This article is part of our The Daily Puck series.
Around the Rink
The Flyers lost 4-3 to the Lightning on Thursday, but it wasn't without another superb effort from first-line winger Jakub Voracek. With Philadelphia trailing 3-1 to Tampa Bay in the third period, Voracek battled hard in front of the net to jam a loose puck past Ben Bishop, bringing the Flyers within one. Once the Flyers fell behind once again, Voracek got right back at it, setting up Michael Raffl with a beautiful pass to make it 4-3. It was Voracek's fourth straight multi-point game and the ninth time in ten games he has recorded at least one point. The 25-year-old has been outstanding, tied for the NHL scoring-lead with 15 points, while leading the league with 12 assists. Voracek, who reportedly lost 10 pounds over the summer, looks faster on his skates and is playing like a superstar. He is rewarding fantasy owners who drafted him early on and should surpass the career-high 69 points he recorded in 2013-14.
While Voracek shined for Philly, there were many other storylines from a busy Thursday night in the NHL. In the Bolts' win, Steven Stamkos added another two goals and an assist. The 24-year-old put his absolutely lethal shot on display, firing home his seventh and eighth goals of the season. He looks just as dangerous as ever and isn't slowing down anytime soon. He is dominating in almost every offensive fantasy category, leading the NHL with 48 shots on goal, recording three power-play goals, and notching 12 points through eight games.
In Boston, Brad Marchand broke his three-game scoring drought in style, scoring the game-tying goal in the third period, before adding the winner in overtime to help defeat the Sabres 3-2. He still only has six points (three goals) in 12 games, but Thursday could be an indication of what is to come. Currently skating on the third line with Carl Soderberg and Loui Eriksson, Marchand could reach the 50-point mark once again.
Nathan MacKinnon fantasy owners were relieved Thursday when the youngster tallied his first two goals of the season in a win over the Islanders. Now that the monkey is off his back, MacKinnon should explode. He entered Thursday with only four points in 10 games, but now that he's got his confidence back, you better watch out. Skating on the second line and top power-play, this two-goal outburst is just what MacKinnon needs to overcome a slow start.
In the Windy City, Marian Hossa produced a goal and an assist to help the Blackhawks past the Senators. The 35-year-old recorded his 1000th career NHL point on his third-period goal Thursday. What a milestone for the top-line winger, who has produced two goals and five points in 10 games thus far.
The Penguins took down the defending Stanley Cup Champions Kings Thursday, with Chris Kunitz recording two goals and an assist in the victory. Just like last season, Kunitz is thriving playing on Sidney Crosby's wing. Through nine games, Kunitz has produced five goals and five assists, to go with a plus-5 rating. As long as Crosby remains healthy, Kunitz will keep producing at close to a point-per-game rate.
Only four games on a Halloween Friday. Here is what you need to know.
Projected Goalie Starters (all times Eastern)
Leafs (Jonathan Bernier) at Blue Jackets (Curtis McElhinney), 7:00
Kings (Jonathan Quick) at Red Wings (Jimmy Howard), 7:30
Ducks (Frederik Andersen) at Stars (Kari Lehtonen), 8:30
Predators (Pekka Rinne) at Flames (Jonas Hiller*), 9:00
For updates on the projected goalies later in the day, check out our Projected Goalies Grid.
Injury News For Teams Playing Friday
Mikael Backlund, C (abdominal) – Placed on injured reserve Thursday and is considered week-to-week.
Deryk Engelland, D (personal) – Missed practice Thursday but is expected to play Friday against the Predators.
Joe Colborne, C (wrist) – Considered day-to-day.
Matt Stajan, C (knee) – Placed on injured reserve Wednesday, could miss 4-6 weeks.
Mason Raymond, LW (upper body) – Placed on injured reserve Tuesday, considered week-to-week.
Matt Calvert, LW (upper body) – Could be activated from injured reserve and return to the lineup Saturday against the Devils.
Boone Jenner, LW (hand) – Is expected to make his season debut next week.
Nick Foligno, LW (neck) – Took part in Thursday's practice.
Mark Letestu, C (groin) – Placed on injured reserve Thursday, will miss two-to-four weeks.
James Wisniewski, D (finger) – Placed on injured reserve Thursday.
Artem Anisimov, C (concussion) – Expected to miss one week.
Sergei Bobrovsky, G (finger) – Has been placed on IR.
Valeri Nichushkin, LW (groin) – Was activated from injured reserve and sent out on a conditioning assignment at AHL Texas.
Sergei Gonchar,D (ankle) – Is not expected to return this week.
Stephen Weiss, C (lower body) – Was recalled from his conditioning stint with AHL Grand Rapids after experiencing a setback Wednesday night.
Johan Franzen, RW (groin) – Could return Sunday.
Marian Gaborik, RW (upper body) – Practiced Wednesday, could return soon.
Anze Kopitar, C (upper body) – Scratched Wednesday, close to returning.
Trevor Lewis, C (upper body) – Getting close.
Mark Fistric, D (upper body) – Not close to returning.
Bryan Allen, D (lower body) – Was sent to AHL Norfolk on a conditioning assignment.
Patrick Maroon, LW (knee) – Is recovering faster than anticipated from his MCL sprain and could play at some point during the Ducks' current four-game road trip.
Ben Lovejoy, D (finger) – Expected to miss the next 6-8 weeks with a fractured finger.
Dany Heatley, LW (groin) – Practiced with the team Monday.
David Booth, LW (foot) – Not close to returning.
Alex Goligoski, D, DAL – Goligoski is currently riding a three-game point streak, recording four assists in that span. With the offensive talent in front of him, it's no surprise the 29-year old has racked up seven assists through nine games thus far. Two of his assists have come on Tyler Seguin goals, while another came on a Jason Spezza goal. Averaging 25:04 of ice time per game, the blueliner should continue to produce strong point totals on an offensive talented Stars team. It's worth noting that Goligoski, who produced 42 points last season, has lost his spot on the top power-play unit to Trevor Daley. Don't expect that to stop Goligoski, who is still searching for his first goal on the year, recording only eight shots on net thus far.
Jason Zucker, LW, MIN – Zucker extended his point streak to four games with an assist in Thursday's win over San Jose. He played a season-high 18:03 Thursday, skating on the second line with Mikko Koivu and Charlie Coyle. Through nine games, the 22-year-old has potted five goals and seven points, to go with a plus-3 rating. He is still, however, only owned in 1.3 percent of ESPN fantasy leagues. Zucker isn't being used on the power play, but as long as he remains in Minnesota's top-six, he will continue to put up points. He hasn't played more than 21 games in a season, but that will certainly change this year. If you're in a deep league, grab this guy before your fellow owners discover this hidden gem.
Brian Campbell, D, FLA– Campbell has failed to record a point in six straight games, managing only two assists in seven games on the season. Fantasy owners are dropping the defenseman by the minute, with Campbell now only being owned in 57.4 percent of fantasy leagues (-28.3 percent change). Considering the panthers have scored only 12 goals in eight games, it's hard to count on Campbell as the elite offensive producer we know he can be. Campbell has produced 50 points twice in his career, but if Florida keeps struggling to score goals, expect the former Blackhawk to post another season in the 30-40 point range.
Ales Hemsky, RW, DAL – While Jason Spezza is thriving with his new team, the Stars' other big acquisition is struggling to produce. Hemsky has gone eight straight games without recording a point, recording a minus-5 rating in that span. Currently skating on the fourth line, it's hard to expect Hemsky to produce. He is however, skating on the top power-play unit with Jamie Benn and Tyler Seguin, meaning he should at least be able to pile on some assists. If you currently own him, be patient, as once Valeri Nichushkin (groin/hip) returns, Jason Spezza will likely be bumped off the top line to the second line. This would mean Hemsky, Spezza's former teammate, could get bumped up to the second line to play with Spezza.
Michael Raffl, LW, PHI – Raffl scored his sixth goal of the season Thursday, burying a pass from Jakub Voracek, who is currently tied for the NHL scoring lead with 15 points. Raffl has scored in three straight games and has fired nine shots on goal in that span. Playing on the top line with Voracek and Claude Giroux, he will get plenty of opportunities to find twine. The 25-year-old only had nine goals in 68 games last season, but is off to a superb start in his second NHL season. Raffl doesn't possess the same skill-set as his two linemates, but he knows how to score, making him worth a look in deep leagues. Raffl doesn't play much on the power play, but as long as he skates with Giroux and Voracek at even strength, he will be in for a major breakout season.