It's hard to imagine the first half of the season going any worse for the Devils. In terms of points percentage, they're in the second wild card spot in a season that many expected them to push for the Metro Division title and to be one of the Cup favorites. They've been brutalized by injuries, but their main offseason acquisition rescued them on Monday. After giving up four straight goals turning a 3-1 lead into a 5-3 deficit, Tyler Toffoli scored with 16 seconds left in the second period, and eventually completed a hat trick in overtime to beat the Golden Knights 6-5. That brings Toffoli to 20 goals on the season, ahead of last season's 34 goal pace. The loss of Hamilton for the regular season has been massive, and J. Hughes being out is too much for them to stomach. The good news for the Devils is they only have two more games before they have 10 days off. There's a chance that Hughes will be back at that point. As for Toffoli, he's a bit behind the pace that I hoped for, but overall, it's hard to complain when he's on pace for 37 goals. Here's to hoping he keeps the shot rate up, as getting back to last season's rate would give him a good chance of maintaining his current level of play. It's the difference between being a potential top 50 player and a bottom end hold. Let's take a look at what else happened the last couple of nights:
There's nothing else that T.J. Oshie has to prove on the ice. He's won the Stanley Cup and was one of the best players on his team. He became an Olympic hero for his performance in 2014. Oshie is about to play in his 1000th NHL game. This season has been a struggle for Oshie, but he's really turned it around lately, culminating in his best game of the season. Against his old team, Oshie scored a hat trick on five shots. This isn't just a little blip on the radar either. Oshie has a point in six of his last seven games, and the very encouraging thing is his shot rate has been excellent. Even at his peak, he was never a plus in shot rate, but in his last nine games, Oshie has 30 SOG. It's an even better rate if we go to a shorter sample. He's found chemistry with Patches and Strome, and the Capitals surprisingly continue to hang around the playoff picture. While he's playing this well, Oshie is in elite streamer territory. The schedule is about to get very difficult, but they do get another game with St. Louis before that happens. 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:
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’ll be honest, I don’t have a good open for the weekend post. But “The Wire’ is indisputably the best TV show of all-time. I can watch it every time through and see something I didn’t before. Please, blog, may I have some more?
With the All-Star Break coming to a close and the schedule ready to pick up for the home stretch, it's time for an update to my hold/stream list. The one thing that I want to add is that for head to head leagues, I would be far more aggressive in cutting players that are missing time if you're in a battle for a playoff spot, and if you are locked into the top of your standings, I would be more focused on setting up my team for once the playoffs begin. In roto, it all depends where you are in terms of your starts. Let's get to it!
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:
While I wasn't expecting a repeat of last season from Filip Forsberg, his drop off was a much higher level than it should have been. Thankfully, he started the turn around in a massive way this weekend. Against Anaheim on Friday, Forsberg had a goal and two assists. He followed it up with an even better game, scoring a hat trick on six shots against the Golden Knights. With those performances, Forsberg is on a 33+41 pace, which isn't amazing, but far more acceptable given Forsberg's shot rate. Here's to hoping that Forsberg can keep building. Nashville is going on a long road trip soon, which could lead to a bit more ice time for Forsberg when Hynes can't protect matchups as easily. Let's take a look at what else happened over the weekend:
Last week our Sabres stack took it on the chin a bit, but this week MarmosDad is back with a new list of names to help you fill out your DFS lineups on this cold mid-December Saturday. Chalk forwards? Check. Value play D-men? Yep. A strong goalie play? MmHmm. A filler named after a color that a lot of you might not be able to identify on a paint palette? Uh…yes? One of these hot hands to start our lineups is winger Mark Stone, (DK: $5,200). Late 90’s WWE fans will undoubtedly get the Stone Cold reference, but this Stone is definitely anything but cold. Vegas’s captain has scored 3 goals in his last 3 games and has managed to put up some healthy FPTS over at least two of those games (23.0 and 15.6). Regular readers of this spot (yes, both of you) will know that the kicker for these types is time on the first line and PP1. Check both of those boxes for Stone at home against the Isles today...and feel free to smash and empty some beer cans down your gullet if that’s your kind of Saturday thing too.
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:
Patrice Bergeron became the eighth active NHL'er to reach 1,000 career points on Monday, assisting on a Marchand goal in the 5-3 win over Tampa. The best defensive forward for the last decade, Bergeron has long since been a lock for the Hall of Fame, but being the 94th player to ever reach 1,000 points puts him in truly elite company. It sounds crazy to say that he's underrated, but I do feel like his career is underrated. He's never been a top five player in the league, but he was close for an extended period, his line was consistently one of the best in the league, and if you could pick any skater to be on the ice with one minute left up one to save the planet, he's the guy. Congrats to this hockey wizard. Let's see what else happened on Monday night:
The Canucks have been showing signs of life lately, especially offensively. Right now, there's no better cure for early season woes than going against the Ducks. On Thursday, Vancouver scored eight goals, and their big offseason acquisition led the way. Andrei Kuzmenko had a hat trick and an assist, giving him eight points in his last four games. He's found great chemistry with Pettersson (more on him later) and Kuzmenko has kept his spot on the first power play unit. He's on the fringe, but for now, I would definitely hold while he's this hot. Let's take a look at what else happened over the last two nights: