I wonder if Don Cherry and Brian Burke realize that the more they criticize the Hurricanes’ post-game victory celebrations, the more it will inspire the Canes to get to the next one. Okay, I’m sure that doesn’t directly motivate the Canes, but the words of old-school hockey types won’t change what the Canes have started. To me, the celebrations seem childlike and a bit goofy and definitely fun, but not insulting or disrespectful or like "jerks" toward an opponent. In addition, if these celebrations generate hockey interest in Carolina, they can’t be that bad.
Life is enjoyable for the Hurricanes right now, as they sit one point ahead of Pittsburgh for the final playoff spot in the Eastern Conference (Pens have one game in hand, though, but why spoil the fun with that fact?)
Petr Mrazek ensured that his team was able to limbo after the game, stopping all 33 shots he faced in a 3-0 win. Mrazek has pitched shutouts in two of his last three starts. Overall, the Canes have had great goaltending from the Mrazek/Curtis McElhinney tandem recently, allowing just five goals over their last five games. Mrazek and McElhinney are both in the top 15 in goals-against average among goalies that have played at least 20 games, so maybe they could even be considered a poor man’s Islanders’ tandem (as weird as that may sound).
If you’re the Hurricanes and you’re in this spot, should you really trade Micheal Ferland? Isn’t he the kind of player that you need down the stretch and into the playoffs, should you make it there? With a goal on Saturday, Ferland has five points in his last three games.
Tyler Bertuzzi returned to the Wings’ lineup on Saturday, scoring a goal and adding an assist while logging 19 minutes of icetime alongside pre-injury linemates Dylan Larkin and Gustav Nyquist. This has been interrupted by his upper-body injury, but Bertuzzi has eight points (4g-4a) in his last six games. Even though he plays on the Wings’ top line, Bertuzzi is just 6 percent owned in Yahoo leagues.
Dangerous play by Anthony Mantha on Claude Giroux goes unpenalized pic.twitter.com/x3oIlGzqAh
— Brady Trettenero (@BradyTrett) February 16, 2019
Much to the chagrin of Flyers’ fans, Mantha scored two third-period goals, including the tying goal with seven seconds left in regulation.
Justin Schultz returned to the Penguins’ lineup on Saturday after being out of the lineup since mid-October with a broken leg. He recorded an assist while playing on the Pens’ second-unit power play. Take away the four-month gap and Schultz has five points in five games. He had a dud of a 2017-18 season (27 points in 63 games), but remember that he’s only two years removed from a 51-point campaign. Even though he won’t get a sniff of the Pens’ first-unit power play barring a Kris Letang injury, the offensive-minded Schultz is worth a flier in mid-sized fantasy leagues.
Evgeni Malkin returned from his one-game suspension, scoring two power-play goals and adding an assist. Even though he has a six-game point streak, Malkin had been held without a goal in his previous seven games.
With three assists in the Flames’ win on Saturday, Derek Ryan now has seven points in his last seven games.
Shots on goal update for Brayden Schenn: After he failed to record a shot for four consecutive games, Schenn took three shots on Saturday. And he recorded another assist on another Vladimir Tarasenko goal. After an ice-cold first half, Tarasenko is one of the league’s hottest players with 14 goals and 12 assists in his last 19 games, and he is riding an 11-game point streak. And the Blues’ win streak is now at nine games.
This time, though, it was Jake Allen’s turn to ride the Blues’ wave. Allen stopped all 32 shots he faced in the 3-0 win. The Blues were playing their first of back-to-backs, so the red-hot Jordan Binnington should be back between the pipes on Sunday against Minnesota. Imagine that: The Blues are playing so well that you’re safe to start Jake Allen.
The Oilers have been busy making trades. Here are our fantasy takes on each trade:
Sam Gagner got to Brooklyn in time for Saturday’s game against the Islanders. In case you were wondering if he would immediately be placed on the McDavid line, there was no such luck. He started the game on a line with Tobias Rieder and Colby Cave but later Cave was swapped for Ryan Nugent-Hopkins. Gagner played just under ten minutes while receiving second-unit power-play time.
By the way, Jesse Puljujarvi was a healthy scratch for this game. Get him to the AHL.
Yesterday I mentioned my strategy about starting both of my goalies whenever they face each other. It didn’t go so well on Friday, but Saturday provided an example of why I use it. Most fantasy owners would normally start Frederik Andersen over Darcy Kuemper. Yet on Saturday it was Kuemper earning the win and shutout with a 4-0 victory over the Andersen and the Leafs. The backup-turned-starter for the Desert Dogs has now earned wins in three of his past four games and continues to be a reasonable option in fantasy leagues.
With his goal on Saturday, Alex Galchenyuk now has four goals in his last four games.
Dustin Byfuglien was out of the Jets’ lineup on Saturday because of a lower-body injury. Even though Big Buff is still a beast out there, I’ve predicted over the last couple seasons that the wear and tear of his physical game would catch up to him. Now we’re seeing signs of that, as the now 33-year-old blueliner has already missed 22 games and counting this season.
Whenever Byfuglien has been out of the lineup, Josh Morrissey has been considered the Jets’ defenseman to start in your lineup. Morrissey logged nearly 25 minutes on Saturday, but Tyler Myers did the damage from the Jets’ blueline, scoring two goals. Myers now has four points in his last four games and seems to be a decent pickup while Byfuglien is out.
According to Elliotte Friedman, the Senators have made the decision to trade Matt Duchene. Hey, it would be better than losing him for nothing, considering the price that they paid for him. It sounds like the Sens are trying to re-sign Mark Stone, however. Don’t forget to check out our Trade Tracker for a list of trades made over the past month.
Andrei Vasilevskiy earned a relatively easy 20-save shutout against the Habs, giving him shutouts in back-to-back games and four consecutive wins. He should be a frontrunner for the Vezina Trophy.
Nikita Kucherov continues to do his thing. He now has at least one goal and two points in four consecutive games with 13 points over that span. He now has a seven-point lead in the scoring race. He should be a frontrunner for the Hart Trophy.
Erik Karlsson returned to the Sharks’ lineup on Saturday after missing the past nine games, posting an assist in nearly 25 minutes of icetime. He had been playing extremely well before his injury, scoring 28 points over his previous 20 games. Of course you’ll want to get him back in your lineup.
Artemi Panarin’s name continues to be discussed in trade rumors, and someone here might be writing a fantasy impact piece of his trade in the next week or so. In the meantime he is a Blue Jacket and he continues to score. The Bread Man scored two goals and added an assist with a plus-4 rating in the Jackets’ 5-2 win. Yep, it’s going to be an interesting week and a bit to find out if he goes anywhere. The Jackets are in a playoff spot but are by no means secure. An idea making the rounds would see the Jackets trade Panarin to one team for picks and/or prospects, then trade picks and/or prospects to a second team for something that could help the Blue Jackets right away.
Max Pacioretty entered Saturday’s game without a goal and with just one assist in his past five games. He broke that slide with two goals on nine shots in the Golden Knights’ 5-1 win over Nashville. Patches may not reach 30 goals again, but with 16 goals he’s just one shy of his season total from all last season while playing in 18 fewer games. So the move to Vegas has helped his fantasy value overall, even if he doesn’t reach the heights he did in Montreal.
Jonathan Quick fell ill on Saturday, so Jack Campbell started for the Kings, allowing four goals on 24 shots in the loss. So it was the Kings’ turn to start an emergency goalie. Steve Jakiel, a former college goalie who is now a finance manager, was the emergency backup. I can’t recall an emergency backup ever being pressed into action, but I can remember years ago in Vancouver when a University of British Columbia goalie waited nervously on the bench while Johan Hedberg, the Canucks’ only healthy NHL goalie, was on the ice injured.
With a goal and an assist on Saturday, Jake DeBrusk now has six points (3g-3a) over his last three games.
Looking ahead to Sunday, Alexandar Georgiev will be starting for the Rangers in Pittsburgh. This will be Georgiev’s second consecutive start after stopping 31 of 33 shots he faced in win on Friday. Georgiev has reeled off three consecutive wins while allowing six goals over that span, so he has earned the opportunity for more starts. Meanwhile, Henrik Lundqvist has lost four consecutive games. It’s been awhile since there’s truly been a battle between the pipes for the Rangers, but we could be looking at one now as King Henrik is on the downside of his career.
For more fantasy hockey information, you can follow me on Twitter @Ian_Gooding.
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