Ramblings: Panthers Producing, Tampa Chasing History, Binnington, Murray, & Couturier (Feb 20)

by Cam Robinson on February 20, 2019
  • Hockey Rambling
  • Ramblings: Panthers Producing, Tampa Chasing History, Binnington, Murray, & Couturier (Feb 20)

 

Don’t look now, but the Ducks have won three of their last four games. Two via the shutout including a 4-0 victory over the Wild on Tuesday evening. None of these contests have seen John Gibson, either. Ryan Miller is healthy and providing exactly what’s expected of him: providing legitimate netminding if/when Gibson isn’t in the crease.

 

Anaheim is just three points back of the final Wild Card spot – held by the struggling Wild. This despite boasting a league-worst -50 goal differential.

 

That Pacific Division is yuck.

 

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Those cats from Minny are trying their darndest to fall out of the playoff picture. They’re 1-6-3 over their past 10 games. They sure appear to miss Mikko Koivu a great deal.

 

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On the other side of the ledger, the Blues simply refuse to lose. They put their 10-game win streak on the line against the Leafs on Tuesday and despite blowing a 2-0 lead in the third period, came away victorious in overtime off the stick of Ryan O’Reilly.

 

Robert Thomas has been toiling away on the fourth line during even-strength play, but the rookie pivot is beginning to look awfully comfortable on the top power-play unit. He didn’t have any points in this one but he has six in his last seven games.

 

Thomas should be considered a real threat to break out in 2019-20. Keep that one in your back pocket for draft season next fall.

 

Another start for Jordan Binnington and another victory. He hasn’t lost in a full month with 13 of his 15 starts in 2019 have been quality – meaning at or above league average save percentage – around 0.910. 

 

He’s been a key figure in the revolution happening in Missouri these days. The real question is where we peg him as an asset moving forward? Obviously, this type of run will not be sustained. No one can run hot forever. But a 25-year-old who appears capable of leading a playoff-calibre team should be worth some serious action in drafts next season.

 

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Andreas Johnsson returned to action. He skated 15:27 alongside Nazem Kadri and William Nylander at evens. The Leafs didn’t receive a power plays in this one, but Johnsson was practicing on the left point on the second unit.

 

Johnsson is a very interesting player moving forward. Will he price himself out of Toronto as an RFA this summer or is he destined to be a swiss army knife for the squad? He’s a sleeper right now; let’s see if that lasts through the summer.

 

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Rick Roos is looking for a few more fantasy hockey questions for his upcoming Mpieceg peice. Have one? send it to [email protected]

 

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For those leagues who employ two-week playoff matches, this week was the kickoff to the 2019 Fantasy Post-Season. The team with the healthiest schedule is the Panthers, and they got things moving and shaking in the right direction on Tuesday with a 4-2 victory over the Sabres.

 

Florida plays eight contests over the next two weeks including six at home. They may not be a playoff team, but they score like one – kicking around the top half of the league for goals for. Their big cats really flashed their teeth late in this one.

 

Jonathan Huberdeau and Aleksander Barkov both chipped in three points – all accrued in the third frame to seal the victory. They were some pretty tallies too.

 

 

 

Barkov has seven points in his last two games and remains above a point-per-game pace. On the other hand, Huberdeau’s production has to be a welcomed sight for those owners who were getting used to his early season dominance. The skilled winger came into this tilt with just three points in his previous eight games.

 

His name has been in trade rumours leading up to the deadline. 30 teams should be calling if Dale Tallon is dumb enough to move him. 

 

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No points for Rasmus Dalin despite leading all Buffalo skaters in PPTOI with 5:59.

 

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The illness-riddled Penguins overcame a couple of one-goal deficits to defeat the flailing Devils 4-3. Sidney Crosby posted an assist to extend his point streak to six contests, while Evgeni Malkin’s apple pushed his personal streak to eight games.

 

Matt Murray stopped 33 in this one, including some bell ringers in the final frame. He has three wins in his last four tries. He’s 14-5-0 with a 0.931 save percentage since returning from injury in mid-December.

 

The Pens are third in the Metro and just two points behind the Caps.

 

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Carter Hart was given the Tampa Bay treatment on Tuesday. The 20-year-old netminder surrendered three goals on six shots before getting the yank. No sweat, kid the Bolts are chasing history as one of the all-time great teams.

 

Here’s a look at the a few of the top seasons of all-time (Win %)

  • 1929-30 Bruins (0.875) – 44 GP
  • 1943-44 Habs (.830) – 50 GP
  • 1976-77 Habs (.825) – 80GP
  • 2012-13 Blackhawks (.811) – 45GP [Lockout season]
  • 1977-78 Habs (.806) – 80GP
  • 1944-45 Habs (.800)  -50GP
  • 1995-96 Red Wings (.799) – 82GP – 62 wins [NHL RECORD]
  • 1975-76 Habs (.794) – 80GP
  • 2018-19 Tampa Bay (.787) – 61GP – on pace for 62 wins
  • 1970-71 Bruins (.776) – 78GP

 

Yes, we can look to the shootout and overtime frame as boosters for this squad, but their RPt% (regulation point-percentage) is still a very pretty 0.730.

 

This is a special team, doing special things.

 

Sadly, Nikita Kucherov was held off the scoresheet and wasn’t able to hit triple-digits on Tuesday despite the Lightning beating Philly 5-2. Tampa has now won seven straight games for the THIRD time this season.

 

Nutty.

 

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Sean Couturier continued his hot streak by adding two assists. The 26-year-old has recorded four consecutive multi-point outings; has 22 points in his last 15 games, and is playing just a hair below a point-per-game output on the campaign.

 

His 132 points over the last two seasons sit tied with Sebastian Aho and Brent Burns for 27th most. Not bad company to keep.

 

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Henrik Lundqvist made 43 stops as the Rangers defeated the Hurricanes 2-1 a crucial tilt for Carolina. The loss kept the Canes a single point out of the final Wildcard spot held by Columbus.

 

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Speaking of Columbus, they weren’t able to create any extra separation on Tuesday when they fell 3-2 to the Canadiens. Tomas Tatar tallied the game-winner with under seven minutes to play in this one. Tatar has been a very shrewd pickup for many poolies. Left for dead in Vegas, he’s risen from the fluorescent ashes of Sin City to be a contributing member of the fantasy landscape once again.

 

The 28-year-old has 11 points in his last 12 games and has vastly outperformed the player who went the other direction in Max Pacioretty.

 

Jesperi Kotkaniemi chipped in with two assists in the win. The 18-year-old is posting a very respectable rookie campaign, clicking right at the half-point-per-game mark. 

 

He's the real deal. 

 

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For those gearing up for a lottery pick, get excited for Kaapo Kakko. The recently turned 18-year-old is scoring goals in the Finnish Liiga at an unheard of rate.

 

 

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Roman Josi tallied two goals and an assist, Ryan Ellis chipped in three assists, and Pekka Rinne made 36 stops as the Preds defeated the Stars 5-3. The Stars have lost three straight and are heading the wrong direction heading into the trade deadline next Monday. 

 

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The Oilers were without Connor McDavid on Tuesday against the Coyotes due to illness. I'd be a little queasy too seeing my team tumbling to the bottom of the standings once again.  

 

The Oilers stuck to the script and lost their fifth straight and 11th of their last 12 with a 3-2 shootout defeat. 

 

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Kucherov has been getting most of the attention these days, and for good reason. Before his scoreless evening on Tuesday he had 18 points in his previous five games and has a whopping 99 points in 61 games. He’s on pace to be the first player to break 130 points in nearly 25 years.

 

Here’s the thing though, Patrick Kane is somehow running even hotter right now. He has an incredible 65 points in 37 games stretching back to Nov. 24th. He recently surpassed Mike Hoffman’s earlier season point streak of 17 games for the longest run of the season.

 

Kane has produced 40 points on his current 18 games run. 40.

 

In the Last 10 years, the top streaks are:

 

  • Kane – 26 games in 2015-16
  • Crosby 25 games in 2010-11
  • Taylor Hall – 19 games in 2017-18
  • Steven Stamkos – 18 games in 2009-10
  • Corey Perry – 19 in 2009-10
  • Phil Kessel – 18 in 2008-09

 

Don’t take these lengthy point-streaks for granted. They don’t come around too often. 

 

And don't go handing that Hart trophy to Kuch just yet. If Kane can drag the Blackhawks to the post-season – and they're only one point back right now, his massive point totals and lack of surrounding talent will be difficult to argue against. 

 

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