Malkin’s points per game, Perreault on top line, plus more…
Some fantasy owners refuse to own Evgeni Malkin because of his recent injury history. But when Malkin is healthy, boy are they missing out. Malkin scored two goals and added an assist on Friday, which puts him at 65 points in 56 games. That’s 1.16 points per game, which is only surpassed by Sidney Crosby (1.21 P/GP) and Steven Stamkos (1.18 P/GP over 17 games). If Malkin can stay healthy the rest of the way, he’s a threat to win the Art Ross Trophy. But that’s always a big if, and a big gamble for those fantasy owners who acquire his services.
In his Penguins’ debut, Mark Streit scored the game-winning goal and added an assist in 19:31 of icetime. Here are the Pens’ defensive pairings with countless regulars out of the lineup:
24.72% EV HAINSEY,RON – STREIT,MARK
24.72% EV DUMOULIN,BRIAN – SCHULTZ,JUSTIN
22.14% EV COLE,IAN – RUHWEDEL,CHAD
Fun fact: Only one Penguins’ defenseman was on the ice for more than 20 minutes in this game. That was Ron Hainsey, who received 25 minutes in this game. Expect Hainsey and Streit, who have both celebrated their 35th birthday, to play a ton while the Pens’ defense is still undermanned.
But when it comes to power-play time on the blueline, right now it’s Justin Schultz and no one else. Both of Schultz’s points (goal and assist) were on the power play. Streit was the only other defenseman to receive any power-play time, but that was less than a minute compared to Schultz’s three minutes. But it’s not as if Penguins’ second-unit options get much power-play time to begin with. Once Kris Letang returns, that power-play number might drop to zero for Streit.
Nikita Kucherov’s four-game pointless drought in mid-February now seems like a distant memory. The Bolts’ sniper scored again on Friday, giving him goals in five consecutive games and seven goals and 13 points over that stretch. With the Steven Stamkos injury and the other various injuries, this season just shaped up to be one massive missed opportunity for the Bolts. I’m calling it early: The Lightning are back above the playoff bar next season.
After missing nearly two months, Travis Hamonic returned to the Islanders’ lineup on Friday, recording an assist in 21 minutes of icetime. He shouldn’t be counted on to provide a whole lot of scoring, but he’s worth ownership in deeper leagues that count hits and blocked shots.
After making his NHL debut on Thursday, Joshua Ho-Sang played again on Friday. So far the rookie has not recorded a point, playing on a line with Andrew Ladd and Brock Nelson while being given second-line power-play time. You probably know his situation by now, but I would suggest for fantasy purposes waiting until he shows something in the NHL before pressing the add button. He was recalled on an emergency basis, so he could be back in the AHL in short order anyway.
By the way, I have no issues with him choosing the #66 if he truly admires Mario Lemieux. Ho-Sang is taking heat for the number because of his reputation. It wasn’t a big deal when Gino Odjick wore that number when he first cracked the Canucks’ lineup in the early 1990s. Some of you may be too young to remember, but in the 1980s Brian Lawton chose #98 after he was selected first overall by the North Stars. That raised some eyebrows, mainly because the number was one below the NHL’s biggest star during his prime. Eventually Lawton settled on a lower more traditional hockey number.
Not good news for Scott Darling owners…
Quenneville said Darling got hurt in the morning skate and will be out up to three weeks.
— Scott Powers (@ByScottPowers) March 4, 2017
Jeff Glass has been recalled to be Corey Crawford’s backup while Darling is out.
One day, Shane Doan’s #19 will be retired by the Coyotes, more than anything else for his willingness to stay with the franchise through thick and thin. Doan provided Coyotes’ fans with his best game of the season on Friday, scoring a goal and adding two assists with a plus-2 in the Yotes’ 4-2 win over Carolina. Doan had not scored a point in his previous five games, and he has had several other multigame stretches this season without a point. With the three-point game on Friday, Doan is now on pace for 30 points, his lowest total over a full season since his second NHL season and first season in Arizona.
Watch Bill Peters throw Eddie Lack under the bus:
Carolina Hurricanes coach Bill Peters doesn't seem too happy with the play of goaltender Eddie Lack pic.twitter.com/z1kuIGS0Vv
— Brady Trettenero (@BradyTrett) March 3, 2017
Sure enough, Lack is 60th and dead last in save percentage among goalies that have played at least ten games. But he’s being unfair to Lack if he’s giving Cam Ward a free pass here. With three goals allowed to the Coyotes on Friday, Ward is now winless in his past six starts. According to the Goalie Calculator, since January 14 Ward has a 3.57 goals-against average and .875 save percentage. Meanwhile, since his return to the lineup on February 7, Lack has a 2.89 goals-against average and .890 save percentage.
In fairness to Mr. Peters, this is one of those situations where neither choice would render a favorable outcome. But he’s clearly missing something in suggesting that this “isn’t much of a competition” and that “we’ve got a guy who’s well ahead of the other guy.” Or to put it another way, you’re not missing anything by not adding a Hurricanes’ goalie to your roster.
Here’s my waiver wire report published on Sportsnet yesterday. Since I focused on players affected by the trade deadline, I didn’t get to one popular waiver-wire pickup, which is Mathieu Perreault. With an assist on Friday, he now has a six-game point streak with ten points (3g-7a) and a plus-7 over that span. In other words, playing alongside Patrik Laine and Mark Scheifele seems to agree with him. From the short time we’ve seen Laine, we can see he is proficient at scoring goals. And Scheifele is an absolute assists machine right now.
#NHLJets Mark Scheifele has recorded multiple points in 3 straight and 5 of last 6 games (1 G, 11 A)
— Sportsnet Stats (@SNstats) March 4, 2017
Blake Wheeler kept his owners happy by filling the statsheet on Friday: two goals, an assist, a plus-2, and seven shots on goal.
And what’s this? A Jets’ goalie with a shutout? After allowing five goals in each of his last two games, Connor Hellebuyck rewarded those who were daring enough to start him with a 29-save shutout. It’s been either feast or famine – more famine – for Hellebuyck, who now has four shutouts on the season.
In case you are considering deploying any Jets over the rest of the season, you’ll want to pay attention to their schedule. As mentioned in Looking Ahead, they play four home games over seven days (including Friday’s game). But over the final two weeks of the season (March 27 – April 9), which is championship week(s) in many head-to-head leagues, the Jets play just five times, the lowest of any team. So if you’re considering adding Perreault, add him now, but you’ll probably want to look for another option late in the season.
It’s taken awhile, but Brian Elliott is finally starting to come around.
— Sportsnet Stats (@SNstats) March 4, 2017
Starting Jonathan Bernier on Friday took a leap of faith, considering that he’s been brutal for much of the season and the Leafs are now one of the league’s highest-scoring teams. Yet Bernier impressed against his former team, who was playing its second of back-to-back games in the Pacific time zone. Bernier stopped 37 of 39 shots in the Ducks’ 5-2 win.
If the Ducks knew John Gibson wouldn’t be ready after their bye week, I’m surprised that they weren’t all in on pursuing Ryan Miller, although Miller’s contract was probably the reason a trade didn’t happen. Assuming Gibson isn’t back Sunday, Bernier’s next start will come against Miller’s Canucks on Sunday. The Canucks’ current state and Bernier’s strong start against the Leafs should make him a decent play that day.
The sniper on the Corey Perry line right now is not Corey Perry. No, Perry is without a goal in his last eight games and he has scored just four goals since mid-December. That scorer is Rickard Rakell, who scored another two goals on Friday and is up to 26 goals this season. It’s interesting to see who the goal scorer and who the playmaker is on this line.
Rakell: 26 G, 10 A
Perry: 11 G, 31 A
Thank goodness for Perry’s assist total (his highest in three seasons), because that’s keeping his fantasy value afloat. He hasn’t had much puck luck, shooting at just 6.3 percent. But even if that starts to turn around, 20 goals – let alone the 30 we’ve become accustomed to – will still be a reach.
The statsheet can giveth and the statsheet can taketh away… sometimes on the same night. James van Riemsdyk took eight shots on goal… but finished with a minus-4. Unfortunately he was held without a point. So if your league doesn’t count shots on goal, you were out of luck with him on Friday. In fact, you’ve been out of luck for a while if you’ve been looking for a goal from him lately. It’s now 14 games and counting without a goal. But the eight shots suggests no lack of trying.
Finally, teams coming off bye weeks have rebounded a bit, but I can’t see bye weeks being a popular idea going forward in their present state.
With tonight's #NHLDucks win, NHL teams finish this season 10-16-4 in their first game following the bye week
— Sportsnet Stats (@SNstats) March 4, 2017
For more fantasy hockey information, follow me on Twitter @Ian_Gooding.
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