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There was a lot of craziness around the NHL on President's Day, but nothing topped the game in Minnesota.  At one point late in the second period, the Canucks looked in complete control up 5-2.  Two minutes and seventeen seconds of game time later, Minnesota was up 6-5.  And if that wasn't enough, there were still six more goals!  The Wild beat the Canucks 10-7, and to wash it down, they played a paltry 6-3 game on Tuesday, a loss to the Jets.  Nothing like 13-13 aggregate over two nights.  On Monday, it was all of the stars for the Wild, as those four goals in a 2:17 span were all on the power play, three of which were 5 on 3.  Joel Eriksson Ek and Kirill Kaprizov had three goals and three assists... each!  Mats Zuccarello and Matt Boldy had a goal and three assists... each!  On Tuesday, Kaprizov had a goal and an assist, while Marco Rossi had two goals on five shots.  Both goalies were shelled, and right now, it's hard to trust either of them.  For the moment, the Wild look like a four star team, Faber is a clear hold, and Brodin is on the fringe.  Rossi is a solid streamer, and gamble if you'd like on their goalies.  Let's take a look at what else happened over the last two nights:
Two division rivals exploded on Saturday, both winning in dominant 9-2 fashion.  Not too often nowadays that you see two 9-2 scores.  For Toronto, a 9-2 win against the Ducks certainly wasn't expected, but isn't actually shocking either.  On the other hand, Florida blowing Tampa Bay out 9-2 after falling behind in the first 30 seconds of the game qualifies as jaw dropping.  Florida is arguably the best team in the league right now, dominating in multiple ways.  Matthew Tkachuk is fully back, scoring two goals and two assists with ten PIM in the victory, giving him 13 points in the last five games.  Carter Verhaeghe scored two goals and an assist with six shots and two PIM against his former team.  He's back on the point of the top unit and with Barkov, making him a top 50 player.  Sam Bennett had two goals and two assists iwth three shots and ten PIM.  Bennett is firmly on the fringe right now as long as he's with Tkachuk.  For Toronto, Auston Matthews had a hat trick and two assists with four shots as he scores goals at an unprecedented rate.  Bobby McMann had two goals and an assist with four shots, although I'm still not buying in with his workload.  He's bumping up to decent streamer for the time being.  Also, if you need short term defensemen help, Timothy Liljegren is on PP1 and dished three assists with Rielly still suspended.  Let's take a look at what else happened over the weekend:
It's been a long road to recovery for Artturi Lehkonen.  With Big Val in the player assistance program, it couldn't have happened at a better time.  After being eased back into the lineup, Lehkonen moved onto the top line the game before Tuesday night.  While he went to the second line to open the game, Lehkonen blew up against the Capitals, scoring two goals and adding two assists putting five shots on goal in the 6-3 win.  There's a few encouraging things here.  One, Lehkonen was on the first power play unit.  That alone is massive for his value.  Additionally, it was Lehkonen, not Drouin, closing the game for the Avs, as Lehkonen scored an empty netter with a minute left from MacKinnon and Rantanen.  Even in this role, Lehkonen received 18 minutes, which is plenty to succeed.  This puts him right back on the fringe.  Gun to head, I lean towards holding, but his schedule in the near term is heavy on busy days, so I see the case for leaving him as an elite streamer.  Let's take a look at what else happened the last two nights:
It's been a disastrous season for the Wild, and it's hard to imagine them digging out of this hole.  Monday was a lone bright spot, both for the team and their oldest player.  The Wild beat the Islanders 5-0, with Marc-Andre Fleury posting a 21 save shutout.  The win gave Fleury the second most wins in NHL history, passing Patrick Roy.  It's been a very up and down career for Fleury.  He was incredible in the 2008 playoffs getting Pittsburgh to the finals.  His most iconic moment clinched the Cup the year after.  There were a handful of years right after that where his poor play was the reason the Penguins were eliminated early in the playoffs.  They won a Stanley Cup with him as the backup.  He also saved them the next year when Murray struggled early in the playoffs to lead Pittsburgh to back-to-back cups.  He carried Vegas to the Cup finals in their inaugural season.  That's how I'm going to remember MAF.  There were too many down years for him to be in that inner circle of all-time goalies, and his best generally wasn't among the current elite, as evidenced by him being a Vezina finalist once in 20 seasons.  However, when he was at his best, it was incredible to watch, and that will put him in the Hockey Hall of Fame sooner than later.  For this season, Gustavsson is back, so I expect them to split the games fairly evenly.  He's a streamer in good matchups for now, but like most goalies, MAF can turn into a hold sooner than later, or be complete unusable.  Let's take a look at what else happened over the last two nights:
For most of last season, Zach Hyman led the league in expected goals.  By the end of the season, he had a career high with 36 goals, but didn't even sniff the league lead.  This season, he's starting to finish at an elite level, resulting in him pushing towards the league lead in goals.  Hyman had a hat trick on eight shots on Saturday, carrying the Oilers to a 3-1 win over the Senators.  That gives Hyman 25 goals on the season to go along with 15 assists, a +13 rating, 32 PIM, and almost four shots on goal per game.  He's been a top ten forward so far, and while I expect a bit of a drop off in the second half, I don't see much of one coming.  That's how good Hyman has been.  Let's take a look at what else happened over the weekend:
It's not too often that an NHL record that's stood for over one hundred years gets broken.  That happened on Wednesday night.  Despite his role shrinking, Kris Letang had the period of a lifetime.  Letang dished five assists in the second period in a seven minute span, becoming the first defenseman in NHL history to record five assists in a period.  He finished the game with six assists, all at even strength to give him a +6 rating in the 7-0 win over the Islanders.  Even with this game, Letang is far from the defenseman he used to be, partially due to age, and partially due to the arrival of Karlsson.  He's under two shots per game, and has only three goals as a result.  However, the assists are still very good, the hits and blocks are solid, and the PIM are much higher than they've been.  He's the perfect #3/4 defenseman on most teams since he's hitting most of the categories and piling up assists.
The Leafs were coming off a dominant victory over the Rangers heading into a home game against Columbus.  They managed to go down 5-0 in the second, and it was that way heading into the third period.  Then, as we've seen in the past, Toronto made a massive rally, tying the game with 45 seconds left to earn a point.  Then, like usual, they managed to lose anyways.  The 6-5 OT win for Columbus is one of the craziest games you'll ever seen.  Auston Matthews led the comeback with two goals and an assist with nine shots.  Patrik Laine scored an early goal before leaving the game injured, while Kent Johnson was the hero.  The former fifth overall pick had two goals and an assist, including the game winner.  It's undeniably been a slow start to Johnson's career.  However, for most players, it takes time, and we're starting to see the signs.  Johnson now has six points in his last four games, and if Laine is down for a while, we could see Johnson becoming a fantasy factor.  For now, I'm bumping him up to middling streamer, but he's definitely worth monitoring.  Let's take a look at what else happened over the last two nights:
Nothing like a hat trick to regain the NHL lead in goals.  Especially in what was a timed game.  Brock Boeser finished Tuesday with a natural hat trick, securing a 4-1 win over the Lightning.  That brings him to a whopping 21 goals, well on his way to obliterating his previous career high.  They aren't the same type of player, but it reminds of Kreider's 50 goal year.  A solid player who has everything go right for a year.  Now, it's still early that Boeser is far from a lock for 50, but if he stays healthy, 40 is close to a lock.  It's far from sustainable going to the next few seasons, but the important thing is Boeser is back on his A game ignoring the good fortune.  Let's take a look at what else happened over the last two nights:
I was extremely bullish on Tyler Toffoli's fit with the Devils, even though he wasn't a lock to be on PP1.  "Before last season, Toffoli had never topped 31 goals or 29 assists, so expecting a repeat for a guy entering his 11th season in the league seems farfetched.  That said, it’s hard to pick a better spot to be in than New Jersey right now for even strength play.  People were worried about Toffoli’s power play role to open, but it looks like the Devils are starting with the two balanced unit approach.  Personally, I hate it, but it’s a big boost to the value of the guy who normally would be on PP2, which Toffoli looked to be.  I’m all the way in."  And that's me quoting me in my bold predictions saying Toffoli averages at least a point per game.  He was off to a solid start, but he had his first big game on Tuesday.  Toffoli scored a hat trick on six shots in a revenge game against the Canadiens.  That brings Toffoli to 4+2 in five games with 4.5 shots per game.  There's a real chance that he ends up as a top 50 player.  Let's take a look at what else happened in the Monday game and the Frozen Frenzy.
The hockey season is underway with nine total games in the books so far.  In this post, I will cover those games quickly at the end highlighting some notables, and will have the same for Friday despite a shortened Thursday schedule.  Monday morning will have my first big set of daily notes from the weekend.  This post will open with 10 Bold Predictions for the season.  These are all meant to be bold; I'd be glad to hit on three of them.  Last season, we had some awful whiffs (thanks Cole Sillinger) but also hit on Dahlin being a top 5 defenseman and predicting massive failure for Chicago and Philly from a fantasy (and real) perspective.  Let's get to it!