Ramblings: Marner Rebounding, Gallagher Fired Up (Feb 11)
Marner Rebounding, Gallagher Fired Up, plus more…
Mitch Marner had the game of his career on Saturday, scoring two goals and adding three assists. One of the points was his 100th career point. The shots are finally starting to go in for Marner, who after long stretches without goals now has seven goals over his last 10 games. As much as he was thought to be slumping this season, he is now on pace to match his 61-point rookie season. Maybe you expected more given where you had to draft him, but if you look at the overall body of work now, he hasn’t disappointed as much as you think. I was able to pick him up off waivers earlier this season after one dissatisfied owner dropped him.
Patrick Marleau surprised his fantasy owners with a three-point game and six shots on goal. Marleau entered the game with just one point in his previous seven games and two points in his previous 16 games. So you can’t necessarily be blamed if you’ve decided to move on.
With a goal and an assist on Saturday, Nazem Kadri now has 13 points (4g-9a) in his last 10 games. Prior to that stretch Kadri had just one point in his previous 18 games. So he’s probably safe to use again while he’s on this line with Marner and Marleau.
Craig Anderson pulled midway through the first period after allowing three goals on 10 shots. Considering how the rest of his season has gone, Anderson had been settling in with three consecutive wins entering this game to go with a 2.54 GAA and .930 SV% over the last five games. The Senators were a disaster in the first period of this game and have been for much of the season, but they have one of the league’s most favorable schedules during the fantasy playoffs. So I think I’ll retain Anderson anyway and see what happens. I do have other goalies in case his season goes sideways again.
Mark Stone returned to the Senators’ lineup on Saturday, recording two assists. Don’t forget to get him back in your lineup.
P.K. Subban returning to Montreal is always an event. The visit to the Montreal children’s hospital with some Nashville teammates was heartwarming. But this game provided evidence that there was at least one teammate that didn’t admire him as much as the Montreal community at large does.
— NHL GIFs (@NHLGIFs) February 11, 2018
Here’s the post-game interviews from both Brendan Gallagher and Subban. Hockey interviews are often mundane, but not these ones. Throwing shade, as the kids like to say.
Subban was held without a point in nearly 27 minutes of icetime. But with 43 points in 54 games, he leads the Preds in scoring. Not surprisingly, he also has more points than anyone on the Habs. It’s easy for fans to say that the Habs never should have traded Subban, but it makes you wonder how disliked he was among certain people in the Canadiens organization that they felt they had no choice but to trade him.
Lost in the feud was the fact that Gallagher scored his team-leading 20th goal of the season. Players that are fired up often deliver. In the black cloud that has been the Habs’ season, Gallagher has been one bright spot recently with goals in back-to-back games, points in four consecutive games, and nine points over his last ten games. And with a 5on5 SH% of just 5.95%, Gallagher is a great buy-low candidate.
Gallagher’s linemate Artturi Lehkonen recorded two assists in this game, giving him five points over this last three games. Up to this point, Lehkonen hasn’t caught a break at all this season. But if you go to his Dobber player profile, you’ll see that the numbers are all green. As in buy-low green. We’re talking about a 966 PDO, a 5.3 SH%, and the brightest green of them all, a 5on5 SH% of 5%. After Lehkonen nearly reached 20 goals last season, I pegged him as a potential deep sleeper. Lehkonen is worth consideration in deep leagues at this point, especially those in which a player like Gallagher is already owned.
There was bad news for both teams in the Sabres/Bruins matchup. Despite the win, the Sabres lost Jack Eichel from this game with a lower-body injury. Eichel will be re-examined on Sunday. Here’s how it looked, which was kind of awkward.
Hope Eichel is okay, this didn’t look good pic.twitter.com/sTkAmK7pnb
— Marina Molnar (@mkmolnar) February 11, 2018
Many fantasy owners would have deployed Tuukka Rask thinking that he would be able to continue his win streak with an easy home matchup against the Sabres. But as it stands, Rask’s win streak ended at eight games, while he was tagged with a regulation loss for the first time since November 26. In fact, this was the first game that Rask had allowed more than two goals in nearly a month. Quite a run.
Rask will receive a rest on Sunday, as Anton Khudobin will start against the Devils. Khudobin is one of the league’s better backups with a 11-3-4 record and a 2.28 GAA and a .925 SV%, so he’s a sneaky Sunday start if you need a final push to your goaltending stats for the week. For more Sunday starters, check out Goalie Post.
Brian Elliott also left Saturday’s game with a lower-body injury… in the shootout. Yes, that can happen. After stopping five shootout attempts, Michal Neuvirth earned the win in spite of not playing a single minute in regulation or overtime. According to the HNIC panel, that’s the first time in NHL history that a goalie has earned a win while only playing in the shootout. It’s like a baseball pitcher winning a game after throwing just one pitch. You just have to be in the right place at the right time to earn the win.
Should Elliott miss any time, the inconsistent Neuvirth will need to battle Alex Lyon for playing time. Lyon earned back-to-back starts earlier this month while Elliott was injured. Hopefully Elliott’s injury in the shootout isn’t related to the injury he suffered on Saturday.
With two assists on Saturday, Shayne Gostisbehere now has a five-game point streak in which he has nine points (1g-8a). He is one of five defensemen to reach the 40-point mark this season. Without peeking at the stats, can you name the others? I mentioned one of them earlier.
On Vincent Lecavalier jersey retirement night, Andrei Vasilevskiy stole the show with this save. Sure, he allowed three goals in this game, but he did so on 47 shots and earned the win.
GRAND. THEFT. ANDREI.
— #VL4 (@TBLightning) February 11, 2018
Devan Dubnyk’s shutout on Saturday was well-earned, as he had to stop 44 shots. You’re probably normally starting Dubnyk anyway, but you’ll want him in your lineup especially when the Wild are playing at home. Dubnyk is 14-2-4 at the Xcel Energy Center this season, while the Wild are 9-0-3 in their past 12 games there.
It’s been mainly a down season for Charlie Coyle, but he rewarded his remaining fantasy owners with two goals on Saturday. It’s worth mentioning that his points-per-game pace this season (0.59) isn’t much lower than last season’s (0.68). Sometimes there’s a fine line between success and failure in fantasy.
Elias Lindholm assisted on both of Brock McGinn’s goals in an identical fashion (from behind the net). Lindholm now has four points over his last three games. At his current pace, Lindholm will reach 47 points. Maybe he’s settling in as a 40-50 point player, although he still is only 23 years old.
In a game that saw the Sharks take a 3-0 lead, only to see the Oilers storm back to take a 4-3 lead, then the Sharks retake the lead for good, Joe Pavelski was able to pile on some impressive numbers. Pavelski scored two goals and added two assists on six shots on goal, which gives him two goals in back-to-back games. While Pavelski has a 5on5 SH% as low as 5.8, you could trade for him at a lower price than you would have at the start of the season.
The Joe Thornton injury hasn’t impacted Pavelski as much as it has young scorers Kevin Labanc and Timo Meier. Since Jumbo Joe’s injury, Labanc has seven points over his last eight games and has been added to the first-unit power play. Meier, meanwhile, has four points over his last four games while playing on Pavelski’s line. Both players are worth keeping an eye on, as it appears that Thornton won’t be back anytime soon – maybe even at all. Remember that Thornton is on a one-year contract worth $8 million, and GM Doug Wilson could decide to move on from him after this season.
If you’d like to hear me discuss fantasy hockey, I’ll be on Nick Alberga’s podcast this weekend. Follow him on Twitter @thegoldenmuzzy for the details.
And of course, for more fantasy hockey information, you can follow me on Twitter @Ian_Gooding.
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