Jack Hughes got the upper hand in the Hughes brother’s first NHL matchup, both on the scoresheet and the win column. After being held without a point in his first six NHL games, Hughes now has points in back-to-back games. With Nico Hischier out, Hughes is being used on the top line and is also seeing first-unit power-play time. I wrote some more about Hughes in the Friday Ramblings.
Here’s Jack’s first NHL goal, scored in the first period on the power play.
It wasn’t a total loss for Quinn Hughes, as he was moved onto the Canucks’ first-unit power play during the second period of this game. The deployment of Alex Edler in place of Hughes on PP1 has been a bone of contention among many Canucks’ fans on Twitter and Vancouver sports talk radio. Even though Edler is a fine fantasy defenseman in his own right, Hughes possesses higher offensive upside, and he sure hasn’t looked outmatched during his brief NHL time. I’d still treat this as a fluid situation in which Travis Green could still turn to Edler on PP1, but at this point Hughes should be picked up in the remaining one-third of Yahoo leagues in which he is unowned.
With the shutout on Saturday, Mackenzie Blackwood now has wins in back-to-back games, which are the only two wins that the Devils have this season. I wouldn’t be surprised if Blackwood is back between the pipes for the Devils’ next game, which is on Friday against Arizona. However, as Adam mentioned in this week’s Looking Ahead, that game is the only one for Jersey next week. As much as Cory Schneider “should” be the starter, you might be okay to stash Blackwood if you have the roster space, now that the Devils seem to be righting the ship.
Forget starting ex-Canuck Schneider against his former team. Blackwood has earned shutouts in two of three career games against the Canucks and has won all three of those games, dating back to last season.
Until Saturday, Tyson Jost hadn’t taken the NHL by storm the way he thought he might after his junior career. However, he recorded his first NHL hat trick in the Avalanche’s 6-2 win over Tampa Bay. With a limited 12 minutes of icetime per game, Jost may simply be a victim of the Avalanche’s improved depth from their offseason moves. Or the 21-year-old may simply need a few more years to reach his potential. For now, his situation is on the Avs’ third line with Colin Wilson and J.T. Compher. By the way, Wilson assisted on all of Jost’s goals, while Compher assisted on two of them.
If you’re going to react to Jost’s hat trick in your single-season fantasy leagues, you’ll probably want to look for more sustained production first, or at least more minutes. As far as keeper leagues go, consider him more of a long-term project.
Pavel Francouz stopped 44 of 46 shots in earning his second win in as many starts this season. With the Avs’ success this season, Francouz looks like a solid streaming option whenever he starts and is also widely available (just 2 percent owned in Yahoo leagues).
It was none other than Corey Perry who brought the Dallas Stars from the dead on Saturday, scoring a goal and adding two assists with a plus-2 in a win over the Flyers. The points were Perry’s first of the season in his third game with the Stars. To attempt to inject some offense, Jim Montgomery spread his top players through three lines, which resulted in Jamie Benn and Roope Hintz being grouped with Perry. With the Stars earning a much-needed win, expect this line combination to stick for the time being.
By the way, Hintz scored again, which gives him six goals on the season. For more on Hintz and the Stars, see my Ramblings from yesterday.
Since I mentioned struggling Stars yesterday, I’ll turn my attention to the team the Stars defeated for today.
Still nothing from Shayne Gostisbehere. I know you’re getting impatient, so do what you have to do. I’m still going to give the Flyers a bit of a pass here, as their season so far has been a trip to Europe, followed by one home game, then a Western Canada road trip for three games, then back to Philly for this game. All those frequent flyer miles (pardon the pun) and the time changes will result in a few slow starts. I honestly believe that travel is not discussed enough when evaluating player performance. Ghost has at least upped his shot total (9 SOG in his last 2 GP after 5 SOG in his first 4 GP), which is at least a step in the right direction.
With no points himself, James van Riemsdyk’s ownership level has also been falling. In fact, I think I’ve seen multiple questions from people asking if he should be dropped. You can at least give JVR an A for effort, as he has taken nine shots on goal in each of the last two games. In fact, he leads the Flyers with 32 shots, a total that places him in the top 10 in the league. That’s zero percent shooting accuracy, friends. Nowhere to go but up. Take a flier (another pun) if he’s on your waiver wire.
With a goal on Saturday, Nick Suzuki now has goals in back-to-back games. With usage in the bottom 6 and the Habs even considering him for a healthy scratch in their practice lines recently, I had my doubts that he’d be able to stick around all season. The fact that he is being used with Nick Cousins and Nate Thompson isn’t ideal, but he’s making a case to remain on the big club and perhaps even be considered to move up the lineup. In the end I wouldn’t consider him a Calder candidate, but he has a very bright future.
The Leafs have Frederik Andersen to thank for their 4-3 overtime win over Boston, who took double-digit shots on Andersen in all three regulation periods. All in all, Andersen was able to stop 43 of 46 shots. Not surprisingly, Andersen is in the top 5 in saves again this season. Since the 2016-17 season, no goalie has more saves than Andersen (nearly 6,000). If Andersen is in fact kept to below 60 games to keep him rested for the playoffs, then he could be looking at a lower save (and win) total. The Leafs are still in the top half of the league in shots allowed per game, which will keep that save total high regardless.
Morgan Rielly scored his first two goals of the season on Saturday, the second of which was the overtime winner. Despite the low goal total, Rielly is still producing at over a point per game (11 points in 9 games).
Andreas Johnsson left Saturday’s game with a leg injury resulting from a blocked shot.
The league leader in saves is none other than Marc-Andre Fleury. Number 29 made 29 saves in earning a shutout against his former team in Pittsburgh. In fact, Flower is far and away the league leader with 268 saves, with only one other goalie (David Rittich) having more than 200 saves. Not surprisingly, Fleury also leads the league with six wins.
Fleury played 61 games last season, and Gerard Gallant would probably like to use him in at least that many games this season. Fleury is now 34 years old and has experienced his share of injuries, so we still have to cross our fingers that he will remain healthy. If that happens, Flower should be considered a top-5 fantasy goalie.
Injury alert: Aleksander Barkov played just three shifts in the first period before leaving Saturday’s game against Nashville. The Panthers did not provide an update after the game, so hopefully they provide something on Sunday. Barkov has yet to score his first goal of the season, and now fantasy owners in weekly formats have to consider benching him for next week.
In case you were wondering about the low icetime of Jonathan Huberdeau and Evgenii Dadonov (13 minutes each) on Saturday, both were benched late in the third period and overtime. Not an injury issue, but Coach Q wasn’t happy about something.
Maybe I spoke too soon about Jonathan Quick, who entered Saturday’s game with a league-worst 6.43 GAA and .793 SV%. As Quick continues to get dropped en masse as a result, he rebounded nicely with 23 saves on 24 shots in earning a 4-1 win over Calgary. The only blemish was a Mikael Backlund penalty shot goal with just two minutes remaining. I’m still not overly confident in Quick, and I also believe that Jack Campbell will factor more into Kings’ goaltending than he did last season. But if you’ve been super patient with Quick (or asleep at the wheel of your fantasy team), you were at least rewarded on Saturday.
Doughty did not receive a penalty, and rightly so for what was a clean hip check. All of this might not have happened if the game wasn’t one sided at this point.
For more fantasy hockey information, or to reach out to me directly, you can follow me on Twitter @Ian_Gooding.