Quick returns, Forsberg on fire, plus more…
If you drafted Jonathan Quick and left him on IR since he was injured on the first game of the season, you were finally rewarded on Saturday. Quick made his long-awaited return, stopping 32 of 33 shots in a 4-1 win against the Ducks. Quick appeared ready for the task in this game, so you probably shouldn’t have to worry about him performance-wise going forward. Wins might be more of a challenge than normal, however, with the Kings’ offense in the bottom third of the league.
Don’t toss Peter Budaj to the waiver wire yet if possible. The Kings play back-to-backs on Monday and Tuesday, so he should start one of those games. Even though the Kings are fighting for a playoff spot, you’d have to think that Darryl Sutter won’t overwork his top goalie.
This game was billed as the “Freeway Face-off”, but both teams were slow to get in gear with offense during the first two periods. In the third period, the Kings exploded for four goals, with Tyler Toffoli leading the charge with a pair of goals. Toffoli also scored a goal two games ago, but he had previously gone through a stretch of just one point in nine games.
The game also featured a reunion of That 70s Line, with Tanner Pearson recording three assists and Jeff Carter scoring a goal and adding an assist. With Anze Kopitar struggling mightily, That 70s Line has to be considered the de facto top line for the Kings.
Patrick Eaves was held without a point in his first game as a Duck. Randy Carlyle seemed to experiment as to where to put him, flip flopping him between Corey Perry’s line and Ryan Getzlaf’s line. Eaves saw 16 minutes of icetime, including 2:42 on the second-unit power play.
Yesterday I talked about Ryan Getzlaf’s diminishing returns. Today I’ll mention his longtime Ducks’ teammate Corey Perry, who is on pace for just 55 points, his lowest total in a full season since 2007-08. Perry has only four goals since December 15, a span of 33 games. His shooting percentage is an abysmal 6 percent, much lower than his career 13 percent. Perry is now 31, so there could be some age-related decline in his shot velocity. But the possibility of a late-season turnaround should remain, so don’t try to actively shop him.
With his goal and two assists on Saturday, Filip Forsberg now has seven goals and nine points over his last three games. If you own Forsberg, you’ve experienced the extreme valley and peak firsthand. But if not, I’ll tell you that Forsberg didn’t score his third goal of the season until December 13 – a span of 28 games.
If Dobber earned a nickel every time a Forsberg owner posted a “what do I do with him” question on the forum this season, he’d be a very rich man. That’s why you need to be patient with your studs. Maybe they don’t usually explode the way Forsberg has. But they will eventually come through. Patience is a virtue.
Forsberg isn’t the only red-hot Predator. Ryan Johansen has six goals in three games this week. He has yet to score his tenth goal of the season, but he’s a top-10 option when it comes to assists. As long as you know what you’re getting when you draft him, you just have to plan to get the goals from someone else.
Thomas Greiss was having an amazing week (two wins, one goal allowed) until he ran into a wall called the Columbus Blue Jackets. Greiss was chased after allowing three goals in the first period. But Jean-Francois Berube didn’t fare much better, allowing four more goals to give the Jackets a touchdown victory.
Nick Foligno and Josh Anderson each scored two goals. Actually, it’s probably quicker if I tell you which Jackets’ forwards didn’t record a point. That would be Scott Hartnell and Oliver Bjorkstrand. As a Hartnell owner in a deep league, it’s no fun when your player receives nada when his team scores a bazillion goals.
Among defensemen, Zach Werenski and Seth Jones owners also fell into that category on Saturday. But David Savard, who had just one point in his last nine games, scored a goal and added two assists with a plus-5. That’s just how it goes sometimes.
If that last bit discouraged you, here are some real penguins and a large fake penguin to cheer you up.
— NHL on NBC (@NHLonNBCSports) February 26, 2017
Newly acquired Ron Hainsey made his Penguins’ debut in the Stadium Series game, already taking on top-4 minutes on the injury-depleted Penguins’ defense. The Pens were without Kris Letang, Olli Maatta, and Trevor Daley for this game. Hainsey should log plenty of minutes over the next few weeks, although his contributions to fantasy teams will likely be minimal.
With his two goals, Auston Matthews has reached 30 goals for the first of what should be many times. Matthews also took seven shots on goal, which is the fifth time he has reached that total this season. His 30 goals is now tied for second in the NHL, which his 217 shots on goal is sixth in the entire league. Not among rookies, but all players. I sure didn’t think he’d be this good this fast.
Fun fact: Matthews and Patrik Laine now have identical stat lines: 30 goals, 24 assists, 54 points. This has to be the best rookie race since Ovechkin and Crosby a decade ago. Hard to believe it’s been that long.
This is the first season since the #NHLDraft was introduced in 1963 that the top two picks from the previous draft each have 30 goals.
— NHL Public Relations (@PR_NHL) February 26, 2017
I whiffed on several players as potential breakout candidates, but one that really sticks out in my team planning was Brendan Gallagher. He has no points in the five games since his return, and he’s been held without a point in eight games and counting. In fact he has just one points (a goal) in his last 16 games. Gallagher took 21 shots in four games before the injury, but he’s only taken nine shots in five games since the injury, so we may have to wonder if his injured hand is all right.
Mikkel Boedker broke a 19-game goalless drought with a goal on Saturday against a mumps-depleted Canucks’ team. In fact, the last time Boedker had scored before Saturday, he had earned a hat trick. Sometimes a player just isn’t a good fit for the team he signs with as a free agent, and such is the case with Boedker.
Gabriel Landeskog has been a borderline own in many leagues this season. And with no points in five games and no goals in seven games entering Saturday, he probably wasn’t a player that you were going to great lengths to start. So he may have caught you off guard on Saturday by scoring two goals and an assist and a plus-2 in a rare Avalanche win. It will be interesting to see whether he and Matt Duchene, once considered the future of the franchise, will in fact be traded at the deadline.
All one of these guys needed to do was whack their opponent with that shopping cart and then we would have had a full-blown WWE skit. (From an AHL game between the Chicago Wolves and the Iowa Wild.)
The video: pic.twitter.com/A2ffgPJT10
— Tyler, KD9GOL (@TJBuchi) February 26, 2017
And while we’re on the theme of fights, I felt this last video was necessary because it is the 40th anniversary of the movie Slapshot (NSFW warning… LOL).
Enjoy your Sunday. Follow me on Twitter @Ian_Gooding.
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