Week 9 was highlighted by the Chicago Blackhawks continuing their dominance around the league, as the Hawks are currently enjoying a six game win streak and also have one loss in their last ten games. Despite an injury to the team’s number one goalie, Corey Crawford, the Hawks managed to get solid performances out of Antti Raanta and Scott Darling. What makes this run even more impressive is how the Hawks have been able to get great scoring throughout the line up, as Saad, Kane, Versteeg, Toews, Hossa and Richards have all put up some nice numbers during the team’s win streak. The Blackhawks are the team to watch in the West.
Another team picking it up as of late is the San Jose Sharks. Veteran Patrick Marleau is currently riding a five game point streak and led the Sharks to a 3-1 record this week. 26 year old Tommy Wingels had an impressive week for the Sharks as well, picking up five points on the week. Antti Niemi was perfect in goal this week, going 3-0, with Alex Stalock picked up the start for the team’s only loss against the Oilers to close out the week. Here’s a mind blowing fact for Sharks fans this season, the Sharks have lost to the Oilers, Coyotes, Blue Jackets (twice), Panthers (twice) and the Sabres (twice). The Sharks are 14-4-2 against the rest of the league....
Turning to the goalies, a couple of goaltenders had a rare honorable dud week. Ryan Miller had a rough outing Saturday night against the Leafs, being yanked after giving up 4 goals on just 14 shots. Backup Eddie Lack picked up two starts this past week, splitting the time with the struggling Canucks net minder. Tuukka Rask and the Boston Bruins also had a tough week visiting the west coast, as the Bruins dropped 3 out 4 games on the road. Rask was lit up against the Sharks, letting in 7 goals on 44 shots. The Bruins will gladly head home for two games in week 10.
So that’s a wrap for this week’s honorable studs and duds, let’s now begin to see who made the top 5 studs and top 5 duds this week in the NHL.
10 STUD: Sergei Bobrovsky (3W, 0L, 1.59 GAA)
It’s safe to say Bobrovsky haunted the Panthers this week stealing back to back victories against them. Bobrovsky absolutely robbed a 4-3 victory this past Thursday against the Panthers, as the goaltender stopped a ridiculous 52 out of the 55 shots he faced on the night. Bob closed the week out in style, defeating the top team in the Metropolitan division, the Tampa Bay Lightning. Bobrovsky was terrific once again stopping 33 of 34 shots. After dropping five straight starts, Bobrovsky managed to turn things around with a tremendous week. To put it into perspective, Sergei stopped 109 out of the 114 he saw. Pretty impressive.
9 DUD: Drew Doughty (0G, 0A, EVEN)
It’s been an unusually quiet season for the Kings top defencemen so far. Doughty is currently riding a five game pointless streak and, in addition, Doughty has only scored twice in 27 games so far this season. Despite the slow numbers offensively, Doughty is still racking up big minutes, Doughty has played over 30 minutes seven times in his last 11 games, which is truly remarkable. Despite his lack of offense as of late, don’t give up on Drew, as he will have plenty of ice time to pick it up.
8 STUD LINE OF THE WEEK: Tomas Tatar, Pavel Datsyuk & Darren Helm (9G, 8A, +14)
This newly put together line by Mike Babcock is red hot for the Wings, as they are a perrfect combination of skill, speed and smarts on one line. The Wings top unit led Detroit to close out the week in style, winning three in a row. The trio scored 65% of Detroit’s goals this week, scoring nine out of the 14 goals scored for the Red Wings. Datsyuk is in scary form since coming back from injury, as he's managed five multi-point games in the seven games he’s played since coming back from injury. Tatar is hot as well, as the young promising star is currently riding a five game point streak, picking up seven points along the way.
7 DUD: Alex Ovechkin (0G, 0A, +1)
Despite the Caps winning the last two games of the week, Ovie has struggled to maintain consistency offensively so far this season. Ovechkin has been held pointless during his last find games and, in addition, "The Great Eight" only has points in three out his last ten games. A major concern for fantasy teams was that Ovechkin would spend too much time emphasizing team defense this season under the Caps new head coach, Barry Trotz. To put it into perspective, Ovechkin currently trails the league leader Tyler Seguin by nine goals. However, it is important for fantasy teams to keep Ovechkin as a starter every night, as he is still one of the most lethal snipers in the league and can explode very quickly.
6 STUD: Ryan Getzlaf (1G, 6A, +4)
Despite the partial absence of Corey Perry, Getzlaf put the team on his back and led the Ducks to a 4-0 week. Getzlaf closed the week off in style, registering three assists against the Jets. Most notably, Getzlaf set up the overtime game winner by Kyle Palmieri 53 seconds into the overtime session. After going pointless in three, Getzlaf is currently riding a five game point streak picking up 10 points in the process. Getzladf is one of the elite centermen in the NHL today.
5 DUD: Sidney Crosby (0G, 1A, +2)
It’s surprisingly been an up and down season for Sid’s standards so far, as he's failed to find consistency from game to game. Crosby has gone through stretches this season where he finds himself being an absolute stud and other stretches, like this past week, where he's a dud. Crosby has only put up one point in his last four. allowing Tyler Seguin to pass Crosby in the overall points race. To add to his inconsistent play, Crosby hasn’t scored a goal in his last six games. Expect Sid to bounce back in week 10 and don’t even think about sitting the game’s best player despite his current slump.
4 STUD: Aaron Ekblad (2G, 4A, +6)
We may be in the midst of seeing a very special player grow up in front of our eyes, as the former first overall pick had his best week has an NHL player during week 9. Ekblad took part in all three of Florida’s goal Saturday night and, in addition, Ekblad was a perfect +3 on the evening. Aaron is really starting to get comfortable at the back for the Panthers, as he's been a defensive asset for his team, picking up a +7 ratings over his last three games. Ekblad is looking like he can be something very special early on in his career and if he is somehow available, pick him up fast.
3 DUD: Carey Price (1W, 3L, 3.04 GAA)
Price and the Habs will be extremely happy to head back home after a tough West coast trip which saw Price and the Canadiens drop three of the four games they played. The road trip closed out with three straight loses for Price, although they were unlucky to lose in regulation to the Blackhawks. Look for Price and the Habs to rebound this week, as Montreal will have a much more relaxed schedule coming up and will also play their next five games on home ice. Look for Price to bounce back from his toughest week so far this season.
2 STUD: Mika Zibanejad (4G, 3A, +7)
You just knew Ottawa had something really special with this kid when he scored the OT winner for Sweden in the World Junior Finals against the Russians. Ottawa’s 6th overall pick in 2011 enjoyed a tremendous week for the Sens. His most notable performance closed out week 9, after being down 3-0 against the Canucks, Zibanejad rallied his team, scoring two goals back to back in the second to tie the game up. Mika continued his heroic play in overtime, setting up Erik Karlsson for the game winner. Zibanejad was the most played forward for the Sens, playing 21 minutes on the night and the Sens are very high on this young player. If you have a chance to pick him up, now is your best opportunity to do so.
1 DUD: Nathan MacKinnon (0G, 0A, -6)
It’s been a tough start to the season for the Avalanche and Nathan MacKinnon. The former first overall pick had the worst week of his entire career, picking up no points and a dreadful -6 rating. MacKinnon’s week ended on a very sour note against the Jets, picking up a -3 rating and being benched for most of the third period. MacKinnon is in a pretty rough slump, going goalless in his last nine games. My advice wouldn’t be to go as far as dropping him, since he’s too good to be dropped, but relegating him to being a bench player may be an option at this point.