Minnesota played an excellent game on Thursday booking an impressive 5-2 win over the Blackhawks.  Sadly for them, it came at a brutal cost.  Charlie Coyle and Nino Niederreiter both left the game injured and were already ruled out for Saturday’s game.  Coyle was hit in the back of the leg with a shot while Nino looked to suffer an ankle injury that could cost him multiple weeks.  Hopefully you have an injured reserve spot for both of these guys but Nino definitely should be held through the injury.  With Mikael Granlund out as well, the Wild are getting extremely thin.  So who gets a boost?  Jason Zucker (1+1, 5 SOG) becomes must-own in 12’ers while Chris Stewart (2G, 5 SOG) moves back on to the streaming radar.  We’ll have a clearer picture tomorrow but this is a big blow to the Wild and fantasy teams in the short term.  Here’s what else happened the last two nights around the league:

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All everyone talked about in the preseason was wondering how bad Vegas was going to be in their expansion year.  Sure, it’s only two games, but boy did they have some excitement.  On Friday, Dallas was dominating Vegas in their franchise opener but was only up 1-0 in the third.  Down goes Ben Bishop which opened up the door for James Neal to give the people of Las Vegas some relief in an awful time.  Neal scored two goals in the third period to propel the Golden Knights to victory.  To top off the weekend, Neal scored another goal, this time the game winner in overtime, to give Vegas two wins to start the season.  Neal is still available in over 40% of leagues and if you are in one of them, grab him.  The shot rate is going to be elite along with solid penalty minutes and goals.  At least for now, I’m not overly concerned about the top guys on Vegas having bad plus-minuses either.  Let’s take a look at what else happened in the first (long) weekend of the NHL season:

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Here’s what I said about Jonathan Marchessault in my season preview of the Florida Panthers: “Jared McCann and Jonathan Marchessault are the two Panthers I can see taking a late flier on in deep leagues… Marchessault scored 18 points in 45 games for Tampa Bay last season despite averaging only 12 minutes of ice time per game. When Tampa was hit with injuries, Marchessault filled in admirably. If Florida was hit by the injury bug, I could see both of these guys becoming relevant in 12’ers; for now they are potential waiting for their chance.” And that’s me quoting me! Well, Florida did get struck by the injury bug and while McCann didn’t provide much value this season, Marchessault certainly did. The return of their two best players hasn’t hurt Marchessault at all. In fact, it’s helped him on the power play. He recorded his first career hat trick in the 7-0 win over the Blackhawk, which also included four shots and four PIM. That brings Marchessault’s totals to 28+20 with 34 PIM and 2.5 shots per game in 67 GP. Not bad for a guy the Panthers signed for $750k for this season and next. The Panthers have an interesting offseason ahead to determine how their forward core is going to look next season. Regardless, I think Marchessault is worry of a late round pick next season. I don’t think there’s more upside than what he’s doing this season but there’s no complaints with a 34+25 per 82 games when he’s not hurting you elsewhere. I expect the Panthers to be back in the playoffs next season with Marchessault providing some nice depth behind the big guns. Let’s take a look at what else happened this weekend around the league:

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After an amazing start, Patrick Eaves has slowed down quite a bit lately. Despite being in the league since 2005, Eaves never topped 32 points so it wasn’t a surprise. That said, he’s been given the best opportunity to produce points he’s ever had in his career this season and Eaves has taken advantage on the whole. Eaves had his strongest game in over a month on Tuesday scoring a goal and two assists with three shots. He’s been on the first power play unit all season (his goal was on the PP) and Eaves moved back to the first line during this game. It’s time to stop dropping Eaves and hold him in 12’ers. I’m okay with using him as a streamer if you don’t have the room but Eaves has an outside shot of scoring 30 goals this year. Here’s what else happened around the league on Tuesday night:

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The Florida Panthers were the biggest surprise of last regular season, riding breakouts from their elite young talent along with the resurgence of some veterans to win the Atlantic Division. Despite bowing out in the first round, last season’s success has the Panthers facing the most pressure they have in years. Many consider them as a sneaky Stanley Cup contender this year. They have plenty of fantasy options at all positions worthy of our attention so let’s take a look at their roster:

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Both divisions in the Western Conference are in the midst of a three way battle that will have a major impact throughout the playoffs. The Blackhawks found themselves playing three games in a row against their competitors and lost their third in a row. The Blackhawks were thoroughly dominated on Monday night by the Kings, losing 5-0 at home. Jonathan Quick posted the shutout for L.A. stopping all 32 shots he faced. Quick is currently the number 4 fantasy goaltender on the season with better numbers across the board than last season. The Kings remained in first in the Pacific while the Blackhawks remained in third. They have overcome being on the road before but it still makes things quite difficult for Chicago. On the other hand, the Kings getting home ice, a situation they’re rarely in, would be a nice bonus against the Ducks or Sharks. Expect Quick to get the majority of the starts down the stretch to be one of the biggest difference makers in the fantasy playoffs. Here’s what I saw around the league Monday night:

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If you’re a frequent reader of my articles, then you know the player I streamed the most this year has been Vladislav Namestnikov. Well, I’m not streaming him anymore because he’s terrible. Kidding! That’s because he’s a clear hold now. He’s centering the first line in Tampa (Steven Stamkos is playing RW) and he’s coming off a hat trick on five shots in the 5-4 win over the Penguins Friday night. He only had one shot in Sunday’s game but still, the role we look to stream him in looks secured now. Names (I’m sticking with that nickname, thanks commenters!) now has 23 points in 44 games and that’s with being shuffled throughout the lineup and with little PP time (he has 4 PPP). There’s no guarantee that he lasts in this role all season but now, he’s must own in 12’ers. Here’s what else I saw around the league this weekend:

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It’s isn’t rare for a goalie to steal a game in the NHL.  That said, I don’t think anyone does it more than Roberto Luongo does.  Luongo puts up crazy 35 save performances with regularity and on Monday, Luongo posted a 39 save shutout against the Lightning, winning 1-0 on an Aaron Ekblad goal with 21 seconds left (I told you to target him yesterday!) The Panthers were outshot 39-20, the Corsi was 55-34* Tampa and had only one player have a positive Corsi in the game, yet Luongo shut down the Lightning and stole two points for the Panthers. His numbers on the season are about what you’d expect, winning half the time but with a solid goals against average and an elite save percentage.  His owners have to be happy so far with his overall performance and thrilled with the great start to the week.

Here’s what else happened on Monday night:

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Finally Tuukka Rask owners have something to be happy about.   Rask shutout the Coyotes, saving all 24 shots on goal in the Bruins 6-0 victory.  Would I be happy as a Rask owner with this development.  Of course, but mostly because this could give you a chance to sell Rask at a higher value.  Arizona is going to be a horrible team and they are regressing quickly from their hot start.  They are the type of team that the Bruins will dominate because their top-six is going to control the game and not allow their defense to be exposed.  Bottom line, I don’t see this as the start of a bounceback for Rask; I see it as an opportunity to get away from him while getting good value in return.

Here’s what else I saw Tuesday night:

Please, blog, may I have some more?