Saturday, January 1, 2011

Trade pays quick dividends; Isles do it again

Wisniewski keys Montreal victory
So, how fierce was (or will be) the stampede to add James Wisniewski to fantasy hockey teams? Certainly, who else on the Montreal blue line will put up points?

It didn't take long for Wisniewski to make quite the mark for the Canadiens, factoring in on each goal, including scoring the overtime winner - his second goal of the game - to lead Montreal over Florida, 3-2. Wisniewski, playing his second game as a Canadien, played a big role in Montreal's power play on Friday. His first goal came with the man-advantage and he helped set up Brian Gionta's power play goal.

Montreal overcame a 2-0 deficit. Scott Gomez had two assists and Alex Auld made 20 saves. Tomas Vokoun made 45 saves in defeat.

Giant killers
OK, we're upgrading the Islanders back to "feisty." Problem for them is, they're so far back that's the best they can be called.

Two days after knocking off Pittsburgh, New York took down the other conference leader when P.A. Parenteau's one-timer, in overtime, on the power play, gave the Islanders a 4-3 victory over Detroit. Dwayne Roloson made 38 saves.

John Tavares set up Pareanteau with a nice cross-ice pass, giving him three points on the evening, including a goal. Matt Moulson and Jesse Joensuu also scored.

New York has now won five of its last six games and six of eight. In addition to beating the Penguins and Red Wings, the Islanders also defeated Tampa Bay during this stretch. Anaheim too, but we still don't know if the Ducks are good or not. New York also knocked off Montreal. In four of the wins, the opponent had just one goal.

Bad night for some key goalies.

--Three of Vancouver's four goals came on the power play, chasing Kari Lehtonen before the end of two periods, as the Canucks rolled to a 4-1 win over Dallas. The Sedins and Kevin Bieksa each had a goal and assist and Cory Schneider made 44 saves.
--Jason Blake and Lubomir Visnovsky both scored twice and Anaheim knocked off Philadelphia, 5-2. Sergei Bobrovsky gave up all five goals on 27 shots. Jonas Hiller made 35 saves.
--Ilya Bryzgalov allowed four goals on just 22 shots as St. Louis won its fifth game in a row, 4-3 over Phoenix. The Blues, who led 4-0 before the Coyotes made things real interesting late, got 30 saves from Jaroslav Halak. Shane Doan scored twice for Phoenix.

Nashville got two empty net goals to pad the margin of defeat over Minnesota, 4-1. Although the Predators still held Minnesota to four shots on goal in the final period and just 23 for the game, so maybe it was still a fairly easy win. David Legwand and Shea Weber led the offense with two assists each. Pekka Rinne made 22 saves.

Not a misprint
New Jersey won a game! Feel shame, Atlanta, after the Devils picked up a 3-1 win behind Johan Hedberg's 28 saves. Jason Arnott had two assists and even Ilya Kovalchuk scored.

Blowing it, then winning it
Columbus let a 3-0 lead slip away, twice allowing goals in the final 80 seconds of a period, but rebounded to earn a 4-3 overtime win over Ottawa when Jakub Voracek snuck a shot through Brian Elliott's five-hole. Voracek also had an assist and Steve Mason made 35 saves.

Didn't sound pretty
Calgary hung on for a 3-2 win over Colorado after scoring the first three goals in a game in which the teams combined for just 44 shots on goal. Tim Jackman and Tom Kostopoulos each had a goal and assist - seriously - and Miikka Kiprusoff had 19 saves.

--Philadelphia is loaded enough that a goalie only has to be mediocre to get wins on that team, but so far, neither Michael Leighton nor Sergei Bobrovsky is showing they can be even that good. Brian Boucher didn't fare well his last start either. Maybe they should just bring in Evgeni Nabokov. That fear seemed to work for Tampa Bay's goalies.

--I felt better about the Penguins losing to the Islanders after New York beat Detroit (at the Joe of all places), then I realized that fourth goal allowed by Jimmy Howard didn't help my fantasy teams much.

--Steve Mason's made three straight starts now and won all three, making at least 35 saves in two of them. He seems to be getting on the right track. We'll see.

--I overlooked this somehow, but Vancouver is 8-0-2 in its last 10. The Canucks could take over the top overall spot in the NHL soon.

--I don't know how I feel about Tampa Bay being second in the Eastern Conference despite having a negative goal-differential. (OK, it's only minus-2, but still.)

That's all. Time to go see if Wisniewski is available in any of my leagues.

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