Patrik Laine completed not just a hat trick, but a power-play hat trick on Saturday. That's fantasy hockey's version of the double word score, as Laine owners in multicat leagues received a nice boost in two categories. Laine scores in bunches, so it shouldn't be a surprise that the fourth-year winger now has eight career regular-season hat tricks.
With the hat trick, Laine now has eight goals (and no assists) over his last eight games. Laine owners shouldn't be dissatisfied with his overall season assist total, as he's already matched his career high with 28 helpers. Although he's not on pace to surpass his career high of 44 goals from two seasons ago, it seems as though Laine has become a more consistent all-around player that should avoid the lengthy dry spells that he experienced last season (separate 15-game and 12-game goal droughts). Just knowing he can be relied upon makes him a more desirable player to own.
Kyle Connor added a goal and three assists of his own on Saturday, which makes him a point-per-game player (56 points in 56 games). Yet the Jets are so hard up on defense that Connor's name is being mentioned in trade rumors, with one possibility being Bowen Byram in Colorado. With a player like Connor who is on pace for 82 points, I'll believe it when I see it. Besides, teams usually hold on tight to their top-pairing defensemen.
Neal Pionk also filled the boxscore on Saturday, scoring a goal and adding two power-play assists while taking six shots. It's inaccurate to suggest the Jets lost three defensemen this offseason, as the Jacob Trouba trade netted Pionk. The trade has helped Pionk's fantasy value tremendously, as he's already at career highs of 36 points, 20 power-play points, with significant increases in both power-play time and overall icetime. If the Jets do find a way to acquire a defenseman, watch for how that might affect Pionk's value, though.
If your league deducts points for regulation losses, make sure you start Tuukka Rask whenever he plays at the TD Garden. Rask has not lost a game in regulation in 18 consecutive games, including a 29-save effort in a 4-2 win over Arizona.
Charlie Coyle scored two goals, which gives him four points over his last three games and 11 points (5g-6a) over his last 13 games.
With a goal on Saturday, John Tavares now has goals in four consecutive games. Over those four games, JT has five goals and two assists.
If Braden Holtby is attempting to keep his grip on the starting job in Washington, then Saturday's result won't help. Holtby allowed seven goals on just 25 shots in a surprising 7-2 win for Philadelphia. Playing for a team that resides near the top of the league, Holtby has managed just three wins since the new year. Simply put, his season numbers (3.21 GAA, .893 SV%) are hurting fantasy teams. Ilya Samsonov has played himself into at least a timeshare and possibly even the starting job next season, while Holtby isn't exactly setting himself up well for free agency. Not to mention that there likely won't be heavy demand for goalies in general this summer with the Seattle expansion draft looming in 2021.
Claude Giroux broke a 13-game goal slump in a big way, scoring a goal and adding two assists to lead the charge for the Flyers. Giroux had not recorded a point in his previous four games either. Currently he's on pace for 57 points, which is well off his previous two seasons' outputs of 85 points and 101 points. The season previous to that (2016-17), Giroux had just 58 points, so he's been far from consistent from season to season.
Sean Couturier, who scored two goals, broke an eight-game goalless slump. Over his last 45 games he has 43 points (13g-30a) with a plus-25. Leading the Flyers with 48 points on the season, Couturier should be considered the team's best player and a potential Selke Trophy finalist.
Many of you have probably never heard of Nicolas Aube-Kubel, but he earned a Gordie Howe hat trick (goal, assist, fight). I'm sure there are leagues out there somewhere that count GHHTs, with Aube-Kubel owned in one of those leagues. Somewhere.
Brock Boeser left Saturday's game late in the second period with an upper-body injury. After the game, Travis Green said that he expects Boeser to "be out for some time" but would know more tomorrow. If that is in fact the case, my guess is that Jake Virtanen would move back to the top line with Elias Pettersson and J.T. Miller.
Dr. Grewal, who filled in for a week on our own Injury Ward, has been busy at the medical clinic diagnosing this rash of hockey injuries.
Appears to be a separated shoulder for Brock Boeser. There are varying degrees of the injury but I'm going to think that this is more minor and put his timeline around 10-14 days but it can be 3 weeks easily #Canucks https://t.co/mN49YVNAzn pic.twitter.com/zEDen99KRy
— Dr. Harjas Grewal (@Harjas_Grewal) February 9, 2020
Boeser was in the midst of a slump of his own with no goals and just two assists in his last 11 games. He had recently returned to the top line after being used on the third line, so deployment was an issue. If Boeser misses time and with Pettersson possibly still ailing, the Canucks could look to either Nikolay Goldobin or Sven Baertschi as potential AHL callups. Remember them? Both have been point-per-game players for the Utica Comets (44 points in 43 games for Goldobin, 34 points in 33 games for Baertschi).
Antti Raanta is injured again. This is not a recording. After being tabbed to start Saturday's game, Raanta was scratched at the last minute with a lower-body injury. Injuries are never timely, but the good news for the Coyotes is that Darcy Kuemper is expected to practice on Sunday. The Coyotes play back-to-back games on Monday and Tuesday, so expect third-string goalie Adin Hill to start at least one of those games. Hill stopped 29 of 32 shots he faced in a loss to the Bruins on Saturday.
Minor scare for Connor McDavid, who crashed into the boards and suffered a bruised knee. However, he was able to stay in the game and chip in an assist in the Oilers' win over Nashville. We all know the severity of McDavid's knee injury from last season, which is why this type of scenario can be particularly nerve-wracking.
Two games, two consecutive shutouts for Mackenzie Blackwood! He's had to earn those shutouts as well, making a total of 83 saves over those two games. Blackwood also had to stop a penalty shot from Anze Kopitar. Blackwood also posted back-to-back shutouts in December 2018, so he seems to be a goalie that can get in the zone for stretches. Unfortunately, the Devils probably won't provide him with many opportunities to earn wins the rest of the way.
Roope Hintz scored twice on Saturday, including the overtime winner for the Stars. The two goals broke an eight-game goal slump for Hintz, who seems to be a very hot and cold scorer. Hintz missed much of November because of injury, but here are his splits before and after the injury:
Oct 3 – Nov 2: 16 GP, 9 G
Since: 30 GP, 8 G
Jake Gardiner recorded three helpers in the Hurricanes' shootout win in Vegas. Since Dougie Hamilton's injury, Gardiner has five assists – including three power-play assists – in eight games. Two of those power-play assists came on Saturday. Gardiner is owned in just 10 percent of Yahoo leagues if you need blueline help.
In spite of that recent production from Gardiner, Jaccob Slavin is still the d-man being used on the Canes' first-unit power play. Slavin hasn't been terrible himself, with a five-game point streak snapped on Saturday.
Sebastian Aho has now scored at least one goal in five consecutive games. His six goals over those five games have elevated him to his second consecutive 30-goal season. After all the worries about his slow start (one point in his first six games), only six players have more goals than Aho this season.
For more fantasy hockey information, or to reach out to me directly, you can follow me on Twitter @Ian_Gooding.