Crashing The Net: Ennis heating up for hot Sabres in stretch run
Tyler Ennis started slowly but has rebounded with 11 points in last 14 games
Michael Ryder of the Stars has registered first 30-goal season since 2006
After posting a 2.99 GAA in first 33 games, Ilya Bryzgalov has 1.75 GAA in last 16
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.
Corey Perry's iron man streak ended at 272 games on Monday due to a shoulder issue. The injury shouldn't keep him out for long, but it comes at a bad time given the Ducks' state of desperation. It also comes at a bad time for Perry's fantasy owners as he had recorded four goals in his last five games and 12 goals in 18 contests.
Daniel Briere has gone 23 games without a goal. That's a criminal lack of production for a guy who is considered worth a point per game. He only has six assists in his last 16 games.
Tyler Ennis has 18 points in 36 games with the Sabres this year in a somewhat disappointing follow-up to the 49 points he recorded last year with the club. Ennis is doing his best to end the current season on a high note, though, as he's scored three goals in his last two contests and has 11 points in his last 14 games. The mighty mite is worth adding for an offensive boost off the wing.
Curtis Glencross is like the Energizer Bunny. He just keeps going, and going, and going. Where has he gone of late? How about the back of the net. In each of his last seven games for the Flames he's recorded a goal to give him an impressive total of 25 in just 54 games this season (it's also one better than his career best). How long can he keep up his insanely high shooting percentage of .269?
Jamie McGinn scored a rather unexpected 12 goals in 61 games with the Sharks this year before he was dealt to the Avalanche. The move has been a fruitful one; McGinn has five goals and two helpers in seven games with his new club.
Alexander Radulov, who has been playing in the KHL in Russia, has one year remaining on his NHL deal with the Predators, so he could return to the States and not have to pass through waivers. Since he's already under contract, he also would be eligible to participate in the playoffs. Radulov's return may not have a huge effect in the fantasy game since there isn't much time left in the season, but it could have major implications in the NHL playoffs. Radulov scored 26 times in his last season in the NHL (2007-08) before recording 301 points in 210 games in the KHL. The guy can light up a scoreboard.
Michael Ryder recorded his 30th goal of the season over the weekend, the first time he has hit that mark since '06. Moreover, the Stars forward has 53 points after failing to record even 42 points the last two years. Ryder has a point in nine-straight games, a career-best streak in which he has seven goals and four assists. In addition, Ryder has a point in 15 of his last 16 games. That's amazing production from a complementary player.
The Sharks might be struggling, but Joe Thornton isn't. Over his last 19 games the Sharks' top pivot has five goals and 18 helpers, with eight of the points coming with the man advantage.
Brooks Orpik is a willing hitter, and over his last six games he has racked up an impressive 29 hits. He's also chipped in four assists, making him a viable addition off the waiver-wire if you need a boost, but don't expect the offensive contributions to continue much longer (he has 28 points in his last 122 games).
Dimitry Orlov has done a little bit of everything the past week. In his last four games he's handed out four assists, is a plus-4 skater, has 12 penalty minutes and has recorded eight hits for the Caps from the blue line.
Kevin Shattenkirk has awoken of late with an impressive total of nine points the past two weeks for the Blues, the most points of any blue liner in that time. Two other blue liners have eight points the past two weeks in Niklas Kronwall and another Blues' blue liner -- Alex Pietrangelo.
Slava Voynov has only 15 points and 10 penalty minutes this season for the Kings but he's been effective offensively of late with a goal and three assists in his last six games.
Marek Zidlicky underperformed all season with the Wild (14 points in 41 games including zero goals), leading to a trade to New Jersey. Marek has only one goal in nine games with the Devils but he has been hot of late with a goal and four helpers in his last three games.
Someone has found the magic elixir of success yet again. Ilya Bryzgalov, a massive under-performer most of the first half, has remembered just how good he can be. After posting a 2.99 GAA in his first 33 games, Bryzgalov has done his best Bernie Parent impersonation with a 1.75 GAA over his last 16 games. Ride the big fella the rest of the way as he's gone 9-3-2 in his last 14 decisions.
Jimmy Howard is set to return to action Tuesday from his groin injury (he last skated on March 4). As great as he has been this year -- 33 victories with a 2.05 GAA and .920 save percentage -- the Wings have actually gotten the same production out of his backup, Joey MacDonald (8-4-1, 2.01 GAA, .920 save percentage). How is that for a duo in net? Make no mistake, though, this is Howard's team when he's healthy enough to play.
Evgeni Nabokov, what happened? In four games in March Nabby has a pathetic GAA of 3.94. What, is his hero Dwayne Roloson, who owns a season-long mark of 3.82 (in 29 games)? As for Nabby, expect him to right the ship quickly as he hasn't posted a GAA above 2.28 in any of the past three months.
Mike Smith allowed four shots in a shootout loss Monday night. That was the third time in 10 outings that he has permitted four goals. Amazing to think that despite a few blowups here and there, Smith has a 2.00 GAA in his last 18 forays onto the ice.
Semyon Varlamov has reclaimed the starting spot in Colorado. After losing the No. 1 role to JS Giguere, Varlamov has rebounded and is stopping virtually everything that is being thrown at him. Semyon has allowed just 25 goals in his last 14 games, leading to a 1.81 GAA thanks to his uber-impressive .939 save percentage.
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.
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