Crashing The Net: Another week, another points-spree for Malkin
Underachieving Derick Brassard has found point-scoring touch with Rick Nash
Zdeno Chara is 16 shots away from recording seventh-straight 200-shot season
Ryan Miller has posted a 1.83 GAA and .940 save percentage in last 17 games
From goal scorers to defenders to the men who keep the puck out of the net, each week we'll take a spin around the rink and touch on some of the players that are in the news.
Evgeni Malkin has a point in eight straight games and he currently leads the NHL in points with 81 (one more than Steve Stamkos). That level of production has become fairly common place for the Penguins' great one, who also has 22 points, including 11 goals, in his last 14 contests.
Derick Brassard has really enjoyed working with Rick Nash of late, and who could blame him (I'd rack up assists passing the puck to Nash). A career-long failure in the eyes of many after being taken sixth overall in 2006, Brassard has finally been producing as hoped. Brassard has point in each of his last three games, and over the past month-plus he has 14 points in 15 games. Way to go, kid.
If you need a little boost on offense, Carl Hagelin has five points in five games for the Rangers (including three goals).
Martin Hanzal has been a big hitter this year with 190 hits in 52 games. He's lit the lamp only eight times, though. His 16 tallies last year didn't bring many smiles, but he's been hot of late with seven assists in his last seven games for the 'Yotes.
Corey Perry has been a disappointment. A year after scoring 50 goals and nearly hitting the century mark in points (98), Perry's production is down at 33 goals and 54 points for the Ducks. While those numbers are certainly disappointing, it should be noted that Perry's 33 goals are the second-best mark of his career, and there is still an outside chance that he will be able to record 70 points for a fourth straight season.
Teddy Purcell already has a career best 19 goals and 52 points (last season he registered 17 goals and 51 points). On its own, that would hardly be news, but have you caught the Wayne Gretzky-like work Purcell has done of late? Purcell has points in each of his last nine games, and in 13 of his last 14 contests for the Lightning. Over those nine games during his current run he has scored two or three points six times leading to a total of 19 points (6g, 13a).
Teemu Selanne tied Jari Kurri, his idol, for 19th place on the all-time point scoring list with 1,398 points. Selanne, who has five points in the last six games, continues to score as if he was 31 years old, not 41. With 58 points total this season, Selanne has recorded 138 points in his last 140 games played for the Ducks.
Steve Sullivan is putting together quite the run of late. Though he was held off the score sheet in his last game, Sullivan has points in seven of his last nine games (3g, 8a).
With five points in his last five games, Zdeno Chara is on the cusp of an eighth-straight season of at least 40 points. He's also 11 penalty minutes away from an 11th straight effort of at least 85 PIMs. And with 16 more shots on net he will have recorded at least 200 for the seventh-straight year. All-around excellence could be on the nameplate of his jersey.
Trevor Daley has all of 22 points on the year and he's been held off the score sheet in two March games. So why bother mentioning him? Before his two-game skid, the Stars' defensive D-man had recorded one assist in five straight games.
Over the last two weeks the leading point producer from the blue line is Erik Karlsson with nine points followed by Dustin Byfuglien with eight. The third-place blue liner is a name you'd likely fail to mention if you were given 27 guesses. This Blues' blue liner, and no it's not the one you think it is, has two goals and five assists. Who is it? How about Kevin Shattenkirk.
On his way to being named the NHL's Second Star of the Week, Niklas Kronwall recorded two goals and five assists in three games for the mighty Winged Wheel.
ion Phaneuf is one point from his first 40-point effort since '08, and he seems intent on getting there quickly. Phaneuf has five assists in his last three games for the Leafs.
Corey Crawford just can't get it going this year. He's allowed 10 goals in his last three games, and the last two times he has been on the ice he hasn't even made it to the halfway point of the game before he was removed. In has stepped Ray Emery, who has won each of his last three appearances while allowing just a single goal each time. It appears as if Emery has stolen the starting job from Crawford, but can he hold on to it?
Mathieu Garon won 31 games back in '05 and 26 games in '07, but those are the only two times he's topped 20 wins in an NHL career that started back in '00. Surprisingly, Garon has 23 victories this season with an outside shot at another 30-win campaign. Though he has a mere .898 save percentage in the second half, a pathetic number, his record has been fairly impressive at 9-3-2 for the Lightning.
Robert Lehner went 2-2 in his most recent turn with the Senators while posting an impressive set of ratios (2.01 GAA, .938 save percentage). Still, he was sent back to the AHL as the Senators turn to Ben Bishop to tend the twine until Craig Anderson is healthy enough to return from his injured finger.
Ryan Miller is back at the top of his game. After struggling along to a 3.07 GAA an a .899 save percentage in the first half of the season (30 games), Miller has rebounded with a fury in the second half, posting a 1.83 GAA and .940 save percentage over his last 17 games. He's even turned his record around in the second half while going 10-3-3 for the Sabres.
Anti Niemi had better get his game back in shape or the Sharks just might miss out on the playoffs. Niemi has looked rather lost with a 2.88 GAA and .899 save percentage over his last 13 starts with a pathetic record of 4-7-1. For a keeper who went 21-10-5 in the first half, that's some awful net keeping.
Marty Turco was signed to a one-year, $600,000 contract by the Bruins to cover up the loss of Tuukka Rask, who could miss 4-6 weeks with a groin/abdomen injury. Assuming no one claims Turco through the waiver process, he will serve as the backup to Tim Thomas until Rask is ready to return to action. Two things: (1) Turco will not be eligible for the playoffs if Rask is still out of action at that point because Turco signed after the trade deadline. (2) We're likely to see an awful lot of Thomas over the next month as he'll likely play a much heavier workload than normal.
Ray Flowers can be heard daily on Sirius/XM Radio on The Fantasy Drive on Sirius 210 and XM 87, and Saturday's from 4-5 PM he hosts the SiriusXM Fantasy Hockey Show. His NHL thoughts can be read at Rotowire.com. Ray's baseball analysis can be found at BaseballGuys.com and his minute to minute musings can be located at the BaseballGuys' Twitter account. To e-mail Ray a question for next week's piece, drop him a line at email@example.com.