He’s always piled up the assists but Jason Spezza has never been known as a goal scorer. This year, it’s a different story because if he wasn’t injured, he’d have set a career high in goals. On Friday, Spezza scored a goal and an assist on four shots against the Blackhawks before Spezza scored for the fifth consecutive game Saturday, burying two goals on seven shots against the Blues. Spezza now has 28 goals and 25 assists in 64 games; his career high is 34 goals. Spezza is now a top 50 skater on the year and with the talent the Stars have, he should be around there next year. Here’s what else I saw around the league this weekend:
Penguins 3, Blue Jackets 2 – The big story here is that Evgeni Malkin, who had two assists and a shot early, was hurt and is now out 6-8 weeks. Obviously in redrafts you need to cut him right now and in dynasties you have to hold. Just brutal for those entering the playoffs this week. Phil Kessel dished two assists with two shots and I still can’t believe he’s probably going to get less points than last season in Toronto. Everyone else in the Pens top 6 had a point. Gregory Campbell had a goal and an assist for CBJ and there’s your annual Campbell update! Sergei Bobrovsky returned from his groin injury and stopped 28 of 31 shots in the loss. He should be owned even though it could get kind of ugly with the Jackets tanking.
Flyers 3, Lightning 1 – The Flyers continued their playoff push with a big road win. Steve Mason had an easy game stopping 18 of 19 shots. Nobody had more than one point in the game. Brayden Schenn and Wayne Simmonds each had a point as they can’t be stopped on the first line.
Blues 5, Ducks 2 – The Blues made a big statement in this game scoring 4 goals in the 3rd after being locked at 1 after two. Vladimir Tarasenko scored two goals and an assist on five shots to lead the way. His numbers (besides plus-minus) are right in line with last year with even more shots. At 24 years old, you can assume this is going to be the standard for the next few years; at least 35+40 with solid PIM and an elite shot rate. Nobody else had more than a point for the Blues. Of note, Patrik Berglund scored once on two shots firming up his streamer status. For the Ducks, Ryan Getzlaf had a goal on four shots as he continues to be hotter than a pistol. Rickard Rakell scored a goal and an assist with two shots and I’d hold him at this point in 12’ers/
Stars 5, Blackhawks 2 – In a battle for first place, the Stars crushed at home. Corey Crawford finally put up a dud allowing 4 goals on 20 shots. Teuvo Teravainen scored a goal on two shots and importantly played 18 minutes. He’s an elite streamer now. Tomas Fleischmann had a goal and an assist with two PIM but should be left on the waiver wire outside of the deepest of leagues. Besides Spezza, Ales Hemsky, Jamie Benn and Tyler Seguin all had a goal and an assist. Hemsky is back on the streaming radar.
Coyotes 4, Flames 1 – In a battle of two teams racing for the bottom of the standings, the Desert Dogs dominated the third period. Louis Domingue stopped 24 of 25 shots in the win but remains firmly in the “desperate for starts” category. Brad Richardson scored twice and there’s your annual Richardson update. Antoine Vermette had a goal and an assist with two shots and two PIM to remain firmly on the streaming radar while Shane Doan dished two assists and added six shots to remain a hold. To be blunt, nothing relevant happened for any Flames.
Bruins 3, Islanders 1 – John Taveres maintained his heater scoring the lone Isles goal on two shots. That’s goal in three straight but it still has been a frustrating year for his owners; hopefully Tavares can keep this rolling through the playoffs. One of my favorite streamers, David Pastrnak, scored two goals on three shots and is still an elite stream in redraft 12’ers. I love him in dynasties. Loui Eriksson‘s resurgent season continued Saturday with a goal and two assists and two shots.
Sabres 3, Hurricanes 2 (OT) – What an ending to this game. Evander Kane wins a board battle and floats a perfect pass down the ice to send Jack Eichel on a breakaway. The wunderkind slides it five hole with 1 second left to finish the game. Eichel scored two goals on four shots to get up to 22+26 on the season with an elite shot rate. He will be amazing next year and a second round pick for me. Kane had two assists with six shots and four PIM doing what he does. I love to get players like him in the 5th-6th round. Sam Reinhart had another assist while Chad Johnson was great in the start stopping 28 of 30 shots. Jeff Skinner had an assist and three shots for the Canes as all of the top 6 guys had a point. Outside of Skinner, they all remain streamers.
Red Wings 3, Rangers 2 (OT) – It was another one of Henrik Lundqvist‘s vintage performances before Brad Richards tied the game with 32 seconds left and Darren Helm scored the overtime winner, his second of the game. Lundqvist stopped 40 of 43 shots in the loss and while he isn’t being discussed for it, he would get my vote for the Vezina now. To be honest, the Rangers roster isn’t that great but he makes them a legit threat. Chris Kreider is finally coming on and scored a goal and two assists with four shots. Mats Zuccarello had two assists with a shot and two PIM to approach career high numbers across the board. Petr Mrazek stopped 23 of 25 shots in the win and while he’s fallen off, he’s still an elite option.
Wild 4, Canadiens 1 – Devan Dubnyk stopped 30 of 31 shots in the win; he’s an elite #2 option . Thomas Vanek had two assists and two shots; he’s still a clear hold in 12’ers. Nino Niederreiter had a goal and an assist with two shots and two PIM while Mikael Granlund had two goals; both are solid streamers. Same goes with Erik Haula who scored once on two shots. Charlie Coyle and Matt Dumba each had an assist and should be held in 12’ers now. For Montreal, Sven Andrighetto had another assist and two shots playing 19 minutes and is an elite stream for the time being.
Senators 4, Maple Leafs 0 – Craig Anderson stopped 29 shots to record the shutout showing why he’s the poster boy for “desperate for starts.” He came off a game allowing 6 goals and bounces back with a shutout. Mark Stone kept up his absurd second half with a goal and two assists with two shots and two PIM. Jean-Gabriel Pageau showed why he’s a favorite streamer for me now with three assists and a shot. Zack Smith is a firm hold with a goal and two PIM. Cody Ceci is still a favorite of mine for last year and showed why with a goal and three shots.
Panthers 5, Flyers 4 (SO) – Shayne Gostisbehere scored a goal on four shots for the Flyers to get up to 15 on the season. The Ghost Bear is scary good already. Sam Gagner has two assists while Michael Raffl had a goal and an assist with a shot and two PIM; both are only deep league worthy. For Florida, the legend Jaromir Jagr dished two assists and three shots. Reilly Smith scored twice on four shots to get up to 23 goals. The Panthers really made out on that trade with Boston. Aleksander Barkov scored a goal on five shots plus two PIM and the shootout winner. The kid is amazing already.
Jets 3, Avalanche 2 – This was a rough loss for the Avs as they are in a playoff push against a struggling team crippled by injuries. Matt Duchene was his usual beast self scoring a goal and an assist with three shots. Ondrej Pavelec stopped 35 of 37 shots in the win; he’s still a firm “desperate for starts” guy. One of my mancrushes, Mark Scheifele, maintained his absurd heater with a goal and an assist with six shots. Drew Stafford scored a goal on three shots playing over 20 minutes. I talked about him before as being a Benoit Pouliot type who could become a must own and I think he’s reached that level in 12’ers.
Blues 5, Stars 4 (OT) – Coming off the big win against the Blackhawks, the Stars were getting dominated before scoring twice in the third, including one with 1:12 left before losing in OT. All of the Blues studs got in on the action. Alex Pietrangelo scored the overtime winner and added an assist with five shots. Paul Stastny dished three assists, Kevin Shattenkirk scored twice on eight shots, Jaden Schwartz had two assists while Vladimir Tarasenko scored a goal and an assist and three shots. All are clear must own in all leagues. Robby Fabbri had two assists, a shot and two PIM and remains one of my favorite sleepers for next season. Besides Spezza, the big two had multi point games again with Jamie Benn scoring a goal and an assist with four shots while Tyler Seguin had two assists and three shots. Kris Russell and Alex Goligoski dished two assists each and are must own as long as John Klingberg is out; if I had to pick one it would be Gogo.
Coyotes 4, Oilers 0 – Mike Smith made his return after missing half of the season and stopped all 44 shots for the shutout. Wow. He’s the ultimate wild card qualifying him as a “desperate for starts” guy. Antoine Vermette had another big game with two goals, an assist and three shots. I still prefer him as a streamer in 12’era. Michael Stone had two assists and should be owned as long as Oliver Ekman-Larsson is out. I also like Kevin Connauton a lot and he had three shots and ten PIM.
Canucks 4, Predators 2 – Pekka Rinne had another mediocre at best game stopping 24 of 27 shots in the loss. He’s been the ultimate roller coaster ride for his owners. Roman Josi had two assists and three shots as he continues to be a boss. Ryan Miller stopped 35 of 37 shots in the win and is another “desperate for starts” guy. Miller splits and the Canucks are a mess. Radim Vrbata has rose from the dead dishing two assists and adding four shots; contract year push! Alexandre Burrows had two assists and a shot with two PIM. Burrows is completely off the radar for me now. Bo Horvat scored a goal and an assist with four shots and while he’s -31 on the season, I still like him plenty next year. That should fix itself.
Devils 2, Kings 1 (OT) – Keith Kinkaid stopped 22 of 23 shots in the win and with Cory Schneider out, I prefer Kinkaid over all of the fringe starters in 12’ers with how well the Devils play defensively. Devante Smith-Pelly had an assist and two shots to stay atop the streaming radar for Devils players, even ahead of Joseph Blandisi who also had an assist. Anze Kopitar scored again, this time on four shots, as he continues to crush.
Sharks 5, Capitals 2 – Big performance for the Sharks in this one as they battle for home ice and the division title in the Pacific. All 6 players in the Capitals top 6 had a point and all should be owned in all 12’ers. For the Sharks, Brenden Dillon scored a goal and an assist with three shots and there’s your annual Dillon update. Brent Burns crushed more souls with a goal and an assist with three shots and two PIM. Joe Thornton tallied another goal and an assist with a shot and two PIM while little Joe Pavelski did the same. There wasn’t much in this game that was fantasy relevant as it was the studs on both teams doing the damage besides Dillon.
Penguins 5, Rangers 3 – Sidney Crosby scored a goal and an assist with eight shots; he’s peaking for the Pens at the right time. Conor Sheary had two goals in his seven minutes of ice time while Tom Kuhnhackl had two assists in his limited time. Kris Letang keeps getting a point in every game and did so again with an assist and a shot playing almost 30 minutes. The Rangers had balance with most of the notables getting a point and Derek Stepan had two. Rick Nash is back and had six shots; get him back in your lineup.
Lightning 4, Blue Jackets 0 – Ben Bishop stopped all 37 shots in the shutout showing why he’s a top 5 player on the season. Steven Stamkos showed why he’s one of the best in the game scoring twice on six shots and adding an assist and two PIM. The Triplets each had at least one point while Ondrej Palat led the way with two, a goal and an assist with four shots. All are obviously must own.
Maple Leafs 1, Red Wings 0 – This was a story of the goalies with Jonathan Bernier saving all 38 shots he faced while Petr Mrazek allowed one goal on 27 shots. Despite this game, I wouldn’t touch Bernier in any fantasy league.
Monday Streamers – It’s a busy Monday once again with six games on the slate. Here are my top 3 streaming options:
Rickard Rakell (20.2%) – Okay, I’m cheating by my rules by 0.2% but so be it. He’s coming off a multi point game, the Devils are missing Schneider and the Ducks should dominate at home.
Robby Fabbri (1.1%) – He has points in four straight, the Flames are a mess and Fabbri has moved back into the top six and second power play unit.
Josh Bailey (0.1%) – He’s moved up to the first line and while the production hasn’t been there lately, the minutes are up.
That’s all for now guys. I’ll be back on Tuesday recapping the action from tonight. As always, feel free to ask any questions and post any comments below. Take care everyone!