Ramblings: Rakell and Pastrnak score 30, while Marchand reigns supreme.
The Flyers took it to the Penguins last night who closed out their road trip with a whimper. They’ll draw a scuffling Devils team on Friday so look for a rebound.
Jake Guentzel, Sidney Crosby and Conor Sheary were held off the board and went a combined minus-seven. You could look at that stat line and be discouraged but they were the only Penguin line producing much of anything. In fact, they were buzzing all game. Disappointed but not discouraged.
Mark Streit was back in the lineup for Pittsburgh skating 20:12 and showing no fear blocking six shots.
Huge redemption game for Steve Mason with a shutout against the Penguins after crippling performance on Monday night. He has started seven of the last eight for Philadelphia and has won four of them with a 1.69 GAA and a 0.943 SV%. Too little too late for most fantasy teams but perhaps he can help you as a spot starter off the waiver wire.
Sean Couturier had a monster game with a goal, an assist and eight SOG. These types of performances are too few and far between.
The Flyers deployed their two-defenseman look on the top power player unit once again. This pushed Jakub Voracek to the second unit and Ivan Provorov onto the top unit. They clicked for one goal with Wayne Simmonds tying Brayden Schenn for the league lead in power-play goals with 15. Provorov notched an assist. Perhaps he’s worth a spin.
Shayne Gostisbehere has nine points in his last 11 games.
Another goalie worth looking at for spot starts is Calvin Pickard. He has played some great hockey since the All-Star break with a 0.918 SV% and a 2.56 GAA in 17 appearances. Only six wins in that stretch but beggars can’t be choosers.
Matt Duchene busted his goalless drought, ending it at 12 games. That doesn’t mean I am jumping back on board with him this season but if you’re in a keeper league and you’ve got no choice but to ride this out, you’ll appreciate this bump.
Anthony Mantha got back into the lineup for the Red Wings but was held scoreless. Here were the line combos:
#1 26.8% NYQUIST,GUSTAV – TATAR,TOMAS – ZETTERBERG,HENRIK
#2 14.9% ABDELKADER,JUSTIN – ATHANASIOU,ANDREAS – LARKIN,DYLAN
#3 14.4% GLENDENING,LUKE – MILLER,ANDREW – SHEAHAN,RILEY
#4 13.9% HELM,DARREN – MANTHA,ANTHONY – NIELSEN,FRANS
Maybe hold off on Mantha for the time being.
Andreas Athanasiou doesn’t see enough ice time for fantasy relevance but the potential is there:
? ? ANDREAS ATHANASIOU IS A ONE MAN FAST BREAK ?? pic.twitter.com/5LIRLn3LFo— Dimitri Filipovic (@DimFilipovic) March 16, 2017
Before last night’s action, only Rickard Rakell, TJ Oshie, Michael Grabner and Auston Matthews were scoring more G/60 at 5-on-5 than Athanasiou. Grabner being on that list is informative because that’s probably Athanasiou’s upside.
Rakell scored his 30th goal of the season despite missing 10 games to open the season. He has eight goals in the last nine games. That Duck top line with Rakell, Ryan Getzlaf and Patrick Eaves continues to look strong.
Jonathan Bernier continues his roll as an undervalued goaltender that you might pursue having started nine of the last 10, with six wins and some great numbers in that span.
The Ducks have a back-to-back Friday/Saturday and I imagine John Gibson will get one of those games, although there is still no timetable for his return. If Bernier is called to start both games, you should avoid using him on Saturday against San Jose if you can. As we saw with Antti Raanta earlier this week, back-to-backs aren’t friendly to goaltenders.
The Flames’ winning streak was ended at 10 games. Now the real challenge is in seeing how they respond. Elliott not being in goal might be a psychological edge for the goalie to help him continue propelling this team towards the playoffs. This next game against the reeling Stars is an important one because it’s a chance to build the confidence back up before facing four straight against the Kings, Capitals, Predators and Blues.
In fact, the Flames have some gnarly looking matchups the rest of the way facing Los Angeles three times, and both the Sharks and Ducks twice. It would be worse if they had more metro teams in there but no one wants to see California teams at this time of year.
Marchand is now your outright goal-scoring leader and is tied for the league lead in points with Patrick Kane and Connor McDavid. No one saw this coming, not even after his dynamite World Cup of Hockey.
David Pastrnak scored a pair to reach the 30-goal plateau. He still has time to get to 40 but probably won’t get there as I had been hyping up early in the season. Still a great breakout performance.
Beleskey scored his first goal since November 19. He’s been a bust for Boston but I wouldn’t rule out the possibility that he resurfaces as a decent depth option on another team next season.
David Backes had a scare, having to leave the game after an awkward tumble into the boards. He eventually returned and even scored the game winner. Backes has been dropped almost entirely from the PP in recent games so he doesn’t haven’t too much value but anyone with exposure to Marchand warrants consideration.
Anton Khudobin made a rare start with Boston facing a back-to-back. He shook off a terrible goal from the neutral zone by Dougie Hamilton to secure a win, his fourth straight. All of those wins have come in the Bruce Cassidy era. If Khudobin had played like this under Claude Julien, you wonder if there would have been a coaching change at all.
We now have a prognosis on Artem Anisimov:
Coach Q says Artem Anisimov (lower body) will miss 3-4 weeks. #Blackhawks— Chicago Blackhawks (@NHLBlackhawks) March 15, 2017
That will effectively end his regular season. Look at this as a blessing in disguise. Anisimov had lost his spot on the top PP unit scoring 16 points in 29 games in 2017. That’s just enough to keep you on the leash but there were better options out there. Now you can seek those out. I like Brandon Dubinsky as a waiver wire option. He has 16 points in 20 games since the All-Star break.
People will look for the direct replacement, which means Nick Schmaltz and I’m not going to argue against it. He helped Jonathan Toews to that crazy post-All-Star run and now he’ll be between Patrick Kane and Artemi Panarin. Good spot but he’ll only see secondary PP time and if he’s not scoring he won’t affect many other fantasy categories. The good news, Kane is as hot as anyone.
The trickle down is that someone needs to replace Schmaltz alongside Toews and Richard Panik. Enter fresh college signing John Hayden:
So Artem Anisimov is basically out until the playoffs, give or take. Schmaltz will be 2C in the meantime. Hayden likely with Toews tomorrow.— Mark Lazerus (@MarkLazerus) March 15, 2017
You’d only consider Hayden in DEEP formats but he’s worth watching. Read more about Hayden here.
You can also bet that the Blackhawks’ lines will get tossed in the blender if the above options don’t work. That could mean some time with Toews and Kane together, especially if they get down in some games. We might also see Marian Hossa get back into the mix. The veteran has nine points in 18 games since the All-Star break. But don’t count on him holding much value without a kick-start.
Interesting note in Elliotte Friedman’s latest 30 Thoughts:
6. If Ottawa makes any NCAA foray, watch the goalies.
What does that say about the long-term state of Ottawa’s crease? Craig Anderson has one more year remaining. Mike Condon is a UFA and their AHL goaltenders have been so bad that they had to trade for Condon when news about Anderson’s wife broke. They basically gave up on Andrew Hammond even though he has another year. They won the Matt O’Connor sweepstakes a couple of years back but he’s been forced into stints in the ECHL.
There is a bright light at the end of the tunnel in prospect Marcus Hogberg who has shredded the top Swedish league this season so any goaltender signing might be more about improving organizational depth. Read more on Hogberg, a potential gem, here.
While we’re on the Senators’ goaltending, it has been confirmed that Anderson will miss tonight’s game as well. May as well scoop up Condon at this point, as he’s guaranteed to start one of their weekend games as well. Although, maybe you want to avoid the Blackhawk buzz saw tonight.
My latest for Puck Daddy is a primer for Week Two of the fantasy playoffs, give that a read when you are ready to start preparing for next week!
Thanks for reading. You can follow me on Twitter @SteveLaidlaw.
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