Crosby making progress, won’t play vs. Sabres

Sidney Crosby will miss his third straight game when the Pittsburgh Penguins face the Buffalo Sabres on Monday night.

The 31-year-old is dealing with an upper-body injury. Crosby noted he is feeling better but won't suit up for a Penguins team that is winless since he exited the lineup.

"I'm not playing tonight, but things are going in the right direction," Crosby said, according to Michelle Crechiolo of NHL.com. "Happy with the way I'm feeling."

Crosby had been on a three-game point streak prior to his injury. The Penguins sit last in the Eastern Conference and have just two wins in their last 10 games.

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Fantasy: 5 moves you need to make in Week 7

Every Monday, theScore will offer a weekly fantasy hockey column detailing five moves you should make. Ownership percentages (as of Nov. 18) and position eligibility are courtesy of Yahoo.

Buy low on Erik Karlsson

Team: Sharks
Position: D
Ownership: 99 percent

Karlsson finally got the monkey off his back on Saturday, potting his first goal as a Shark. That could open the floodgates for the two-time Norris Trophy winner who has been a disappointment through his first 21 games in San Jose, recording just 12 points.

On a per-60 minute basis, Karlsson is shooting more, getting more scoring chances, and more high-danger scoring chances than the past three seasons, indicating some positive regression may be coming. The human element can't be forgotten here either, as Karlsson could succeed more after getting comfortable in his new surroundings.

With enough persistence, Karlsson's owners might be persuaded to move him for a fraction of his actual value. It wouldn't be surprising if the Swede finishes the season as a top-25 fantasy player.

Add Mikko Koskinen

Icon Sportswire / Icon Sportswire / Getty

Team: Oilers
Position: G
Ownership: 14 percent

Koskinen is quickly emerging as Edmonton's No. 1 goalie. He's started half as many games as Cam Talbot, but it's evident which goalie has been more effective.

Stat Talbot Koskinen
GP 14 7
Rec. 5-8-1 4-2-0
GAA 3.30 2.60
SV% .888 .917
SO 0 1

Koskinen, the more reliable netminder, will see his starts increase as head coach Todd McLellan's desperation rises.

Stream Craig Smith

Team: Predators
Position: RW
Ownership: 18 percent

Smith is skating on the Predators' top line with Ryan Johansen and Filip Forsberg in the absence of Viktor Arvidsson, who's out six-to-eight weeks with a broken thumb.

After scoring 25 goals in 2017-18, Smith has been somewhat snakebitten so far this season, with just five tallies despite averaging a career-high 3.35 shots per game.

Add Nate Schmidt in deeper leagues

Jeff Bottari / National Hockey League / Getty

Team: Golden Knights
Position: D
Ownership: 7 percent

Schmidt served his 20-game suspension and returned to the Golden Knights' lineup on Sunday against the Oilers. The smooth-skating blue-liner racked up a career-high 36 points a year ago while leading his team in ice time.

Schmidt doesn't warrant a pick up in standard-sized leagues, but he's worth owning in any league with 14-plus teams.

Pick up Casey DeSmith

Team: Penguins
Position: G
Ownership: 34 percent

Matt Murray has been brutal this season, posting an .877 save percentage and a 4.08 goals-against average over 11 games. That's a far cry from the composed goalie we saw backstop the Penguins to two Stanley Cups.

DeSmith, on the other hand, has been magnificent in 11 games, sporting a .930 save percentage and a 2.25 goals-against average.

The Pens sit dead last in the Eastern Conference, so Murray's leash might get short quickly, which will lead to more starts for DeSmith.

(Advanced stats courtesy: Natural Stat Trick)

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Matthews says shoulder has progressed well upon return to practice

Although he was draped in a red non-contact jersey, Auston Matthews rejoined the Toronto Maple Leafs on Sunday for his first full practice since injuring his left shoulder Oct. 27, and says the recovery is coming along nicely.

"Kind of just taking it day by day," Matthews said, per Dave McCarthy of NHL.com. "It feels a lot better. I think it's progressed quite well. It's still not all there but hopefully it continues to progress, and I can get out there as soon as possible."

Matthews was given a four-week recovery timeline upon being diagnosed with the injury, which would keep him out until Nov. 24 if the prognosis is to be taken verbatim. He's missed nine games so far, and the Maple Leafs play four times in the coming week.

"You'll just know (when you're ready), I guess," Matthews said. "Taking contact, feeling back in game shape, being able to do a full practice, all that kind of stuff. A lot of protocol you have to go through. In all honesty, it doesn't really matter. I'm going to come back when I feel ready. It's great to see us getting a lot of wins though."

Prior to being sidelined, Matthews had recorded 10 goals and six assists in 11 games. Toronto's still managed a 6-3 record in his absence, and the club currently sits one point outside first place in the Atlantic Division.

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Schmidt makes season debut after 20-game suspension

Nate Schmidt's 20-game suspension is up, and he's in the lineup for his season debut as the Vegas Golden Knights battle the Edmonton Oilers on Sunday evening.

Schmidt was suspended in September for a violating the terms of the NHL and NHLPA's performance-enhancing substances program, which the 27-year-old blue-liner strongly disagreed with due to the "microscopic" amount of tainted substance discovered in his system.

His return to the lineup should be big for the Golden Knights, who have sputtered out of the gate with an 8-11-1 record in his absence. Last season, Schmidt appeared in 76 games, recording a career-high 36 points while logging over 22 minutes per contest.

In the midst of his ban, Schmidt signed a six-year contract extension worth $5.95 million annually.

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Canucks recall Gagner from AHL Marlies

Sam Gagner is headed back to the NHL.

The Vancouver Canucks have recalled the veteran forward from the AHL's Toronto Marlies, the team announced Sunday.

Gagner was waived by the Canucks on Oct. 1 and loaned to the Marlies one day later.

The 29-year-old produced seven goals and 15 points in 15 AHL games this season.

Gagner carries a $3.15-million cap hit after Vancouver inked him to a three-year, $9.45-million deal in July 2017.

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Powerful Design: Stamkos’ perfect feed caps off textbook passing sequence

The Tampa Bay Lightning's second goal in an 11-second span on the power play against the Philadelphia Flyers on Saturday was a shining example of the vision and skill Tampa Bay's most dangerous players possess.

It was Brayden Point's second of the game and fifth in the last two contests, but it wouldn't have been possible without Steven Stamkos' precision, nor the awareness shown by both Nikita Kucherov and Victor Hedman.

Let's take a look at how they did it.

As we begin, the public address announcer in Philadelphia hasn't even had time to announce Tyler Johnson's marker that made it 4-1 for Tampa Bay moments earlier, but the Lightning are pressing again. What was a 5-on-3 is now a 5-on-4.

J.T. Miller fires the puck into the Flyers' zone, and it heads to Hedman at the blue line after bouncing off Dale Weise's left skate.

Hedman spots Kucherov - who's out of view on the broadcast - and taps it in his direction.

Kucherov, camped out on the edge of the circle, surveys the scene before receiving the puck and notices Stamkos (at the point to Hedman's left) turning on the jets down the wing.

Like Hedman did just a second or two earlier, Kucherov directs a perfect pass without wasting any time controlling the puck, and it slides toward Stamkos, who remains unmarked at the point on the left wing.

Stamkos receives it while cruising into the slot, and has to decide whether to shoot or try to find Brayden Point, who's positioned in front of the net.

Now, let's pick it up from another angle for a better view. Flyers defenseman Andrew MacDonald drops to the ice, perhaps expecting a shot.

Despite having an extremely tight window for a potential pass to Point, Stamkos somehow feathers a perfect feed under the sliding MacDonald and right to his red-hot teammate.

Point makes no mistake on the redirection and it's in the net.

Stamkos' nose for the net and impressive hand-eye coordination were the biggest factors on this goal, but the Lightning's power-play structure and passing ability showed why they're one of the most effective units in the NHL.

(Images courtesy: NHL.com)

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