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Showing posts from March, 2021

Pittsburgh Pirates: With Steven Brault Out, Who Steps Into Rotation?

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Photo Credit: Matt Freed/Post Gazette The Pittsburgh Pirates were hit with a pretty big blow on Wednesday, finding out that they would need to shut down pitcher Steven Brault for at least a month to help rest his arm. Throughout his time in Pittsburgh, Brault has jumped in and out of the rotation, filling out multiple roles for the team. Entering this season, however, Brault was a lock to be in the rotation to start the season. Now with him out, an already cloudy picture when it comes to the rotation just got even cloudier, as the Pirates will need to find out who can fill in the innings they were counting on Brault to fill. Before you can start talking about who may find themselves in the rotation with Brault out, who may have to circle back and determine who is already in - again something that isn't the easiest of things to identify.  The 'Locks' Mitch Keller For better or worse, this is the year that the Pirates completely take the reigns off of Keller and let him do

Morning Forecheck: Filip Gustavsson Wins Again, Ducks Make a Trade

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Photo Credit: Justin Tang/CP  Welcome to the Morning Forecheck where we go over the news and notes around the league! Be sure to subscribe to the site with the link at the top of the site, and follow me on Twitter @AJ_Murfy . Filip Gustavsson Wins, Again It probably wouldn't be a shocker if I told you that a goalie the Ottawa Senators acquired through a trade with the Pittsburgh Penguins has played a big factor in their back-to-back wins against the Calgary Flames, would it? The shocking part has been it hasn't come from Matt Murray , who was acquired this past offseason and was the starting goalie for two Stanley Cup champion teams, but from Filip Gustavsson is a perfect 2-0 in games he starts for his career. Originally a second round pick by the Penguins (the third goalie taken that year behind Carter Hart and Tyler Parsons ), Gustavsson was traded to the Senators in the trade that sent Derick Brassard to the Penguins that also included the Vegas Golden Knights as a way

By The Numbers: Pittsburgh Penguins Defeat Buffalo Sabres 5-2

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Photo Credit: Pittsburgh Post Gazette   The Pittsburgh Penguins did what they were supposed to do in their game against the Buffalo Sabres , win. They unfortunately couldn't do so without taking another blow to their forward group, with Kasperi Kapanen having to leave the game with an injury. Already out with a good chunk of their forwards, Kapanen has been one of their more consistent players this season, something they can ill afford to lose at any point in the year, more so when you've already been hit hard by injuries. The Penguins took it to the Sabres though, with a late penalty shot goal by Victor Olofsson making the score 5-2. Sidney Crosby registered a goal and an assist, Evan Rodrigues led the Pens with six shots, finding the back of the net once and Tristan Jarry made 26 saves in the win Kris Letang , Zach Aston-Reese and John Marino also pitched in goals for the Penguins, who get back in the winning column after having their six game winning streak ended on

Pittsburgh Pirates: 10 Thoughts and Observations In Pirates 6-3 ST Win Over Braves

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Photo Credit: MLB.com  With about a week left till Opening Day, you can make a very strong case that the lineup the Pittsburgh Pirates went with on Wednesday may be the one that they start against the Chicago Cubs . Led by five solid innings from J.T. Brubaker , the Pirates were able to erase an early deficit with a big sixth inning against Atlanta Braves ' starter Ian Anderson . The Buccos' bats remained hot, and while you have to take spring training numbers with a grain of salt, it's certainly been encouraging to see the production of certain players during the spring. Adam Frazier and Nick Gonzales went deep for the Pirates, Kevin Newman collected two more hits, and Gregory Polanco hit a double all in the victory. Pittsburgh now sports a 12-10 record in the exhibition season, tied for the third most wins in the Grapefruit League. Here are some thoughts and observations from the game today. Newman went 2-2 with a sac fly to bring his video game like batting average

Colorado Avalanche: Does Johan Johansson Actually Upgrade Goalie Position?

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Photo Credit: Harry Scull Jr/Buffalo News The Colorado Avalanche and Buffalo Sabres made a minor trade on Friday, or at least they are trying too. News broke Friday morning that the teams had agreed upon a trade that included Sabres' goaltender Jonas Johansson . Details on the trade have yet to emerge, but multiple sources have been able to confirm that it is a transaction waiting to happen. Now, due to multiple players on the Boston Bruins heading to the COVID-19 list, the trade has been put on hold for the time being. The Bruins being the last team the Sabres played against, so now to prevent a spread to a third team, the move has been put on the back burner. Embed from Getty Images The trade was made to help beef up the goaltending position for Colorado, who certainly can use someone to take some of the pressure off of Philipp Grubauer , who is carrying a heavy workload this season. Hunter Miska has been the main backup to Grubauer with Pavel Francouz yet to play this seaso

Morning Forecheck: Young Guns Take Control In Anaheim, Robby Fabbri Registers Hat Trick

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Photo Credit: Rick Scuteri/AP Photos   Welcome to The Morning Forecheck, we we bring you all the latest news and notes from around the league. Be sure to subscribe to the site at the link above, and follow me on Twitter @AJ_Murfy . The Future Shines In Ducks' Comeback Win It's been a very trying season for the Anaheim Ducks this season. Unfortunately for the fan base, the main thing their team could be competing for is lottery position in hopes in getting the first overall pick. So you probably wouldn't have been at fault if you turned the game off early last night, as the Arizona Coyotes scored on their first two shots on goal. But for those who weathered the start of the game, you got a special view at what this team might be capable of in the coming years. A pair of players expected to help lead the way for the future, Jamie Drysdale and Trevor Zegras , each registered their first NHL goals to eventually tie the game before Adam Henrique continued his hot streak wit

Anaheim Ducks: Adam Henrique Continues Strong Play Since Being Put on Waivers

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Photo Credit: Darryl Dyck/Associated Press  It's been a rough year for the Anaheim Ducks . There is no doubting they are currently in the middle of a transition period, where they are injecting a wave of youth into their lineup. They have been able to show off some of their younger talent, headlined by Trevor Zegras , their first round pick just a year ago. Unfortunately for Anaheim, it has been tough sailing as their younger players continue to acclimate themselves to the best league in the world. They are last in the West, and currently sit in a four-way tie for the second to worst record in the league. Only the Buffalo Sabres have a worst record than Anaheim. There are still some veterans who have made their presence known on the roster. Still led by long-time captain and last holdover from the last great Ducks' teams, Ryan Getzlaf . Also in the midst of one of the most puzzling seasons of his career is Adam Henrique , who is in his second year of a five-year, $29.125 milli

Scotia North Power Rankings: Maple Leafs Remain At The Top, Who Can Compete?

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Photo Credit: Darryl Dyck/CP Another week in the books, and not much has changed when it comes to the North Division. The Toronto Maple Leafs slipped a bit, but remain the overall strongest team in the division. This week also saw the second coaching change made in the division, with the Calgary Flames changing bench boss. 1. Toronto Maple Leafs: 18-6-2 (38 points) 73.1 Points% Last Week: 1 Weekly Record: 2-2 The Maple Leafs got Auston Matthews back, but his scoreless streak has climbed to five, a feat that didn't seem possible just a couple of weeks ago. Toronto continued their dominance of the Oilers, defeating them twice last week by a combined score of 9-1. They then hit a brick wall, losing both games to the Canucks at the end of the month. This Week: Winnipeg x3, Ottawa 2. Winnipeg Jets: 15-8-1 (31 points) 64.6 Points% Last Week: 2 Weekly Record: 2-2 Like Toronto, the Jets didn't have the best of weeks but it doesn't change the fact they have emerged as one of the be

Morning Forecheck: Zach Parise A Healthy Scratch, Max Comtois Continues Strong Start For Ducks

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Photo Credit: Matt Cohen/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images  Welcome to the Morning Forecheck, where I look at some of the news and notes around the league and put my own spin on it. Be sure to subscribe to the site at the link above and follow me on Twitter @AJ_Murfy . Zach Parise, Healthy Scratch in Minnesota For the first time since signing with the Minnesota Wild , Zach Parise was a healthy scratch for their 5-1 loss against the Vegas Golden Knights . It's an unfortunate milestone for the former first round pick of the New Jersey Devils , who said he didn't agree with the benching, but vowed to use the opportunity to his advantage and get some rest. "It was disappointing. And I don't agree with the decision," Parise said before the game. "I'm not sure I'm going to look back on it and say it was a wake-up call, but maybe I can use the rest to my advantage and be ready when we come back." When Parise signed with the Wild during the 2012 offseas

Honda West Power Rankings: Vegas Golden Knights Top Interesting Division

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Photo Credit: John Autey/Pioneer Press The Colorado Avalanche and Vegas Golden Knights were two of the biggest favorites to win the Stanley Cup heading into the season. So it was exciting to see that they were going to play in the same division and matchup against each other eight times. They haven't been the only impressive teams thus far this season out West, and we rank them below. 1. Vegas Golden Knights: 12-4-1 (25 points) 73.5 Points% They don't have a huge lead for the division, but they are still the best team out West. Marc-Andre Fleury has stepped up, Alex Pietrangelo has been great and Mark Stone is still a dominant two-way presence. From top to bottom the Golden Knights remain one of the deepest teams in the league. 2. Minnestoa Wild: 12-6-0 (24 points) 66.7 Points% Winners of seven of their last ten games, the Wild have been a fun team to watch. Former first round pick Joel Eriksson Ek leads the team in goals and rookie Kirill Kaprizov has been as close to a

Discover Central Division Power Rankings: Sunshine State Controls Top of Rankings

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Photo Credit: Gregory Shamus/Getty Images  Part of the fun of the realignment was getting to see certain matchups play out more than they would during a normal season. The Central division saw maybe the biggest shakeup of teams, leading to some intriguing matchups during the season. 1. Tampa Bay Lightning: 14-4-1 (29 points) 76.3 Points% The defending champions are still the class of the league, even if they don't have the best record in the NHL. This division in particular has been hit hard when it comes to COVID-19, so it will be interesting how fatigue plays a factor late in the season. You would have been right to question how the Lightning would respond this year, coming off a short offseason, and being without arguably their best player in Nikita Kucherov . That is until you remember just how insanely deep this team is. They have a three way tie for the lead in points on their team, with Steven Stamkos , Victor Hedman , and Brayden Point pacing the Lightning. Add in Mikhail

Scotia North Division Power Rankings: Who Can Compete With The Toronto Maple Leafs?

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Photo Credit: Sergei Belski/USA Today Sports The Scotia North division has arguably been the best division to watch on a nightly basis. Packed with some of the best players in the game, it hasn't been hard to find a game worth putting aside whatever you were doing to pay attention to what's happening. But which team reigns supreme? Who is a threat going forward? We take a look at the best in the division so far. 1. Toronto Maple Leafs: 16-4-2 (34 points) 77.3 Points% Easily the class of the North division, and they've done so behind solid defense (I know right) and Auston Matthews not being able to miss the back of the net. Matthews has played in 20 games this season, and hasn't scored in just seven of them. His pace is amazing, just missing time with an injury as well as the shortened season is going to kill his overall output. 2. Winnipeg Jets: 13-6-1 (27 points) 67.5 Points% Originally had Edmonton second. Mike Smith has been great but I'll take Connor Hellebuy

MassMutual East Division Power Rankings: Boston Bruins Lead Three Headed Race

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Photo Credit: GettyImages Feels like the season just started, didn't it? It feels that way because it kind of did. February was the first full month of the season in the NHL, and teams are already approaching the halfway mark. Decided to do a weekly power rankings for each division. Eventually may combine everything together but for now will just do each division separately. We will start with the MassMutual East Division. 1. Boston Bruins: 12-5-2 (26 points) 68.4 Points% Their convincing victory on Lake Tahoe against the Philadelphia Flyers really cemented their place at the top of the list. David Pastrnak is amazing, isn't he? Fair to say he is the best winger in the game right now? Something to watch going forward for the Bruins, they rank 27th and 26th in save and shooting percentage, respectively, while at 5v5 according to Natural Stat Trick. Not exactly a recipe for success, but having the 11th best expected goal share in the league has helped stay on top. 2. Philadelph