About last night (Huet, Khabibulin, Stamkos, Brad Richards, Connolly)

Black Hawks goalie Nikolai Khabibulin (groin) won't be out of a job when he's ready to return

Blackhawks goalie Nikolai Khabibulin (groin) won't be out of a job when he's ready to return

That’s two wins in a row for Blackhawks goalie Cristobal Huet. However, he only stopped 20 of 23 shots (.870) in last night’s 5-3 victory in Tampa Bay. That’s the sort of save percentage that loses hockey games and fantasy titles.

Though Huet’s season-long numbers (15-10-3, .913, 2.37) aren’t bad, he is hardly playing well enough to keep Nikolai Khabibulin (groin) on the bench once Khabibulin (17-5-5, .924, 2.37) is healthy. And when will that be? At least two weeks, according to the Chicago Sun-Times.

Here I must pause to point out a statistical oddity: as of this moment, both Huet and Khabibulin have the exact same GAA (2.37).

While Huet got the win last night, the three goals he gave up revealed a lack of concentration. It wasn’t merely that Lightning center Steven Stamkos scored all three. He scored all three in a row, with the final two coming on the power play within 1:10 of each other in the second period. Before the Stamkos explosion, Chicago led 1-0. Afterwards, Tampa Bay led 3-1. While Chicago scored the final four goals to win the game, Huet played like a goalie you cannot trust in crucial situations.

As for Stamkos, he still has not reached must-add territory as a fantasy center. His hat trick gives him five goals and three assists in the last month, ranking him just outside the top 30 centers for that span.

Of course, if your team just lost Dallas center Brad Richards (wrist) for the season and you need a replacement, Stamkos should be on your list. Stamkos is 52.6 percent owned in ESPN and 18 percent in Yahoo!.

But before you jump all over the Stamkos pedigree, consider someone like Sabres center Tim Connolly, who has seven goals and eight assists in the last month. Connolly had two assists last night and has simply lit it up since returning to action January 9, after missing two months with a broken rib. Connolly is 27 percent owned in Yahoo! and 38.2 percent in ESPN.

It’s easy to forget that Connolly has plenty of pedigree himself: he was the fifth overall pick in 1999. He is only 27 years old. If he can stay healthy — and he has not played a full season since 2002-03 — he has all the tools and surrounding talent to become a bona fide No. 2 fantasy center.

photo courtesy Wikimedia Commons


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