Game of the night: Atlanta (29-35-6) at Pittsburgh (37-26-8) — Crosby, Lehtonen, Bogosian

Sure, the Pittsburgh Penguins (led by center Sidney Crosby) are on fire, but so is a certain defenseman who plays for tonight's visitors.

Sure, the Pittsburgh Penguins (led by center Sidney Crosby, above) are on fire, but don't sleep on a certain teenage defenseman who plays for tonight's equally hot visitors to Mellon Arena.

Anything we write about Pittsburgh Penguins center Sidney Crosby (six goals and 12 assists in his last 10 games) can’t help you: he’s either on your team or he’s not, and the trade deadline has passed.

Why bring him up, then? Glance your NHL standings. The Penguins are 8-0-2 in their last 10. The Atlanta Thrashers, visiting Mellon Arena tonight, are 8-2-0 in their last 10 and have won six in a row.

Tonight’s game will be a great test on Thrashers goalie Kari Lehtonen, who’s won five of those six games, posting two shutouts. If one of your starting goalies is slumping, you should see if Lehtonen is still available in your league. (He’s 79.4 percent available in ESPN leagues, 54 percent available in Yahoo! leagues.)

Quietly, Thrashers D Zach Bogosian has also caught fire. In his last four games, he has two goals, two assists, +2, and a whopping 18 shots on goal. Better still, his productivity during this mini-spurt has been consistent: He has at least one point and four shots on goal in each of the last four games.

Now look at those standings one more time. Lower. See how Atlanta rates 13th in the Eastern Conference and has absolutely no chance to make the playoffs?

This is yet another reason to give Bogosian a whirl as your No. 4 defenseman. He’s only 18 — the third overall pick in the 2008 draft — and the organization has nothing to lose and everything to gain by giving him maximum ice time. He led all Thrashers in minutes played in Monday night’s 5-1 home win vs. the Washington Capitals. He also led all Thrashers in ice time in the previous game, a 4-3 shootout win at the Buffalo Sabres.

Only three percent owned in Yahoo! leagues and also three percent owned in ESPN leagues, Bogosian is yours for the taking. He might not be so available in the near future, if he keeps up this point-per-game rate.

photo courtesy Wikimedia Commons


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