*After winning five of six to close out 2007, the Isles have dropped three straight, and will face three straight tough opponents on the road—Vancouver, Calgary, and Ottawa. Currently sitting tied for eighth in the conference, the Isles are only five points behind the Atlantic-leading Devils.
*The scoring woes have returned. After managing just one goal against Jose Theodore and the Avalanche, the Isles were shutout by Mathieu Garon and the Oilers. Next up, Roberto Luongo’s Canucks.
*Kyle Okposo was signed to his first pro contract and was assigned to Bridgeport following the World Junior Championship, where Okposo and the Americans had a strong run before bowing out to Canada and Russia. Don’t be surprised to see the 2006 first rounder with the big club in the coming weeks.
*This may very well have nothing to do with fantasy hockey, but the Isles' fourth line of Jackman-Hilbert-Comeau has done a great job since the first day they were put together. Comeau has been impressive on both ends, Jackman provides some much needed grit (and even recently sniped the top corner), and Hilbert is playing like he belongs there, because he does. For the first time this season, he doesn't appear nervous with the puck.
*The powerplay has dropped to 19th in the league with a 17% conversion rate.
Mike Comrie (13-20=33,-11) is pointless in his last two games, but was the Isles’ best player in the 4-0 loss to Edmonton. Fresh off a run of four goals and four assists in five games., Comrie leads the team in points and assists.
Bill Guerin (14-8=22,-5) leads the team with 14 goals thanks in large part to his recent six-goals-in-six-games outburst.
Richard Park (6-12=18,+3) has fit in well on the top line with Comrie and Guerin. He has a goal and seven assists in his last eight games.
M.A. Bergeron (6-8=14,-4) seems to have rediscovered his scoring touch despite his ongoing defensive struggles. MAB had four goals in four games to close out December, but has since gone pointless in three.
Rick DiPietro (16-13,2 SO,2.50 GAA,.911 S%) sandwiched an outstanding effort in Colorado with two stinkers. No worries here—one of those games was his first following a knee sprain and in the other, he had little help and could only be blamed for one of four goals. You can be sure DP will be up for the goaltenders’ duel in Vancouver Tuesday night.
Miroslav Satan (10-13=23,-4) has just one assist and a –5 rating over the course of his last seven games. Ted Nolan rewarded Satan with a spot on the bench for much of the third period against Edmonton.
Josef Vasicek (10-7=17,-1) has gone ten games without a goal after leading the team in that department not too long ago. Vasicek rode the bench for the length of the third period in Edmonton.
Ruslan Fedotenko (7-11=18,-7)… Who would have thought Fedotenko would ever end up in Ted Nolan’s dog house? Fedotenko was another who sat the third period in that debacle in Edmonton. He has one measly goal in his last 22 games. He also only has five assists in that span.
Projected lines (these may very well be history):
On the mend:
*D Radek Martinek (bruised leg) is day-to-day and is expected to return before the end of the road trip.
*F/D Aaron Johnson (knee) has resumed skating.
*F Chris Simon (suspension) is out indefinitely pending an NHL hearing. Don’t be surprised if Simon’s given the boot for the season.
*F Shawn Bates (hip) played just two games before succumbing to another injury. There’s no timetable for his return.
*F Jon Sim (knee) is out for the season.
Tue. 1/8 @ Vancouver
Fri. 1/11 @ Calgary
Sun. 1/13 @ Ottawa
Tue. 1/15 vs. Montreal
Wed. 1/16 @ New Jersey
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