The Daily Puck: District of Goal-umbia
The Daily Puck: District of Goal-umbia

This article is part of our The Daily Puck series.

Around the Rink

With Monday night's 4-1 win over Columbus, the Capitals have clinched the Presidents' Trophy, surprising no one here at the conclusion of their basically wire-to-wire domination of the NHL regular season. The playoffs may be a different animal – and one that hasn't typically been friendly to previous owners of the league's top record – but these Capitals bring more to the table than any other squad in recent memory. With respect to the Penguins and Blackhawks squads of recent vintage, no team in recent memory has rolled out two elite-of-the-elite scoring lines in combination with a goalie at the top of his game.

Indeed, Braden Holtby's frankly ridiculous record of 46-9-4 has a good chance to win him a Vezina Trophy, and the Ovechkin-Backstrom pairing on Washington's top line is complemented by an Evgeny Kuznetsov-led second line that could probably take a team to the playoffs on its own. Considering what's going on in that other campaign season here in the United States, these guys may be the only D.C. insiders we can count on for victory this year.

These Caps – disappointingly bumped from the playoffs in each of the last several seasons, typically by my Rangers (who have defeated them in three of the last four postseasons) – have fortified themselves with a proven playoff dynamo in Justin Williams, who's already experienced regular-season resurgence in the nation's capital. Williams' 25 points in 26 playoff games two seasons ago were a huge part of what powered the Kings past those pesky Blueshirts to Stanley Cup glory.

On another note, have you guys ever injured your neck while taking a particularly deep breath? Somehow, I did that yesterday just prior to engaging in two simultaneous fantasy baseball drafts, which has not made for the world's most enjoyable period evening and morning. I'm not a doctor, but I'm pretty sure my neck wasn't supposed to make that crunching sound.

Let's get on with Tuesday's action.

Projected Goalie Starters (all times Eastern)

Bruins (Tuukka Rask) at Devils (Keith Kinkaid), 7:00 PM
Hurricanes (Cam Ward) at Islanders (Thomas Greiss), 7:00 PM
Sabres (Nathan Lieuwen) at Penguins (Marc-Andre Fleury), 7:00 PM
Red Wings (Petr Mrazek) at Canadiens (Mike Condon), 7:30 PM
Maple Leafs (Jonathan Bernier) at Panthers (Roberto Luongo), 7:30 PM
Blackhawks (Scott Darling) at Wild (Devan Dubnyk), 8:00 PM
Avalanche (Semyon Varlamov) at Blues (Brian Elliott), 8:30 PM
Predators (Carter Hutton) at Stars (Kari Lehtonen), 8:30 PM
Sharks (James Reimer) at Canucks (Ryan Miller), 10:00 PM

For updates on projected goalies later in the day, check our Projected Goalies Grid.

Injury News for Teams Playing Tuesday

b>Boston Bruins
John-Michael Liles, D (lower body) – Not traveling with team
Chris Kelly, RW (leg) – Skating, but no word on return
Brad Marchand, LW (illness) – Traveling for Tuesday's game
Ryan Spooner, C (undisclosed) – Not traveling for Tuesday's game

New Jersey Devils
Patrik Elias, LW (knee) – No recent news; seems unlikely he returns
Michael Cammalleri, LW (hand) – Done for the season
Jordin Tootoo, RW (upper body) – Status unclear, but return seemingly not imminent
David Schlemko, D (upper body) – Remains out with no updates
Jacob Josefson, C (wrist) – Should be reevaluated later this week
Jon Merrill, D (upper body) – May return right at end of season
Cory Schneider, G (knee) – Returning from AHL conditioning stint Tuesday
Jiri Tlusty, LW (wrist) – Season likely over at this point
Tyler Kennedy, LW (lower body) – Status unclear for Tuesday

Carolina Hurricanes
James Wisniewski, D (knee) – Unlikely to return at this point
Riley Nash, C (undisclosed) – Didn't go Sunday; Tuesday seems iffy
Andrej Nestrasil, C (back) – Season over
Phil Di Giuseppe, LW (undisclosed) – Out a few days

New York Islanders
Adam Pelech, D (upper body) – Back at practice Monday
Jaroslav Halak, G (groin) – Out three more weeks
Mikhail Grabovski, C (upper body) – Skating; return date unclear
Marek Zidlicky, D (upper body) – Timeline unclear

Buffalo Sabres
Cody Franson, D (concussion) – Still off the ice; season almost certainly over
Tyler Ennis, LW (concussion) – Expected to rejoin practice soon
Evander Kane, LW (upper body) – Day-to-day, but won't go Tuesday
Robin Lehner, G (ankle) – No word on return

Pittsburgh Penguins
Brian Dumoulin, D (upper body) – Didn't play Sunday; status unclear
Olli Maatta, D (lower body) – Week-to-week
Scott Wilson, LW (lower body) – Quietly placed on IR
Kevin Porter, C (ankle) – Lingering on IR
Evgeni Malkin, C (upper body) – Out 'til the playoffs

Detroit Red Wings
Drew Miller, LW (lower body) – Remains out for season
Johan Franzen, RW (concussion) – Long time since we heard news here

Montreal Canadiens
Jeff Petry, D (lower body) – Season over
Tom Gilbert, D (knee) – See you next year
Carey Price, G (leg) – Could return in season's final days
P.K. Subban, D (neck) – Won't return Tuesday, but also could return soon
Mark Barberio, D (concussion) – Out indefinitely
Brendan Gallagher, RW (groin) – Should be closing in on return
Victor Bartley, D (lower body) – Has been day-to-day for more than a week
Lucas Lessio, LW (undisclosed) – Timeline unclear
Brian Flynn, C (lower body) – Should be closing in on a return, but no updates
Daniel Carr, LW (knee) – Practiced without contact Monday

Toronto Maple Leafs
Raffi Torres, LW (knee) – Done for season
Byron Froese, C (hand) – No word since late-February injury
Leo Komarov, LW (lower body) – Out at least another week
Viktor Loov, D (undisclosed) – No word on return
Nikita Soshnikov, LW (upper body) – No timeline released
Matt Hunwick, D (sports hernia) – Season over
James van Riemsdyk, LW (foot) – Done for season
Peter Holland, C (upper body) – Day-to-day with no updates recently
Joffrey Lupul, LW (abdomen) – Season over

Florida Panthers
Derek MacKenzie, C (foot) – No word on return date
Dave Bolland, C (lower body) – Return date indefinite
Erik Gudbranson, D (lower body) – Timeline unclear
Willie Mitchell, D (concussion) – Skating and contemplating his future

Chicago Blackhawks
Corey Crawford, G (upper body) – Didn't go over weekend; status unclear for Tuesday
Artem Anisimov, C (lower body) – See: Crawford, Corey

Minnesota Wild
Gustav Olofsson, D (shoulder) – Season-ending surgery
Ryan Carter, LW (shoulder) – Back at practice Monday
David Jones, RW (illness) – Missed Monday's practice
Zac Dalpe, C (knee) – Around expected return date, but no updates

Colorado Avalanche
Matt Duchene, C (knee) – Won't return Tuesday
Nathan MacKinnon, C (knee) – Also won't be back Tuesday
Eric Gelinas, D (elbow) – Out indefinitely
Brad Stuart, D (back) – Season likely over

St. Louis Blues
Jay Bouwmeester, D (upper body) – Won't go Tuesday
Alexander Steen, LW (shoulder) – Returning Tuesday
Steve Ott, C (hamstrings) – Practicing, but no timeline
Carl Gunnarsson, D (upper body) – Won't play Tuesday

Nashville Predators
Paul Gaustad, C (upper body) – Injury lingering with no updates
Gabriel Bourque, LW (upper body) – In holding pattern
Anthony Bitetto, D (lower body) – Day-to-day

Dallas Stars
Kris Russell, D (lower body) – On track to return Tuesday
Jason Demers, D (shoulder) – Will be reevaluated in a few weeks
Tyler Seguin, C (Achilles) – Out at least until the playoffs
Brett Ritchie, RW (lower body) – Didn't practice Monday

San Jose Sharks
Marc-Edouard Vlasic, D (lower body) – No timetable for return
Matthew Nieto, LW (hand) – Out "longer term"
Matt Tennyson, D (concussion) – Skating, but hasn't been cleared to return

Vancouver Canucks
Markus Granlund, C (upper body) – Expected to play Tuesday
Alexander Edler, D (leg) – Season over
Brandon Prust, LW (ankle) – Season over
Brandon Sutter, C (jaw) – Season over
Luca Sbisa, D (upper body) – Season most likely over
Derek Dorsett, RW (upper body) – Won't play Tuesday
Chris Tanev, D (back) – Sitting again Tuesday
Radim Vrbata, RW (knee) – Season over

Hot

Carl Hagelin, LW, PIT – Rangers fans who got to see Hagelin in his second game back at Madison Square Garden this past weekend had to be impressed – he only tallied a lone assist, but fired four shots on goal while looking quite noticeable on the ice alongside Phil Kessel and Nick Bonino on the second line. The Pens may have lost Evgeni Malkin from that unit, but they haven't been hurting for it, and Hags is racking up points at a career-high rate since being shipped from Anaheim to Pittsburgh (21 points in 30 games after just 12 in 43 with the Ducks). The biggest difference has been his willingness to shoot the puck – the Swede's averaging nearly three shots per game as a Penguin, a noticeable leap from his career mark of 2.18 per game prior to the trade. He still sees only sparing power-play time, but Hagelin and Kessel have found a speed-centric formula that's working in a big way.

Steven Stamkos, C, TAM – I know what you're thinking: "Who?" Yes indeed, we go deep here at RotoWire, and sometimes that means focusing on the obscure, like for instance this guy. You may vaguely remember his name from when you picked him in the first round prior to this season and then heard incessant media coverage about his relatively mediocre production as well as the inevitability of a trade and/or offseason signing in Toronto for the first several months of the campaign. But all that talk died down after the trade deadline passed, and following an initial post-deadline lull, Stammer has exploded for seven goals and a dozen total points in the last eight games, with a plus-5 rating and 10 PIM rounding out the line. That's just what we're looking for from him down the stretch.

Cold

Ben Hutton, D, VAN – Ostensibly one of the Canucks' top blueliners, Hutton has exceeded 20 minutes of ice time in 21 of the last 22 games and been a fixture on the power play for much of the year. That's the good news. The bad news: In Vancouver's last eight games, Hutton has exactly zero points with a whopping minus-12 rating, and he hasn't scored a goal since Jan. 17 (when he potted his only goal of the year). As a 22-year-old rookie defenseman, he merits some slack, but that doesn't mean fantasy owners should ride those painful stats into the abyss.

Recommended Pickup
Alexander Steen, C, STL – Incredibly, Steen was widely sent to the wire after suffering a shoulder injury, and even with a recent flurry of adds due to his pending return, he's still available in fully 40 percent of ESPN leagues. (Yahoo and CBS owners have been wiser.) We all know he should be at full ownership, and with Steen expected back on the ice Tuesday night, that rate should go skyrocketing upward. Thanks to this injury, he won't reach his third consecutive 60-point season this year, but he's been practicing fully for a couple weeks and should return at full strength for the stretch run.

The author(s) of this article may play in daily fantasy contests including – but not limited to – games that they have provided recommendations or advice on in this article. In the course of playing in these games using their personal accounts, it's possible that they will use players in their lineups or other strategies that differ from the recommendations they have provided above. The recommendations in this article do not necessarily reflect the views of RotoWire.
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ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Andrew Fiorentino
Managing hockey editor, talent wrangler, football columnist, FSWA's 2015 fantasy hockey writer of the year. Twitter: @akfiorentino
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