Life without Couturier hasn't been as good without Claude Giroux.  He started the turnaround on Thursday night.  Giroux scored two goals and two assists with three shots and two PIM in the 5-3 win over Carolina.  That brings Giroux up to 17 points in 22 games, not exactly lighting the world on fire, but the shot rate is the best of his career.  75 shots in 22 games is a huge step forward, and if that continues, we could be looking at a new career high in goals.  Yes, he only has 7 to this point, but we could be on the verge of a heater.  Let's take a look at what else happened over the last two nights:
The gap between Brad Marchand and the rest of the league right now for fantasy hockey is incredible.  Marchand scored five points on Monday, tallying two goals and three assists and a +4 rating.  It's nothing new, but the first line in Boston has managed to find a way to get even better.  Marchand is crushing every category with 10+18 in 15 games with a +13 rating, 28 PIM and 41 SOG.  He's as good of a bet as any to finish as the #1 player in fantasy this season.  Honestly, he'd be my pick as long as he avoids a lengthy suspension.  Let's take a look at what else happened over the last two nights:
Hat tricks aren't that uncommon in the NHL.  First period hat tricks are.  Evander Kane became the first player in Sharks history to do so, scoring three goals and adding an assist with five shots in the 5-2 win over the Hurricanes on Wednesday.  Kane has long been a player that I rate higher than consensus because of his shot rate and penalty minutes.  Kane has four goals and two assists in four games since returning from suspension to go along with four PIM and 13 shots.  Pretty, pretty good.  I don't think it's a coincidence that the Sharks went 0-3 without Kane and are 3-1 since.  With their current depth issues, Kane should be leaned on heavily giving him a great chance at a top 50 fantasy season.  Let's take a look at what else happened over the last two nights:
We have now reached the point of doing individual positions before I complete a top 200.  Through the top 20 overall, I have covered 18 forwards, one defenseman and a goalie.  For now, I'll be holding off on the last two.  I'll be covering the top 100 forwards in posts of twenty going forward.  For today, I will go through the top 40.  Let's get right to it!
We are at the point in the season where it's more important to lead my posts off with the things that have the biggest impact going forward and not the best performances.  Robin Lehner is currently day-to-day with what Barry Trotz called an upper-body injury.  When asked if it was a concussion, Trotz wouldn't give an answer.  Best wishes to Lehner to a speedy recovery no matter what the issue is, but he does have concussion history.  Thomas Greiss started on Thursday and made 35 saves on 37 shots in the 4-2 win over the Senators.  I wouldn't expect anything else against the Senators.  I have been saying Greiss is must-own for a few months now, but for some reason he's still only 27% owned!  If Lehner does miss time, Greiss has a legitimate chance to not only be a #1 goalie the rest of the way, but a top 5 goalie overall.  Pick him up immediately if he's still available in your league.  Let's take a look at what else happened over the last two days:
The Bruins split up their first line recently and there's been one massive winner: Danton Heinen.  Heinen had a great rookie season in 2017-18 with 47 points in 77 games.  He's struggled mightily this season but Heinen has taken off since moving onto a line with Marchand and Bergeron.  Heinen had a goal and two assists with three shots against the Blackhawks on Tuesday.  That gives him three goals and three assists in the past four games, with at least three shots on goal in every game.  If you're in a 16+ teamer, Heinen should be owned no matter the format.  Even in 12'ers, I am good with holding onto Heinen while he's hot and the Bruins have three games in four nights starting on Friday.  At the least, he's moved up to elite streamer status as he's as hot of a schmotato as they come.  Let's take a look at what else happened over the last two nights:
It's no secret that the Ducks are a mess right now.  I said in a post last week that they're the worst team in the league at the moment, but last night's game took the cake.  Getting shutout by the Senators is as low as it gets.  Sure, Anders Nilsson played great stopping 45 shots, but a lot of them were low quality like the team taking them.  This isn't a post about Nilsson, he's barely usable.  This is a reminder that you should stream against the Ducks every time you get.  Anaheim plays against plenty of bad teams this month (Vancouver 2x, Edmonton, Chicago) yet I still wouldn't hesitate to use any of their goaltenders.  Take advantage of the Ducks every opportunity that you get.  Let's take a look at what else happened over the last two nights:
It was less than a week ago that James van Riemsdyk was placed on the fourth line for the Flyers and Scott Gordon had a private meeting with him.  Since then, JVR has taken off, with a monster game coming on Monday.  He scored a hat trick to give him 5+2 in his last 3 games.  Look, we know how good of a player JVR can be; he's been a top 100 player the past few seasons.  However, he only has two games the rest of the week, and then he doesn't have a game for all of next week with the Flyers on a bye week.  Therefore, I wouldn't be holding him right now.  I'd be willing to stream him on Wednesday and Saturday, but I'd cut bait then.  However, with a very heavy schedule starting 1/28, including a lot of bad teams, I would look to grab JVR at the All-Star break to get three games in four nights after that break.  Then, we see how he does in those three games, and proceed from there.  Here's a look at what else happened on Monday night:
If you would told me before the season that the Canadiens would be in a playoff spot at the halfway point of the season, I'd have guessed that Carey Price was playing at a Vezina level  Yet, here we are with Price struggling and the Canadiens succeeding.  However, we've seen a few good starts lately from Price, with his best coming on Thursday.  Price stopped all 33 Canucks shots in the 2-0 win over Vancouver.  So what do we make of Price?  Well, this game was the second of a back-to-back for Vancouver, who lost their rookie phenom, so I don't take much away from this.  His other really good games were against Arizona and Chicago; not exactly powerhouses.  I feel a little bit better about Price than I did before the season starting, but only to the point that I view him as a middling to bottom end #2 goalie.  Let's take a look at what else happened over the last two nights:
In the game of the night, a stealth Hart Trophy candidate led his team to glory.  Johnny Gaudreau scored a hat trick on four shots in the 4-1 win in Winnipeg.  Just like that, he's 5th in the NHL in scoring with by far the best shot rate of his career.  Couple that with a career high shooting percentage and Johnny Hockey is well on his way to a career high in goals.  I've generally been lower on Gaudreau than most, but this year he has proven me wrong.  That line is among the best in hockey and Gaudreau is at the forefront.  I don't expect him to slow down much in the second half making Gaudreau is a good bet to finish as a top 20 player in fantasy.  Let's take a look at what else happened on Thursday night: