Matthew Tkachuk entered the All-Star break on a massive hot streak.  He continued it at the All-Star Game, winning MVP honors.  Needless to say, it was continued on Monday night against their rivals, the Tampa Bay Lightning.  Tkachuk had two goals and three assists with six shots in the 7-1 win over Tampa, going +5 in the process.  Tkachuk has managed to blow last season's 42+62 out of the water to this point.  He's the #3 forward overall on the season and has the most balanced stat line of everyone in the entire league.  Marchand was a top five forward for years because of his all-around contribution.  Now, that spot is Tkachuk's.  He's every bit of a top five player now and going forward.  Let's take a look at what else happened over the last two nights:
At least once a season, Nick Schmaltz has a monster game for the Desert Dogs.  One of those games came on Thursday.  The Coyotes buried the Blues 5-0, with Schmaltz recording a hat trick and adding a power play assist.  The minutes are through the roof right now, playing over 18 minutes in every game in 2023, and averaging over 20 per game.  That's enough to put him in the elite streamer range, if not on the fringe.  I can't quite get to hold with poor PIM/hits and a below average shot rate, but I can see holding him for stretches while he's playing this well.  The first line looks really good for Arizona (more on the other two later) and the Coyotes are actually above real .500 at home, plus their schedule is super home heavy the rest of the way.  Schmaltz should at least be near the top of your streaming priority list.  Let's take a look at what else happened over the last two nights:
It has been a terrible year for Kris Letang on and off the ice, but mostly off.  He suffered a stroke and his father passed away shortly after.  After almost a month away from the team, Letang returned on Tuesday and carried the Penguins to victory.  Letang had a vintage performance, scoring two goals and two assists with six shots, four hits, and two blocks in the 7-6 OT win over the Panthers.  I'm not going to say Letang will have a monster second half based on one game in his age 35 season.  The good news is that there's a lot of games left for him to make an impact, and we know how big the upside is.  If I said Letang was a top five defenseman the rest of the way, would you be shocked?  I wouldn't.  Now, the floor is much lower in the past, even assuming he can stay healthy.  However, Pitt is starting to round into form, offensively at least, and the opportunity is there for a big finish.  If your team is in position where you need to take a gamble, I would float some offers to the Letang owner.  If I had him and was patient through the first three months, fingers crossed that he can salvage the season.  Let's take a look at what else happened over the last two nights:
This Nashville Predators team plays nothing like the style we've come to expect from them over the years.  They're hemorrhaging chances left and right, especially against top competition.  So needless to say, it was always going to be difficult for them to get a result in Carolina.  Luckily for them, they have Juuse Saros.  Saros had the second most saves in a non-OT game in NHL history on Thursday saving 64(!) shots in the 5-3 win over the Hurricanes.  I bet over 30.5 saves for Saros, can I get paid double for him going over twice?  Ha!  It's going to be hard for Saros to improve in GAA considering the team in front of him, but he's been playing much better lately to the point where the save percentage should be an elite asset once again.  Saros is still a #1 fantasy goalie, both for this season and in dynasties.  Amazingly, despite making his debut seven seasons ago, he's still only 27 years old.  Let's take a look at what else happened the last two nights:
It's no secret in these parts that I'm from Buffalo and root for the local teams.  I've seen plenty of devastating injuries over the years, from hockey players being severely cut, Pronger's collapse on the ice, soccer players collapsing like Eriksen in 2021, and I was at the Bills game when Kevin Everett was paralyzed.  Damar Hamlin's cardiac arrest was the first time that it felt like "life or death" on the football field.  It seemed like an eternity between first responders helping him, getting him to the hospital, and waiting for any update.  I can only imagine how it was for his family, friends, and teammates.  Here's to hoping that Hamlin continues to progress in his battle towards recovery.  The Sabres played in Washington on Tuesday night, with the entire team wearing "Love For Three" t-shirts for their Buffalo brethren.  The Sabres won the game 5-4 in the most fitting way possible.  Tage Thompson scored his third goal of the game, completing his third hat trick of the season, exactly three minutes into overtime, playing three on three, bringing him to 30 on the season, which is three off the league lead.  You can't write a better ending than that.  Let's take a look at what else happened over the last two nights while we keep Damar in our thoughts:
Mats Zuccarello has gone through three separate streaks this season.  He started the season on fire, he had a cold streak, and now he's on a heater again.  Zuccarello started off the weekend with a hat trick and an assist against the Blackhawks, before adding a goal and an assist against the Senators.  That brings Zucc's point streak up to ten games.  He's well over a point per game, and pushing towards three shots per game.  The 35 year old has shown no signs of slowing down, being rejuvenated playing with Kaprizov.  Zuccarello is starting to erase his plus-minus hole as well.  Even including the plus-minus, Zuccarello has been a top 50 player, and should continue to be so.  Let's take a look at what else happened over the weekend:
What better way to become the third player ever to 800 goals than to score a hat trick?  Alex Ovechkin did just that on Tuesday, scoring three times and adding an assist against the Chicago Blackhawks.  He's only one goal behind Gordie Howe for second all-time, and then the real chase towards Gretzky starts.  Ovechkin already has 20 goals this season in 31 games, a mere 53 goal pace for the 37 year old.  He's over four shots per game, and while the plus-minus is disappointing, it's starting to turn around a bit.  My love for Ovechkin is well known in these parts, so I don't need to belabor the point, but I can't wait for the greatest goal scorer ever to push towards 895.  Here's to hoping he keeps battling father time and gives hockey fans a great chase.  Let's see what else happened over the last two nights:
In Ilya Sorokin's first two starts, he allowed ten goals.  In the next seven, he's allowed eight total.  Sorokin kept up his hot streak with a 24 save shutout against the Jets on Saturday.  Semyon Varlamov is back for the Islanders, but for now, Sorokin is getting all of the volume.  I had him pegged as a great platoon guy this year who ideally was your #3, but would be fine as a #2.  Now, it would be terrific if Sorokin is your #2 because he could easily end up being a top 10 goalie even without much volume.  The GAA and save percentage look to be elite while the wins on a per-game basis should be as well.  Long term, Sorokin looks like a top five goalie.  Let's take a look at what else happened over the weekend:
Playing time has been the only thing that has stopped Alex Tuch from breaking out in the past.  It looked like he was going into the top six two seasons ago, but then the Golden Knights acquired Stone keeping Tuch on the third line.  Well, this season that has finally changed even though Stone is still on the team, mostly because the Karlsson line plays less minutes.  On Saturday, Stone left the game with a minor injury which led Tuch to being double shifted.  Even before that, Tuch was on a tear and it'll only get better with his increased workload.  Tuch scored two goals on six shots on Saturday after scoring a goal on Friday.  That brings Tuch up to 12 goals in 21 games, an excellent mark.  Sure, his shooting percentage is unsustainable, but the increase in minutes could counteract that a bit.  Tuch is still available in over 40% of leagues, so if you're lucky enough to be in one of them, grab him now.  Let's take a look at what else happpened over the weekend:
The player with the most points this weekend was Connor.  No, not McDavid.  Kyle Connor continued his terrific season with two amazing games.  First, he scored a goal and dished three assists against the Senators.  Then, he followed it up on Sunday by scoring two goals and an assist with five shots in the win against the Blackhawks.  That brings Connor up to a point per game on the season, 26+30 in 56 games.  Connor is developing into one of the unheralded stars in the league.  Overshadowed by Scheifele and Laine on his own team, this will be Connor's third straight 30 goal season at age 23.  His shot rate is over three per game now and the penalty minutes have jumped quite a bit.  I'm not sure how much higher his ceiling is, if at all, but it doesn't have to get higher.  Connor has established himself as a player whose floor is 30+30 with plenty of upside from there.  He's going to be a top 50 player (conservatively) for a long time, mixing in seasons where he's a top 25 player overall when he has some good fortune.  The Jets are in terrific shape going forward offensively, now they have to do whatever they can to improve their blue line.  Let's take a look at what else happened over the weekend:
It's safe to say that at 26 years old, Jonathan Huberdeau has plenty of hockey to play in his career.  The scary thing is that he's going to destroy the Panthers point record.  In Sunday's big win over the Maple Leafs, Huberdeau had a goal and an assist to pass Olli Jokinen for the most points in franchise history. After last season's breakout campaign where Huberdeau had 92 points, he's on pace to blow by that this season with 61 points in their first 45 games.  The shot rate has fallen off to slightly below average, but I don't think anyone who drafted Huberdeau is complaining.  He's a safe bet to finish as a top 20 overall player this season, and since he's entering his prime along with some of his other teammates (notably Barkov), the future is incredibly bright.  Let's take a look at what else happened over the weekend: