Top 10 Fast Starts After Christmas

Tom Collins

2022-01-03

Scoring is up in the first few games since Christmas, but that shouldn’t have been much of a surprise.

With numerous games postponed, many teams had at least a week off, which gave players the chance to rest up. It is almost like a new start to the season as players seem refreshed and full of energy while forgetting the grind ’em down systems.

There’s been an influx in goals as well. In the 35 games since Christmas, there have been at least seven goals (combined between the two teams) in 21 of those games, or 58.3 per cent of all games. For comparison, in the 133 December games before Christmas, only 55 saw a minimum of seven goals, for a percentage of 41.3 per cent.

This offensive spurt won’t last long as teams start getting back into a mid-season groove and coaches tighten the reins on creativity, which will make John Tortorella absolutely giddy.

Because of these high-scoring games, some players have seen their scoring rates rapidly increase this past week. We’re dealing with a small sample size by only looking at a week of action, but it gives us an opportunity to see who might be in a situation for their scoring pace continue.

10. Anton Lundell

It may seem as if the Panthers rookie is trending in the right direction as he has picked up a point in all three games since the Christmas break and is starting to get a little bit more power-play time on the second unit. However, these points are a bit of an illusion. He’s not playing with any of the top-six players and he doesn’t produce much in any other fantasy category. Plus, in Lundell’s case, you need to look at the quality of competition. He picked up two points against Tampa’s third-string goalie in a 9-3 rout, and another point against a Montreal team that was forced to play with 10 forwards, five defensemen and their third-string netminder.

9. Sami Niku

Don’t look at Niku’s three points in his last three games and go rushing out to grab him off the waiver wire. Because of postponements, the Habs don’t play again until January 12, so you’re stuck waiting too long for him to get back into game action. Niku also was given the opportunity because so many of the Habs have wound up in Covid protocol. Don’t count on the points continuing once everyone is back in the lineup more than a week from now.

8. Devin Shore

His production hasn’t been great, just one point in three games since the break, but I’m adding him to this list due to the circumstances around that third game. He went pointless, but he took Ryan Nugent-Hopkins‘ spot on the second line with the latter out with an injury. It sounds like RNH will not be able to play for at least the next two games, so Shore finds himself in a great opportunity.

7. Laurent Brossoit

With Robin Lehner out of the lineup and no timeline on when he might return, rolling with Brossoit doesn’t seem like much of a gamble. He has three wins in his last four starts and eight wins out of 14 games on the season. Since Christmas, he is 2-0-1, so he may look like a great pickup. However, in those three games, he has a 2.98 GAA and 0.888 SV %. Vegas has a ton of players out of the lineup, but the team keeps winning. Brossoit is a must-start until Lehner gets back into game action, but you have to live with poorer peripherals.

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