Saturday Daily Puck: All Hail Gio

Saturday Daily Puck: All Hail Gio

This article is part of our The Daily Puck series.

Around the Rink
After suffering a 2-1 loss Friday night, the Flames have now lost seven straight games. That hasn't stopped defenseman Mark Giordano from continuing his remarkable 2014-15 season.

The 31-year-old defenseman scored his ninth goal of the season in Friday's loss, putting him on pace for a 20-goal season. He now has 32 points in 34 games, to go with a plus-13 rating. He is averaging a whopping 24:32 of ice time per game and has recorded at least one point in 25 of the Flames' 34 games this season. That's just insane.

Giordano is having a season for the ages and doesn't appear to be slowing down. The Flames have missed the playoffs for five straight years but Giordano has them sitting ninth in the Western Conference with 36 points. What might be most spectacular about Giordano is only nine of his 32 points (28 %) have come on the power play. He's been unstoppable and will be in action on a busy Saturday night in the NHL.

Projected Goalie Starters (all times Eastern)

Coyotes (Devan Dubnyk) at Kings (Jonathan Quick), 4:00
Blackhawks (Corey Crawford*) at Blue Jackets (Sergei Bobrovsky), 7:00
Rangers (Henrik Lundqvist*) at Hurricanes (Cam Ward), 7:00
Panthers (Roberto Luongo) at Penguins (Marc-Andre Fleury), 7:00
Lightning (Evgeni Nabokov) at Islanders (Jaroslav Halak), 7:00
Capitals (Braden Holtby) at Devils (Cory Schneider), 7:00
Senators (Craig Anderson) at Canadiens (Carey Price), 7:00
Flyers (Steve Mason) at Leafs (Jonathan Bernier), 7:00
Avalanche (Calvin Pickard) at Sabres (Jhonas Enroth*), 7:00
Predators (Pekka Rinne) at Wild (Darcy Kuemper), 8:00
Flames (Karri Ramo) at Canucks (Ryan Miller), 7:00
Blues (Jake Allen) at Sharks (Antti Niemi), 10:30

*Confirmed Starters

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

Injury News For Teams Playing Saturday

Lauri Korpikoski, LW (lower body) -- Is doubtful to play Saturday against the Kings.
Michael Stone, D (upper body) -- Will not play Saturday against the Kings.
Martin Hanzal, C (personal) -- Missed Friday's practice to be with his wife, who is expected to give birth to the couple's child.

Tyson Strachan, D (lower body) -- Missed his second straight practice Friday.
Cody McCormick, LW (lower body) -- Is considered week-to-week.
Josh Gorges, D (undisclosed) -- Expects to return to the lineup Saturday against the Avalanche.
Torrey Mitchell ,RW(foot) – Considered to be a week-to-week concern.
Mike Weber, D (undisclosed) -- Resumed skating Friday.

Mikael Backlund, C (abdominal surgery) -- Skated on his own prior to Thursday's practice.

Jiri Tlusty, LW (undisclosed) – Questionable.
John-Michael Liles, D (illness) – Questionable.
Alexander Semin, RW (lower body) -- Head coach Bill Peters hopes Semin will be able to return to action this weekend.
Jordan Staal, C (leg) – Coach Bill Peters said after Tuesday's morning skate that he's hopeful Staal will be ready to play by the end of December.

Corey Crawford, G (foot) -- Will return to the net Saturday against the Blue Jackets.
Duncan Keith, D (illness) – Questionable.

John Mitchell, C (leg), C – Questionable.
Semyon Varlamov, G (groin) -- Was placed on injured reserve Wednesday.

Blue Jackets
Brian Gibbons, C -- Is expected to miss the next 2-to-3 weeks with a knee injury.
Scott Hartnell, LW (finger) -- Will undergo X-rays on his non-displaced fractured finger Thursday night.
Mark Letestu, C -- Skated Wednesday for the second time since undergoing surgery just over two weeks ago.

Brad Boyes, RW (upper body) -- Was present during Friday's practice.
Shawn Thornton, RW -- The Panthers placed Thornton on injured reserve Tuesday.

Robyn Regehr, D (upper body) -- His upper-body injury is related to his hand and will keep him out for two-to-three weeks.

Matt Cooke, LW (hip) -- Practiced again Friday and appears optimistic about his chances of returning to the lineup Saturday against the Predators.
Ryan Carter, C (upper body) -- Was present for Friday's practice.
Josh Harding, G (sclerosis- Has yet to return to practice with Iowa teammates since being hospitalized for dehydration after playing two periods for AHL Iowa on Dec. 6.

Max Pacioretty, LW (upper body) -- Coach Michel Therrien said Friday that Pacioretty is being treated as day-to-day with his injury.
Lars Eller, C (upper body) – Questionable.
Mike Weaver, D (concussion) -- Was cleared for contact during Wednesday's practice.

Paul Gaustad, C (lower body) –Was placed on injured reserve Friday.

Jacob Josefson, C -- Was not on the ice for the Devils' pre-game warm-ups on Friday.
Daniel Zubrus, LW (leg laceration) -- Skated on his own Friday morning.
Michael Cammalleri, LW (lower body) – Questionable.
Adam Larsson, D (mumps) -- Was assigned to AHL Albany on Thursday for a conditioning assignment.
Damon Severson, D (ankle) -- Was placed on injured reserve Thursday.
Bryce Salvador, D (lower body) -- Has yet to resume skating since landing on injured reserve Nov. 17.

Michael Grabner, LW (lower body) -- Was moved to injured reserve Wednesday.

Lee Stempniak, RW -- Will undergo testing for the mumps virus and will be isolated from the Rangers for the next five days.
Derick Brassard, C (mumps) -- Will resume practicing with the Rangers on Friday.

Marc Methot, D (back) -- Coach Dave Cameron said Friday that Methot re-aggravated his back injury and is without a timetable for a return.
Chris Neil, RW (knee) -- Is expected to miss at least a couple of weeks.

Steve Mason, G (upper body) -- Has been diagnosed with an upper-body injury and will miss at least the next two games.

Beau Bennett, LW (knee) – Was diagnosed with the mumps virus Tuesday.
Chris Kunitz, LW (foot) -- Will likely return to the lineup Saturday against Florida.
Christian Ehrhoff, D -- Coach Mike Johnston said Friday that Ehrhoff was suffering from a lower-body injury and remains under evaluation.
Robert Bortuzzo, D (upper body) -- Tested negative for the mumps and has been cleared to rejoin the team.
Olli Maatta, D (mumps) -- Mattaa tested positive mumps virus and will remain in isolation for at least five days.

Tyler Kennedy, RW (shoulder) – Was on the ice for a workout with the Sharks' strength and conditioning coach Friday.

Jaden Schwartz, LW (foot), -- Placed on IR and is considered week-to-week.
Carl Gunnarsson, D (concussion) -- Is not ready to rejoin the team.
Brian Elliott, G (knee) -- Was a limited participant in Tuesday's practice.

Tyler Johnson, C (illness) – Doubtful.
Ben Bishop, G (lower body) -- Is now being viewed as doubtful to play in either of the Lightning's games during the upcoming weekend.

Roman Polak, D (ankle) --Practiced with the team Wednesday.
Leo Komarov, RW (head) -- Komarov skated with the Leafs' strength and conditioning coach prior to Friday's practice.

Zach Bogosian, D (lower body) -- Isn't likely to skate until the middle of January.
Tobias Enstrom, D (lower body) -- Won't resume skating until early January.
Mark Stuart, D-- Coach Paul Maurice announced Thursday that Stuart would be out until February with a lower-body injury.
Jacob Trouba, D-- Head coach Paul Maurice announced Tuesday that Trouba will be sidelined until February due to an upper body injury.

Kevin Shattenkirk, D, STL – Shattenkirk has been a revelation this season, and he isn't slowing down. The 25-year-old has recorded three goals and nine points in his last six games, putting him at 28 points in 32 games on the season. The offensive blueliner sits 19th overall in league scoring, with Flames' Mark Giordano being the only defenseman with more points this season. Shattenkirk has also contributed with 34 PIM and a plus-14 rating, making him an all-around fantasy stud. The offensive quarterback is money on a Blues' team that sits third in the Western Conference.

Nikita Kucherov, RW, TBL – Kucherov is currently riding a five-game point streak, recording four goals and three assists in that span. He logged a career-high 20:16 of ice time Friday and is fitting in perfectly on the second line with Valtteri Flippula and Ondrej Palat. Kucherov is up to 13 goals and 30 points in 34 games, to go with a very impressive plus-18 rating. The 21-year-old is on pace for 30 goals and 70 points and should be owned in almost all leagues right now. The youngster as emerged as a key contributor to a Bolts' team that now sits third in the Eastern Conference with 44 points.


Dan Boyle, D, NYR – Boyle is pointless in his last five games after missing two games with illness. Playing on the top power-play unit and second defensive pairing, the former Shark has managed just two goals in 13 games on the season. The 38-year-old is logging heavy minutes in New York, but has struggled offensively, as he is on pace to post his lowest point total in 14 years. After recording 36 points in 75 games with San Jose last season, the potential is still there for veteran to make an offensive impact in New York. He scored in back-to-back games before the illness, so expect him to get back on track very soon. He may be 38, but there's still some gas left in the tank.

Chris Higgins, LW, VAN – Alright, Higgins is struggling. The 31-year-old is pointless in his last eight games and is a minus-7 in that span. Don't be too worried, though, as the Canucks' have been struggling as a team, losing five straight games and scoring only seven goals in that span. The good news is Higgins is getting his chances, firing 13 shots on goal in his last five games. With five goals and 15 points on the season, Higgins is still on pace for a 40-point season. Eventually the Canucks will come around, and when they do, Higgins will return to a solid scorer who can be depended on in deeper formats.

Recommended Pickup

Kyle Turris, C, OTT – Turris has been on a tear of late, recording three goals and seven points in his past five games. The top-line center now has 23 points (seven goals) in 32 games, including two game-winning goals. After breaking out for 58 points last season, the 25-year-old could hit the 60-point mark in 2014-15. He is shooting the puck lots (81 SOG) and has never gone more than three games without appearing on the scoresheet. Owned in only half of ESPN leagues, Turris' consistency and top-line role makes him worth a look in most leagues right now.

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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Brady Trettenero
Brady is a passionate hockey fan and sports writer with over five years experience specializing in digital media, plus a degree in Broadcast Journalism. He's been writing for RotoWire since 2013.
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