The Sabres had a rough Thursday night. Not only did they lose 6-1 to the Flyers, but Jack Eichel was also a late scratch for this game with an upper-body injury. And with that, Eichel’s point streak ends at 17 games. Yes, these streaks get interrupted by injury, like it or not. Remember when that happened to Taylor Hall, and his 26 consecutive games with a point didn’t count as a point streak?
James van Riemsdyk led the Flyers with two goals, which gives him four goals over his last four games. His streaks have been for the wrong reasons, as he has both a seven-game and an eight-game stretch without a point. If you’re in a weekly league, it’s difficult to decide whether to start or sit such a hot-and-cold player.
Travis Konecny recorded three assists, which gives him eight points (3g-5a) in the last six games that he has played in. He’s on a point-per-game pace (32 points in 32 games) and appears to be making his fourth season his career season.
Carter Hutton? Don’t even bother right now. If you think he’s following the same pattern as last season, then you’d be correct.
If you value predictability when forecasting goalie starts, then owning either Semyon Varlamov or Thomas Greiss is for you. For the entire season (33 games) it’s been a steady rotation of Varlamov to Greiss to Varlamov to Greiss and so on. It was Varlamov’s turn on Thursday, and he delivered with a 27-save win over the Bruins in Boston. That means Greiss should start on Saturday, and Varlamov should start on Tuesday, the Isles’ last game before Christmas. If you’re an owner of either goalie and wishing he would start more than 50 percent of the time, at least they’re easy to plan around. If you’ve lost track of whose turn it is, don’t forget to check Goalie Post.
Right after I mention Pierre-Luc Dubois as a player whose stock is falling, he now has multiple points in three of his last four games, giving him six points (2g-4a) over that span. Do you think Dubois’ ranking in the Top 100 Roto Rankings is too high? Does he even deserve to be in the Top 100? Let me know.
With Cam Atkinson leaving Thursday’s game with a lower-body injury, the Jackets have now lost six players to injury over the last six games. There was no update after the game, so consider Atkinson day-to-day for now. After a slow start, Atkinson was finding his form in the goal-scoring department with five goals in his last seven games entering Thursday’s game.
Anthony Duclair now has 20 goals, which is tied for seventh in the league. Every year there’s at least one surprise player that no one has on their sleeper list, and Duclair might have been that player. I might believe you if you said you had him projected for 20 goals, given Ottawa’s wide-open opportunity and last-quarter production with the Senators. But 20 goals before the Christmas break? Get real, no one had that.
Remember that Duclair had scored 20 goals before (2015-16 with Arizona). In the same season as John Tortorella’s comment that Duclair didn’t know how to play hockey, Duclair was only one goal shy of 20 last season. At this point if you think he’s a sell-high for a more established player, you might not be wrong in pulling the trigger on that deal. Yet his advanced stats only suggest this mildly. Duclair’s 5-on-5 SH% of 9.25% is in line with his career stats, while his overall 18.0 SH% isn’t the highest single-season total of his career. Duclair can thrive as a goal scorer, even if the rest of his game isn’t as polished as coaches would like it to be.
Some other Senators stats:
Thomas Chabot must feel like he is competing in a triathlon. After logging nearly 38 minutes on Tuesday, he was out there for nearly 34 minutes on Thursday. I’m happy to say I own him in a league that counts icetime, although the icetime total isn’t as significant as what a goal or an assist is. Of course, it’s awesome that he receives all this icetime since there’s more opportunity to pile up the points, but I worry about an injury due to overuse. I realize the Senators aren’t bursting with Norris Trophy candidates, but can we at least keep the icetime to under 30 minutes, please?
With a goal on Thursday, Colin White scored his first goal in 19 games and first point in seven games. If you targeted him as a potential first-line center given the Sens’ lack of scoring options, you’ve been sorely disappointed.
Roman Josi scored the goal of the night. He also fired six shots on goal on Thursday, and has four goals in his last three games.
There was a lot to digest from the Minnesota/Arizona game, so I won’t delay that one any further.
If Darcy Kuemper has been the stud goalie that you’ve been leaning on all season, you might have to make do without him for at least a few games. Kuemper left the game late in the third period with what looks like a lower-body injury. With the injury happening so late in the game, there was no update provided after the game.
This was hardly a Coyote-like game, as Kuemper allowed seven goals with the Coyotes allowing eight in total. That makes me wonder if Kuemper had been dealing with something even before he left the game. Regardless, run – don’t walk – to your waiver wire if Antti Raanta is available. To give you an idea, he’s available in about one-half of Yahoo leagues. If you look past Thursday’s goalfest, the Coyotes play a lockdown defensive system that is ideal for any goalie.
The game got especially wild (pardon the pun) in the third period with four goals in the span of two minutes and seven total goals in that period. 1980s-style hockey happened in the place that you’d least expect it to happen.
In a game like that, you’ll want to know who did the damage. Eric Staal, Marcus Foligno, and Mats Zuccarello each had three points for the Wild. Staal has been heating up recently with nine points (5g-4a) over his last five games, showing that at age 35 he still has something left for fantasy leaguers. On a Minnesota roster that has a ton of players well over 30, Staal leads in scoring with 30 points in 36 games.
Foligno also contributed seven hits, in case any of you play in super-deep bangers leagues. Even though he doesn’t provide enough scoring to be fantasy worthy, he’s been a top-25 option in the hits category.
Brad Hunt also scored his first goal in 20 games for the Wild. Hunt had also not recorded a point in his previous seven games. In spite of that, he’s been used on the Wild’s first power-play unit along with another struggling d-man in Matt Dumba.
Lost in all the scoring and the Kuemper injury was the fact that Devan Dubnyk returned from his month-long absence, earning a win in spite of allowing five goals. Expect him to return to his high-volume workload.
For the Yotes, Jakob Chychrun scored two power-play goals, which gives him nine goals on the season. Only four defensemen have scored more goals that Chychrun, who has already reached a career high in that category.
Nick Schmaltz assisted on both of Chychrun’s goals and totaled three assists in this game.
Each member of the newly-formed top line of Taylor Hall, Christian Dvorak, and Phil Kessel recorded a point on Kessel’s first-period goal. Obviously Dvorak (23 percent owned in Yahoo leagues) is a player to target should this arrangement stick.
Patrick Kane continues to do his thing, scoring a goal and three assists with a plus-3 on eight shots on goal in the Blackhawks’ 4-1 win over Winnipeg. Kane has seven points (4g-3a) over his last three games.
Brandon Saad left this game with an ankle injury in the second period.
In the Canadiens win in Calgary, Nick Suzuki ended his 12-game goalless drought with the game-tying goal. He also fired six shots on goal. I don’t think Suzuki will be a difference-maker in fantasy leagues this season, but consider targeting him next season as a sleeper given the Habs’ lack of a true number one center.
For the Flames, Elias Lindholm snapped a seven-game drought without a goal and a four-game drought without a point with a goal and an assist.
Finally, Elias Pettersson scored two goals in a much-needed win for the slumping Canucks.
Fun fact: All of Bo Horvat’s nine goals have been scored on the road. If he cools off on the road and can’t shake the slump at home, then there’s nowhere else for him to play. I think that’s an old Harry Neale line.
Unfortunately for the Canucks, Josh Leivo could be out a while because of this cross-check. No penalty either.
For more fantasy hockey information, or to reach out to me directly, you can follow me on Twitter @Ian_Gooding.