The story of the weekend around the league was the goaltending performances. There were quite a few duds and a bunch of outstanding starts, including 3 shutouts Friday, 4 shutouts Saturday and one more on Sunday. The best of the bunch was a 38 save shutout by Fredrik Andersen in the 4-0 win against the Bruins on Friday. It’s rare for the Ducks to be outshot but they buried their chances and were continually bailed out by Andersen. We all know that Andersen is very good at this point so the most telling thing was that in their next game, John Gibson received the start despite Andersen coming off a shutout. Bruce Boudreau is giving both of his goalies plenty of action and seemingly has a set schedule so you have to pay attention every day and start whoever gets the nod. Here’s what else I saw around the league this weekend, starting with Friday’s games:
Sabres 3, Senators 1 – Sam Reinhart scored a goal and an assist with seven shots to lead the way for the Sabres. Streamer success! Zach Bogosian stayed on his heater with a goal, three shots and four PIM; he’s a must-own for me right now. Rasmus Ristolainen dished an assist with three shots and nine PIM. Everything but the plus-minus is terrific for Risto. Jack Eichel, Evander Kane and Ryan O’Reilly all had an assist in the win. Chad Johnson stopped 32 of 33 shots in the win; Robin Lehner is out injured and it wouldn’t surprise me if he’s shut down for the rest of the season so if you need starts, Johnson is a solid option. Mike Hoffman had an assist with four shots for the Sens in the defeat.
Capitals 4, Predators 1 – Filip Forsberg‘s monster second half shows no end with the lone Predators goal on two shots. Amazing that he’s one goal from 30 now. Shea Weber and Roman Josi each had an assist on Forsberg’s goal. Braden Holtby had an easy go of it stopping 20 of 21 Predator shots. The Vezina voting is going to be very interesting. Evgeny Kuznetsov tallied three assists in the victory to push himself into a tie for the second most assists in the league. Daniel Winnik scored two goals; it’ll be interesting to see his role over the next few games. Dmitry Orlov had an assist, a shot and was +4. I hope his role increases next year because he has a ton of potential.
Blackhawks 4, Jets 0 – Scott Darling bagged the first shutout of the weekend stopping all 28 shots he faced. This game ended the Blackhawks losing streak to make the Central division even more of a mess. It was a balanced attack for Chicago with Patrick Kane being the only player with two points, scoring a goal and adding an assist with six shots. Of note, Tomas Fleischmann is playing on the first line right now with Jonathan Toews (assist and two PIM) and Kane and scored a goal on two shots. This makes Flash a top end streamer.
Avalanche 4, Flames 3 (SO) – Big win for the Avs as they battle the Wild for the last playoff spot. There wasn’t much in terms of fantasy relevance in this game from the Avs perspective except that Nathan MacKinnon was hurt late in the game after dishing an assist with two shots. He didn’t play Sunday against the Oilers but there hasn’t been a good timetable available yet. If you’re very desperate for guys in a redraft, you can probably drop MacKinnon since the Avs don’t play again until Thursday. For the Flames, Lance Bouma had two assists and three shots. He had a nice year last season to be relevant in deep leagues but there’s nothing there now.
Oilers 2, Canucks 0 – Prince Cam Talbot was a monster in this game stopping all 40 Canuck shots for his third shutout of the season. His numbers are close to league average now and if the Oilers can finally add some defensemen this offseason, Talbot could be a sneaky goalie next season. Jordan Eberle scored a goal on four shots while Connor McDavid had an assist with two shots. I’m starting to think that McDavid is a top 5 pick in redrafts next season.
Ducks 4, Bruins 0 – Ryan Getzlaf had two assists and three shots in the blowout while Hampus Lindholm had a goal and an assist with two shots and two PIM. Sami Vatanen is out injured so Lindholm has finally received the chance to show his offensive talents and is delivering. If his role expands next year, he’s going to be a stud. Rickard Rakell and Jamie McGinn each scored a goal to remain top end streamers.
Penguins 4, Flyers 1 – In a crucial battle in the playoff race, the Penguins dominated their rival taking double the shots and putting the game away in the second period. Radko Gudas scored the lone Flyers goal on two shots with two PIM. It pains me that this dirty player is fantasy relevant but with the crazy PIM and the recent offensive flurry, you can own him if you’re desperate for PIM. Sidney Crosby‘s point streak reached 11 games with two assists and three shots. I’d argue that Crosby deserves to be a Hart finalist at this point. Chris Kunitz is still reaping the benefits of playing with Crosby scoring a goal and an assist. Nick Bonino dished two assists playing over 18 minutes. With Evgeni Malkin out, Bonino becomes a solid streamer and someone who should be owned in 16’ers and deeper.
Wild 3, Hurricanes 2 (SO) – The Wild kept pace with the Avs in the playoff race winning this one in the shootout. Charlie Coyle had an assist and a shootout goal playing 21 minutes. He’ll be one of my favorite targets next year in the middle rounds. Nino Niederreiter dished an assist and added two shots; he’s been very good recently putting him right on the fringe of 12’ers and a clear streamer when he plays. Devan Dubnyk bounced back from a huge dud to stop 31 of 33 shots in the win. For Carolina, it’s a mess right now. Jordan Staal scored a goal on two shots as he closes in on 20 goals. In deep leagues or leagues that count faceoffs, there’s some value here but that’s it. Elias Lindholm had an assist and six shots. It’s back to back games with 5+ shots which is a great sign, if he closes the season that way it’ll help his ranking for me going into next year.
Sharks 4, Rangers 1 – It sounds crazy but Henrik Lundqvist was amazing in this game until a brief period in the third. He still ended up 43 saves on 47 shots. It doesn’t matter for fantasy but good lord, Dan Girardi needs to be stapled to the bench. He’s basically a corpse at this point. Tomas Hertl tallied three assists and four shots in the win to continue his big second half. He’s finally close to where I had him ranked preseason; I had him ranked higher than anywhere else. Joe Pavelski scored a goal and an assist with three shots. The shots are down quite a bit compared to last year but with 33+35 and +28, nobody is complaining about Little Joe. Joel Ward scored two goals on five shots. After a strong start, Ward really slowed down; I’d look at him as a streamer at this point. Martin Jones had another strong game stopping 25 of 26 shots in the win.
Maple Leafs 4, Sabres 1 – The Leafs blitzed the Sabres in the third, taking advantage of the Sabres being on a back to back, to score three goals. It didn’t help for the Sabres that Jack Eichel was out with the flu. Garret Sparks received the spot start and had an easy night stopping 20 of 21 shots. I don’t expect him to get much action down the stretch. P.A. Parenteau had two assists, two shots and two PIM keeping him on the streaming radar. Milan Michalek scored a goal and an assist on two shots and to be honest, I completely forgot he was a Leaf. In super deep leagues, he can be of some use getting big minutes down the stretch. The young guns also delivered for the Leafs as William Nylander had 1+1 while Nikita Soshnikov had an assist and five shots. Both are great dynasty options and will be must own in 12’ers next season.
Senators 5, Canadiens 0 – Andrew Hammond looked like the goalie who had the miracle run last season stopping all 30 shots he faced. The Sens aren’t playing for anything so perhaps he can get some extra starts down the stretch. Despite scoring 5 goals, only Mike Hoffman had multiple points for the Sens. Hoffman had two assists and four shots. He’s been even better than last season and should be peaking in the next year or two. Zack Smith had an assist with six shots and two PIM; he finally cooled off before this game. I’d rather stream him than hold him.
Red Wings 5, Panthers 3 – Monster win for the Wings in their playoff battle against the Panthers on the road. Dylan Larkin scored a goal and an assist with four shots. While he had an extended cold streak, I’d bet that Larkin finishes strong. Niklas Kronwall dished two assists and two shots but I’m not a fan for 12’ers. The lack of shots really aggravate me. Pavel Datsyuk scored two goals on four shots as he continues to crush. Justin Abdelkader had two assists, a shot and seven PIM adding to a very solid season. Nick Bjugstad scored a goal and an assist in the loss. Bjugstad has finished the year strong but has been a big disappointment for me on the whole. That said, he’s still only 23 so I’m not closing the book on him being say, a 25+25 guy. To some extent, the guy who is limited Bjugstad is Vincent Trocheck who scored another goal on three shots. Trocheck isn’t receiving enough credit for his breakout.
Blue Jackets 6, Devils 3 – For the Devils, Kyle Palmieri scored two goals and an assist with three shots. The change of scenery really brought out the best in Palmieri; I can’t believe that he has 27 goals. Adam Henrique scored another goal and is another guy providing strong offense for a severely offensively challenged team. Oliver Bjorkstand scored his first two career goals on six shots in the win. In deep dynasties, I think he’s a name to remember but there’s not enough there right now. Bjorkstand played with Matt Calvert and Alexander Wennberg and both had two assists. Wennberg really intrigues me as a late pick next year. Boone Jenner scored a goal and an assist with four shots to reach 25 goals on the season. With elite shots and 65 PIM, Jenner is a great mid round option for next year.
Stars 3, Islanders 0 – Despite taking the loss, Thomas Greiss was solid stopping 33 of 35 shots. He should get every start down the stretch as the Isles push for home ice. Kari Lehtonen saved all 27 Islanders shots to record the shutout but sadly it’s not the biggest Stars news. Tyler Seguin has a 15% cut to his Achilles and is out for the rest of the regular season. It’s a huge blow for those in the playoffs but he can safely be cut in redrafts. Cody Eakin is centering the first line now and scored a goal while Patrick Eaves stuck on the right wing scoring a goal on four shots. Both are very nice streamers going forward.
Blues 3, Canucks 0 – The Canucks were shut out for the second straight day, this time by Brian Elliott in his return from injury. Unlike Talbot the day before, tonight was very easy for Elliott as he only needed to make 19 saves. I’d have to guess Elliott and Jake Allen split the rest of the games. Paul Stastny had two assists and three shots to continue his strong second half while Jaden Schwartz scored a goal and an assist with four shots to stay hotter than a pistol. Ryan Miller was amazing in the loss stopping 47 of 49 shots. The Canucks are horrible so Miller fits in the “desperate for starts” category.
Lightning 2, Coyotes 0 – More shutouts! This one was by Ben Bishop who stopped 32 shots. He’s now at a 2.02 GAA which is absurd. Bishop is back as the #1 overall player on the season. The big guns for the Lightning scored the goals for Tampa as Steven Stamkos, Victor Hedman, Nikita Kucherov, Ondrej Palat and Alex Killorn all had a point. Louis Domingue was another tough luck loser stopping 34 of 35 Lightning shots. Domingue still qualifies as a very desperate for starts guy.
Kings 2, Bruins 1 – The Kings clinched a playoff berth with the victory as they push for the #1 seed in the West. Jonathan Quick stopped 27 of 28 shots in the win; he now has more wins than last year despite 13 less starts. Tanner Pearson scored a goal on two shots to go back on the streaming radar while Jake Muzzin‘s solid season saw another good game with an assist, a shot and four PIM.
Ducks 3, Jets 2 (OT) – I mentioned it in the opening but John Gibson received the start Sunday. He was strong stopping 27 of 29 Jets shots. Jamie McGinn scored a goal on three shots with five PIM; he’s right near the top of the streaming list. Ryan Kesler scored a goal and an assist; I will be avoiding him next season. The PIM are nice but his game is rapidly deteriorating. Hampus Lindholm had an assist with two shots leaving me wanting more. Blake Wheeler scored a goal on four shots playing almost 25 minutes. He’s now surpassed last year’s point total despite the Jets being a much worse team. Such a solid player.
Devils 2, Blue Jackets 1 – Scott Wedgewood made his NHL debut for the Devils and was great stopping 27 of 28 shots. There’s not much here since Cory Schneider is the present and future. Devante Smith-Pelly maintained his heater scoring a goal on four shots and remains a top end streamer. That’s all I got on this one.
Penguins 6, Capitals 2 – The Pens won their sixth straight to get into second place in the division. Amazing considering how far back they were. Sidney Crosby was a beast again with two more assists and two shots. The Penguins also received a bunch of big contributions from depth guys. Trevor Daley scored a goal and two assists with three shots and four blocks. He’s been better lately but Daley doesn’t do enough in 12’ers barring an injury to Kris Letang (assist and two shots in over 30 minutes). Tom Kuhnhackl had an outstanding line with a goal, two assists and twelve PIM. Bryan Rust scored a goal on his only shot and added an assist and two PIM. Both can be safely left on the waiver wire. Matt Cullen scored a goal and an assist with three shots; he has some value in deep leagues. Patric Hornqvist continued his second half bounceback with an assist, five shots and four PIM. Braden Holtby laid a rare egg allowing 5 goals on 26 shots before being pulled in the 3rd. Andre Burakovsky scored for the second straight game but only played 10 minutes leaving him as a streamer in 12’ers.
Flames 4, Canadiens 1 – Niklas Backstrom made his first start in over a year and played very well stopping 21 of 22 shots. I have no idea what the Flames will do going forward in regards to playing time. Dougie Hamilton dished three assists with three shots to put his numbers right in line with last season. Not bad after a horrible start. I’d bet Hamilton pushes for 50 points next season. Sean Monahan scored two goals and an assist with five shots; he’s in the same boat as Dougie, just with Monahan pushing for 65+ points next year. Joe Colborne had another nice game scoring a goal and an assist with three shots. In deep leagues, there’s some value here. Sam Bennett returned from injury and tallied an assist in almost 12 minutes. I’m still driving his bandwagon going forward.
Wild 3, Blackhawks 2 (SO) – Huge win for the Wild in the shootout despite blowing a 2-0 lead. Devan Dubnyk started again in the back to back and stopped 29 of 31 shots and all shootout attempts. Looks pretty clear that he’s going to start every game the rest of the way. Nino Niederreiter was great again scoring a goal and an assist with three shots. You really could go either way in 12’ers. Erik Haula scored a goal on four shots giving him points in three straight. There’s more offense here than I thought and while I wouldn’t own him in 12’ers, there’s value in 16’ers and deeper. Scott Darling received another start after his shutout and played well stopping 32 of 34 shots. I expect Corey Crawford to be back shortly, possibly even the next game, from him minor injury but if not, pick up Darling.
Avalanche 3, Oilers 2 – The Avalanche stayed ahead of the Wild with the victory. The loss of Nathan MacKinnon had a reduced impact with the return of Gabriel Landeskog. The Kog scored a goal and an assist with four shots to lead the way for the Avs. Tyson Barrie scored a goal on three shots as he pushes to reach 50 points again. Calvin Pickard stopped 26 of 28 shots in the win and should be played when he starts. Connor McDavid tallied an assist, two shots and two PIM. If the Oilers can’t build a powerhouse having him, they’re a bigger embarrassment than I thought.
Sharks 3, Coyotes 0 – The last shutout of the weekend was by James Reimer stopping all 25 Coyotes shots. He’s been excellent in his four games with the Sharks so play him when he gets the starting nod regardless of matchup. Joonas Donskoi had two assists and three shots to lead the way for the Sharks to stay on the streaming radar. Tomas Hertl and Joel Ward scored again, each on four shots.
Monday Streamers – There are only four games on the slate tonight giving us limited options but even more reason to stream. Here are my top three choices:
J.T. Miller (16.1%) – He’s struggled lately but with the newest set of lines, I like Miller’s chances of turning it around with Eric Staal.
William Nylander (1.4%) – The Leafs have surprisingly played really well lately and have a good chance to get another win at home against the Flames. Nylander should be at the forefront of their attack once again.
Josh Bailey (0.4%) – Not a big fan of Bailey but when he’s playing on the first line with John Tavares, he deserves our attention, especially on a short slate.
That’s all for now guys. I’ll be back Tuesday recapping the short slate. I’ll also post the last RCL update at some point this afternoon as we approach the end of the season. As always, feel free to ask any questions and leave any comments below. Take care everyone!