Aho had four goals and an assist in three games, including two game-winning goals. In the Hurricanes’ first game of the week, Aho had a hat-trick and assist, before scoring the winning goal on Friday against the Oilers and being held pointless on Saturday. In 51 games, the 2015 second-round pick has 16 goals and 31 points, good for sixth among rookies.
Granlund had three goals and six points in three games as the Wild went 2-1-0. After two assists in the first two games of the week, he too had a hat-trick plus assist in the third game of the week. Granlund currently leads the Wild in scoring with 48 points in 51 games.
Budaj won three of four games with a 0.930 SV%, 1.62 GAA, and two shutouts. After starting the season as the Kings’ third-string goaltender, he now leads the NHL in shutouts with seven and has a sparkling 0.920 SV% with 25 wins in 46 appearances. With Jonathan Quick out from opening night until March, Budaj has allowed the Kings to remain in a wildcard spot.
- The offensively-starved Flyers will be without last year’s rookie standout Shayne Gostisbehere yet again when the Blues come to Philadelphia tonight, but it’s not an injury or illness that’s keeping him out. Gostisbehere will be a healthy scratch for the third-straight game. After scoring 17 goals and 46 points in 64 games last year, he has just four goals and 21 points in 48 games this season. That’s a pace of 7-29-36 over 82 games, much lower than his 59-point-pace in 2015-16. While Gostisbehere will remain out of the lineup, rookie forward Travis Konecny will draw back in for Matt Read. When asked about the lineup, coach Dave Hakstol told NBC’s Jason Brough that he’s “trying to dress the best roster possible to win hockey games. Point blank.” Without Gostisbehere, the Flyers are 1-1, winning 3-1 and losing 1-0.
- In an appearance on TSN Radio in Edmonton, Bob McKenzie put forward the idea that Tampa Bay could look to move pending RFA center Tyler Johnson for defensive help. Despite Johnson’s lessened production this year (33 points in 53 games), McKenzie suggests a combination of “needing a defenseman and maybe having a surplus of forwards, and… the cap issues and maybe not being in a position to sign [Johnson] might make him more expendable over some of the other pieces.” Besides making a decision on potential rentals like Ben Bishop and Brian Boyle and RFA forwards Jonathan Drouin, Ondrej Palat, and Johnson, McKenzie believes GM Steve Yzerman will be looking for a cost-controlled defenseman to make his team better going forward. Regardless of who he choses to keep, it’s going to be a stressful next few months for Yzerman.