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:
Rangers 3, Capitals 2 – Henrik Lundqvist missed this weekend’s game but Antti Raanta stepped up against the best team in the league stopping 32 of 34 saves in the win. Despite a rough start Sunday (more on that later), I’d start Raanta in every game he starts while Hank is out starting Tuesday in Buffalo. Derek Stepan continued his strong second half with a goal and an assist with six shots. Ryan McDonagh had two assists and two shots; I feel like he has another offensive step in him that we will see next year when Keith Yandle (goal on three shots) more than likely leaves the Big Apple. T.J. Oshie scored a goal on three shots; his numbers across the board are solid.
Blue Jackets 6, Oilers 3 – The Blue Jackets scored goals on their first two shots and didn’t look back. Laurent Brossoit received a spot start and was a disaster allowing six goals on 27 shots. Patrick Maroon bumped up to the first line and delivered with two assists, a shot and seven PIM. He’s a strong streamer in the short term. Both of his linemates, Taylor Hall and Leon Draisaitl, scored a goal. Andrej Sekera had two assists and four shots. I’m a big fan of Sekera’s game in real life but it doesn’t have much fantasy value. Connor McDavid kept up his absurd play with a goal and an assist with two shots. Fourteen different Blue Jackets had a point in this offensive explosion. Even David Clarkson! Three guys had multi point games. Scott Hartnell and Boone Jenner each had a goal and an assist and continue to be must-own. David Savard had two assists, five shots on goals and four blocks. In leagues that count the extra categories, Savard has much more value averaging two hits and two blocks a game with solid PIM and decent assists.
Stars 4, Devils 2 – In a typical Devils game against a top team, shots were hard to come by with only 38 shots between both teams. The most interesting thing from the Devils perspective was Devante Smith-Pelly (streamer success!) with another goal on the first line. He will stay on the streamer radar while he holds that spot. Another streamer call, Valeri Nichushkin, did even better with a goal and an assist with three shots. As I said Friday here, the minutes are much better now so he’s a top streamer at the very least. Alex Goligoski has been a disaster lately but he turned that around with two assists and two PIM. I’m probably still holding but barely. Mattias Janmark had two assists to also stay on the streaming radar while Colton Sceviour had a goal and an assist with two shots in his depth role.
Wild 3, Sabres 2 (SO) – The goals made a handful of incredible saves each in this game with Devan Dubnyk stopping 30 of 32 shots while Robin Lehner saved 28 of 30 shots. Mikko Koivu tied it up late in the third on two shots as he bounces back offensively this year. Jack Eichel had a goal for the second straight game and added an assist, three shots and two PIM. He should end up between 55 and 60 points with an elite shot rate; it’s only going to get better. Sam Reinhart made another amazing pass on Eichel’s goal for an assist; he’s another guy where it’s only going to get better. Rasmus Ristolainen is starting to break out of his slump as he tallied an assist and three shots. The only downside right now is his plus-minus which should fix itself as the Sabres get better and they find him an improved partner.
Flames 4, Penguins 2 – This was a tough game for the Pens to drop in the middle of a playoff race. The first line delivered for the Pens as Sidney Crosby scored twice from Patric Hornqvist but they had nothing else. For the Flames, Joni Ortio played very well stopping 29 of 31 shots. If you’re desperate for starts, Ortio should get a lot down the stretch but it could get ugly. The depth guys stepped up for the Flames as Mikael Backlund and Joe Colborne had a goal and an assist each. They should be left on the waiver in 12’ers and if I had to pick one for deeper leagues, it’s Backlund. Mark Giordano scored a goal on two shots getting him back on pace to push for 50 points after a dreadful start.
Predators 5, Avalanche 2 – Pekka Rinne came back from a big dud to stop 34 out of 36 shots. Despite his struggles early in the year, he should pile up wins down the stretch as the Predators make a push. Filip Forsberg stayed hotter than a pistol with a goal and an assist with four shots. There wasn’t much that was significant from a fantasy perspective for the Preds despite the strong game. Gabriel Landeskog scored a goal on four shots and added two PIM as he continues a strong second half. Nathan MacKinnon dished an assist with three shots; we haven’t seen anything yet from him. He’s still only 20 and this shot rate is reaching super elite levels.
Ducks 3, Kings 2 – After being one of the worst teams in the league the first couple months of the season, the Ducks won their 11th straight to get back on top of the Pacific. Fredrik Andersen saved 32 of 34 shots in the win; he’s been one of the best goalies in the league the last two months. Jakob Silfverberg led the way for the Ducks with a goal and an assist and two shots. He’s a solid streamer in 12’ers. Hampus Lindholm had an assist for the third straight game as his offense is starting to come around. It’ll take a trade for him to reach his full offensive potential. Milan Lucic scored a goal and an assist with five shots in over 21 minutes as the Kings rolled the top six for big minutes. Drew Doughty played his usual 30 minutes and buried a goal on three shots.
Capitals 2, Bruins 1 (OT) – The Capitals bounced back from the Rangers loss to win the game in Boston Saturday. Philipp Grubauer saved 33 of 34 shots in the victory and should be started every game that he plays. He should get extra action down the stretch with the Caps having the #1 seed virtually locked up already. Matt Niskanen scored the game winner on his only shot of the game; Niskanen should be excellent down the stretch. Alex Ovechkin had an assist with five shots and five PIM to hit some extra categories. The first line scored the goal for the Bruins as Patrice Bergeron scored from Brad Marchand and Lee Stempniak.
Senators 3, Leafs 2 – Andrew Hammond saved 41 of 43 shots in the win. He’s the lead man now with Craig Anderson out so if you’re desperate for starts, you can grab the Hamburglar. It could be a disaster though with how bad their defense is. Mark Stone‘s heater was extended with an assist with two minutes left to Zack Smith for the win. Smith is turning into a very nice streamer right now. His shooting percentage is completely unsustainable though. For the Leafs, they got a nice glimpse on the future as William Nylander scored his first career goal on four shots while Nikita Soshnikov scored his second goal of his career on six shots. If I had to pick one for the rest of the season, it would be Soshnikov but in a dynasty I would take Nylander.
Lightning 4, Hurricanes 3 (OT) – This game was the story of the second lines as all six players on second lines had multiple points. For the Hurricanes, Jeff Skinner had a goal and an assist with six shots, Victor Rask has a goal and an assist and two shots while Phillip Di Giuseppe had two assists and three shots. Skinner is a clear must-own in all leagues while the other two are streamers; Rask is closer to a hold but not quite there. For Tampa, Ondrej Palat scored two goals on four shots, Tyler Johnson had a goal and an assist with three shots while Nikita Kucherov tallied two assists and four shots. It wouldn’t surprise me if these guys are close to a point per game for the last 17 games.
Flyers 6, Blue Jackets 0 – This game was an epic disaster for the Blue Jackets. I feel so bad for their fans that they are stuck with John Tortorella for the foreseeable future. Steve Mason had one of the easiest shutouts you’re ever see with 19 saves. How embarrassing is it to only have 19 shots when you were getting killed for most of it? It’s even more embarrassing that arguably the biggest scumbag in hockey, Radko Gudas, had two goals, two assists, seven shots and four PIM. Good god, he didn’t even had a goal coming into this game and only six assists total. Brandon Manning had two assists, a shot and ten PIM which is also absurd. Michael Raffl is starting to work back on the streaming radar with a goal and an assist with four shots.
Jets 4, Canadiens 2 – Finally! Alex Galchenyuk moved to center on the first line and scored both Montreal goals playing 20 minutes. If he sticks there, watch out. Part of me hopes he doesn’t so it lowers his draft stock for next season. Max Pacioretty also did well getting to play with a real center dishing two assists and adding six shots with two PIM. Besides Scheifele, Drew Stafford moved up to the first line after Nikolaj Ehlers was announced out indefinitely after a freak injury from a shot to the face and Stafford had an assist and two shots playing over 21 minutes. I’d probably own Stafford in 12’ers but at the least he’s an elite stream if he stays available in your league. Dustin Byfuglien had an assist and three shots playing over 29 minutes; it’s nice to see him getting huge minutes despite being out of the race. Ondrej Pavelec stopped 26 of 28 shots in the win. He’s another guy who falls under the “desperate for starts” category.
Coyotes 5, Panthers 1 – The Coyotes snapped their 7th game losing streak in style. From a Panthers perspective, the first line was on the ice for the goal again as Aleksander Barkov and Jussi Jokinen each had an assist on Aaron Ekblad‘s goal. I wish Ekblad took another step this year but he’s still only 20. He does enough to be a hold in 12’ers since he’s a plus in all categories, especially in goals. The new first line went off for the Desert Dogs. Antoine Vermette had a goal, three assists, two shots and two PIM, Alex Tanguay had two goals, an assist, three shots and two PIM while Anthony Duclair had two assists, a shot and two PIM. All three of these guys really struggle when it comes to shots on goals. At least one of them will have to shoot now playing together? Duclair is right on the fringe of 12’ers while I’d look to stream the other two in the right matchup. Louis Domingue saved 32 of 33 shots in the victory; he’s yet another “desperate for starts” guy.
Canucks 4, Sharks 2 – In quite the shocker, the struggling Canucks pulled off a big upset on the road against a strong Sharks squad. Jacob Markstrom stopped 32 of 34 shots in the win. I expect him to get more starts down the stretch since they are in retool mode. The young guys led the way for the Canucks. All three of Sven Baertschi, Ben Hutton and Bo Horvat had two assists and two shots. If you’re in need of a defensemen in a deep league, Hutton should be owned. The minutes are outstanding right now and he’s been piling up some assists lately. Daniel Sedin scored again on four shots while Linden Vey scored a goal on three shots with two PIM in 23:31. That’s right, Linden Vey played over 23 minutes! I’d stream him while he’s getting minutes. James Reimer received his first start as a Shark and took the loss stopping 22 of 25 shots. I’d still stream him when he starts. Brent Burns scored a goal on eight shots and two PIM as he did Brent Burns things. Marc-Edouard Vlasic had an assist and shockingly contributed 20 PIM. That’s usually a season’s worth for him.
Stars 2, Senators 1 – The Stars received strong goaltending for the first time in a while as Kari Lehtonen stopped 23 of 24 shots in the win. Their goalies are great for wins but it’s pretty ugly otherwise. Jason Spezza scored a goal on four shots against his old team while Jamie Benn dished an assist with two shots and two PIM. Andrew Hammond was solid again stopping 23 of 25 shots. The Sens get the Canes and Leafs this week so I could see grabbing Hammond for the week. Zack Smith scored again and added two shots and two PIM. It’s a five game point streak and eight of the last nine so I think I’d hold him in 12’ers for the time being. Mark Stone‘s heater has no end with an assist and two shots. He’s looking to repeat last year’s big run at the end of the year. Jean-Gabriel Pageau had an assist, shot and two PIM to stay on the streaming radar.
Penguins 6, Devils 1 – After the disappointing loss on Saturday, the Pens blitzed the Devils early and often. Matt Murray stopped 17 of 18 shots in the win. I don’t expect him to play much with the Pens fighting for the playoffs but I’d stream him when he plays. Bryan Rust of all people scored a goal and two assists with a shot. Evgeni Malkin scored twice on three shots and added two PIM. Sidney Crosby dished two assists and three shots as he continues to crush while Nick Bonino scored a goal and an assist. I expected him to be better after very good years in Anaheim and Vancouver the two previous years. Kyle Palmieri scored the Devils goal as he reached 25 goals on the season. 31 points was his previous career high and now he has 25 goals! Unbelievable.
Islanders 6, Rangers 4 – I watched all of this game and what a game it was. The Islanders scored three goals before the Rangers even had a shot on goal! The game was 4-3 after the first and the Rangers tied it up in the third. Of all the people to win the game for the Isles, the fourth line took care of business as Casey Cizikas won a draw clean with 1:30 left and Cal Clutterbuck sniped the winner. Johnny Boychuk scored twice on five shots and added two PIM. The shots have been great again and the plus-minus is very good. It should be a strong finish for him. Frans Nielsen and Kyle Okposo each had a goal and an assist on the second line. Nick Leddy tallied two assists with a shot and two PIM. The assists are going to be at a career high but he’s a negative in every other category minus special teams points. For the Rangers, Eric Staal was outstanding scoring his first goal as a Blueshirt on four shots and adding an assist. The third line with Staal, Viktor Stalberg (assist and a shot) and Oscar Lindberg (goal on three shots) were excellent throughout the game. Lindberg should be streamed in 12’ers while Stalberg should gain some value in deeper leagues.
Blackhawks 4, Red Wings 1 – Gustav Nyqvist scored the lone Wings goal on two shots. Pavel Datsyuk missed the game due to injury but it doesn’t appear to be too serious. The Red Wings better hope that’s the case or their playoff streak could be in jeopardy. Artem Anisimov scored a goal and an assist while Artemi Panarin dished two assists and added two shots. It’s a rare day when these two outscore their other linemate, Patrick Kane. Kane scored a goal on his only shot. Jonathan Toews kept up his recent run of fine form with a goal on three shots with two PIM. Michal Rozsival entered back into the lineup and had two assists with two shots. At this point in his career, ignore him. Corey Crawford stopped 33 of 34 shots in the win; it’s about time that he starts to get the respect he deserves.
Oilers 2, Jets 1 – Cam Talbot was absurd again stopping 39 of 40 shots in the victory. While he’s been on fire, this schedule gets really rough now. In the next five, he gets the Sharks, at the Wild, Predators and Blues. Patrick Maroon scored a goal on six shots to reaffirm his status as a streamer. Blake Wheeler assisted on Scheifele’s goal; he should set a career high in points this year. Have I mentioned that ESPN had him ranked in the 60’s before? Insane in the membrane, that fellow who does their rankings.
Blues 4, Wild 2 – Jake Allen stopped 30 of 32 shots in the victory; he’s back in his pre-injury form. Nobody had more than a point for the Blues. Of relevance, David Backes tallied an assist with three shots and two PIM. Jori Lehtera scored a goal on five shots; he needs to shoot like this more often to be owned for me. Robby Fabbri scored a goal on three shots with two PIM. The kid is really good and could be a big sleeper next year depending on how their offseason shakes out. Matt Dumba scored a goal on five shots; I expect him to be a must-own in 12’ers next year. Ryan Suter scored a goal on his only shot playing his standard 31 minutes. Charlie Coyle‘s heater saw an extension as he had an assist and three shots playing over 21 minutes. He’s still available in 75% of leagues and quite frankly, I don’t know why.
Monday Streamers – The schedule is pretty heavy for a Monday with seven games on the slate. Here are my top three options:
Sam Reinhart (3.8%) – Going back to the well on my boy Rhino here. The minutes are outstanding right now with the Sabres lack of depth and he gets to go against the Leafs. Not much else to say here.
Anthony Duclair (16.2%) – He has points in two straight and while the Coyotes are struggling, the Avalanche are the worst possession team in the league. Duclair should spend more time in the offensive zone than usual which is all he needs to produce.
Joonas Donskoi (0.3%) – He’s been bumped up to the second line with Patrick Marleau and Logan Couture which is obviously excellent for his production. Donskoi also gets to go against the Flames who, despite the win over the Pens, have been a mess defensively on the whole.
That’s all for now guys. I’ll be back on Tuesday recapping tonight’s action. As always, feel free to ask any questions and leave any comments below. Take care everyone!