Ramblings: Crawford Up, Leafs’ Goaltending Down, Kane Returns (March 17)

by Ian Gooding on March 17, 2019
  • Hockey Rambling
  • Ramblings: Crawford Up, Leafs’ Goaltending Down, Kane Returns (March 17)


I recommended a couple of Penguins for the weekend’s games, but they ran into a hot goalie on Saturday. Jordan Binnington stopped 40 of 41 shots in the Blues’ 5-1 win over Pittsburgh in a Saturday matinee game. Binnington’s remarkable season continues with a 17-4-1 record, a 1.77 GAA and .931 SV%.

I’ve heard some debate that Binnington could theoretically eclipse Elias Pettersson in the Calder race should he continue to dominate. But I’m going to use the McDavid argument as to why he shouldn’t. Binnington didn’t play his first game of the season until mid-December, and he wasn’t the Blues’ starter until early January.

There’s little doubt McDavid would have won the Calder in 2015-16 had he not missed nearly half the season due to injury (48 points in 45 games). Yet he finished third in the voting that season behind Artemi Panarin and Shayne Gostisbehere. Sure, Pettersson has fallen back to earth recently (just one goal in last 12 games). Yet he’s still 19 points ahead of the second-leading rookie point scorer (Andreas Johnsson) in spite of missing 11 games with various injuries.

Binnington is much better than expected, but I’d still like to see what he can do over a full season from October to April.

Vince Dunn scored twice for the Blues in their victory, which were goals number 10 and 11 from him. Binnington is receiving a ton of the credit for the Blues’ turnaround, but we should also give props to the defense. The Blues currently have three defensemen with double-digit goal totals: Alex Pietrangelo (12), Dunn (11), and Colton Parayko (10). As of Saturday afternoon, no other team had more than two. As well, the Blues lead the NHL with 44 goals from defensemen. In just his second NHL season, Dunn has been quietly productive, reaching the 30-point mark in 67 games.

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Dylan Larkin returned to the Wings’ lineup on Saturday after missing the past five games with a strained neck. He was held without a point in nearly 22 minutes of icetime.

Andreas Athanasiou scored both Wings’ goals on six shots on goal in their 2-1 win over the Islanders. The speedy Athanasiou now has 26 goals on the season, just one behind Larkin for the team lead.

Jonathan Bernier stopped 41 of 42 shots to earn the win for the Wings. You couldn’t be blamed if you missed out, as the win was Bernier’s first in over a month (since February 2) and his second in nearly three months (since December 20).

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Jonathan Huberdeau and Evgenii Dadonov came through for both the Panthers and their fantasy owners. Huberdeau scored the game-winner with just under two minutes in regulation and added an assist in the Panthers’ 4-3 win over Los Angeles. Dadonov assisted on the game-winner and scored two goals of his own. Both Huberdeau and Dadonov fall under the category of hot at the moment: Huberdeau with 11 points in his last five games, and Dadonov with eight points over his last five games. Aleksander Barkov, who recorded three assists in this game, has 13 points over his last five games.

If you took my advice on Sam Montembeault and picked up a win, you’re welcome. The rookie goalie now has four consecutive wins.

Ilya Kovalchuk was a healthy scratch for Saturday’s game. Kovalchuk has been held without a point in five consecutive games, and he has only recorded points in one of his last ten games. Hopefully you’re not relying on him (like someone in one of my leagues says he has!)

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If you’ve been patient with Corey Crawford all season, you’ve been handsomely rewarded this month. With a 48-save shutout against Montreal on Saturday, Crawford has now won five consecutive games while allowing just seven goals over that span. Patience hasn’t just meant finding a way to keep him on your roster through yet another concussion, but also some poor play (4.30 GAA and .897 SV% in 11 games during the second quarter). Now he’s clearly found his game and should be starting in all formats.

Brendan Perlini is another Blackhawk who is cruising after some tough times earlier this season. Perlini recorded just four points (3g-1a) in his first 29 games with the Blackhawks after being traded from Arizona. Since then, Perlini has been red hot with eight goals and ten points over his last seven games, including another goal on Saturday. It helps that Perlini has recently been matched up with Alex DeBrincat and Dylan Strome, both of whom have been scoring at about a point per game as Blackhawks.

I’ll agree with Adam in his most recent Looking Ahead: Don’t be afraid to drop Jonathan Drouin if you’ve been debating the idea. Drouin was held without a point again on Saturday, which means that he has been held without a point in his last eight games and 15 of his last 16 games. He did record four assists in that one game, and he had recorded nine points in the three games prior to the deep freeze. However, we are now in the thick of the “what have you done for me lately” portion of the season.

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In four games this week, the Leafs have allowed 23 goals. This time it was Garret Sparks between the pipes, allowing six goals on 44 shots. Frederik Andersen is in absolutely no danger of losing his starting job to Sparks given the way Sparks has played all season, even though Andersen could clearly use some rest before the playoffs. The fact that the Leafs are missing both Jake Gardiner and Travis Dermott seems to be killing them at the moment, although there were still clearly issues with them in the lineup. Although the overall matchups aren’t super difficult next week (@NSH, @BUF, vs. NYR), I’d still be a little more worried than normal about starting Andersen next week.

This image sums up the Leafs’ situation right now:
 


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Ryan Donato scored two goals on six shots on goal in the Wild’s 5-2 win over the Rangers. Donato has 11 points (4g-7a) in 12 games with the Wild, which exceeds the nine points in 34 games with the Bruins before the trade. Clearly the trade has helped his fantasy value, which we told you it would (although maybe we didn’t think it would help it that much right off the bat). Donato is featured in this week’s The Journey article as one of Dobber’s fastest rising prospects.   

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This has happened to all of you, I’m sure: As soon as you drop a player, he goes off with a huge game. That player for me was Alex Killorn, who I dropped shortly after I finished writing the Saturday Ramblings (on Friday night). Killorn scored three goals on six shots on goal in the Lightning’s 6-3 win over the Capitals in a rematch of last season’s Eastern Conference Final (and a potential ECF this season). Why did I drop Killorn? Well, he wasn’t skating with the Lightning’s big guns, which is what I was hoping for when I added him. In addition, he’d been fairly cold with no goals and just three assists in his last ten games. Plus, I needed to drop someone to add Roope Hintz because… I wanted someone who could score goals.  

Alex Ovechkin scored two more goals, his 47th and 48th of the season. If he reaches 50 goals, it will be the eighth time in his illustrious career. It might be a reach for him to surpass Wayne Gretzky’s all-time record of 894 goals (Ovechkin currently has 655). Yet here’s one record that he could break by the time his career is all said and done.
 


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I’m sure someone out there dumped Alex Galchenyuk this week because this isn’t the time of year to wait for a player to come around. In spite of the Coyotes’ recent solid play, Galchenyuk had been held without a point in his previous seven games. Yet there he was on Saturday, scoring both Coyotes’ goals on six shots on goal in a 3-2 overtime loss to Edmonton. Although Galchenyuk has had a somewhat underwhelming first season in the desert, he leads the Coyotes with 20 power-play points. Now that he’s broken the slump, he appears safe to deploy again next week.

In the Oilers’ win, Connor McDavid scored two goals, including the overtime winner, and added an assist. McDavid now has multiple points in each of his last seven games, as well as an 11-game point streak.

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Evander Kane returned to the Sharks’ lineup on Saturday, which was his first game since February 26 and since announcing that his unborn daughter passed away. He was held without a point while on a line with Tomas Hertl and Gustav Nyquist, which was originally projected when Nyquist was acquired from the Red Wings at the deadline. Great to hear that he’s back, and all the best to him going forward.

Kane has been extremely valuable in multicat leagues this season. Here are some comparable players in a league that counts G, A, +/-, PIM, PPP, and SOG. Kane currently leads the NHL with 149 PIM and also has the highest shot total of the group, which ascends him to this group in spite of lower point totals.

 

Rank

G

A

+/-

PIM

PPP

SOG

Leon Draisaitl

10

42

47

7

46

28

196

Connor McDavid

12

34

66

5

20

31

210

Evander Kane

14

27

24

0

149

10

235

Blake Wheeler

15

20

66

5

49

31

203

 

Viktor Arvidsson scored two goals, which were goals 30 and 31 for him, in the Predators’ 4-2 win in San Jose. Since Arvidsson has played just 49 games this season, only Alex Ovechkin has a higher goals per games played total (0.68) than Arvidsson (0.63). Arvidsson has a 19 percent shooting accuracy at the moment, which is higher than his career average of about 12 percent. However, his 5-on-5 shooting percentage is a more normal 9.44%. So we should continue to expect plenty of goals from Arvidsson going forward, as he has averaged around 30 the last three seasons. However, his assist total (just 11 this season) is a bit concerning as far as his overall point total is concerned.

By the way, goals per game isn’t in the Frozen Tools (at least I couldn’t find it there). But you can download the stats into your own Excel spreadsheet, then perform the calculations yourself if you’re so inclined. One more great feature with the Frozen Tools.

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Finally, don’t forget to download your Playoff Draft List!

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Happy St. Patrick’s Day! For more fantasy hockey information, you can follow me on Twitter @Ian_Gooding.