Ramblings: Injuries Hit Crosby, Marner; Pageau Scores Again; Jonesing For a Win (Nov 10)

Ian Gooding


Two important fantasy players were forced to leave Saturday’s action due to injury. One is already expected to miss time, while the other’s status could be in doubt for another day or two.

Sidney Crosby left Saturday’s game against Chicago early in the third period with a lower-body injury after blocking a shot. Mike Sullivan said that Crosby would be evaluated further and the team would have more information on Monday. Here are the two plays in which Crosby was injured:

The Penguins next play on Tuesday, so those in weekly leagues will need to consider another option. The Penguins are also missing Kris Letang and were without Evgeni Malkin for much of the season, so they are dealing with their share of injuries to key players yet again. And depth players too, for that matter.

Maybe after a completely out-of-nowhere 60-point season, Erik Gustafsson should have been at the top of fantasy bust lists. So far it’s looking that way with no points in nine games and counting. It is worth mentioning that Gustafsson had first-unit power-play time on Saturday along with 25:28 in icetime, while Adam Boqvist was a healthy scratch. Gustafsson also had a 68.18 CF% (15 shots for/7 against), so by many accounts he played a solid game. He’ll have another chance to break that slump today (Sunday) against Toronto, so he might be worth holding onto for just one more day.


The injury imp also hit Mitch Marner, as he will not travel with the Leafs for Sunday’s game in Chicago. Marner suffered an ankle injury at the start of the second period of Saturday’s game. Sunday’s game will mark the first time Marner has missed a game since his rookie season of 2016-17.

Here’s how it happened:

With Marner out, Kasperi Kapanen took some shifts with John Tavares. Kapanen skated a season-high 21 minutes in this game and could benefit if Marner is out for an extended period. According to the Last 3 Game Lines tool, Kapanen had been on a line with Alexander Kerfoot and Ilya Mikheyev before the Marner injury. Jason Spezza, who has been a frequent healthy scratch in his first season with the Leafs, could also enter the lineup.

When my son plays road hockey with me, I tell him no slapshots up close. I guess I better not show him this shootout goal from Claude Giroux.


Patrick Maroon scored two goals on six shots on goal to lead the Lightning to a 5-3 win over the Sabres on Saturday, as well as a two-game sweep over the Sabres in the Global Series games in Stockholm. Maroon’s goals were his first goals in 12 games, as he had not hit the twine since the Bolts’ season opener against Florida.

Kevin Shattenkirk assisted on both of Maroon’s goals, which gives him six helpers and a plus-6 over his last four games. He’s also shooting the puck plenty, as his 42 SOG is second on the team to only Steven Stamkos. With 13 points in 15 games, Shattenkirk has enjoyed a resurgence so far in Tampa Bay. He has certainly exceeded expectations with this level of production, especially with how things ended for him in New York.

Curtis McElhinney stopped 40 of 43 shots to earn the win, his second in a row. He might be a backup goalie to target every time he starts, but his ratios (3.76 GAA, .906 SV%) are down from what he was able to post during his time as a Carolina and Toronto backup. Backing up Vezina Trophy winner Andrei Vasilevskiy also means that McElhinney probably won’t start with the same frequency that he did with the Hurricanes either.


Jean-Gabriel Pageau has now scored goals in four consecutive games (five over that span). As Adam mentioned in the latest Looking Ahead, Pageau is worthy of a short-term pickup because of the Senators’ favorable schedule. I will add that of the Sens’ four games, three are on “off” nights – Monday (2 games), Wednesday (5 games), and Friday (5 games), which should be better for avoiding scheduling conflicts.  

However, I wouldn’t make a long-term commitment to Pageau. For one, he’s had some positive puck luck, as a 20.0 SH% would suggest. As well, he’s averaged just 24 seconds per game on the power play, although he received second-unit minutes on Saturday. If your league counts plus-minus, do you really believe he can build on his current league-leading plus-16? (No, that is not a mistake. A Senator leads the league in plus-minus. Go check it if you don’t believe me.) The Sens’ current situation will allow players like Pageau to be able to contribute in many offensive situations that they normally wouldn’t see, yet Pageau isn’t always used in those situations.

By the way, Pageau’s first-period goal, the Sens’ third of the period, came just four seconds after teammate Vladislav Namestnikov’s tally.


On Saturday, Shea Weber was able to do what he does best. Weber scored two power-play goals while firing seven shots in the Canadiens’ 3-2 win over Los Angeles. Weber now has goals in back-to-back games and points in three consecutive games. After a slow start, he has been producing at a point-per-game pace with 11 points in his last 11 games. He has also been taking his shots with 46 SOG in 17 games (tied for second on the team). Fantasy owners will have to cross their fingers for Weber to stay healthy for at least most of the season, something that didn’t happen over the last two seasons.


Nicklas Backstrom scored two third-period goals with six shots total in the Capitals’ 5-2 win over Vegas. If you thought that it had been a while since Backstrom had scored a goal, you were right. Backstrom had not scored a goal in his previous nine games. Despite that, he is on a point pace that wouldn’t be a huge dropoff from what he has produced in recent seasons.

John Carlson assisted on both of Backstrom’s goals. His two assists give him five points over his last two games to add to his amazing season. As of the time of this writing, Carlson (28 points) leads all defensemen in scoring by a full ten points. It’s way too early for this, but Carlson could be an early favorite for the Norris Trophy. Oh, and I’ve already decided that I’m keeping Carlson for next year.

With a goal on Saturday, Tom Wilson now has eight points in his last four games. Between his scoring and his hit total, Wilson is literally running wild in banger leagues. The only downside for Wilson (and you may not even consider this a downside) is his penalty minute total. With 18 PIM, Wilson is on pace for a sub-100 PIM season. Focusing on scoring is always better for the ol’ fantasy value anyway.


Speaking of early award favorites, Cale Makar is making a serious case for the Calder Trophy. Makar scored twice while taking seven shots in the Avalanche’s 4-2 win over Columbus. Makar now has six points over his last three games to go with a point-per-game pace (17 points in 17 games) this season. He’s one of those unique prospects that receives a 10/10 in prospect upside, which you can now check out on the Frozen Tools player profiles. To put it another way, the sky’s the limit for Makar.

Nick Foligno may face some supplementary discipline for this hit on Pierre-Edouard Bellemare.


In my first year of playing fantasy hockey on the Yahoo platform, game-winning goals was a category. Shortly after that, it disappeared. Yet if your league still counts GWG, David Perron is your man. With the overtime winner on Saturday, Perron now has a league-leading five game-winning goals. The Blues swept their four-game road trip and have won seven consecutive games, even without Vladimir Tarasenko. No Stanley Cup hangover here so far.


I’m not always confident enough to start Martin Jones. Yet when someone in my league dropped him, I decided that he might work as a third goalie for my team (Ben Bishop and John Gibson are my other two goalies on this team). My strategy was that I would use Jones if he appeared to be in a good matchup, or if I need to catch up in wins at the end of the week in my head-to-head league. The latter was the situation on Saturday, and Jones came through, stopping 24 of 25 shots and all seven shootout attempts to earn (believe it or not) his third consecutive win.

As the Sharks try to get back in the playoff chase, Jones will be counted on to earn wins. He might come through for you in that department, but the expectation should be that he’ll leak some goals in the process. That’s why also owning a goalie with effective ratios without a high win total (as Gibson is projected to be) could be an effective counterbalance.


Be sure to check Goalie Post for your starting goalie info today and beyond. At the time of this writing, the only true streaming option in almost all formats appears to be Samuel Montembeault, who is likely to start the second of back-to-backs. He faces the Rangers, who are a top-10 offense playing at home, so consider this to be a risky matchup if you are chasing a win at the end of a head-to-head week.


For more fantasy hockey information, or to reach out to me directly, you can follow me on Twitter @Ian_Gooding.


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