There’s lots to discuss on a busy Saturday, so let’s start from the top with the early games.
Saturday began with a Senators/Flyers game with early first-period goals from Travis Konecny, Brady Tkachuk, and Shayne Gostisbehere. Then things went crazy late in the first period. After stopping a robbery in Vancouver earlier in the week , Mark Borowiecki crushed Konecny with an open-ice bodycheck. Konecny, the Flyers’ leading scorer, would not return to the game and is dealing with an upper-body injury. Philly is expected to provide an update on Konecny’s condition on Monday, its next practice day.
That set off several more incidents throughout the game, which included fights and Tkachuk deciding to jump Scott Laughton, who had some words for the Ottawa bench after he scored the go-ahead (and eventual game-winning) goal. With the Sens down a goal with less than a minute to play, this is not an intelligent play at all.
Not only did Tkachuk put the Sens shorthanded for what was left of the game, but he also risked getting a suspension (he was only fined, though). Maybe useful for the tank job?
my new transmission just cost me $2,650 https://t.co/EqCFwFM06f
— Yahoo Sports NHL (@YahooSportsNHL) December 8, 2019
If you’ve been patient with Shayne Gostisbehere all this time, you’ve got some positive news. With a goal on Saturday, Gostisbehere now has three goals and an assist with a plus-4 over his last five games. He was previously a healthy scratch for the three games before that. His overall icetime is still low, yet only one of those points has been on the power play. After being universally owned to start the season, he’s plummeted to 27 percent ownership in Yahoo leagues. Maybe, just maybe you can take a chance on him again.
Anthony Duclair scored twice for the Senators, giving him goals in back-to-back games and 13 on the season. Duclair also fired a season-high seven shots. Duclair last reached 20 goals in 2015-16, but he appears well on his way to reaching that total again.
After missing over a month with a concussion resulting from a fight, Micheal Ferland returned to the Vancouver lineup on Saturday afternoon. If you’re concerned that multiple concussions might limit Ferland’s physical style going forward, he delivered a team-high six hits on Saturday. For those in leagues that count penalty minutes, Ferland has stated he will be more careful about when he fights. Ferland is a Band-Aid Boy trainee, but I would think that he is upgraded to certified the next time Dobber updates that list.
Somebody asked me if Ferland is worth a pickup, which he could be specifically for banger leagues. If you’re kicking the tires on Ferland, one other Canuck you may want to consider for the same reason is Antoine Roussel. Playing in his second game of the season after knee surgery, Roussel scored twice on Saturday to give him three goals over those two games.
Like Ferland, Roussel has had his share of injuries (certified Band-Aid Boy). Yet Roussel has reached triple-digits in penalty minutes for six consecutive seasons, a mark Ferland hasn’t reached once in his career. Ferland has a higher average hits total than Ferland, so which gritty Canuck you choose might depend on which banger category you use. If you use both, Ferland has the higher scoring upside, although he was limited to 8:50 on Saturday while playing on the fourth line. So Roussel might be the better option right now, especially since Ferland is best used when on a scoring line.
With the overtime winner and an assist on Saturday, J.T. Miller now has an eight-game point streak in which he has 11 points (5g-6a). You can still argue that a conditional first-round pick was too much for the Canucks to give up for Miller (Fantasy Take of Miller trade here), but I’ll also tell you that Miller has been a great fit for the Canucks, scoring at a point per game overall. I suppose both arguments are valid.
Josh Leivo also scored two goals on Saturday, which gives him four goals over his last four games. In case you haven’t noticed, the Canucks as a whole have been having some massive scoring games. They've also been wearing those black retro “skate” jerseys that absolutely pop on high-definition television. (I’ll spare you the flying V’s, which they only wore during warmup.)
— NHL Public Relations (@PR_NHL) December 8, 2019
Bo Horvat finished this game in concussion protocol, which is something worth monitoring if you plan to use him next week.
For the Sabres, Jack Eichel chipped in a pair of assists, which gives him 22 points (10g-12a) over a 12-game point streak. He’s already hit the 40-point mark and is on pace for 112 points. The shooting percentage (16.4%) is a bit high, but you’d have to be talking about a super-elite return if you were considering selling high. His regression should still be very profitable for your team.
The Avalanche earned a huge win in Boston, where the Bruins had not in regulation all season, but the win came with a price. Both Philipp Grubauer (lower-body) and Cale Makar (upper-body) left Saturday’s game. Man, Colorado has sure had its share of injuries to key pieces this season.
Here’s the hit from Brad Marchand that led to Makar’s injury, which at first looked like a shoulder, but after he shook his head I worry might be a concussion.
Pavel Francouz stopped all 16 shots he faced in relief. Both his win-loss and his ratios are very strong, so don’t waste any time in adding him with Grubauer a possibility to miss time. With just 7 percent ownership in Yahoo leagues, there’s a high probability he’s available in your league.
With Makar’s injury, Samuel Girard took over on the first-unit power play, although the Avs totaled just 25 seconds of power-play time in this game. Girard is owned in just 13 percent of Yahoo leagues, which makes him a great speculative pickup for next week.
Mainly because of a weak start to the season, Sebastian Aho owners might feel underwhelmed by his season production given his high draft price (ADP 38.3 in Yahoo leagues). However, Saturday was easily his best game of the season, with Aho scoring a hat trick with two assists and a plus-2 and six shots. If you’re still not satisfied with Aho’s production, remove the rough October and he’s scored 13 goals and 21 points over his last 18 games. Now there’s the point-per-game scoring you were expecting. I certainly hope you didn’t drop him during October, which seems to be the month in which fantasy owners seem to be at their least patient.
With three assists (two on Aho’s goals), Teuvo Teravainen snapped a five-game drought without a point. He’s still at six games without a goal, though.
On Friday I told you that Alex Killorn “could be a sneaky add, particularly in leagues that count power-play points.” Well well well… Killorn scored a goal and added three assists with two power-play points in the Lightning’s 7-1 rout over San Jose. (I’m generally not one to gloat, as I’ve had an uncanny knack of embarrassing myself not long after I brag about something.) Power-play time with Nikita Kucherov, Steven Stamkos, Brayden Point, and Victor Hedman was too tempting to pass up. It may not last forever, but surprisingly Killorn has remained at 12 percent ownership over the last two days. With Saturday’s output, that number should rise. One other thing: Killorn now has goals in three consecutive games.
Fellow PP1 members Stamkos and Hedman also had big games. Stamkos scored two goals and added an assist, breaking a six-game stretch without a goal. Hedman scored a goal and added two assists, which gives him three consecutive games with a goal and five consecutive games with a point.
Sad face for Kucherov and Point owners – their team scored seven goals and these two went home without even a single point. (Point was pointless – bad dad joke.) Even Carter Verhaeghe, who hadn’t registered a point in 14 games, found his way onto the scoresheet. Verhaeghe scored a goal and added two assists in this one.
Jordan Binnington was pulled for the first time in a regular-season game after he allowed four goals on 11 shots in the first period. He’s also lost back-to-back regular-season games for the first time in his career. Those two stats should tell you that up until recently, Binnington has picked up where he left off last season. Of course, if he keeps it up, he’s a legitimate Vezina Trophy candidate.
Zach Hyman scored two of those first-period goals on Saturday and now has goals in back-to-back games. He seems to be best known as the third man on the powerful John Tavares – Mitch Marner duo. Yet he’s turned it up a notch over those past two games, also firing 11 shots.
Any worry about Jake Guentzel’s production declining after Sidney Crosby’s injury should now be put to rest. Since Crosby’s injury, Guentzel has scored 17 points (8g-9a) in 13 games, mostly playing on a line with Evgeni Malkin. Both Guentzel and Malkin posted a goal and two assists with a plus-2 in the Penguins’ 5-3 win over Detroit. So the question is, when Crosby returns, does Mike Sullivan consider keeping him with Malkin anyway? Where I would get really worried about Guentzel would be if both Crosby and Malkin are out of the lineup.
We’ve mentioned that Malkin is capable of picking up the pace when Crosby is out, and this time is no different. Malkin now has 20 points (6g-14a) in the 13 games that Crosby has been out of the lineup.
Something to keep an eye on: Tyler Bertuzzi left Saturday’s game late in the third period after blocking a shot. The Wings can ill afford to lose Bertuzzi, having now lost 11 games in a row.
Sergei Bobrovsky’s trend of playing well against his former team continued on Saturday, as he made 33 saves in a 4-1 win over Columbus. The win was Bobrovsky’s first since November 21. Perhaps this is the game that gets his season back on track, as the October slow start has also included November. As I mentioned yesterday, Bob is 15-3-1 with a 2.13 GAA and .928 SV% against the Flyers after he left Philly.
Healthy scratching Alexander Radulov seemed to work, as Radulov rebounded on Saturday with a goal and an assist. Radulov had not recorded a point in his previous four games. This was not the first time that Radulov was healthy scratched and he returned motivated, as he was held out of the lineup on March 5 for being late for a meeting, then returned on March 7 with a hat trick. Maybe the Stars should healthy scratch him once a month?
Radulov is on pace for just 46 points after back-to-back 72-point seasons, yet he’s maintained his value in leagues that count penalty minutes. His 15 minor penalties are the highest among all forwards this season, and his 78 minor penalties since joining the Stars in 2017 are also the highest among all forwards (Dallas News).
Drew Doughty appears extra motivated to play the Flames and his enemy Matthew Tkachuk. Doughty scored a goal and added an assist on Saturday, which gives him five points in the three games that he has faced Calgary this season. Doughty also snapped a 10-game drought without a goal.
Johnny Gaudreau and Sean Monahan are as inseparable a duo as you’ll find, though it appears new Calgary bench boss Geoff Ward is experimenting with splitting up this duo. For more on Gaudreau's situation, see this week's Geek of the Week.
#Flames Sean Monahan and Johnny Gaudreau have combined on an NHL-high 183 goals since 2015-16
— Sportsnet Stats (@SNstats) December 8, 2019
Don’t look now, but Milan Lucic now has goals in back-to-back games, and he added an assist on Saturday. And yes, Saturday’s goal was on the power play, where he has regularly been used on the second unit. As I mentioned on Thursday, you could reach for him in a banger-heavy league, but I should also add that the league should probably be a very deep one.
For more fantasy hockey information, or to reach out to me directly, you can follow me on Twitter @Ian_Gooding.
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