After his remarkable first half, it looked like Patrick Kane reaching 100 points was a formality. Then he struggled mightily in the second half, enough to the point where he needed 6 points in the last 5 games to get there. Kane got there with time to spare in style, scoring a goal and an assist with five shots on Friday and followed it up with three goals and an assist with four shots on Sunday. He’s the overwhelming favorite for the Hart Trophy now and now has an outside shot of the Richard Trophy. As for where he’s ranked for next season, I will probably have Kane ranked #3 or #4 overall. Despite the amazing year, Kane is more of the second half player where he was closer to a point per game than the first half monster. Here’s what I saw over the weekend:
Red Wings 3, Wild 2 – This was a massive game with playoff implications on both sides with the Red Wings prevailing at home. Riley Sheahan scored a goal and an assist as he plays the best hockey of his pro career. It’s still not enough for standard leagues. Gustav Nyqvist dished two assists and added two shots. It’s been a disappointing year for Nyqvist as he took a big step back from last season. Dylan Larkin scored a power play goal and should only get better going forward. For the Wild, their two biggest free agent signings in franchise history, Zach Parise and Ryan Suter, each tallied two assists. Suter reached 50 points for the first time in his career; it’s been an outstanding season across the board.
Bruins 6, Blues 5 – The Bruins were in the middle of a massive goal scoring drought and broke out in a big fashion. David Krejci led the way with a huge performance scoring two goals and two assists with four shots. He’s reached 60 points again after a big injury last year. Matt Beleskey had a goal and an assist with three shots and two PIM to stay a strong streamer. Loui Eriksson also tallied a goal and an assist; he looks to cash in big this offseason. Torey Krug added two assists with two shots and will be one of my favorite targets next year; his shooting percentage will regress. John-Michael Liles also had two assists playing over 26 minutes; he’s a good option if you need somebody in 12’ers. For the Blues, David Backes stayed hot with two assists and six shots. He’s still taken a step back but it’s not as bad as it looked. Troy Brouwer also had two assists and should be owned right now. Paul Stastny is the hottest player in the league since March 1st and that continued with a goal and an assist. It’s unfortunate Stastny missed a large chunk of time with injury.
Blackhawks 5, Jets 4 (OT) – It was a crazy wide open game with the studs on both sides having huge games. Artemi Panarin scored two goals and two assists with three shots locking up the Calder Trophy. Brent Seabrook is having the best offensive season of his career and he got on the board again with a goal and an assist with two shots and four PIM. Erik Gustafsson tallied two assists and should be a nice deep league flier next season. Blake Wheeler scored two goals and an assist with six shots to cross the 70 point mark. Maybe one day he’ll get the credit he deserves outside of Winnipeg and this blog. Dustin Byfuglien had a patented monster Big Buff game with a goal, two assists, four shots and two PIM. His numbers are slightly up from last season despite the Jets falling off. My man crush Mark Scheifele furthered his breakout with two assists and two shots. I am going to have Scheifele ranked incredibly high at this point.
Capitals 4, Avalanche 2 – The Capitals set a franchise record with their 55th victory and put a big damper on the Avs’ playoff hopes. Alex Ovechkin scored a goal on eight shots to further his league leading goal total. Evgeny Kuznetsov had an assist with four shots to get to 75 points. Incredible season. Semyon Varlamov played great against his old team in defeat stopping 43 of 46 shots. Gabriel Landeskog and Carl Soderberg each had two points in defeat.
Canucks 3, Ducks 2 – Unbelievable that the Ducks could drop a game at home, in the middle of a battle for first in the division, to a team who’s downright dreadful. Jacob Markstrom saved 34 of 36 shots in the win but is completely a “desperate for starts” guy. Bo Horvat scored a goal and an assist with two shots but while I like him as a player, the Canucks need to add a lot of talent around him and the Sedins. Former Ducks prospect Emerson Etem scored against his old team in his hometown. Jannik Hansen continued his hot streak with two assists and two shots; he’s been the lone bright spot among the Canucks veterans.
Penguins 5, Islanders 0 – The Penguins are the hottest team in hockey despite missing Evgeni Malkin and demolished the Isles. Marc-Andre Fleury is out indefinitely with a concussion so cut him in all redrafts and add Matt Murray everywhere. Murray made 24 saves for his first career shutout. The depth players led the way for the Pens with Matt Cullen scoring a goal and an assist with three shots. He’s been a great add for the Pens with 14 goals in a depth role at 39 years old. Tom Kuhnhackl also had 1+1 and has also been a nice addition to the bottom six. Justin Schultz dished two assists but doesn’t have the role in Pittsburgh right now to consistently produce.
Flyers 3, Senators 2 – The studs for the Flyers led the way again as they fight for the playoffs. Steve Mason stopped 33 of 35 shots in the victory and should start every game the rest of the way. Wayne Simmonds was a beast scoring two goals and an assist with six shots. His numbers are right in line with the last two seasons but with more penalty minutes and more shots. Brayden Schenn‘s big second half continued with two assists while Jakub Voracek also had two assists and two shots. He’s fallen off a lot this year but it isn’t that surprising. Last year looks to be the outlier. Mike Hoffman scored a goal and an assist with six shots to push towards 30 goals.
Stars 3, Kings 2 – In a possible Western Conference Finals preview, the Stars made a big statement scoring twice in the third to win in L.A. The Benn brothers led the way with Jamie Benn scoring his 41st while brother Jordie Benn got his second of the season late in the game to win. Jeff Carter‘s big surge was extended with a goal on two shots. Despite the injury, he should get back over 60 points.
Red Wings 3, Maple Leafs 2 – Jimmy Howard made 32 saves on 34 shots to get the win over his former coach. This win actually put the Wings in 3rd in the division hopping the Bruins to put them in position to keep their playoff streak alive. The two free agent signings, Mike Green and Brad Richards, each had a goal and an assist. Both have been disappointments on the whole though. William Nylander also had 1+1 to keep up his strong form since his recall. Nazem Kadri had an assist with three shots and two PIM but is possibly facing a suspension. If he’s suspended, which seems likely, I would just cut him in redrafts.
Lightning 3, Devils 1 – The big story coming out after this game is that Steven Stamkos is out 1-3 months with a blood clot in his left arm. Could he have played his last game for Tampa? It looks to be a distinct possibility. Nikita Kucherov scored a goal and two assists with four shots as he reached the 30 goal plateau for the first time in his career. He’ll need to lead the way for them with Stamkos out. Victor Hedman will also be looked at for more offense and he provided it with a goal and an assist with three shots. Ben Bishop stopped 25 of 26 shots he faced to get to a 2.00 GAA and .929 sv%. He’s not getting the credit he deserves for this monster season. Adam Henrique‘s big offensive season continued with another goal while Cory Schneider was great in defeat saving 33 of 35 shots.
Panthers 4, Canadiens 3 – Big win for the Panthers as they get incredibly close to clinching a playoff berth. Aleksander Barkov was sensational again with two goals and two assists with six shots. Sasha now has 26+29 in 62 games which is absurd for a 20 year old. Jonathan Huberdeau stayed hotter than a pistol with a goal and an assist with two shots while Aaron Ekblad dished two assists with two shots. The future is bright in the Sunshine State. For Montreal, there wasn’t much of note. Brendan Gallagher scored a goal on five shots and just needs to stay healthy to be close to a top 100 player next season.
Sabres 4, Rangers 3 – The Sabres stormed out to a 3-0 lead before holding on for the victory. This puts the Rangers in a big hole when it comes to home ice in the playoffs. Ryan O’Reilly scored two goals on three shots and would have easily reached 70 points if not for injury. He doesn’t contribute in penalty minutes but everything else is great. Zach Bogosian stayed on fire with an assist and a shot; he should be owned everywhere. Jack Eichel had an assist with a shot and two PIM. Johan Larsson also dished an assist and is becoming a very interesting name for deep leagues next season. Nobody had multiple points for the Rangers. Most notably, J.T. Miller scored a goal on three shots and looks to be back on track.
Blue Jackets 5, Hurricanes 1 – Brandon Saad scored his first career hat trick on six shots in the victory. While the season has been a lost one for CBJ, Saad could still get to 30 goals on the season at 23 years old. Boone Jenner actually has reached 30 goals after he scored a goal on four shots. It’s been an amazing breakout season for Jenner who has positioned himself to be a viable fantasy asset for years to come. David Savard and Alexander Wennberg each dished two assists. While Savard doesn’t hold much value in fantasy, Wennberg is having a nice second half and looks to be a sleeper candidate for next season. Joonas Korpisalo bounced back with 26 saves on 27 shots in the victory. He’s still only 21 years old so he could be down in the AHL next season to ensure him playing time but he’d be a nice backup to Sergei Bobrovsky next season as well. Jeff Skinner scored the Canes goal to reach 50 points and close in on 30 goals. He’s going to crack the top 100 for me next season because of the goals and shots.
Sharks 3, Predators 2 (SO) – James Reimer was strong in the victory stopping 28 of 30 shots in the win. He’s been an absolute stud in San Jose outside of one dud. Joe Thornton dished two assists to reach 60 on the season. Tomas Hertl scored twice on three shots with two PIM to get over the 20 goal mark; he’s had the bounce back that I expected. Brent Burns also did Brent Burns things with an assist and seven shots. Carter Hutton stopped 38 of 40 shots in defeat. I think it’s a near certainty he gets some action in the playoffs because quite frankly, he’s better than Pekka Rinne. James Neal stayed on fire with an assist, two shots and two PIM. He’s hitting all of the categories as well as anybody in the league.
Flames 5, Oilers 0 – Coach Todd McClellan went off on his team after the game and deservedly so, the Oilers were embarrassing. Joni Ortio posted a 28 save shutout but remains in the “desperate for starts” category. Johnny Gaudreau scored twice on five shots to reach 30 goals for the first time in his career. Sean Monahan dished two assists and added four shots; he matched last year’s point total despite the horrible start. The second line went off for Calgary as well with Mikael Backlund scoring two goals and an assist with three shots while Joe Colborne had 1+1 with 3 SOG. Colborne has been a stud for a month now and should be streamed this last week.
Coyotes 3, Capitals 0 – The Capitals laid an egg in this one which was no surprise after having clinched the President’s Trophy. Mike Smith saved all 31 shots in the victory but I still don’t trust him. Max Domi had two assists, two shots and five PIM to reach 50 points as a rookie, not bad at all. Shane Doan scored a goal on two shots; it’s been great from the 39 year old. Oliver Ekman-Larsson also scored a goal on two shots as he stays among the league’s elite defensively. He’s a good bet to be around 5th for defenseman going into next season.
Blackhawks 6, Bruins 4 – Just back to back 4 point games for Artemi Panarin, no big deal. Panarin scored a goal and three assists with three shots while Artem Anisimov scored a goal and two assists with three shots. After struggling for 6-8 weeks, this line looks pretty, pretty good again. Brent Seabrook had two assists with three shots to stay hot and push Chicago out to a 6-0 lead before holding on. The Bruins now find themselves out of a playoff spot going into the final week. The big guns came alive for Boston after falling in that hole. Patrice Bergeron had two goals and an assist with seven shots, Brad Marchand tallied a goal and an assist with two shots while Torey Krug had two assists with a whopping 10 shots. How does he only have 3 goals on the season?
Penguins 6, Flyers 2 – The Penguins are crushing everybody in their sights lately. Of note, Matt Murray was strong again stopping 28 of 30 shots. Kris Letang had two assists and two shots and should be a Norris finalist. Carl Hagelin scored a goal on two shots to stay on the streaming radar. Wayne Simmonds scored again while Shayne Gostisbehere got back on the scoresheet with an assist.
Jets 5, Wild 1 – Big dud from the Wild but it didn’t matter because the Avalanche did the same (more on that next). Blake Wheeler scored again with three shots and two PIM as did Mark Scheifele with five shots and two PIM. Nikolaj Ehlers dished two assists with three shots and will be one of my favorite mid round targets next year. Jacob Trouba also had two assists with two shots but lacks the role to consistently contribute.
Blues 5, Avalanche 1 – The Avalanche are on the verge of elimination after this game; they’ll need to win their last two and have the Wild lose the last three. Matt Duchene scored his 30th of the season on four shots but was chewed out by Patrick Roy in his postgame press conference for celebrating down 4-1. Jake Allen stopped all 11 shots he faced before leaving the game injured. The Blues can’t afford for him to be out. Expect Anders Nilsson (19 saves on 20 shots) to get the starts for the time being and should be streamed everywhere when he starts. The big guns were strong for the Blues with David Backes, Troy Brouwer, Alex Pietrangelo and Vladimir Tarasenko all getting two points.
Ducks 3, Stars 1 – Huge win for the Ducks in their battle for the Pacific title. John Gibson was strong in the victory stopping 24 of 25 shots. Ryan Kesler scored a goal and an assist with three shots as he salvages his season down the stretch. Ryan Getzlaf added an empty netter on two shots with two PIM. Radek Faksa scored the Stars goal on three shots; the former first round pick will be an interesting deep league guy next season with increased opportunity.
Monday Streamers – There are five games on the slate tonight making streaming a priority. Here are my top three options:
Tanner Pearson (3.6%) – He’s on the first line right now with Anze Kopitar and on the second power play unit. The Kings should dominate the Cancuks giving Pearson plenty of opportunity.
J.T. Miller (18.7%) – Miller is starting to turn things around; he’s back in the top 6 and should have plenty of chances against the Blue Jackets.
William Nylander (2.1%) – He’s been playing very well lately and while the matchup with Florida isn’t the best, the Leafs have been driving the play against most teams lately. I like Nylander’s chances of maintaining his fine form.
That’s all for now guys. I’ll be back on Tuesday with a recap of tonight’s action. As always, feel free to ask any questions or leave any comments below. Best of luck to everybody in the last week of the regular season. Take care!