Coming off an ugly loss to the Predators, it was a near certainty that the Kings would come out firing on Tuesday night. They certainly did but it wasn't enough because of Devan Dubnyk. Dubnyk had arguably his best start of the season stopping 38 of 39 shots, including a few massive point blank saves, in the 2-1 win over the Kings. After laying a huge egg against the Devils, Dubnyk has had three excellent starts in a row with this one being the best. The win puts the Wild one point ahead of the Avs for the last playoff spot in a battle that should come down to the wire. This is perfect for Dubnyk owners because he should start at least 7 of the Wild's final 8 games, if not all of them. Keep him in your lineup every time he starts. Here's what else I saw around the league on a busy Tuesday night:
Semyon Varlamov is the epitome of a goaltender who is the ultimate wild card. Insert Forrest Gump quote here, etc. One day he can give up 2 goals on 2 shots and get pulled like he did against Buffalo a few weeks ago and then you can get a 37 save shutout like he had against the red hot Ducks on Wednesday night. It was the first regulation loss for the Ducks in over a month. Patrick Roy has shown the willingness to go to Calvin Pickard if necessary but that's two monster games in a row for Varlamov so expect him to ride the Russian for the near term. Here's what else I saw on Wednesday night:
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:
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:
For the past week plus, every time that the Blues played I bring up a solid performance from Colton Parayko.  His role was increased with the injury to Kevin Shattenkirk and he's run with it ever since.  Yesterday, he scored another goal getting an absurd 10 shots on goal with 2 blocked shots.  Shattenkirk is going to be back soon but Parayko has solidified himself as a top 4 option on the blueline with power play skills.  Again, go grab him where you can. Here's what else happened the last two nights:
After missing the playoffs for the first time in over a decade, the Sharks have started off this season on fire winning their three games by a 12-1 aggregate score.  The fact that the Sharks have scored 12 goals in 3 games isn't surprising; they have a lot of firepower and are bound to have streaks like this.  The stunning part is that they've given up 1 goal in 3 games and the credit goes to Martin Jones.  Back to back shutouts against the Ducks and the Capitals for a goalie entrenched as a full-time starter for the first time is nothing short of impressive.  It remains to be seen if the Sharks keep it up and to determine if Jones will wear down being a workhorse for the first time but enjoy the ride while you can.   Here's what else happened on Tuesday night:
The Arizona Coyotes put forward a great display of tanking at the end of last season pushing the Sabres for the worst record in the league.  Unfortunately for them, they came up short and were jumped in the lottery.  They were expected to be horrible again and the first two games do not really change their expectations.  That said, you had to come away impressed by the Desert Dogs this weekend crushing the Kings 4-1 in LA on Friday and beating Pittsburgh 2-1 on Saturday. The quick start can largely be attributed to Mike Smith stopping 40 of 41 shots Friday and 27 of 28 on Saturday. He's an incredibly streaky goalie so it's not a terrible idea to pick him up and stream him while it lasts.  He could also get shelled in their next game  (Wednesday at Anaheim) so you have to decide for yourself if it's worth the gamble (I'd lean yes).  Let's take a look at what else happened over the weekend:
One of the most important variables to consider when making moves during the fantasy hockey playoffs is games remaining. How many games are your guys playing this week? You might be feeling confident with Vladimir Tarasenko slotted in on your right side, but he only plays two games this week and one of them is already done and gone so unless Vladdy blows up against the Jackets on Saturday he isn’t going to do much for you this week. Ah, head-to-head, she’s a fickle beast. Does that mean you should you drop the Tarasenko Express? Absolutely not, especially if you’re in a keeper league, but it does illustrate a point cannot be ignored at this point in the season; you absolutely must pay attention to games to be played on a weekly basis and how many games are left to be played in the second half of the week. When you can’t beat them with quality, beat them with quantity. To aid you in this effort I’ve compiled a list of the games remaining for each team this week (including today): THREE GAMES LEFT – Anaheim, Boston, Carolina, Detroit, Florida, Nashville, New Jersey, New York Isles, New York Rangers, Ottawa, Pittsburgh, San Jose, Washington. TWO GAMES LEFT – Arizona, Calgary, Chicago, Colorado, Columbus, Dallas, Los Angeles, Minnesota, Montreal, Tampa Bay, Toronto, Vancouver, Winnipeg. ONE GAME LEFT – Edmonton, Philadelphia, St. Louis. Clearly you want to avoid guys that skate for the Oil, Flyers and Blues for the rest of the week. That’s a bummer considering how beastly the Oil’s top line has been playing, but it is what it is. Manage your guys well and make sure you get more games in than the other guy and you should be okay. Next week I’ll post a more comprehensive list like this at the beginning of the week and update again mid-week with remaining games to keep y’all on track. Don’t fall apart now; the championship is within your grasp! Anyway, here’s what else I saw in the world o’ fantasy hockey recently: