List: 10 players who are absolutely killing fantasy teams

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While the likes of Phil Kessel, Jason Spezza and Thomas Vanek have been lighting it up early in the 2011-12 NHL season, the following 10 players have been less productive than a dog with a chainsaw. (Super unproductive. Can’t even get the chainsaw started usually.)

Henrik Zetterberg, Detroit (2G, 1A, 9GP) – Scoring is rarely a problem for the Wings, but with just four goals in their last four games (all losses), they need a lot more from their star Swede with the $6.1-million cap hit.

Daniel Cleary, Detroit (0G, 2A, 9GP) – Cleary had 26 goals in 2010-11. He’ll need 26 more goals in 2011-12 to match last season’s total. “You’d like to get the first one out of the way, then you get more confidence, and it comes,” he said after the Wings’ 1-0 loss Saturday in Minnesota.

Ville Leino, Buffalo (1G, 1A, 10GP) – We wrote about Leino’s struggles earlier today. The Sabres will try to jump-start their big free-agent acquisition by putting him on a line with the red-hot Vanek (15 points) and Jason Pominville (14 points).

Derek Roy (1G, 3A, 10GP) – The little center’s lack of production has flown slightly under the radar with much of the focus on the newly-acquired Leino. Roy has gone pointless in his last five games while his time on the power play has been reduced to practically nothing.

Jarome Iginla, Calgary (2G, 2A, 9GP) – Not nearly enough from a guy who scored 43 times in 2010-11. Iginla isn’t just snake-bitten either. His shots per game are way down from last season.

Chris Stewart, St. Louis (2G, 1A, 11GP) – The 24-year-old power forward has the talent to be one of the top scorers in the NHL. Goalless in his last eight games, at least Stewart is putting the puck on the net. His 37 shots are a team best.

Michael Grabner, NY Islanders (3G, 0A, 9GP) – The Austrian speedster broke out with 34 goals in 2010-11, adding 18 assists for 52 points. While three goals is hardly a disastrous total, he’s only been on the ice for five Islander goals total. Not the greatest way to start a five-year, $15-million contract.

Saku Koivu, Anaheim (0G, 3A, 11GP) – Koivu is 36 years old so we won’t be too tough on him. Still, he had 45 points last year. He’s better than this.

Dustin Penner, Los Angeles (0G, 1A, 9GP) – The way things are looking, Penner might be better off pursuing that softball career with the El Cid Lounge.

David Booth, Vancouver (0G, 2A, 9GP) – On the bright side, he picked up his first point as a Canuck with an assist Saturday night. Booth has played three games on a line with Ryan Kesler with not much to show for it. Good hunter though.

Holtby ‘wasn’t as sharp as he can be,’ says Trotz

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Presidents’ Trophy winners once again in the regular season, the Capitals once again face an uphill climb if they are to advance beyond the rival Penguins and the second round of the playoffs.

What began with a strong first period for the Capitals in Game 2, albeit without a reward on the score board, faded into a frustrating 6-2 rout, as the Penguins took a commanding 2-0 series lead as it shifts back to Pittsburgh for a pivotal Game 3 on Monday.

Braden Holtby was pulled after the second period. He gave up three goals on 14 shots, while his opponent at the other end, Marc-Andre Fleury was brilliant with 34 saves.

“He’ll tell you that he can be better. He’s a straight up guy and he will be. I was just trying to change the mojo,” said Capitals coach Barry Trotz of his decision to sit Holtby.

“I thought some of the goals, he wasn’t as sharp as he can be for us. He’s a game-changer for us. So when he didn’t change the game, I just looked to change the mojo a little bit there. That’s all. Braden’s our backbone. He has been all year. We’ve got to find some goals for him, too. We can’t just put it on Braden Holtby.”

Now in a deep but not insurmountable hole against the defending Stanley Cup champs, the Capitals reportedly held a players’ only meeting following this latest defeat.

After failing to open the scoring in an otherwise dominant first period, Washington surrendered three goals in the second, as the Penguins broke it wide open with their transition game, led by two great plays from Sidney Crosby.

“We can’t get frustrated. I think that would be our biggest mistake is to get frustrated right now,” said T.J. Oshie, before expanding on the meeting between the players.

“It was things that people need to say and things that some people need to hear. We were very together with what we said. I don’t need to go into details. Sometimes in our game … you need to hear from your teammates more than your coach. And tonight was one of those nights.

“It was the players in here and what was said is what needed to be said.”

We’ll find out Monday if what was said actually has any impact on the ice.

Penguins rout Capitals to take commanding series lead

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The Washington Capitals are in trouble. Against the Pittsburgh Penguins.

Again.

Despite a dominant first period, at least in terms of shots on Marc-Andre Fleury and puck possession, the Capitals saw this game go sideways in a hurry during the second period, on the way to a 6-2 loss to the Penguins in Game 2.

Washington is now in quite a hole, trailing its nemesis 2-0 in this second-round series.

Last year, Matt Murray stymied the Capitals. Though it’s only been two games this year, Fleury has stepped up in the absence of the injured Murray and given the Penguins solid goaltending and frustrated a dangerous Capitals lineup.

After withstanding the storm of pressure from the Capitals in the first period, the Penguins broke this game open with a trio of second-period goals. It started with a shorthanded goal from Matt Cullen, and later continued with a beautiful goal from Phil Kessel and then Jake Guentzel‘s sixth goal of these playoffs.

That led Barry Trotz to take Braden Holtby out of the game, after he gave up three goals on 14 shots, putting in Phillip Grubauer to begin the third period. The Penguins continued the onslaught.

For the Penguins, there are some injury concerns to keep an eye on.

Patric Hornqvist left the game in the first period after blocking a shot around his foot or ankle. He didn’t return. Ron Hainsey had to go to the locker room late in the third period after taking an Alex Ovechkin shot up around the head.

Game 3 goes Monday in Pittsburgh.

‘I wasn’t good enough,’ says Lundqvist after double OT loss to Senators

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The task wasn’t impossible, but certainly daunting.

The Ottawa Senators needed five goals on Henrik Lundqvist just to send Game 2 into overtime.

The Rangers goalie had been spectacular for most of this post-season entering Saturday’s contest, but the Senators, led by a sensational four-goal performance from Jean-Gabriel Pageau, found a way to break through for a 6-5 double overtime win to take a 2-0 series lead against New York.

They did so on just 34 shots through almost 83 minutes against Lundqvist.

“I wasn’t good enough,” said Lundqvist, per the New York Daily News. “Coming up with the extra save there in the end, that’s my job. Even though it’s tough plays on deflections, I’ve got to find a way.”

On three occasions, the Rangers held a two-goal lead. That includes with under five minutes remaining in regulation. They even had a pair of shorthanded goals. But they couldn’t hang on, as Pageau scored twice in the final 3:19 of regulation to record his hat trick.

That set the stage for the eventual winner, as he beat Lundqvist over the left shoulder with a shot from his off-wing on a two-on-one rush.

With the Senators in control, the series returns to New York for Game 3 on Tuesday and Game 4 on Thursday.

“We played well enough to win this game, there’s no question about it,” said Lundqvist. “It’s really tough to lose this one. Clearly they’ve gotten the bounces here in the first two games.”

Capitals’ Holtby begins third period on the bench, Grubauer takes over in net

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Braden Holtby began the third period of Saturday’s Game 2 on the bench, giving way to Philipp Grubauer.

The Washington Capitals fell behind the Pittsburgh Penguins 3-1 after two periods, with Holtby allowing three goals on just 14 shots. It will be interesting to hear the reason for this decision from coach Barry Trotz following the game.

The Capitals had dominated on the shot clock, but gave up a pair of quick goals to fall further behind Pittsburgh in this game, while trailing in the series 1-0.

Phil Kessel — on a great play from Sidney Crosby — and Jake Guentzel scored 3:10 apart to give Pittsburgh a two-goal lead.