Claude Giroux struggling…Tomas Vokoun securing the role of Capitals top goalie…Fighting down in NHL…Kings beat Flames in Darryl Sutter’s return to Calgary…Hurricanes down Bruins…Red Wings edge Blackhawks in thriller…Panthers top line sputtering…Wild lose Koivu to injury…Evgeni Nabokov reaches milestone in Islanders win…Should Lightning call up minor league goalie?…Sharks lose Andrew Desjardins in win over Blue Jackets.
CSNPHILLY.COM: Flyers star Claude Giroux has been struggling of late, with only one goal in his last ten games, two since returning from concussion.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: After his hot start to this season it’s inevitable Giroux would cool off a bit, but this could be a concern if it continues into the coming weeks.
WASHINGTON POST: Tomas Vokoun has finally solidified his status as the Capitals starting goalie, “stopping 224 of the 240 shots he’s faced, good for a .933 save percentage and 2.00 goals-against average, while helping the Capitals to a 6-2 record in the previous eight games.”
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Now that’s the kind of performance the Capitals were expecting when they signed Vokoun last summer. If he keeps this up, the Capitals will secure a playoff berth.
THE GLOBE & MAIL:The era of staged fights in the NHL is drawing to close, while the occurrence of fighting has declined this season.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: One-dimensional fighters in the NHL are in danger of being phased out, a move I applaud. I have no problem with players who can play the game as well as chuck knuckles, but those who are in the NHL solely on the basis of their pugilistic abilities have no reason to be there.
LOS ANGELES TIMES: Former Flames GM and current Kings head coach Darryl Sutter had a happy homecoming, as his Kings downed the Flames 4-1.
NEWSOBSERVER.COM: The Carolina Hurricanes defeated the Boston Bruins for the third time this season, scoring three unanswered goals in the third to win 4-2.
DETROIT FREE PRESS: Todd Bertuzzi scored twice, including the OT winner, as the Red Wings downed the Chicago Blackhawks 3-2 for their record-tying 14th straight home win.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Ho-hum, the Red Wings are once again among the best teams in the NHL. That’s not a criticism, by the way. Just meant to point out that it’s really nothing new to see them in this position.
SUN-SENTINEL.COM: Florida Panthers head coach Kevin Dineen has singled out his top line for poor playing following Friday’s 4-1 loss to Pittsburgh.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: As long as the Panthers top line was consistently scoring they were ok, but with rivals now focused upon shutting them down, and given their lack of secondary scoring, this could push GM Dale Tallon to find more offensive depth in the coming weeks.
STARTRIBUNE.COM: Minnesota Wild captain Mikko Koivu suffered an upper body injury as the Wild fell to the St. Louis Blues 3-2 in a shootout.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Injuries have seriously depleted the Wild’s offense this season. If Koivu’s out for any significant period of time, it could be a death blow to their playoff hopes.
NEWSDAY: Michael Grabner scored twice and goalie Evgeni Nabokov secured his 300th career NHL win as the NY Islanders beat the Buffalo Sabres 4-2.
TAMPABAY.COM: With the Tampa Bay Lightning struggling in goal, minor leaguer Dustin Tokarski could be an intriguing option.
MERCURYNEWS.COM: Defense Andrew Desjardins suffered a head injury during the Sharks 2-1 victory over the Columbus Blue Jackets.