How does a sports organization decide whether to do a video tribute for a player? Last night, the Senators’ faithful booed Matt Duchene when he would touch the puck at the beginning of the game. I then cringed when I discovered there was going to be a montage of Duchene’s brief history with the Senators showcased on the Canadian Tire Centre jumbotron. Duchene was dealt from the Avalanche to the Senators approximately 15 months ago; perhaps less than a year and a half for a player with an organization is too short a period to do such a presentation.
For those who felt a video tribute was necessary: Can we at least agree that the means used to celebrate a player’s time with an organization should be used in a manner that doesn’t allow the player to be mocked immediately before receiving the heartfelt tribute?
Anyway, I digress. Saturday’s main slate consists of eight games on DraftKings and four games on FanDuel. I’ll only be discussing the four, later games as all four of those games are relevant for both DraftKings and FanDuel. The four games on today’s docket are the Canadiens vs. Leafs, Penguins vs. Flyers, Ducks vs. Oilers, and Islanders vs. Canucks. Let’s take a look at some players who have been hot as of late and can be used in your lineups tonight.
C – Evgeni Malkin (DK $7,000, FD $8,600)
Evgeni Malkin is the top center in Saturday’s main slate when we examine average fantasy points per game over the last two weeks. Malkin has recorded four goals and three assists in his last two calendar weeks of play. Before being held off the scoresheet in his previous outing, Geno was running an eight-game point streak. The 27th regular-season outdoor game in NHL history is projected to be the highest scoring game of the four in the main slate. In this game, Malkin and the Pittsburgh Penguins will be up against Brian Elliott, a goaltender that hasn’t started a game since the 15th of November. Malkin and his teammates plan on pouncing early and often in front of a potential 69,696 people at Lincoln Financial Field on Saturday.
W – Tomas Tatar (DK $5,200, FD $6,500)
Tomas Tatar ranks number two among all main slate wingers in terms of average fantasy points per game over the last two weeks. Tatar has six points including four goals in his past six games. He has been very consistent over the last five weeks, accruing 12 points in 13 games. The 2012-13 Calder Cup MVP will be in T.O. on Saturday. The Leafs haven’t been particularly stellar from a defensive standpoint recently. In the last calendar month, Mike Babcock’s squad is one of only four teams to allow more than 30 scoring chances per game. Interestingly enough, the Leafs have out-chanced their opponents to a larger degree than any other NHL team over this span of time. Long story short, the Leafs are currently playing such high-paced hockey that it’s possible for them to allow a large quantity of scoring chances against while actually playing extremely well in the process. We just may be lucky enough to hear “Tomas Tahtaahhhh!” (*Derek Toulouse voice*) multiple times when we’re watching NHL highlights tonight.
W – Oskar Lindblom (DK $3,900, FD $4,600)
Oskar Lindblom is the fifth-best winger in FanDuel’s main slate when discussing average fantasy points per game over the last two weeks. Lindblom has four points in his last four games—three of those four points are goals. What’s making Lindblom a solid fantasy player at the moment is his willingness to shoot the puck. In 2019, the Swedish winger leads all Flyers players in shots on goal at even strength. This is astonishing considering Lindblom only ranked 13th in the 2018 part of the 2018-19 NHL season in this category. Lindblom will try to stay hot against the Pittsburgh Penguins on Saturday.
D – Ryan Pulock (DK $5,200, FD $4,400)
Ryan Pulock is the second-best defensemen in Saturday’s main slate if we use the last two weeks’ average fantasy points per game as our criteria. In this time period, Pulock has three goals and three assists in seven games. It didn’t take long for the ex-Brandon Wheat Kings stud to win acclaim from the current head coach of the New York Islanders, Barry Trotz (and not because Pulock and Trotz are both from Dauphin, Manitoba). After bouncing back and forth between the minors and the big club for a few years, Pulock is now a permanent mainstay in the National Hockey League. In fact, Pulock is playing more minutes per game than any other Islanders player this season under newly acquired Barry Trotz. Pulock will look to create some offensive with his booming shot and great, methodical puck-moving skills on Saturday against the 25th-place Vancouver Canucks Saturday night.
D – Morgan Rielly (DK $6,000, FD $6,100)
Morgan Rielly is a top-five defenseman in terms of average fantasy points per game over the last couple of weeks with one goal and four assists since February 8. The Vancouver, BC native is currently tied for first in goals out of all NHL defensemen this season, and he is second in points behind the one and only Brent Burns. Rielly is always in play because he quarterbacks a Leafs power play with so many lethal weapons. An Original Six matchup takes place between Rielly’s Leafs and the Canadiens on Saturday night. The Canadiens have the fourth-worst road penalty kill percentage in the NHL this season. The Canadiens have also taken the fifth-most minor penalties. Look for Rielly to cash in on the power play on Hockey Night in Canada.
*Reader’s Note: I am using FanDuel stats for my articles.
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