making this his first back-to-back appearances since moving to the bullpen this month. NOTES: DArnaud (7-day concussion DL) was scheduled to | Forum

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Alex Ovechkin’s slump, big nights for Abdelkader, Datsyuk and Smith; lineup news, fantasy tips and more in Scott Cullen’s Statistically Speaking. Angelo Ogbonna Jersey . Held scoreless in Wednesday’s 4-2 loss to Detroit, Capitals LW Alex Ovechkin has now gone a career-worst five consecutive games without a point. It’s not burying Ovechkin to point out that he’s in a slump (and I’ve already been something of an Ovechkin apologist in the past), but it’s easy to see that Ovechkin is really doing a lot well right now, even if the points haven’t been coming as expected over this short span of games. In the first nine games of the Barry Trotz era in Washington, Ovechkin has posted a career-best Corsi% (measuring even-strength shot attempts) of 59.4%. OVECHKIN POSSESSION STATS YEAR CORSI% CORSI REL% 2007-08 58.1% +4.2% 2008-09 57.4% +4.2% 2009-10 57.8% +7.2% 2010-11 53.9% +4.0% 2011-12 47.4% -2.3% 2012-13 49.2% +0.7% 2013-14 49.3% +2.5% 2014-15 59.4% +5.0% What’s encouraging about these numbers is that Ovechkin is driving play like he did earlier in his career, and a far cry from his 2011-2012 season when his offensive production hit career-low rates (65 points in 78 games). Like last season, Ovechkin is not getting much help from linemates – his lone assist this year has come on the power play – but thanks to a recent decline in shots on goal, his 4.22 shots on goal per game ranks as the second-lowest of his career. In the first four games of this dry spell, Ovechkin had mustered just seven shots on goal and that’s some reason for concern, because he’s always been a high-volume shooter, leading the league in shots on goal in eight of his nine seasons but, let’s not overreact, it was just four games. Wednesday, against Detroit, Ovechin attempted 13 shots, with seven on goal, against the Red Wings, which is a good way to get out of a scoring slump. Because Ovechkin’s underlying numbers have been so good, there’s not so much reason to worry about this slump, because those signs point to goals and points coming back at a more regular rate soon. HEROES Justin Abdelkader – Hard-hitting winger who gets to play a complementary role with some elite players in Detroit and he scored two goals and an assist in Wednesday’s 4-2 win at Washington. He scored a career-high 28 points last season, but has eight points (5 G, 3 A) in nine games this year, riding a 22.7% shooting percentage that won’t last, but he is also playing a career-high 16:30 per game and generating a career-best 2.44 shots on goal per game. Pavel Datsyuk – The Magician tallied a goal and an assist, with a team-leading eight shot attempts (4 SOG) in the win at Washington. Datsyuk has five points in four games since returning from injury, and the Red Wings have eased him in, playing 18:42 per game. The last season in which he averaged less ice time per game (than this admittedly very small sample) was 2005-2006. Craig Smith – The Predators’ leading goal-scorer, with 24, last season, Smith buried a pair of goals on nine shot attempts (5 SOG), while posting quality possession stats (17 shot attempts for, 10 against, 63.0%) in a 4-1 win at Edmonton. ZEROES Niklas Kronwall – The Red Wings’ No. 1 defenceman had a rough night, possession-wise, on for five shot attempts for and 18 against (21.7%). His worst forward matchups, head-to-head, were against Capitals C Nicklas Backstrom (2 shot attempts for, 10 against, 16.7%) and RW Joel Ward (2 for, 13 against, 13.3%). Mark Arcobello – Despite not starting an even-strength shift in the defensive zone, the Oilers’ centre had his team’s worst possession stats (9 shot attempts for, 16 against, 36.0%). SHORT SHIFTS Red Wings C Henrik Zetterberg had a pair of assists…Predators D Roman Josi had two assists and blocked seven shots…Predators G Pekka Rinne stopped 26 of 27 shots for the win in Edmonton. LINEUP NEED TO KNOW Capitals RW Eric Fehr was scratched from the lineup as second-year RW Tom Wilson was inserted into the lineup for his first game of the season after suffering a broken ankle in the summer. Predators C Calle Jarnkrok, still looking for his first point of the season, was scratched from the lineup in Edmonton Wednesday. Predators D Seth Jones played a season-low 14:46 at Edmonton, though had a solid possession game (15 shot attempts for, 9 against, 62.5%) in that limited role. FIRSTS Predators C Matt Cullen played his first game of the season, picking up an assist while playing 15:18. FANTASY FOCUS A few players, available in more than half of TSN leagues, to monitor on a busy 10-game night in the NHL: Jori Lehtera – Someone in St. Louis has to get the puck to the Blues’ scoring wingers and with injuries to Paul Stastny and David Backes, Lehtera is clearly the best option down the middle. He has six points in seven games and is centering Alexander Steen and Vladimir Tarasenko heading into tonight’s matchup with Anaheim. Michael Raffl – Getting moved to the Flyers’ top line with Claude Giroux and Jakub Voracek is working well for Raffl, who has four goals and five points in the past five games. Tonight, the Flyers go to Tampa Bay, which isn’t an easy matchup, but Raffl is still available in nearly 99% of TSN leagues. Seth Griffith – The rookie winger has emerged as the Bruins’ best option on the right side with David Krejci and Milan Lucic, scoring three goals and five points in the past four games. Really, anyone on the Bruins is worth a look since they are in Buffalo to play the Sabres. Much of the data included comes from www.war-on-ice.com, www.puckalytics.com, www.hockeystats.ca and www.naturalstattrick.com Scott Cullen can be reached at scott.cullen@bellmedia.ca Francesco Acerbi Jersey . Next up is another showdown with Michigan. Payne scored 18 points, Branden Dawson had 14 and No. 22 Michigan State beat No. 12 Wisconsin 83-75 on Saturday to reach the Big Ten tournament championship. Salvatore Sirigu Jersey . "Rob brings a wealth of coaching experience, having worked both in Canada and overseas in player development," Canada Soccer technical director Tony Fonseca said in a release.NEW YORK -- Mets rookie Eric Campbell earned a start in left field because of his bat. He should be getting even more playing time because of his glove. In his first career major league game in the outfield, Campbell doubled Yasiel Puig off second base after making a spectacular diving catch in the eighth that helped preserve New Yorks 5-3 victory over the Los Angeles Dodgers on Thursday night. "As it always goes, put a guy in for his offence and his defence saves the game," manager Terry Collins said. Campbell had a sacrifice fly in the first inning and is hitting .368 in his first eight big league games. Collins said he is going to use the versatile 27 year old who plays mostly at the corner infield spots at second base and shortstop, too. Campbell, who even worked out a bit behind the plate to be the Mets emergency catcher with Travis dArnaud on the 7-day concussion list, is ready. "I can handle it," Campbell said of playing second and short. "Just fielding a groundball and throwing to first." Jonathon Niese (3-3) hit an RBI double to provide himself some much-needed run support and pitched seven sharp innings for New York, which won for just the sixth time in 20 games this month and avoided a three-game sweep. Juan Lagares had a go-ahead RBI single in the seventh. The dynamic yet, at times, frustrating Puig made a sensational catch of his own on a sinking liner to right-centre that was so good it elicited a warm ovation from the 23,416 in attendance. But he made two baserunning mistakes that could have cost the Dodgers runs. "Thats one of the best catches Ive ever seen," Campbell said. "That was crazy." Zack Greinkes stretch of 21 straight starts allowing two or fewer runs ended. A mark that hasnt been matched since at least 1914 was done in by some sloppy play. "Just in my experience, weve played incredible defence when Im pitching throughout the years," Greinke said, "so, if someone makes one mistake in one game, you cant really say too much." Dodgers centre fielder Matt Kemp bobbled Curtis Grandersons drive in the first inning to right-centre, allowing Granderson to take third base on a double in a 12-pitch at-bat. Granderson then scored on Campbells sacrifice fly. In the fifth, third basemann Justin Turner failed to glove Daniel Murphys slow grounder that allowed Niese to score for a 3-1 lead. Eder Jersey. Niese reached on a well-struck RBI double to right-centre following Anthony Reckers double to a similar spot. Greinke was lifted after five, yielding four hits, three runs -- one earned -- two walks and four Ks. He has allowed two earned runs or fewer in 22 games. Niese then walked Chone Figgins, playing in place of Dee Gordon, to start the sixth. Figgins advanced to second on Puigs grounder to third when Murphy, the second baseman, dropped Wrights force attempt -- the call was upheld by replay. But Niese escaped unscathed when Puig ran into an out on an infield fly gone awry. Hanley Ramirez hit a high popup to second base. Murphy backed up under the ball but appeared to lose it in the lights. When the ball fell, Murphy hesitated and Puig jogged into second. Apparently thinking he was forced out, Puig wandered off second and was tagged out for the double play. "I didnt actually see the umpire give the signal," Puig said through a translator. "I felt it was a little bit too late and, by that time, I was already off the base. I thought it was going to be a double play and I was already off in that situation." The Dodgers tied it in the seventh, though, when Turner hit his first homer with the Dodgers after spending parts of four seasons with the Mets. "Hes welcome for that one," Niese said, joking. "For that one, just a mistake that he punched." Lagares RBI single off Chris Perez (0-2) s gave the Mets back the lead in the seventh. Granderson tripled in a run in the eighth for a 5-3 lead. Niese had received just five runs of support total in his previous four home starts. The left-hander has not allowed more than three earned runs in 12 starts. Jenrry Mejia pitched the ninth for his second save. He pitched a scoreless ninth Wednesday night making this his first back-to-back appearances since moving to the bullpen this month. NOTES: DArnaud (7-day concussion DL) was scheduled to do some on-field work before the game. If all goes well he should take batting practice on the field Friday. ... Up next: The Dodgers head to Philadelphia on Friday and the Mets play host to the Arizona Diamondbacks. Cheap NFL Jerseys Cheap NFL Jerseys China Cheap Jerseys From China Cheap NFL Jerseys Authentic Wholesale Jerseys China Cheap NFL Jerseys China NFL Cheap Jerseys ' ' '