Although Sidney Crosby is on a three-game point streak, he went on a rough stretch — at least when measured against the incredibly high standard he’s held to — from Jan. 20 to Feb. 19 where he recorded four goals and seven points in 13 games.
That seems to have taken its toll as Crosby’s no longer the favorite to win the Hart Trophy based on the odds from online bookmaker Bovada:
Carey Price 5/2
John Tavares 5/2
Sidney Crosby 3/1
Ryan Getzlaf 5/1
Alex Ovechkin 6/1
Jakub Voracek 15/2
Rick Nash 15/1
Mark Giordano 20/1
Vladimir Tarasenko 20/1
No goaltender has won the Hart Trophy since Jose Theodore in 2001–02, but there’s no denying that Carey Price has been vital to the Montreal Canadiens’ success. Meanwhile, Tavares was the big mover as he had 20/1 odds in early February.
Ovechkin also saw his chances jump significantly, from 15/1 to 6/1 as he chases his third straight Rocket Richard Trophy. Voracek has fallen from 9/2 to 15/2 while Philadelphia Flyers teammate Claude Giroux has slid off the list entirely.
Even on a night when a trade is the Columbus Blue Jackets’ biggest story, they still suffer from the theme of this season, as Brandon Dubinsky is once again injured.
He appeared to suffer the issue (labeled an upper-body injury) following a collision with Tom Gilbert right after scoring a goal. Dubinsky won’t return to tonight’s contest against the Montreal Canadiens, the Columbus Dispatch’s Shawn Mitchell reports.
Here’s that painful moment following his tally:
Dubinsky’s season has already been limited by injury issues, so this has to be frustrating for the versatile forward and his remarkably unlucky team.
All the latest from the blue paint…
Zepp goes for Flyers
Philly will turn to Rob Zepp for the fourth straight game when it takes on the Leafs in Toronto this evening.
Zepp, 33, has fared reasonably well in his first-ever NHL campaign. He’s posted a 5-2-0 record, though his GAA (2.80) and save percentage (.893) leave something to be desired.
At the same time, the Flyers need wins right now — they head into tonight’s action four points back of Boston for the final wild card spot in the Eastern Conference — and Zepp has provided those; he’s won two of his last three starts, which included impressive victories against the NHL-leading Predators and Washington, who currently holds the east’s other wild card.
For Toronto, Jonathan Bernier will be in goal.
Canucks at Sabres: Eddie Lack vs. Michal Neuvirth (more here)
Coyotes at Rangers: Mike Smith vs. Cam Talbot
Habs at Jackets: Carey Price vs. Curtis McElhinney
Hawks at Panthers: (No word on a Chicago starter yet) vs. Roberto Luongo
Blues at Jets: Brian Elliott vs. Michael Hutchinson
Wild at Preds: (Devan Dubnyk likely) vs. Pekka Rinne
Sens at Kings: (No word on an Ottawa starter yet) vs. Jonathan Quick
Wings at Sharks: (No word on a Detroit starter yet vs. Antti Niemi
Interesting nugget here from venerable NHL scribe and Hockey Hall of Famer Jim Matheson, per the Edmonton Journal:
The Canadiens covet [Edmonton d-man Jeff] Petry to play with Alexei Emelin on a second defence pair in the wide-open East, where there is no clear-cut Cup contender threat. They may not want to deal their two young defencemen, Nathan Beaulieu or Jared Tinordi, in any deal for Petry.
They reportedly have offered their 2013 first-round pick, winger Michael McCarron to the Coyotes for the shutdown D [Zbynek] Michalek.
The proposed move makes sense to a certain degree. McCarron, the 25th overall pick at the ’13 NHL Entry Draft, was a disappointment in his first year in the OHL (with London) and was cut from the U.S. Team for the 2015 World Juniors.
But McCarron is still only 19 years old and, with his tantalizing size (6-foot-6, 225 pounds) still has plenty of value as a prospect. That would seemingly fit with the direction Arizona has taken lately, as the club is shifting towards a youth movement and plans to ship out some veterans prior to, or at, Monday’s trade deadline.
(And if you consider the asking price for Andrej Sekera — who, granted, might not be just a rental for Los Angeles — a prospect could be the asking price for Michalek.)
One final thing to consider: Michalek has been sidelined recently with an upper-body injury, believed to be a concussion. That could greatly affect what teams are willing to spend on the 32-year-old, especially since he’s a pending UFA on July 1.
Buffalo’s Michal Neuvirth has become the sixth player — and first goalie — to be fined for diving this season, the NHL announced on Wednesday:
Neuvirth was issued a Warning following an incident flagged by NHL Hockey Operations during NHL Game No. 251 vs. Toronto on Nov. 15. His second Citation, which triggered the $2,000 fine, was issued for an incident during NHL Game No. 886 vs. Nashville on Feb. 22.
Predators forward Mike Santorelli received a minor penalty for interference on the goaltender on the play, at 2:23 of the second period.
The incident involving Santorelli that led to the fine:
With that, Neuvirth joins Montreal’s P.K. Subban, the Islanders’ Cal Clutterbuck, Detroit’s Gustav Nyquist, Florida’s Vincent Trocheck and Nashville’s James Neal as the six players to be publicly outed as divers, under new rules put forth by the league this season.