While general sports fans were watching playoff baseball (Go Braves!) or Sunday Night Baseball, hockey fans saw one of the best performances of the season take place on the first weekend. Anthony Mantha scored four goals on eight shot, including the winner in the last minute of the game, to beat the Stars 4-3. This comes after an incredible performance in his season opener in which he scored a goal and two assists with five shots and four penalty minutes in the upset win over Nashville. In both games, the players on the top line were at or above 20 minutes each. That's extremely encouraging for their long-term success. Obviously we're not expecting Mantha to be a top 25 player all of a sudden, but the potential is there for 30 goals, 50 PIM and a very good shot rate. Let's take a look at what else happened over the weekend:
Hey everyone! I'm going to do another daily preview since the reviews were positive. From now, I'm going to add three things that I saw the day before to open the article that I'll touch on quickly, and will include my top three streamers of the day at the end of the article like I used to do. Let's get right to it!
Hey guys! I hope everyone is still alive in their fantasy hockey seasons. In lieu of daily notes, I'm going to preview Monday's games since at this point in the season, I'm not sure daily notes will serve much purpose. Depending on feedback (please give some!), I will continue to do this over the last two weeks of the season or I will return to daily notes. I am going to focus solely on the games, so if you want to plan ahead past today, use my playoff schedule breakdown here to help yourself out. You can always ask me any questions you have as well. Let's get to it!
He won't win the Hart, but Anze Kopitar's season should not go unnoticed. He had his best game of the season scoring four goals on seven shots in the 7-1 win over the Avalanche. That brings Kopitar to 33 goals and 53 assists in 75 games. That's a new career high in assists and points, and goals may not be too far behind. Not so bad for a guy people were worried about after last season's 52 points. He'll never be in the top tier of fantasy players because of the lack of PIM and average shot rate, but Kopitar has reestablished himself as a fringe top 25 guy. Here's to hoping he keeps it rolling over the last two weeks. Let's take a look at what else happened on Thursday night:
Calgary has been quite a mess over the past two weeks since Mike Smith went down with a groin injury. The 7-3 loss to Vegas on Wednesday was close to rock bottom, even though they played a solid game through 45 minutes before falling apart. Please, blog, may I have some more?
In my second half predictions post, I said that Jack Eichel would be in the top 5 in scoring for the rest of the season. He's certainly started on the right track. Eichel scored the OT winner on his seventh shot against the Flames on Monday before exploding against the Oilers with a goal and three assists with five shots on Tuesday. The Sabres power play looks like last season's unit again, the unit that was #1 in the entire NHL. Eichel is leading the way there but has also been dominant in all phases. He's currently in the midst of a 7 game point streak totaling a whopping 14 points in those 7 games while averaging almost 5 shots per game. This game put Eichel above a point per game for the season and I expect him to finish there. Sure, the plus-minus is poor, but everything else is outstanding. He's a first round pick for me next season, no doubt about it. Let's take a look at what else happened over the last two nights:
Am I shocked at how well the Jets are doing? No. Reid and I talked about the Jets' ceiling on the Central Division podcast and we said that second place is certainly within the realm of possibility (I guess we sold them a little short, first is in play). Long term readers know how much I love Connor Hellebuyck. The only reason I was scared off a bit for redrafts is that Kevin Cheveldayoff said that Steve Mason would be their starter to open the season. Well, Mason was lit up in his first game as a Jet and the rest is history. Hellebuyck continued his outstanding breakout season over the weekend, saving 30 of 31 shots in the 2-1 SO win over the Flames on Saturday, then a 29 save shutout in the 1-0 win against the Canucks on Sunday. Hellebuyck is currently the #2 goalie on the season, and while there's a chance he falls off a little bit (I'm certain he'll finish as a #1G), I think he's solidified himself as the #2 goalie in dynasty leagues. The Jets are going to be really good for a long time and Hellebuyck will be a big reason and also a beneficiary of the talent around him. Let's take a look at what else happened over the weekend:
Hat tricks have been in vogue lately so Blake Wheeler decided to take it to another level. Wheeler scored a hat trick in the first period on Sunday and later added an assist in the 7-1 win over the Penguins. Wheeler has been the fantasy stalwart we've become accustomed to in the early going with 4+8, +3, 12 PIM, 35 SOG and 4 STP in 10 games. I don't know how many more years Wheeler will keep up this level of play but for now, he's a top 20 player with relative ease. Let's take a look at what else happened over the weekend:
For a team that missed the playoffs last season, there is so much on the line for the Islanders this year. The team caught a massive heater towards the end once Doug Weight took over behind the bench but it wasn’t enough. Please, blog, may I have some more?
Jake Guentzel was on an absolute tear before he suffered a concussion after a hit from Rasmus Ristolainen. He was owned by most of Razzball Nation as we got on top of it before Guentzel broke out. Thankfully, Guentzel recovered quickly and returned on Friday night. He scored a goal on three shots in his return and then repeated that performance on Sunday. The Penguins have a decent schedule this week with four games, including a back to back on Saturday and Sunday to close the regular season. You can wait a day since the Pens don't play tonight but I'd look to grab Guentzel again if you cut him when he went down. The minutes and role are right back to where they were pre-concussion so I'm looking for Guentzel to finish the season strong before he contributes to a potential playoff run for Pittsburgh. Here's what else happened on the penultimate weekend of the season: