Ramblings: Exhibition Games Wrap Up, Seguin Inactive, Marchand Leaves Game (July 31)

Ian Gooding

2020-07-31

Thursday was the last day of exhibition games before the real fun gets started on Saturday. Like Mike Clifford last night, I'll mainly recap games here, since we now have those to talk about.

I'll start with the late Wednesday game, as it might have been on past Mike's bedtime in the Maritimes. The Canucks/Jets game was fairly evenly played (at least from what I saw), but Connor Hellebuyck won the goaltending battle over Jacob Markstrom. Hellebuyck swatted away 37 of 38 shots he faced in a 4-1 win, only allowing a goal to Antoine Roussel later in the third period. Both coaches decided to go with their starters for the entire game, so there should be no guessing who the starting goalies will be for Winnipeg or Vancouver for Game 1 of their respective series.

Regardless of what you think about the Flames, they could play to their full potential in their series with Winnipeg, yet Hellebuyck could be the difference. The four-month layoff didn't seem to matter to him. That should give the Jets plenty of confidence heading into their series, so I'm liking my Jets pick even more and more.

Dobber Hockey Experts Panel – Western Conference Play-In

Nikolaj Ehlers left the game in the third period with a possible lower-body injury, as he was limping down the tunnel after getting tangled up. Ehlers was dealing with a lower-body injury during training camp, so this might be worth monitoring as the Jets begin their series with the Flames on Saturday. Don't expect a lot of information in the meantime, though.

I know it's only exhibition, but Dylan DeMelo led all Jets skaters with just over 21 minutes in icetime while being paired with Josh Morrissey. DeMelo was acquired from Ottawa in one of those trades that you might have forgotten had happened, if you knew about it at all. The Jets' main weakness is on defense, so the defensive-minded DeMelo seems to fill the void, and he only cost the Jets a third-round pick.

There's lots of talk in Van City about whether Jake Virtanen will be healthy scratched in Game 1 against Minnesota on Sunday. As Mike mentioned yesterday, Virtanen was scratched. Heck, he couldn't even make it into the lineup as a 13th forward. The somewhat unexpected return of Micheal Ferland has made Shotgun Jake an odd man out. I would think that Virtanen is the natural replacement if Ferland starts having concussion trouble again, though.

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Tyler Seguin was deemed unfit to play for Thursday's exhibition game. The good news is that whatever the reason that he is unfit to play doesn't appear serious, as Seguin is expected to be in the lineup for the Stars' first round-robin game on Monday.

As a result of Seguin's absence, Ty Dellandrea entered the Stars' lineup. There may be an opportunity for Dellandrea to play on Monday, as Andrew Cogliano left Thursday's game with a possible leg injury. Dellandrea, who played just under 10 minutes on Thursday, has yet to play in a regular-season game. If he enters the lineup and makes a good impression, his chances of cracking the Stars' roster next season improve. You can view Dellandrea's Dobber Prospects profile here.

Juuse Saros and Pekka Rinne combined for the shutout against the Stars. After the game, Predators coach John Hynes said he was undecided who would start Game 1 on Sunday. If it's merit-based based on the past season, then Saros should be the starter. Saros has only played seven playoff games over three seasons, so I wouldn't completely rule out the 37-year-old Rinne starting. The question should be which goalie gives your team the best chance to win.

It was in a mean-nothing game, but Viktor Arvidsson keeper owners have to be encouraged by the fact that he scored both Predators' goals. Arvidsson's 0.49 PTS/GP over 57 games is his lowest since his 2015-16 rookie season. He will probably fall quite a bit in single-season drafts and could deliver some solid value on his average draft position. He might even deliver that same kind of value in playoff pools.

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The good news for the Bruins is that David Pastrnak was in the lineup for Thursday's game. He looked fine, making this goal look like a piece of cake. Note the lack of celebration in an exhibition game in a time when people are expected to keep socially distanced.

The bad news for the Bruins is that Brad Marchand left the game in the third period with a possible lower-body tweak. The Bruins may have pulled him out of the game as a precaution, but we'll have to wait and see. The Bruins start round-robin play on Sunday against Philadelphia.

Tuukka Rask is expected to start for the Bruins on Sunday, although Jaroslav Halak will also see action during the round robin (Renaud Lavoie). I wonder how many of the round-robin teams will play both their goalies. It wouldn't hurt for them to do that, and it's a luxury that the round-robin teams have to assess their situations as they gear up for the higher-pressure games.

I wonder which event planner decided to arrange the league's tallest player to stand next to the league's shortest player.

Both Joonas Korpisalo and Elvis Merzlikins saw action on Thursday. Here's another goaltending situation that we'll be guessing on, and I don't imagine John Tortorella will tip his hand too early. If you've been visiting here regularly, you'll know which goalie Dobber will prefer.

Torts did reveal that Liam Foudy will be in the Blue Jackets' lineup for Game 1 against Toronto on Sunday. Foudy recorded an assist while playing on a line with Gustav Nyquist and Boone Jenner. Check out the nice backhand from Foudy to Jenner on the latter’s goal.

For more on Foudy, check out his Dobber Prospects profile, written by our very own Journey writer Dave Hall.

Dobber Hockey Experts Panel – Eastern Conference Play-In

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Max Pacioretty did not play in Thursday's exhibition game against Arizona, as he is still recovering from an injury and is not in Edmonton yet. Vegas doesn't play until Monday, so there's still a bit of time for him to get there.

This is some pop to the head of Nick Schmaltz by Ryan Reaves. Not sure it will get suspended, but we will see. Vegas has round-robin games coming up, so it won't affect their Stanley Cup hopes a great deal if Reaves sits for a game or two.

Schmaltz left the game, with Barrett Hayton taking Schmaltz's place centering Carl Soderberg and Phil Kessel. Not surprisingly, coach Rick Tocchet did not offer much about the hit after the game.

I was listening to the Vegas radio broadcast of this game while writing this, and they described Alex Tuch's goal below as the "protractor goal". I'll let you figure out why.

One other interesting tidbit from the Vegas side: Marc-Andre Fleury played the entire game for the Golden Knights, making 22 saves in earning the win. I'm sure both he and Robin Lehner will see some round-robin action, but I'd still put money on Fleury starting the first game of the round of 16. Fleury will be on a very short leash, which is why the Vegases brought in Lehner. In the playoffs, a goalie doesn't have time to just figure it out.

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Don't forget to purchase your DobberHockey 2020 Interactive Playoff Draft List today! As has been the case in previous seasons, you can customize the teams that advance, or if you’re not sure you can go with Dobber’s picks. There will also be updates, based on injuries and updated player news. Get it before the play-ins start!

If you're looking for a quick playoff pool setup, you'll also want to download Dobber's free playoff box pool before the play-ins start.

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Did I miss anything? I can try to pick it up tomorrow. For more fantasy hockey information, or to reach out to me, you can follow me on Twitter @Ian_Gooding.

UPCOMING GAMES

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STARTING GOALIES

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HOT PLAYERS

  Players Team GP G A P
EVGENI MALKIN PIT 5 4 7 11
ADAM FOX NYR 4 1 6 7
JAKUB VORACEK PHI 6 0 10 10
NATHAN MACKINNON COL 5 2 6 8
MIKA ZIBANEJAD NYR 29 25 19 44
NIKITA KUCHEROV T.B 24 16 20 36
KEVIN FIALA MIN 11 9 7 16
EVANDER KANE S.J 7 5 5 10
KYLE CONNOR WPG 7 8 2 10
RYAN NUGENT-HOPKINS EDM 17 8 16 24

LINE COMBOS

  Frequency S.J Players
22.8% MELKER KARLSSON JOEL KELLMAN STEFAN NOESEN
19.5% NOAH GREGOR EVANDER KANE KEVIN LABANC
14.9% LEAN BERGMANN DYLAN GAMBRELL ANTTI SUOMELA

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