To say James van Riemsdyk had a decent two games would be an understatement.  The Charlie Conway look-alike scored five goals over the last two nights, scoring a hat trick against the Stars on eight shots before scoring two goals and an assist against the Sabres.  That brings JVR to 31 goals and 16 assists on the season with just under three shots per game.  Obviously he's owned in virtually all leagues at this point, but I wanted to start off with him because he doesn't get the credit he deserves.  He's played at a 27+ goal pace for six straight seasons now and the two goals last night gave him a new career high.  I'm not sure Toronto will be to keep the impending UFA past this season, but one thing is for certain: JVR is about to get paid handsomely.  Look for him to maintain his value no matter where he ends up, meaning someone who is a top 75-100 player.  Let's take a look at what else happened over the last two nights:
I hope everyone was able to watch the game between Pittsburgh and Washington on Monday night because that was everything that hockey should be. Yes, the defense was lacking at times, but man that was beautiful. Unsurprisingly, the star of the show was the #1 overall skater in fantasy to this point of the season, Evgeni Malkin. Malkin scored a hat trick in the second period and finished the game with those three goals, five shots and two PIM. Nobody can be surprised at how well Malkin is doing; his peak performance is on par with anybody in the league. The surprise is that he's managed to stay healthy to this point . I was lucky enough to have him fall to 24th and 25th overall in two separate drafts this season and took the gamble. Hopefully you guys all did the same because we're currently looking at a 40+55 with 100 PIM season. Here's what else happened around the league on Monday:
Even by his lofty standards, Alex Ovechkin had quite the weekend. He went into the weekend with 497 career goals and managed to score two goals in both games he played to get 501. On Saturday, he scored the opening goal and then a coast to coast overtime winner to beat the Rangers 4-3 on his fifth shot of the game. On Sunday, he scored number 500 from his patented spot by the left hashmark and added 501 late to put the Capitals up 7-1. Here are the players who got to 500 goals faster than Ovechkin: Gretzky, Lemieux, Bossy, Hull. That's it. And those guys did it in an era where the game was wide open, not the dead era Ovechkin plays in now. I've said it before and people didn't agree in the comments but I still believe it; Ovechkin is the greatest goal scorer in NHL history. Here's to hoping he sticks around because he has a decent shot to break Gretzky's record which would be incredible given the low goal scoring in this era plus he missed time for two lockouts. Here's what else happened around the league this weekend:
Jack Eichel's return to Boston couldn't have gone any better. The 19 year old wunderkind scored two goals and two assists with three shots in the 6-3 win over the Bruins Saturday night. While he's done well by rookie standards, the expectations were so high that 20 points (11+9) is disappointing at this stage. However, the return of Tyler Ennis (assist and two shots) has brought some life back into Eichel's game. Expect Eichel to start picking up the pace push a 30+25 season come the end of the year. Here's what else I saw the last two nights around the league:
I'm back! I hope all of the Americans reading enjoyed their Thanksgiving and that everyone had a good weekend.  I have a whole week's worth of games to recap so instead of listing every player individually, I am going to go game by game and highlight the key points in each game.  This way, I won't mess up adding up players stats across a bunch of games or miss a player having a big impact in one game.  In the latter case, Ryan Getzlaf had arguably the game of the week on Tuesday, dishing five assists in the 5-3 win over Calgary.  After his appendectomy, he has 14 points in 12 games (13 assists) so he's getting back to his elite status.  The goals should come with 46 shots and only 1 goal on the season.  Here's a look at every game at every game from last week:
For the past two weeks or so, I've been talking about Jason Zucker as someone to pick up in fantasy hockey.  The second line on the Wild was dominating possession and it was only a matter of time until they broke out.  On Thursday, despite the Wild being dominated by the Hurricanes, they persevered and won 3-2 in OT behind two goals by Zucker, who also contributed five shots. He's up to 13 points so far in 15 games so if it was for debate, it isn't anymore; he's a must add in all leagues.   Here's what else I saw on the big Thursday night slate:
What is it with Russians named Evgeny? Is there some sort of magic in the name? Maybe it’s the Vodka? Either way, Evgeny Kuznetsov (1 A, 2 SOG, even) has arrived and y’all best take notice as the kid has four points in his last two games and now plays on the second line for the Caps alongside Casey Wellman and Troy Brouwer. I know, those names don’t exactly strike fear into the hearts of their opponents but when you consider he just left the fourth line with Tom Wilson and Jay Beagle, it starts to sound a lot better, right? Either way, the initial chemistry Evgeny has with his teammates can’t be denied after back-to-back solid games on his new line. What’s better, he’s getting time on the Caps’ second power play unit and saw time with Alex Ovechkin. The only limit on Kuzentsov is Kuzentsov, and like many young Russians he’s passionate and highly skilled but who knows what that translates to over time. His weakness as defensive liability can cost him TOI at times, but most young offensively minded players suffer there and he’s improving steadily. His playmaking skills, however, are on par with Nicklas Backstrom’s (sans the PEDs, err, allergy meds!) and his wicked fake-slapper, slap-pass to Tom Wilson for a goal a few days ago against the Stars is evidence of that. He's wildly creative with the puck, has soft hands, great vision and is an all around offensive force. He lacks strength, but that's something he can improve on over time. It’s crunch time and there’s no reason to overthink snatching up a guy like Kuznetsov, so go get while the gettin’s good! Anyway, here’s what else I saw in the world o’ fantasy hockey last night:
Riley Sheahan (1 A, 1 SOG, even) has five points in his last five (2 G, 3 A) and is currently on pace for 10 points in 15 games this season since being called up from Wings’ AHL affiliate the Grand Rapids Griffins. It will be interesting to see which of the Wings’ dynamic young forwards will get sent down when Pavel Datsyuk returns after the Olympic break, but Sheahan is making a serious case that it shouldn’t be him. Gustav Nyqvist is making a similar claim with his play, so it might be Tomas Jurco that gets the boot given his inability to generate consistent offense in his time with the big club. I’ve mentioned Sheahan before, and it probably went something like this: “This kid has some serious offensive chops with a big shot and great playmaking ability. He has all the tools to become a top-six power forward in the NHL and already knows how to use his big frame to help his puck possession game, which is pretty damn good to begin with. He can play both ends of the ice, has a solid hockey IQ and should be on everyone’s radar as we come down the stretch this season in fantasy hockey.” Wow, sounds like that guy knows what he’s talking about, you should listen to him. I’d grab Sheahan in deeper leagues if you need a scoring boost with the caveat that he may end up drawing the short stick and heading back down to the AHL at some point this season, but if not, he’s well worth owning for the remainder of this season if nothing else. Anyway, here’s what else I saw on a seriously short night o’ fantasy hockey: