from Chicago by the Stars last summer, as part of the Patrick Sharp trade, the 23-year-old defenceman made his NHL debut in Friday's 5-2 win over the Blackhawks.

SHORT SHIFTS

Penguins C Sidney Crosby had a goal and an assist in Sunday's 5-3 win over the Rangers, giving him 13 points (4 G, 9 A) during an eight-game point streak…Penguins rookie RW Conor Sheary, who had one goal and one assist in his previous 17 games, scored twice in the win over the Rangers…Rangers C Derek Stepan earned two assists, and has 16 points (7 G, 9 A) in the past 16 games…Lightning LW Ondrej Palat chipped in a goal and an assist in Sunday's 4-0 win at Columbus, giving him nine points (6 G, 3 A) in the past nine games.

 

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Sabres rookie C Jack Eichel scored a couple of goals, including the OT winner in Saturday's 3-2 win over Carolina; he has seven points (5 G, 2 A) in the past six games…Sabres LW Evander Kane had a pair of assists, and has seven points (2 G, 5 A) in the past six games…Rangers RW Mats Zuccarello assisted on both New York goals in Saturday's 3-2 overtime loss at Detroit, giving him 18 points (4 G, 14 A) in the past 18 games…Red Wings LW Darren Helm scored two goals, including the OT winner against the Rangers; he had three points (1 G, 2 A) in his previous 11 games…Senators C Jean-Gabriel Pageau put up three assists in Saturday's 4-0 win at Toronto, and has 12 points (3 G, 9 A) in the past 12 games…Flyers LW Michael Raffl recorded a goal and an assist in Saturday's 5-4 shootout loss against Florida; he has six points (2 G, 4 A) in the past six games…Panthers RW Jaromir Jagr had a couple of assists in the win, and has 13 points (6 G, 7 A) in the past 11 games…Panthers RW Reilly Smith tallied a pair of goals, giving him seven points (4 G, 3 A) in the past six games…Avalanche C Matt Duchene had a goal and an assist in Saturday's 3-2 loss at Winnipeg, and has  11 points (4 G, 7 A) in the past 11 games…Jets C Mark Scheifele contributed a goal and an assist, giving him 18 points (10 G, 8 A) in the past 12 games…Blues RW Robby Fabbri had a couple of helpers in Saturday's 5-4 overtime win at Dallas; he has seven points (2 G, 5 A) in the past six games…Blues D Kevin Shattenkirk scored two goals in the win, giving him six points (2 G, 4 A) in the past five games…Blues C Paul Stastny had three assists, and has five points (1 G, 4 A) in the past three games…Stars D Alex Goligoski picked up a pair of assists in the loss, and has eight assists in the past seven games…Canucks C Bo Horvat produced a goal and an assist in Saturday's 4-2 win vs. Nashville, and has four points (1 G, 3 A) in the past four games…Canucks RW Radim Vrbata chipped in a couple of assists, and has four points (2 G, 2 A) in his past four games…Sharks D Brent Burns put up a goal and an assist in Saturday's 5-2 win vs. Washington, and has 18 points (7 G, 11 A) in the past 16 games…Sharks D Brenden Dillon also had a goal and an assist, after managing no goals and two assists in his previous 38 games…Sharks RW Joe Pavelski also had one and one, and has 14 points (7 G, 7 A) in the past 14 games…Sharks C Joe Thornton had a goal and an assist, and has 50 points (12 G, 38 A) in the past 39 games…Bruins LW Loui Eriksson had a goal and two assists in Saturday's 3-1 win vs. the Islanders; he had two goals and no assists in his previous nine games…Bruins RW David Pastrnak scored a pair of goals against the Islanders, and has four goals in the past four games.

Blues RW Vladimir Tarasenko put up two goals and an assist in Friday's 5-2 win vs. Anaheim, and added a goal and an assist in Saturday's 5-4 OT win at Dallas, giving him a dozen points (6 G, 6 A) in the past 10 games…Stars LW Jamie Benn had a goal and an assist in Friday's 5-2 win against Chicago and another one and one in Saturday's loss to St. Louis, giving him 13 points (5 G, 8 A) in the past 12 games…Stars RW Ales Hemsky contributed a goal and an assist against Chicago and an assist against St. Louis, and has six points (2 G, 4 A) in the past four games.

Maple Leafs G Jonathan Bernier posted a 38-save shutout in Sunday's 1-0 win at Detroit. It was only the third time in his past 11 games that Bernier allowed fewer than three goals agaist…Wild G Devan Dubnyk had 30 saves on 31 shots in Saturday's 4-1 win at Montreal, and has a .928 save percentage in his past six starts…Senators G Craig Anderson had a 29-save shutout in Saturday's 4-0 win over Toronto, one game after allowing six goals on 31 shots against Florida…Penguins G Marc-Andre Fleury stopped 25 of 27 shots in Friday's 3-2 win at Columbus, and has a .941 save percentage in his past six starts…Coyotes G Louis Domingue turned aside 24 of 25 shots in Friday's 4-1 win at Calgary, and has a .939 save percentage in his past five appearances.

 

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FANTASY FOCUS

Some unheralded players getting power play time that might be worthy of late-season fantasy consideration:

Ryan Spooner - The 24-year-old Bruins centre has a modest eight points (1 G, 7 A) in the past 18 games, but he's on Boston's first power play unit. Owned: 42.4%

Victor Rask - Riley Nash is also getting PP time for Carolina, but Rask has four points (2 G, 2 A) in the past four games. Owned: 23.0%

Linden Vey - Ice time has opened up in Vancouver, and Vey has five points (3 G, 2 A) in the past eight games. Owned: 0.4%

Blake Comeau - The Colorado winger has three points (1 G, 2 A) in the past four games and is seeing first-unit action. Owned: 1.2%

Sven Andrighetto - The Habs rookie has four assists in the past three games and has played morethan 18 minutes in each of the past four. Owned: 0.7%

Joe Colborne - The Flames winger has five points (3 G, 2 A) in the past eight games, and is getting first-unit PP time with Sean Monahan and Johnny Gaudreau. Owned: 0.4%

Devante Smith-Pelly - Has five points (3 G, 2 A) in five games since coming over from Montreal. Owned: 0.1%

Johan Larsson - Opportunities are being presented to the Sabres centre, and he's scored three goals in the past six games, but he's also playing 18:20 per game in that time. Owned: 0.0%

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

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