Crashing the Net: Alfredsson, Bailey heating up
Alfredsson missed about a month's time with a separated left shoulder. Luckily it was only that long as there were some reports that had him potentially missing upwards of six weeks. Besides confounding the doctors, Alfie has all of his fantasy owners doing cartwheels for the early return. In two games since retuning to the ice he has lit the lamp four times while handing out four assists, all the while posting a +5. He might have a few more grey hairs in his beard, but the Senators' captain continues to pile up the points (37 in 39 games) and remains a must start any time his blades touch the ice.
The club's first round draft pick in 2008, Bailey recorded 25 points with a -14 rating in 68 games last season. In his second season he already has 25 points in just 48 games, while he sports a strong +12. Those numbers didn't look near as sparkly a month ago, but Bailey has turned up the production of late -- certainly a byproduct of skating with
This might be the low point of the captains' career. The Flames were annihilated on Tuesday night 9-1 against the Sharks, and if that wasn't embarrassing enough, Iginla emerged from the defeat without a goal for the ninth straight game. Even worse, if possible, is the fact that he has only a mere assist in his last eight games. Supremely talented, and filled with pride, pity the team that will feel this man's wrath when his scoring touch returns.
Forty-five points in 50 games is a terrific total for someone who has never scored more than 67 points in a season (last year), but Mikko has seemingly forgotten that hockey is a two-way game of late. Besides recording a (-5) in his last three games, he is a (-7) in his last eight games. In addition to that plus/minus slide, he has also produced a mere four points in those eight games (3g, 1a). He figures to continue to be an effective point producer for the Wild, but until he and his line mates start paying a little more attention to the defensive side of the puck, you'll want to monitor your use of Mikko.
Normally a third-line skater prized for his amazing work on face-offs (he has a terrific 62.6% mark), Malhotra was recently promoted to the second line alongside
After a rough stretch, Anderson is hot once again for the 'Lanche. Craig has won five of six games, including each of his last four forays onto the ice. Moreover, he has allowed only three goals in his last three starts while making 24, 37 and 44 saves. With a .921 save percentage and a 24-11-5 record on the year, Anderson continues to be a brilliant play in net despite questions when the season began.
The Stars haven't been overly pleased with the overall work of
Monday was a triumphant day for an Isles organization that has been waiting a long time to utter these words: welcome back Mr. DiPietro. Rick stopped all 20 shots the Devils tossed at him as he posted his first shutout since February, 2008. DiPietro has a 1.96 GAA and a .926 save percentage in his three appearances this year, and while it's clearly too early to anoint him as good to go, you know the club has to be ecstatic with his recent play. It's too early to jump on his bandwagon, but it may not be too early to consider moving
Emery will make a second straight start on Tuesday despite allowing five goals in his first game back on the ice after abdominal surgery. "Ray has to get back in there and get some games, and this is an opportunity for him to jump right back in there," head coach
MAF suffered a broken finger on his glove hand, and the injury will likely keep him out of action for the next few days. This isn't a catastrophic injury, he could easily return by the end of the week, but in the interim it appears that the team might have to go with
Mason has started seven straight games fore the club, and Monday was the first time in that stretch that he allowed more than three goals (he allowed four). The loss against the Blue Jackets snapped a 4-game winning streak, but there is little question at all as to whom the Blues will be hitching their wagon to in net in the short-term, so start Mason with confidence right now.
Last season was a disaster for Smith as concussion-related symptoms limited him to 41 games with the Lightning. He started slowly this year and was rounding into shape of late, until yet another injury. Smith was placed on the IR with what is being called a neck issue, but some fear that the collision might also have caused some residual effects from his previous concussion to come to the surface (for what it's worth, the team is denying that for now). Youngster
If only the team around him was a bit better. Vokoun, thought by some to be an elite netminder, continues to prove that such statements may not be as far fetched as some would have you believe. In each of his last four seasons his save percentage has been at least .919, and this year that number is .927, the fourth best mark in the league. He has upped that mark over his last three appearances, all victories, as he has allowed only four goals on 106 shots (.962), and though his win total will lag behind the other top net minders (16-14-8) that save percentage is borderline magical.
• Fifteen teams play four games this week: Atlanta, Boston, Buffalo, Carolina, Columbus, Dallas, Florida, New Jersey, NY Islanders, Ottawa, Philadelphia, San Jose, St. Louis, Tampa Bay and Toronto.
• One teams plays two games this week: Calgary.