With 12 games on the schedule Saturday, most fantasy owners probably had a full roster of players in their active lineups. On a wild night that saw plenty of scoring, you can only hope that you started the right players. Saturday also featured the return of Evgeni Malkin at home against the Bruins, but still no Alex Ovechkin (he's expected back this Tuesday, so be aware).
In the only afternoon game, Henrik Lundqvist bounced back from a tough loss on Thursday night to stop 35 shots and lead the Rangers to a 2-1 shootout victory at Ottawa. In just his fourth start of the season, Brian Elliott got the nod for the Sens and made 27 saves but took the loss. Vinny Prospal scored his first career shorthanded goal thanks to a beautiful pass from Marian Gaborik, who's recorded at least one point in 16 of 18 games this season. After recording just 21 points in 78 games last season, Jarkko Ruutu assisted on Ottawa's lone goal for his ninth point of the season. With injuries to centers Chris Drury and Brandon Dubinsky, the Rangers slid Christopher Higgins to center. He registered three shots on goal and a minus-1 rating playing on a line with Ales Kotalik and P.A. Parenteau (who scored the shootout winner in the seventh round). If you're in need of a centerman, keep an eye out for Higgins.
In the most exciting game of the night, Malkin's return was overshadowed by the last-second heroics of Bill Guerin and an OT gift goal by Pascal Dupuis. Malkin, who had three assists, actually skated as a wing on a line with Sidney Crosby at center and Ruslan Fedotenko on the other wing. Pay attention to Fedotenko as he may be sparked by his linemates. Brent Johnson made his fourth start of the season and was gifted with a 6-5 overtime win over Tim Thomas and the Bruins. Defenseman Jay McKee scored his first goal of the season on a great pass from Geno.
In another wild game, Red Wings goalie Jimmy Howard found himself between the pipes for the third consecutive game (Chris Osgood has been out with the flu) and got plenty of offensive support in a 7-4 win over the Ducks. Henrik Zetterberg stole the show by scoring three goals in the third period. It was Z-Berg's first hat trick since March 19, 2008, against the Blue Jackets. Hank also added two assists for a career-high five-point night. Dan Cleary got his third goal in four games and added two assists. Niklas Kronwall chipped in with two assists, giving him seven points in three games. He is a tremendous defenseman and appears to be in full stride. Ryan Getzlaf and Corey Perry each extended their point-scoring streaks to 11 games (the longest current streaks in the NHL). Getzlaf finished the night with a season-high four points (1 G, 3 A) while Perry scored his 13th goal of the season and had an assist.
Playing in just his fifth game of the year, Islanders winger Trent Hunter notched his third goal of the season in the first period playing on a line with Josh Bailey and Jon Sim. Hunter is a decent sleeper playing for the suddenly high-scoring Islanders squad. Tomas Vokoun, who had shutouts in three of his last four starts, stopped 36 shots in a 5-4 shootout win. Dwayne Roloson actually made 38 saves but ended up with the loss.
Ryan Miller continued his stellar play stopping 29 shots in Buffalo's 3-2 win over the Flyers. Miller's record improved to 12-2-1. Thomas Vanek extended his points streak to three games with a goal in the first period. Philadelphia's Jeff Carter also stayed hot netting a third-period shorthanded goal. Those of you in leagues that reward shorthanded points should try to acquire the underachieving Carter; he had four shorties last season; this was his first in 2009-10.
Martin Brodeur led the way for the Devils with his sixth straight win, stopping 27 of 29 Capitals shots in New Jersey's 5-2 victory. Niclas Bergfors chipped in two assists in the game, giving him five points in his last three games. If he's still out there in your league, grab him now; he's seeing plenty of power-play time with Parise and Langenbrunner up front. Another guy to grab immediately is Washington's Tomas Fleischmann, who scored in the first period, giving him points in eight straight games (7G, 3A). Colin White scored his first goal since Oct. 29, 2008.
Right wing Jarome Iginla scored his 10th and 11th goals of the season and Miikka Kiprusoff stopped 38 shots in the Flames' win over Toronto. For leagues that count penalty minutes, Olli Jokinen got into his first fight of the season; he dropped the gloves with Leafs blueliner Francois Beauchemin. Phil Kessel continues to fire the puck on goal as he had six shots on Saturday night; he also added an assist. Kessel now has 34 shots in just six games! Take note that Toronto's Jonas Gustavsson was pulled midway through the first period after surrendering three goals on five shots. Vesa Toskala replaced him and stopped 15 of 17 shots.
In another frantic finish, Los Angeles defenseman Drew Doughty broke a scoreless tie 7:20 into the third period with his second power-play goal of the season (his fourth goal overall). After being pulled in the first period on Thursday night against Atlanta, Jon Quick responded with a solid 28-save performance and a 2-1 shootout win over the Lightning -- a game that saw a Tampa Bay goal disallowed in overtime. Antero Niittymaki was the main story for the Bolts as he turned aside 29 shots. Ryan Malone scored his 12th goal of the season with an assist going to Steven Stamkos, who continues to put up big numbers (13 G, 7 A).
In a last-minute change before game time, the Canadiens decided to sit Brian Gionta due to a lower-body injury. No details were given. Despite Montreal's 2-0 loss at Nashville, the story of this game was Carey Price, who stopped a franchise record-tying 53 shots against the Predators. Nashville outshot Montreal 24-4 in the first period with Steve Sullivan scoring the lone goal, his third of the season. Sullivan later added a power-play goal in the third period and finished the night with 11 shots on goal! He could be a decent sleeper.
The Sharks were able to escape with a win in St. Louis thanks to 38 saves by Evgeni Nabokov. Dan Boyle was the only player to have two points in the game -- he had a pair of assists in San Jose's 3-1 win. The Sharks are the only team that played Saturday night and also plays on Sunday. Expect Nabokov to start at Chicago, as he's been excellent lately. Dany Heatley was easily the best skater in the game and he chipped in his 13th goal, a power-play tally in the second period.
Keep an eye out for young Phoenix defenseman David Schlemko, who scored the first goal of his career and was a plus-3 in the Coyotes' 3-2 home win over Dallas. Schlemko now has a goal and an assist in four games for the Coyotes. Center Robert Lang added a goal and an assist while Mike Modano had a goal and an assist for the Stars.
In Saturday's final game, we saw our second hat trick of the night thanks to Henrik Sedin. Sedin scored goals 10, 11 and 12 in Vancouver's 8-2 victory at Colorado. It was Sedin's first career hat trick and he continues to carry the goal-scoring load for Vancouver while his brother Daniel sits with a broken foot. Mason Raymond was a noteworthy player chipping in three assists in the game. Raymond now has eight goals and five assists on the year and continues to see plenty of power play time. Ryan Johnson also had three assists and Steve Bernier added two goals. Craig Anderson started for the Avs and allowed four goals before being replaced by Peter Budaj. However, Anderson's starting job is still completely safe.
SUNDAY'S PROJECTED GOALIES:
Minnesota (Niklas Backstrom) at Carolina (Michael Leighton), 1:30 p.m. ET
Edmonton (Nikolai Khabibulin) at Atlanta (Ondrej Pavelec), 2 p.m. ET
San Jose (Evgeni Nabokov) at Chicago (Cristobal Huet), 7 p.m. ET
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