Duchene No Longer A Dud, Sateri Shines Again, plus more…
Sidney Crosby, Evgeni Malkin, and Phil Kessel continued to do their thing, each scoring two points. Malkin has an eye-popping nine goals and four assists over his last five games, which puts him just outside the top 5 in scoring. Kessel, meanwhile, is two points out of the scoring lead while riding a six-game point streak.
In spite of their struggles during the first half of the season and a tenth-ranked overall offense, the Penguins’ 26.8 percent power play leads the league. That has benefitted all three scorers, as they are 1-2-3 in power-play points (Kessel 33, Crosby 30, Malkin 28). All three scorers now also find themselves in the top 10 in scoring. Even though the Pens are probably gassed from back-to-back Stanley Cup runs, don’t write this team off yet as a possibility to threepeat.
Here’s one more Kessel stat for you:
Phil Kessel has been on the ice for 87 of his team's goals. That's the most among #NHL Forwards this season.
— Matt Casavant (@Mcaz) February 7, 2018
Here is the video tribute (what returning star or fan favorite doesn't receive one nowadays) and long standing ovation for Marc-Andre Fleury in his return to Pittsburgh.
We should be okay giving Fleury a pass if he wasn’t at his finest on Tuesday. Fleury allowed five goals on 38 shots in a 5-4 loss. Prior to Tuesday, Flower had won six of his last seven starts while not allowing more than three goals in any of them. Since we can now say that Vegas is a Stanley Cup contender, Fleury is a must-start.
Matt Duchene had another solid game, scoring a goal and adding two assists. If you’re a Duchene owner like I am, let’s just throw away his 2017 numbers as a Senator. Since January 5, Duchene has been scoring at a point-per-game pace with 14 points (6g-8a) in 14 games.
If you had been patient enough with Duchene because his shooting percentage showed that he was snakebitten, you are finally being rewarded. Combine that with the Sens’ favorable schedule during the last few weeks of the season (the playoff weeks in fantasy), and you have yourself a potential buy-low candidate. Maybe even a waiver-wire pickup, since Duchene is still unowned in 60 percent of Yahoo leagues.
The one potential hiccup to Duchene enjoying a strong second half, though, would happen if the Sens trade sniper Mike Hoffman. He has been up and down this season, but he is making it work with Duchene at the moment with six points over his last four games. The Sens are already without Bobby Ryan and Mark Stone, although Stone could return as early as Thursday.
With Ryan set to miss 2-3 weeks with yet another hand injury, Colin White has moved up to the Duchene-Hoffman line. White scored his first NHL goal in 13 minutes of icetime. Should the Sens decide to clean house and trade at least a couple forwards before the deadline, watch for White to potentially benefit in terms of icetime and power-play time.
I like Alex Burrows from his days as a Canuck, but I wish he would cut it out with this crap.
Burrows has reportedly been offered an in-person hearing with NHL Player Safety, which means that a multi-game suspension should be in his future.
Fortunately, Taylor Hall was fine and didn’t have to exit the game. He didn’t miss a beat, scoring a goal in 22 minutes of icetime. His point streak now stands at 11 games while recording 16 points over that span. I will toot my own horn in saying he is undoubtedly my finest trade acquisition of the season.
Another game, another win for the Bruins and Tuukka Rask. Here’s what he’s done for your fantasy team over the past two months:
— Sportsnet Stats (@SNstats) February 7, 2018
He’s shown no signs of slowing down either, allowing two or fewer goals in each of his last seven starts.
With Brad Marchand serving the final game of his five-game suspension, Danton Heinen has recorded two points in back-to-back games. He’s posted five points over while Marchand has been on his league-mandated exile while logging first-unit power-play minutes and nearly 20 minutes in icetime on Tuesday. Marchand’s return on Wednesday could result in a slight hit to Heinen’s value, but in the meantime Heinen has snuck up into the top 5 in the rookie scoring race with 37 points (12g-25a) in 47 games.
I thought this was an interesting read from the Raleigh News & Observer on the struggles of the Hurricanes. Advanced stats seem to praise the Hurricanes, who are first in the NHL with a +352 shot attempt differential (54.2% Corsi For %). You could say that their goaltending has let them down, as neither Cam Ward nor Scott Darling are in the NHL’s top 30 in save percentage. The article’s author, Luke DeCock, criticizes the makeup of the team as one that accepts losing. And we know that intangibles such as chemistry and leadership aren’t tracked by advanced stats.
Could the Canes’ woes still be somewhat luck-based? Their PDO currently sits at 29th in the NHL (97.5%), dragged down by the save percentage but also by their 27th-ranked shooting percentage (7.7%). Interestingly enough, a team with a very similar PDO (SV%/SH%) and high CF% to the Canes is the Edmonton Oilers, a team that we expected a lot more from this season.
It will be interesting to see if the Canes keep this current group together, even with Bill Peters’ most recent scathing comments. If so and the advanced stats turn out to be the predictor that many assume them to be, then it might not be time to give up on underachieving Canes such as Jeff Skinner, Victor Rask, and Justin Faulk.
Personally, I think one key reason that the Canes are not a playoff team is that they are missing a superstar or go-to player. Sebastian Aho is probably the closest they have to that at the moment.
Aleksander Barkov recorded his first two-goal game of the season in 24:36 of icetime on Tuesday. You’ll want to target him in leagues that count icetime, as he leads all forwards with an average of 22:15 in icetime this season.
Jonathan Huberdeau was recently moved off the Panthers’ top line with Barkov and Evgenii Dadonov. But is it still the top line then? Huberdeau’s new line with Vincent Trocheck and Denis Malgin has been just fine itself. Brennan has more in his most recent Lining Up.
Holy cow! Harri Sateri has four consecutive wins! In case you don’t know who he is, he’s the Florida Panthers’ goalie while Roberto Luongo and James Reimer are injured. Sateri has allowed just six goals with a .950 SV% over those four wins. He’s also owned in just 7 percent in Yahoo leagues. You may not have a lot of faith in him because the Panthers aren’t that great. But hey, if the Cubs can win the World Series, then anything is possible, right?
By the way, Reimer returned to practice on Monday and is expected to return to the lineup on Friday. But with Sateri playing the way he is, there’s no reason to rush Reimer back.
Could we see more of Jake Allen in the near future? Carter Hutton was pulled after allowing three goals on eight shots in the first period. Allen wasn’t much better, though, allowing three more goals on 12 shots. The Blues play back-to-backs on Thursday and Friday, so expect each goalie to earn one start as is often the case. Those games could be telling as to which direction the Blues will go with their goaltending.
As much as Blake Wheeler has been lauded this season, here’s one stat that doesn’t look good on him: Wheeler has not scored a goal in his past 12 games (although he has nine assists over that span). The Jets’ leading point getter is on pace for just 21 goals, which would be his lowest total since the 2011-12 season.
Wheeler is currently piling up the assists, though, as he is tied for second in the NHL with 44 helpers. The return of Mark Scheifele (which could happen as early as Friday) could push Wheeler back to the wing, which could result in Wheeler scoring more goals again as opposed to playmaking.
If your fantasy league still counts game-winning goals (I see a few out there but I won’t be adding it as a category for the leagues I commish), Sean Monahan is a player to own. With his goal on Tuesday, Monahan leads the NHL with nine game winners. He’s also scored goals in three consecutive games.
For more fantasy hockey information, follow me on Twitter @Ian_Gooding.
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