Ramblings: Laine Scores Five Goals, A New Line in Vegas, and Blue Blazers (Nov 25)

Ian Gooding


Laine Scores Five Goals, A New Line in Vegas, and Blue Blazers

Patrik Laine had a night to remember on Saturday, as did another Winnipeg resident (more on that in a moment). Laine scored five goals to push the Jets to an 8-4 win over the Blues. With the five-goal game, Laine has vaulted into first place in the NHL with 19 goals (and only three assists!) In particular, that’s an outpouring of goals lately – 11 scored in his last four games. If you were worried about Laine’s production because he was on the Jets’ third line earlier in the season, then you shouldn’t have been. The cream eventually rises to the top.

Yes, Laine’s linemates were able to rack up a pile of assists on all those goals. Bryan Little and Kyle Connor were each credited with four assists. Connor now has two 4-point games over his last four games, while Little has eight points over his last five games.

With Laine’s five goals, someone won a million dollars. I’ll bet none of you have won that much money playing in fantasy leagues. Don’t worry, neither have I. But I’m sure a few daily fantasy players won some smaller amounts. By the way, I’d shop at Safeway more, but they’ve closed a bunch of stores in my area. Ah well.

For the Blues, Vladimir Tarasenko broke a 10-game goalless drought with his seventh goal of the season. His owners have probably been left wanting more recently, as he had recorded just three assists over his last seven games entering Saturday’s game.


Laine’s five-goal game wasn’t the only hat trick on Saturday. Andreas Johnsson was able to earn his very quickly, scoring three goals in the first period to help the Leafs to an eventual 6-0 win over the Flyers. Even though Johnsson is Dobber Prospects’ top-ranked Toronto left wing, this goal explosion wouldn’t have directly helped very many fantasy teams. Johnsson hadn’t recorded a point over his previous five games, and he’s only 1 percent owned in Yahoo leagues. Maybe this effort will help him get noticed more in markets outside Toronto (assuming you tune out all the Toronto news in your sports media consumption).

In his fifth start of the season, Garret Sparks stopped all 34 shots he faced to pick up the shutout. Sparks generally only starts back-to-backs, but he’s earned wins in four of his five starts. You might not be all that confident in him since he’s only truly succeeded at the AHL level, but he’s at least worth a stream start every time he starts, no?


Yet another hat trick for you, this one from Jake Guentzel. The Penguins center scored goals number 9, 10 and 11 to give him five goals over his last four games. This was Guentzel’s first hat trick in the regular season, even though he had already recorded two playoff hat tricks. Although none of the goals were scored on the power play, Guentzel’s value is buoyed by the fact that he’s on the first-unit power play at the moment. Usual first-unit member Patric Hornqvist is out of the lineup at the moment with a concussion.

The Guentzel hat trick also made Kris Letang owners happy, as he assisted on all three of Guentzel’s goals. Tanger also has five assists over his last three games.

Tanner Pearson should be on your radar if you need a left wing. With a goal on Saturday, Pearson is off to a great start in Pittsburgh, scoring goals in three of his past four games. His linemates? Phil Kessel and Evgeni Malkin. You shouldn't need me to tell you that you can’t get much better than that.

With a goal on Saturday, Cam Atkinson has now scored a goal in seven consecutive games. Over that seven-game stretch Atkinson has nine goals and 13 points. In related news, Dobber has begun construction on an Atkinson statue outside his house.


Jeff Skinner scored again on Saturday, his 18th goal of the season and his fourth over the last three games. To the commenter in my last Ramblings: you’re right, it’s not fair that I would say that Max Domi will slow down without mentioning Skinner as well. He is currently shooting at a 22.5 percent clip this season, which is a full 10 percent higher than his career average. So he absolutely will not continue to score at this pace. Selling high is always an option. However, Skinner exceeding his career high of 37 goals is a very real possibility. Did he ever have a linemate in Carolina that possesses the high-end skills of Jack Eichel?

Having said all that, I’m sticking with my pick of Buffalo to make the playoffs and Montreal to just miss out. Without me showing all my work, let’s just agree to disagree, okay?


With three assists in the Capitals’ 5-3 win over the Rangers on Saturday, John Carlson now has 20 assists on the season. Following Saturday’s game, Carlson was third in both assists and points among defensemen. In case you were worried that Carlson’s 68-point effort last season was a fluke, Carlson is now on pace for 93 points after the first quarter of the season. It’s probably fair to say now that Carlson is for real, which means he should be considered a top-tier fantasy defenseman.

I added Tom Wilson in one league when his suspension was about to end. I had envisioned that he’d be a depth option who I could plug in if I needed help in PIM that week. I’ve learned that since his suspension, I simply can’t keep him on the bench any longer. With another goal on Saturday, Wilson has goals in three consecutive games, a five-game point streak, and points in six of seven games played.

As we expected, Wilson has played the vast majority of his minutes with Alex Ovechkin. But as an added bonus, Wilson has also logged at least 20 minutes in each of his last five games. The reason is regular power-play minutes – something that used to be virtually nonexistent for Wilson. Many scoffed at the massive contract that Wilson was awarded in the offseason, especially when considering his needless suspension. Yet so far it’s clear that Wilson has arrived as a multicategory stud.


Max Pacioretty was a popular drop of the week from earlier in the season, but you may want to check up on his availability again. With two goals on six shots on Saturday, Patches now has a five-game point streak with six goals over that span. This after he sputtered out of the gate with just four points over his first 16 games.

The center that is responsible for revitalizing Patches? Try Cody Eakin, who has largely been written off as a fantasy afterthought. So it’s worth mentioning that Eakin has five goals and nine points over his last 11 games. These are solid numbers, but anyone adding Eakin will also want to keep an eye on a potential return date for Paul Stastny.

Alex Tuch, the third man on this line, has really been establishing himself. With a goal and an assist in the Golden Knights’ 6-0 win over San Jose, Tuch has scored at a point per game this season (17 points in 17 games). You may not have noticed because he missed the first eight games of the season with a lower-body injury.

If nothing else, Marc-Andre Fleury has been a shutout machine this season. In stopping all 33 shots he faced on Saturday, Fleury now has a league-leading five shutouts, including shutouts on back-to-back nights (he also shut out the Flames on Friday).

If your league counts penalty minutes and Evander Kane is on your team, you were in luck on Saturday. Kane accumulated 26 PIM after both he and Sharks’ coach Peter DeBoer were tossed from Saturday’s game. The penalties were for tripping, unsportsmanlike conduct, abuse of officials, and abusive language. Very curious about what was said that would result in these penalties and whether supplemental discipline is being considered.

Also of note for the Sharks: After posting a shutout against the Canucks on Friday, Aaron Dell started again on Saturday. He obviously wasn’t as lucky, allowing six goals on 36 shots. The Sharks put out a tweet earlier in the day earlier in the day saying that Martin Jones would start on Saturday, but then updated it a couple hours later saying that Dell would start. The Sharks next play on Tuesday against Buffalo, so Jones owners should keep an eye on his status in case there’s something wrong.


The legend of Mikko Rantanen continues to be written in 2018-19. With the game-winning goal late in the third period and an assist on Nathan MacKinnon’s first-period goal, Rantanen now leads the NHL in scoring with 38 points. MacKinnon is now second with 35 points. Rantanen continues to be white hot with multiple points in each of his last four games and nine points (3g-6a) over that span. It’s becoming clear that last year’s 84-point breakout was no fluke.


A couple firsts for the Canucks in the goal department on Saturday: Hobey Baker winner Adam Gaudette scored his first-ever NHL goal, while Sam Gagner scored his first goal of the season.

After being recalled from the AHL, Gagner is once again being used as a power-play specialist, logging first-unit minutes with the Canucks. But in case you are in any way interested in Gagner for fantasy purposes, a Brock Boeser return could push Gagner back down the lineup. Gagner has more offensive upside than numerous Canucks forwards, so it wouldn’t make sense from a scoring standpoint to send him back down to the AHL. But that doesn’t mean it won’t happen again, thanks to the surplus of unnecessary player acquisitions the Canucks have made.

Your Elias Pettersson highlight of the night, which was a laser beam goal with an assist from Dion Phaneuf


Finally, a couple of random thoughts that aren’t fantasy-hockey related, but I’ll share anyway. You can watch the video clip in the link if you like, since it was an interesting observation about where the RFA market could be headed. But I couldn’t help staring at that picture like I just woke up and realized I had a dream where absolutely nothing made sense. In other words, I never thought in my lifetime I would see Brian Burke in one of those baby blue Hockey Night in Canada retro blazers. This not long after he criticized the Hurricanes for their post-game “peewee” celebrations. Huh. I wonder what next week will bring. Oh yeah, probably news about the player listed below.

I thought it was awesome that HNIC brought Dave Hodge back, as he was a significant part of my hockey experience growing up. I am actually old enough to remember the night when he was fired from HNIC. I don’t remember the pen flip, but I do remember him saying something to the effect of “We won’t be going to the end of the Montreal/Philadelphia game because that’s how the network is” at about 8 pm Pacific time when the CBC wanted to switch to other programming. I can remember that moment, but I can’t remember what I ate for breakfast on Friday or where I left my sunglasses.


For more fantasy hockey information, you can follow me on Twitter @Ian_Gooding.


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