October 11 2015

by Ian Gooding on October 11, 2015

Habs’ second line shines, four points for Trocheck, Connor still pointless, plus a lot more…

Tonight was the first Saturday night of action, so there’s no excuses for me to not cover what happened. So let’s not waste any time…

In the early game, Jason Garrison was thought to have scored his third goal in two games. However, J.T. Brown was credited with the deflection in the Lightning’s 4-1 win over the Sabres, so Garrison received an assist. Franklin Steele, my editor over at Today’s Slapshot, has you covered on Garrison’s very early season success.

During numerous drafts, it seemed as if Garrison was that best defenseman available whenever I needed to grab that final defenseman. He won’t keep up this pace, but he probably deserved a little more respect in fantasy drafts.

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In that game, Chad Johnson made his first start for the Sabres, making 22 saves in the loss. If reports are true that Robin Lehner could miss two months, the Sabres might be in the market for another goalie. One of Calgary’s three-headed monster of Jonas Hiller, Karri Ramo, or Joni Ortio might make sense, given the length of time of the injury.

It’s two games and he Sabres have been outscored 7-2 already. Before the season, I had believed that the prediction that they were a vastly improved team was premature. Now I believe that even more so.

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Your line combination of the night might be the Canadiens’ new second-line trio of Lars Eller, Alex Galchenyuk, and Alexander Semin. Eller scored two goals and Galchenyuk recorded three assists in the Habs’ 4-2 win over Boston. Semin, for his part, recorded two assists.

The line itself averaged only around 14 minutes of icetime, although the Max Pacioretty/Tomas Plekanec/Brendan Gallagher unit was the only one with a higher TOI, and it was on the ice for about five minutes more. Interesting how Michel Therrien seemed to really favor that top line even though the second line was really rolling in this game.

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Kyle Turris is looking the part of a number one center right now. With a goal and an assist (both on the power play), Turris now has three goals on the season and two points in back-to-back games. The Senators’ power play exploded for three goals in the first five minutes of the second period on the Leafs. Here’s a look at who has been helping Turris succeed at even strength and the power play:

Oh yeah, and of course Erik Karlsson is the QB of that power play. Just another day at the office for Karlsson with three helpers in this game. Later today, Demetri will weigh in on Bobby Ryan’s prospects this season in this week’s edition of The Contrarian.

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From the “that helps no one” file, although someone reading probably plays in a deep enough league for this to occur. Vincent Trocheck scored a goal and added three assists in the Panthers’ 7-1 annihilation of the Flyers. Two of Trocheck’s assists came with the man advantage, and he actually received 3:34 of power-play time in this game. Some background on Trocheck’s line combinations thus far:

Trocheck and Brandon Pirri each assisted on both of Reilly Smith’s power-play goals. All in all, the Panthers’ second power-play unit really came through in their first game of the season. So maybe Trocheck is worth a flyer in very deep leagues at this point.

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After he was the last free agent goalie standing in my auction league, I paid a hefty price for Steve Mason. So I was not thrilled to see him allow four goals on eight shots in the first seven minutes in that game against the Panthers. Fortunately, it’s just one game, and remember that we sometimes put too much emphasis on games in October. Mason’s .928 save percentage last season was third among goalies who played in at least half of their team’s games.

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Time for some highlights… here’s Alex Ovechkin’s first goal of the season…

… and how about Henrik Lundqvist’s sick stick save on a very wide open Ryan Johansen

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It’s been two games, and Connor McDavid has yet to even record a point. But none of his Oilers’ teammates made it onto the scoresheet on Saturday, as Pekka Rinne recorded the 31-save shutout for the Predators. In fact, the high-powered Oilers have scored just one goal over their first two games. Again, not time to press the panic button, but I’m sure McDavid owners were expecting more instant gratification.

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Could we say that McDavid is no Oscar Lindberg right now? Lindberg scored two more goals in the Rangers’ 5-2 win over the Blue Jackets to give him four goals in three games. Although Lindberg scored 28 goals in the AHL last season, he probably wasn’t a sleeper on many draft lists entering this season. He didn’t receive any power-play time in this game, and his shooting percentage is an astounding 57 percent. He might hang around the big club all season, but he’s probably not someone that you should race to the waiver wire for.

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Another line of interest to me is the top one listed below for Detroit:

Justin Abdelkader scored another goal and added an assist in this game to put his season output at four goals in two games. We know what Henrik Zetterberg is all about, but the player I’m most interested in here is Dylan Larkin. The rookie recorded another assist to go with a +3 to put his season output at a goal and two assists with a +6 in two games.

Laidlaw predicted in yesterday’s Ramblings that he doesn’t think Larkin will last the full season with the big club. I’m going to predict that he does. This line may not last once Pavel Datsyuk returns from injury, but Larkin has big league wheels and he looks like he belongs.

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We weren’t quite sure what to expect from Artemi Panarin heading into this season. However, if his first few games on Patrick Kane’s line are any indication, he will be a must-own in fantasy leagues. Panarin and Kane each scored a goal and added two assists with a +2 in the Blackhawks’ 4-1 win over the Islanders. Interestingly enough, Artem Anisimov, the third player on that line, was held without a point.

Like Kane, Panarin is a smallish (5’11”, 170 lbs.) playmaker. He scored 62 points in 54 games in the KHL last season, but we don’t know exactly how that will translate in the NHL. But he’s worth an add in all but the shallowest leagues if you have an opening for a left winger.

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After allowing four third-period goals to the Wild on Thursday, the Avalanche reversed the trend on Saturday in scoring three third-period goals to seal a 6-3 win over Dallas. Gabriel Landeskog had a big night, scoring two goals while adding two assists. Nathan MacKinnon scored a goal and added two assists as well. Maybe hanging out with Sidney Crosby at Tim Hortons has rubbed off on MacKinnon, who has already scored five points in two games.

Apologies for those of you in Canada, who have probably already seen this commercial by now.

And that’s two more assists for Francois Beauchemin, who has five in two games. He must really like Colorado. Like you, I wasn’t expecting that.

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The absence of Alexander Edler in the Canucks’ lineup meant that Yannick Weber drew back in after being a healthy scratch for the opener. Weber led the Canucks with four minutes of power-play time.

Ben Hutton, who was probably on no one’s radar before training camp, played three minutes on the man advantage in nearly 20 minutes of icetime overall. Hutton has two assists in two games, and his play during training camp was the reason that the Canucks decided to waive Frank Corrado. Don’t be surprised to see the Canucks give Hutton top-four minutes with power-play time this season, which would make him worth keeping an eye on.

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Two games and two wins for Mike Smith. And don’t say you were expecting the Coyotes to knock off both the Kings and the Penguins. Smith’s save percentage stands at a sparkling .971 at the moment. If you played in one of those head-to-head leagues that used the short week format (eg. CBS), then you struck gold this week on a goalie that probably no one wanted.

With those two wins, the Coyotes have improved their odds of winning the Stanley Cup from 500/1 to 499/1.

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Finally… another goaltending star this week is Martin Jones. The Sharks’ new goalie earned two wins while allowing just one goal, including a 27-save shutout of the Ducks on Saturday. Maybe the Sharks and Jones are better than we think. Jones has some incredible career ratios (1.96 GAA, .924 SV%), so I’d say he clearly has the upper hand over Alex Stalock in the San Jose goaltending battle.

Thanks for reading, and enjoy your Sunday.