Say the title five times fast, you won’t! Alliteration aside, Ben Bishop brought an end to the Blackhawks 12 game winning streak on Thursday, stopping 17 of 18 shots to extend the Lightning’s winning streak to 7. Despite all of their struggles, the Lightning are only one point out of first place in the Atlantic and they have Bishop to thank. He’s top 10 in the league in goals against, save percentage and wins, including 2nd in the leagues in goals against average. He hasn’t been mentioned as a Vezina candidate but he has earned the right to be in the conversation. Here’s what else I saw the last two nights around the league:
Brian Elliott – 29 saves on 30 shots in the 2-1 win over Detroit Wednesday. He’s played incredible for the Blues in the wake of Jake Allen‘s injury. Like I said the other day, he’s must-own until Allen is back because he’s going to start every game.
David Backes – Two assists with two PIM. In an attempt to balance the lines, Backes is currently centering the third line. He’s still on the first power play unit which is the most important thing.
Alex Pietrangelo – Two assists with five shots. He’s been playing massive minutes and played even more Wednesday. GM Doug Armstrong made a clerical error leaving the Blues with only 5 defensemen. He’s starting to play better and is a good source of shots but I’d look to sell high after this recent stretch. He’s on pace for only 35 points.
Mike Green – Assist with four shots. The minutes are the highest they’ve been all season with Niklas Kronwall out so I’d grab him where he’s available.
Henrik Zetterberg – Goal on five shots. He’s slowed down recently but I have no worries about Zets going forward.
Robin Lehner – 33 saves on 35 shots in the 2-1 loss to the Avalanche. Tough regulation loss for Lehner as he played great and kept the Sabres in it. I don’t know how the starts are going to split for the Sabres going forward but I expect Lehner to play more games than Chad Johnson. If you need a goalie, I’d grab Lehner.
Jack Eichel – Assist with a shot. There’s no slowing this kid down now. Just like this year, deciding where to rank him going into next season is going to be incredibly difficult.
Evander Kane – Goal on five shots with four PIM. I told you guys that the goals are coming! More are coming! Believe me!
Ryan O’Reilly – Assist and three shots in his return to Colorado. I somewhat expected RoR to completely dominate the game going back to Denver but still, a point and three shots is a solid outing.
Sam Reinhart – One shot before leaving the game with an upper body injury. It didn’t look serious but there hasn’t been an update yet. Tough to see with how well he’s been playing. The Sabres are already thin up front due to injury so hopefully it isn’t serious.
Semyon Varlamov – 27 saves on 28 shots in the win. Didn’t have many difficult saves to make which is a rarity for Varlamov. I’m still not a fan going forward because the goals against is surely going to be poor.
Francois Beauchemin – Goal and an assist with one shot. He’s playing massive minutes right now and if your league counts blocked shots, he’s a godsend.
Alex Tanguay – Goal and an assist with two shots. Meh. He has played more games than he has shots on goal. Hard pass.
John Gibson – 25 saves on 26 shots in the win. He’s been incredible and carried the Ducks back into playoff contention virtually by himself. 1.86 GAA is absurd.
Corey Perry – Assist with a shot. The shots are falling off lately which is discouraging but he’s still producing.
Rickard Rakell – Goal on three shots with two PIM. Still a top notch streamer as long as he’s on the first line.
Jakob Silfverberg – Goal on five shots. He’s starting to get interesting now. Silfverberg is on a heater and the shots have been top notch. I’d look to stream him in good matchups for now but it wouldn’t shock me if he’s a hold in a week or two.
Jacob Markstrom – 28 saves on 30 shots in the 4-2 win over the Bruins. Damn, both Canucks goalies are on fire right now. Willie Desjardins said he’s more open to an even split than he has ever been before so expect Markstrom and Ryan Miller to alternate games, or close to it.
Sven Baertschi – Goal on one shot. He’s into solid streamer status at this point; the second line is playing very well offensively with Baertschi and Bo Horvat (assist) looking like they can be a solid duo going forward.
Daniel Sedin – Two goals on four shots becoming the all-time goal scoring leader for the Canucks franchise. The Cyborg is still rolling without his twin.
Linden Vey – Two assists with four shots. He played well in stretches last season and even got some time on the first power play unit for the Canucks. Now that he’s back, we need to watch his role the next couple games to see if anything fantasy relevant is there for Vey.
David Pastrnak – Assist. He’s still available in the vast majority of leagues and should still be picked up in the vast majority of leagues.
Craig Anderson – 3 saves on 7 shots in 14 minutes before getting pulled. Good God, we have a new leader for worst start of the year. Giving up more goals than you make saves is hard to do. Avoid Senators goalies like the plague.
Cody Ceci – Goal and an assist with three shots. He’s an interesting player going forward; Ceci is only 22 years old, his ice time is steadily increasing and he’s finally getting power play time. In deep leagues, I’d grab him for the upside. He could be a sleeper for 2016-17 depending on how things shake out the rest of the season.
Mike Hoffman – Goal on four shots. He’s still rolling despite the Senators falling apart.
Erik Karlsson – Two assists with five shots. Watching him is always a treat; he’s consistently pushing the puck up the ice despite playing 30 minutes on a regular basis. Karlsson is over a point per game as a defenseman, it’s silly how good he is.
Joseph Blandisi – Goal and two assists with a shot and two PIM. It’s very rare when somebody is called up to the NHL and I have no idea who he is. So I went to Hockey’s Future and saw that Blandisi was the 9th rated center prospect for the Devils after being drafted in the 6th round a few years ago. In other words, expect this game to be a blip on the radar and leave Blandisi on waivers even in deep leagues.
Kyle Palmieri – Two goals and an assist with two shots. Apparently this is never going to end for Palmieri. He’s hitting every category extremely well, including being on pace for 35 goals. Insane.
Travis Zajac – Goal and three assists with two shots. He had four points with 6 minutes left… in the first period! He’s still low ended for 12’ers; you could do worse than Zajac but the lack of shots irritates me. I’d rather leave him on waivers to stream but own him in 14 man leagues or deeper.
Claude Giroux – Goal and an assist with four shots. He played an insane 24:26, bonkers for a forward in a game that didn’t go to overtime. Bottom line is that he’s back and going to roll in the second half.
Shayne Gostisbehere – Two power play assists with two shots. Ghost is my new mancrush. It’s rare to see a Flyers defenseman that is actually good at hockey, let alone great. It’s only 27 games but the 22 year old looks like he has an incredible bright future.
Brayden Schenn – Goal and an assist with a shot. Lucky for him, Schenn gets to be the fifth wheel on the Flyers great power play unit. If you need special teams points, he’s a solid option; otherwise I’d leave him to stream in 12’ers.
Wayne Simmonds – Assist with four shots playing 22 minutes. Life is great for Simmonds on the first line and power play unit. He’s got a chance at 50 points while going way over 100 PIM. Exactly what you wanted when you drafted him.
Jakub Voracek – Goal and an assist with a shot playing 22 minutes. Just like Giroux, he’s coming and coming fast. Stop thinking dirty you guys! Anyways… your chance to buy low is probably gone but if you can, do it immediately. Well, read the rest of this article but then go throw some offers for Voracek.
Sidney Crosby – Goal and an assist with five shots and two PIM. The parallels from the Flyers superstars to the Penguins are there. Both are starting to get rolling right now and there should be no stopping them. I said a few weeks ago that I think Crosby gets to 50 points in the second half of the season. He’s had a great start towards that.
Carl Hagelin – Assist with five shots. The shots have been great since going to Pittsburgh and the role he’s in is putting him in prime position to succeed. He’s right on the fringe for 12’ers and it comes down to your need for special teams points. If you need STP, don’t grab Hagelin but if you’re okay there, pick him up.
Patric Hornqvist – Two assists with five shots. I don’t know what took the Pens so long to get rolling but Hornqvist started worse than any of them. Marv and Pesos talked about Hornqvist in their newest article here (check it out!). Both mention how he’s finding his stride and they’re definitely right. Now, Hornqvist’s well over 3 shots per game on the season and hotter than a pistol with 9 points in his last 6 games. He’s finally paying off dividends; hopefully you were lucky enough to pick him up if somebody in your league dropped him.
Phil Kessel – Two goals on six shots. In the same boat as Hornqvist except Kessel had even higher expectations. Thankfully he still has 36 games to turn his year around.
Chris Kunitz – Two assists with no shots. There’s value there playing with Crosby the way Crosby is dominating right now but I’m still on the fence with Kunitz. The shots have dropped off quickly and the power play points aren’t there. At 36 years old, he’s only a passenger and I hate owning guys dependent solely on others.
Olli Maatta – Assist with a shot. I think next season he’ll be must-own in 12’ers but for now, he’s too inconsistent to be held.
Karri Ramo – 27 saves on 29 shots in the 4-2 win over the Blue Jackets. Expect Ramo to be the workhorse again after Jonas Hiller‘s hot streak came to an abrupt end against the Devils Tuesday.
Sam Bennett – Two goals on three shots. Here we go baby. Bennett is finally starting to round into form and has found some consistency in his game. I may have been a year early on him in the preseason but he’s someone who can be a difference maker for your team down the stretch.
Mark Giordano – Two assists with a shot and two PIM. Gio has been crushing it for the last month and I expect that to continue for the rest of the season. Fifty points is a virtual lock at this point.
Dougie Hamilton – Assist with four shots. Matt talked about Hamilton in his new article here (read the whole thing if you haven’t yet!) and I agree with him 100%. He’s in a great spot to succeed and is starting to put together some nice stretches. If he’s available in your league, I’d definitely pick him up.
Cam Atkinson – Assist with five shots playing 20 minutes. It’s been a very solid year for Atkinson across the board. The upside is there if he can start to produce on the power play.
Brandon Dubinsky – Goal on two shots. He’s producing enough offensively to be a hold right now even if you don’t need the penalty minutes.
Scott Hartnell – Goal on three shots after being scratched. It was strange to see him scratched considering he’s on pace for a 25+25 season. Torts being Torts, I guess. He’s been a stud this season considering his ADP with the penalty minutes he’s accumulated.
Seth Jones – Assist with three shots. If for some reason he’s available in your league still, get him now.
Sergei Bobrovsky – 11 saves on 13 shots before leaving injured halfway through the game <Insert tirade full of expletives here>. Just brutal for Bob owners and Columbus in general. You guys know by now how I feel about the other Columbus goalies. Don’t own any of them. Instead, pick up this guy (he’s only 7% owned)…
Eddie Lack – 32 save shutout against the Maple Leafs in a 1-0 Hurricanes win. Cam Ward is out injured so Lack should get as many starts as he can handle going forward. We saw him produce as a starter in the past and to the surprise of many, Carolina is in the playoff race in part to their great possession. He should be owned everywhere right now.
Justin Faulk – Assist with six shots. He had been struggling lately so it was nice to see Faulk get back to his previous form. The plus-minus is rough but everything else is outstanding. He’s Brent Burns lite at this point.
James Reimer – 40 saves on 41 shots taking the loss. Naturally Reimer leads the league in save percentage because hockey always makes sense. I can’t see it keeping up but at the same time, Reimer will have plenty of value even with some regression.
Artem Anisimov – Goal on two shots playing over 21 minutes. Must be nice to play with the Hart and Calder front runners. Arty has a ton of talent in his own right and there’s no reason why he should be available in 13% of leagues.
Patrick Kane – Assist with a shot and four PIM. He’s a cheat code at this point.
Victor Hedman – Two assists with four shots. If he can get the power play points to increase, Hedman should get to 50 points again this year. He’s bringing plenty of value regardless but only having 3 goals to this point is surprising.
Alex Killorn – Assist with three shots and two PIM. Top end streamer while he’s in the top 6.
Nikita Kucherov – Goal on two shots. It sounds crazy but Kucherov is pushing the top 10 overall in terms of dynasty ranking. He’s on pace for 35+35 at 22 years old after putting up 28+36 last year. Also, for a large chunk of this year, he had horrible center play. In redrafts, he’ll probably be around the second turn going into next year in the early to mid 20’s overall.
Pekka Rinne – 26 saves on 27 shots in the 4-1 win over the Jets. It was a rare quality start from Rinne. If you can convince somebody to buy him after this start, do it. I don’t have any faith in him going forward. I don’t know if it’s the recurring leg injuries he’s had, if it’s mental, or something else but he doesn’t look right and I don’t expect that to change.
Ryan Johansen – Goal and an assist with three shots. He’s been an absolute stud since he got to Nashville. So far the big trade looks like a win-win for the teams and fantasy owners.
James Neal – Goal and an assist with five shots. Neal doesn’t get talked about nearly enough for how good of a year he’s having. 30+20 with an elite plus-minus, shots and PIM.
Joel Armia – Assist with two shots. I talked about him the other day here and things have gotten better since. Armia is now on the second line and seeing great minutes (18 last night). As a Sabres fan, I paid very close attention to him over the years and I’m a big fan of his game. He’s on my radar for streaming in 12’ers now and I’m taking the shot on him in anything deeper.
Nikolaj Ehlers – Goal on two shots playing 18:45. Pick him up everywhere now. If he’s getting this much playing time, he’s going to produce, plain and simple. Love him in dynasties as he’s still 19 years old for a few more weeks.
Taylor Hall – Assist with three shots. Back in form and should continue to roll. Unfortunately for him and the other Oilers, Saturday is the last game of the month due to the incoming All-Star break. Keep that in mind with the Oilers you have. If somebody is on the fringe e.g. Teddy Purcell (goal on five shots), I’d cut him after Saturday. There’s no reason to hold him when he doesn’t play at all next week.
Nail Yakupov – Goal on two shots. Despite all of their injuries, Nail was still in the bottom six. Quite frankly, I don’t understand it. It’s the same problem I had with Todd McClellan last year with Tomas Hertl. There’s no reason for him to not get the opportunity when guys like Rob Klinkhammer are playing in your top six. It’s nonsense. For that reason, I wouldn’t own Yakupov in 12’ers unless McClellan comes to his senses.
Jamie Benn – Goal on six shots. This is the kind of game you expect from Benn against a bottom feeder at this point. Much like the Penguins, I expect the Stars big guns to break out of their recent slump in a big way. Like getting the invincibility star in Mario Kart!
John Klingberg – Assist with three shots and two PIM. He had gone five games without a point and was as useful as the Kluneberg. Bonus points if you know the reference. Back to the point, Klingberg has been ice cold and is still on pace to reach 60 points with relative ease. The shots aren’t elite but they’re improved from last season and everything else is outstanding.
Patrick Sharp – Assist with five shots. Sharp is doing what everyone expected and then some. Must be nice to be extremely talented and play with two superstars.
Jason Spezza – Goal and an assist with two shots. Despite the top line slumping, Spezza keeps chugging along on the second line. He’s been great on the power play and only needs to stay healthy to ensure a top notch season.
Martin Jones – 23 saves on 24 shots in the 3-1 win over the Coyotes. Very solid season for Jones in his first as a starter. The wins are top end while he’s average or slightly better in the percentages.
Joonas Donskoi – Assist with two shots. If you recall, he was on my radar early in the season when he was on the first line and drastically fell off after being dropped in the lineup. Now he’s settled on the third line and has points in three straight games and five of the last seven. He’s also on the second power play unit putting him back on the streaming radar, albeit on the bottom end.
Shane Doan – Assist with two shots. It’s a shame the Coyotes won’t have a representative in the All-Star game now with the John Scott situation. Doan getting to go at 39 years old would have been nice to see and deserved.
Darcy Kuemper – 32 save shutout against the Kings last night. Got the second game of a back to back against one of the best teams in the league and shut them down. His numbers on the year are great, albeit in 11 games played. Even though they’ve been good, I don’t expect him to get more than the occasional spot start from here on out. It’s still Devan Dubnyk‘s job.
Friday Streamers – There are six games on the slate which is a perfect time to be streaming. Here are my top options for tonight:
Ryan Strome (19.4%) – He’s scored in two of the past three games now that he’s back on the top line with John Tavares. The 11 shots in those 3 games is encouraging as well. To top it off, he gets a matchup against the Senators who give up the most shots in the league and will be on the second of a back to back. To be blunt, any Islander is a good stream on Friday but Strome is my favorite.
J.T. Miller (1.2%) – Going back to the well here. Miller is coming off a great game with a goal and eight shots, he played over 20 minutes last game on the first line and gets the Hurricanes on a second of a back to back. I don’t understand why he’s available virtually everywhere; he’s a no-brainer hold in 16’ers and deeper and probably should be owned in 14’ers as well.
Andre Burakovsky (1.0%) – This is just as puzzling to me as Miller. Burakovsky has been on the second line for over a week and has seven points in the last five games. Granted, the minutes were low but he played 16:36 in their last game. I’m not saying he’s a hold in 12’ers but he’s playing far too well to be available in 99% of leagues. The good thing about that is he’s available for all to stream so hopefully he keeps up his hot streak.
That’s all for now guys. If you didn’t click on the links in this article and haven’t read them yet, please check out Matt’s newest article in his series along with Marv and Pesos’ midseason piece. Both went up yesterday and have a lot of quality information. I’ll be back on Monday recapping all of the weekend’s action. As always, please ask any questions or leave any comments below. I hope everyone has a great weekend and gets to watch some hockey, I certainly will be as I’m heading to The First Niagara Center tonight to see my Sabres against the Red Wings. Take care everyone!