We have actual hockey to talk about!  After Reid gets me to voice my displeasure with the USMNT for a couple minutes, we get to some teams who have had hot starts, notably the Vegas Golden Knights.  After running down the list of surprises and disappointments, we zoom in and look at individual players who have stood out, positively or negatively, in the early going and how that’s impacting our fantasy decisions going forward.  We wrap things up with a preview of Thursday’s games and bring back The Three Point Challenge!  Be sure to make your picks in the comments section below.  All of that and more on the latest edition of the Razzball Hockey Podcast!

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The first home game for the Vegas Golden Knights couldn’t have started any better.  After an amazing pre-game ceremony, Vegas stormed out to four goals in the first period en route to winning 5-2 against the Coyotes.  Here we are with Vegas sitting at 3-0.  So do we have to change our expectations for the team?  I’ll talk about it extensively with Reid tomorrow but I still believe they’ll be at the bottom of the league come April.  That said, what an amazing start for a team in the wake of tragedy.  For fantasy, I think there’s three guys I would own right now in standard 12’ers: Marc-Andre Fleury, James Neal and Nate Schmidt.  There is still some downside for all of them but in the moment, just enjoy the ride.  I can’t wait to be there next week to see a game in Vegas.  Let’s take a look at what else happened on Tuesday night:

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Giving up five goals to St. Louis in the opener wasn’t extremely concerning for the Penguins.  But ten goals to Chicago in game two?  I believe that qualifies as a mess.  Obviously I’m not going to panic in regards to the Pittsburgh season outlook; I’d actually try to trade for Matt Murray if their owner is panicking.  We’ll have to wait a few weeks to develop a bigger sample size, especially because this spot was perfect for the Blackhawks, but maybe they’re better than I gave them credit for.  Let’s take a look at the eight games from Thursday night and see what developed:

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Hey everyone! We are only two days away from the season starting and the preseason is in the books. Today, I’m going to take a quick look at all 30 teams in regards to lines, injuries and surprise players who may make the team. Players officially have to go down by Tuesday so there will be a little guess work on my part for the last couple guys to make the roster but at least for standard leagues, nearly everything is clear at this point. Let’s get right to it!

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The Dallas Stars surprised a lot of people last season winning the Central Division with 109 points. They made it to the second round of the playoffs losing in 7 to the Blues without superstar Tyler Seguin. Now, there’s hope that last season was just the beginning. While the forwards remain loaded, there are additional question marks on defense now and they still have the goaltending duo that led to their demise. Let’s take a look at what they’re working with:

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It’s been quite a while since we’ve seen a shutout streak like the Blues are on. On Friday, Brian Elliott had one of the easiest shutouts of the season making 15 saves in the 4-0 win over the Canucks. The next day, Jake Allen recorded the fourth consecutive Blues shutout, stopping all 32 Capitals shots in the 4-0 win. Both have been outstanding this season and should be started every game the rest of the way. Get them in your lineup every time they start; the Blues will be highly motivated down the stretch to get home ice throughout the Western Conference Playoffs. Here’s what else I saw around the league this weekend:

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If you’ve been following along with me all year, or at least the last month, you know how much I like Mark Scheifele. The 22 year old was having an excellent start to the year until an injury sidelined him for 11 games. He came back and started well only to take off when he moved up to the first line in the wake of Bryan Little’s injury. Scheifele is in the midst of his best stretch to date. After his two goal performance on Thursday, Scheifele topped it with his first career hat trick on four shots in the 4-2 win over Montreal on Saturday. He then scored a goal on five shots in the 2-1 defeat against the Oilers. Scheifele now has 21 goals and 20 assists in 54 games with an excellent plus-minus, solid PIM and a near-elite shot rate. Scheifele is conservatively a top 50 player for the rest of this season and going forward. As I’ve said before, I want him on all of my teams next year. Here’s what else I saw around the league this weekend:

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Goals were extremely hard to come by in the NHL on Tuesday night. Four of the eight games finished 2-1, 3 of which were 1-1 through 60 minutes and needed overtime. Surprisingly, the one game that had a lot of goals was in New Jersey where the Flyers exploded in the 3rd period to beat the Devils 6-3. Their best player, Claude Giroux, led the way with three assists and one shot on goal. After a slow start, Giroux is now in the top 20 in the league in points with 49 (16+33) in 56 games. The first line and first power play unit for the Flyers has been completely unstoppable for the last 4-6 weeks and is keeping the Flyers in the playoff race. If you own any of their big four, enjoy the ride. Here’s what else I saw around the league on Tuesday night:

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In the month of February, Oliver Ekman-Larsson has been even better than usual. After Monday night where he had a goal and two assists with two shots against Montreal, OEL now has 10 points (3+7) in 7 games with 27 SOG and 14 PIM. Eight of his points are on the power play which is excellent but that’s come along with a -10 rating. You can stomach the plus-minus from OEL when in defenseman ranks, he’s 2nd in goals, tied for 4th in points, 2nd in SOG and first in STP. In dynasties, he’s solidified himself as the #3 defenseman going forward. It’s crazy to think that OEL is still only 24 years old and the best years for Arizona are still to come. He deserves to be discussed about the Norris Trophy, not to win because Erik Karlsson has it in the bag, but as a finalist. Here’s what else I saw around the league on a relatively busy Monday:

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