There aren’t too many teams that I would be keen to roster three players from. Stacking mates is often a recipe for feast or famine, and come time for fantasy hockey playoffs, an ill-timed famine can be the death of a squad.
That said, the Bruins and Panthers, who met on Thursday evening, are two of the teams you’d consider taking that swing on. Sasha Barkov and Jonathan Huberdeau have the ability to go off in bunches and are both clicking above the point-per-game mark. Meanwhile, Keith Yandle has been steadily plucking apples from the orchard.
All three factored in on the first two Florida goals as the Panthers jumped out to an early 2-0 lead. David Krejci brought the Bs to within one before the Bruins’ top line joined the party
Despite still missing David Pastrnak – who is inching closer to returning from a thumb injury, Patrice Bergeron and Brad Marchand refuse to slow down. Bergeron tallied his second shorthanded goal in as many games to knot the game at two. The assist, of course, went to Marchand.
Huberdeau clicked on his third point to regain the lead for a Panthers’ squad that should be looking towards the lottery and not the playoffs, but the Bruins were not to be outdone tonight. Matt Grzelcyk tallied the tying goal with 37 seconds remaining on the clock.
Then, it was back to Bergy.
AND WITH 7.2 SECONDS REMAINING. PATRICE BERGERON. pic.twitter.com/aHoP299Vei— Bruins (Guy Boston Sports) (@Bruins_GBos) March 8, 2019
Call it nine points in the last five games for Marchand and 80 on the season. Bergeron is up to 62 points in 51 games. Both are on 100-point paces.
Stack ‘em up!
CBJ has lost three of their last four and is inching further away from the post-season picture. Missing the dance will be disastrous as the organization bet on itself and could be left holding the bag as the UFAs walk.
Joonas Korpisalo took the L in this one. Torts wouldn’t comment on why Korpisalo was getting the nod over Sergei Bobrovsky other than to say it wasn’t due to Bob’s performance of late. Columbus is riding three netminders right now, so perhaps it’s a just a rest situation, but it was a strange time to sit your number one if he’s healthy. The two teams meet again on Saturday, in what is shaping up to be a must-win for Columbus. If Bob is healthy, expect him to be tending the twine.
Watch the updates.
Jared McCann is loving life in the Steel City. The former first-rounder is breathing fresh air playing on the left-side of Crosby and Jake Guentzel. He has three goals and six points in his last five games and is seeing upwards of 17 minutes a night at even-strength. He’s yet to break onto a power-play unit, but if he continues to show signs of offensive life, that second unit should come calling soon.
We’ve all fallen for the third fiddle before, but McCann has always been a skilled, yet feisty player. He could be a nice fit on that line. Let’s see how the remaining games shake out, but we could be looking at a sleeper for 2019-20.
In the most predictable result of the evening, the Sens lost again. This time to the Islanders. There isn’t much left to say about Ottawa. They stink and are going to watch Colorado draft an elite talent in June. Tough times.
Meanwhile, the goaltending on the Isle continues to be stellar. With Robin Lehner out with a suspected concussion, Thomas Greiss handled this one easily. He’s up to a .929 save percentage on the season.
On the flip side of the predictability scope, the Lightning lost. No, it’s not April 1st, this is not a drill. Devon Dubnyk made 25 saves and Jason Zucker recorded the natural hat trick as Minny bested the best team 3-0 on Thursday.
After being moments away from being dealt to Calgary at the deadline, Zucker has been making good. The 27-year-old has five goals in five games and is enjoying the addition of Ryan Donato. Donato has been making the best of his opportunity in Minnesota. He has nine points in the eight games since the trade from Boston and has weaselled himself a gig on the team’s top line and top power-play unit.
We’ve got ourselves another sleeper alert.
Alex Radulov returned to the Stars lineup and notched his first-career hat trick against the Avalanche. Jamie Benn had a goal and an assist to give him five points in his last two games, while Ben Bishop recorded his second consecutive shutout.
Bishop has been dynamite this season and should be in the thick of the Vezina conversation despite missing some time due to injury. His 0.930 save percentage in 39 contests sits second to only Andrei Vasilevskiy.
He’ll be 33 by the time puck drops next fall. I’ll be wary of him on draft day.
Apparently, it was the evening of shutouts. Darcy Kuemper and Yotes blanked the Flames 2-0 on Thursday. Clayton Keller opened the scoring and Jakob Chychrun put the icing on the cake. Keller has just five points in his previous 15 contests. The sophomore slump has been wrapping its claws around the 20-year-old.
Bigger things are coming down the line. Hold on.
The Canucks took on the Oilers on the road after an energy-filled victory on home ice against the Maple Leafs the evening before. They didn’t muster the same effort in this one.
Brock Boeser chipped in with two assists of his own but it wasn’t enough as the Oil took this one 3-2.
These two squads are battling for lottery balls at this point, so maybe we actually give the win to VanCity. What can I say, I'm a wide-eyed optimist.
Chicago and Buffalo had some fun in a back-and-forth affair that needed extras. Chicago completed the first period up 2-0 only to see Buffalo score three in the second frame. The third period was highlighted by alternating tallies and a scoreless overtime period.
That’s three wins in four tries for Corey Crawford since returning from the IR. Unfortunately, not a quality start in the bunch. The Blackhawks will continue to try and score their way out of trouble, but that method can only work for so long.
The Sharks defeated the Habs 5-2 in one of the late affairs. Brent Burns recorded his 60th assist of the season in this one. The 33-year-old is on pace for 89 points, which would be the second most we've seen from a blueliner in the last 25 years (Ray Bourque – 91 points in 1993-94).
The Blues blanked the lowly Kings 4-0 in the final game of the evening. Vladimir Tarasenko potted a goal and added an assist. After the rocky first half of the season, Tarasenko has made good on owners who displayed patience. The 27-year-old has 29 points in 21 games dating back to January 15.
It was Jake Allen who completed the goose egg in this one. You know things are going your way when Allen has four quality starts in his last five contests.
Our Report Generator on DobberHockey continues to be improved. The most recent addition has been in the PP Data area where Eric Daoust has included PPPt/60 – which is essentially how many power-play points a player gets for every 60 minutes of power-play deployment. It’s a mouthful, but it provides tangible evidence to support how effective a player is on a man-advantage unit.
To me, this is a potential gold mine. Teams are constantly looking to improve their special teams’ production and finding players who are thriving in a limited role would likely be a good starting point in attempting to unearth assets that will see their value increase with further opportunities.
At the top of this list, we see the elites. Nikita Kucherov, Brayden Point, Pastrnak, Phil Kessel, Burns, etc. But what I’m looking for are those undervalued players. Here are a few that stood out to me.
Jack Roslovic – Pegged by many as a prime candidate to steal the second line centre gig in Winnipeg this season, Roslovic has found himself locked in the bottom six skating fewer than 10 minutes a contest and very few power-play opportunities. However, in his 45 minutes of man-advantage action, the 22-year-old has produced 7.9 PPPt/60. That number puts him a shade ahead of Patrice Bergeron.
The Jets are going to run into cap issues soon, and when they do, Roslovic will be there to eat up offensive minutes for a reasonable price. He'll be another good bet to garner more interest next season assuming Winnipeg doesn't find a way to add a centre this offseason.
Kevin Labanc – The Sharks have a bevy of forward talent to choose from when an opponent heads to the sin bin. But it's Labanc who leads them in PPPt/60. His 7.1 PPPt/60 is amongst the league-leaders and not due to small sample size. His 145 minutes of man-advantage action is less than the big dogs, but still averaging out to over two-minutes per contest.
He'll need to continue to fight off Timo Meier for that top unit spot, but Labanc has shown capable of improving production year-over-year. A few more minutes per night and we could be talking about a 65-point forward next season.
Follow me on Twitter @Hockey_Robinson
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