The Panthers have won 11 in a row, and 14 of their past 15 games.  There's been plenty of crazy games in this stretch that has them tied for the league lead in points.  On Tuesday, they tied the game with less than four minutes left before they won it 20 seconds into overtime, and it was the usual suspects.  Aleksander Barkov scored all three goals in the 3-2 OT win, with Jonathan Huberdeau assisting on all three goals.  Barkov has a new career high in goals, 37, despite playing in only 63 games to this point.  Additionally, Huberdeau now leads the league in points.  Yes, that's correct, he leads the league in points.  Both of them will be in the discussion to be first round picks in drafts next season.  It's going to be great to see them in the playoffs, hopefully for longer than last time around.  Let's see what else happened on Tuesday:
It wasn't that long ago that Vladimir Tarasenko requested a trade from the Blues. It wasn't that long ago that Tarasenko could have went to Seattle in the expansion draft.  Now, St. Louis has to be thanking their lucky stars that he's still on the roster.  Tarasenko had his biggest game of the season on Thursday, scoring a hat trick on four shots and adding two more assists in the 6-2 win over the Sabres.  Tarasenko now has 31+41 in 67 games, with a great chance of setting a career high in points.  It's a remarkable turnaround for the Russian who is certainly a top 100 player for drafts next season.  I don't see him cracking the top 50, but it's great to see Tarasenko playing great hockey again.  Let's take a look at what else happened over the last two nights:
I've been aggressive ranking Matthew Tkachuk for years, but I never expected this type of offense from him.  Tkachuk had a hat trick on Tuesday, bringing his season totals up to 37+55 in 73 games.  He has a chance for 100 points, he's +49, the PIM are strong, and his shot rate is over three per game.  Tkachuk is pretty much having a Marchand-esque season.  That's the Marchand who has been a top five player for the past 4-5 years.  Now, I'm not quite going there with Tkachuk for next season.  Gaudreau could leave and this is an outlier in terms of past performance.  That said, he's firmly in the first round pick discussion because he smashes every category.  I can't wait to see what he does in the playoffs.  Let's take a look at what else happened the last two nights:
There's been plenty of bounce back players this season across the NHL.  One of them who hasn't received the attention of others is Ryan Johansen.  Johansen's career was strongly trending in the wrong direction the previous two seasons, including only 22 points in 48 games last season.  He has been decent most of the season, but really took once he moved to the top line.  His best game of the season was on Tuesday night, scoring his first career hat trick on seven shots in the 6-2 win over the Wild.  Johansen now has 20+34 on the season with 51 PIM.  Yes, Johansen's career has turned out to be a big disappointment with the way it was trending early on in Columbus, but it's nice to see him score 20 goals for the first time since 2014.  Remarkably, he's still 29 years old, so this level of play can be repeated next season.  For the rest of this one, Johansen is an elite streamer in standard leagues and a hold if your league doesn't include SOG as a category.  Let's take a look at what else happened over the last two nights:
Before this season, Tage Thompson was part of the punch line about how bad the Sabres were fleeced in the RoR trade.  Amazingly, Thompson has come out of nowhere to play better than RoR has this season (although I'm sure the Blues are just fine with it, banners fly forever).  Thompson was fantastic over the weekend, scoring a hat trick against the Avalanche before scoring a goal on four shots against the Blue Jackets on Sunday.  That brings Thompson up to 20 goals and 18 assists in 47 games and over three shots per game.  Thompson is right on the fringe although I lean towards grabbing him for now.  Buffalo's next opponent?  Montreal.  Let me get some of that.  Either way, Thompson's development is massive for the Sabres going forward.  Let's take a look at what else happened over the weekend:
Over the past few seasons, Patrik Laine has caught plenty of his slack for his game.  The goals have been on the decline and his defense has remained terrible.  The good news is that Laine has completely righted the ship this season.  Laine had a hat trick on Thursday, bringing him up to 16+15 in 29 games.  That's the best goal and assist rate of his career.  The confidence in his game seems to fully be back which is great to see.  He's one of the premier offensive players in the game, and it's crazy to think that Laine is still only 23 years old.  It will be very interesting to see what happens with Laine in the offseason as he's one year away from free agency, but I have to say, I love the fit in Columbus right now given their style of play.  There's a great chance that Laine is back to being the 35+ goal scorer that he was shaping up to be, with 50 goal upside.  The shots aren't elite which keeps his value down a bit, but I'm back to being a big believer in dynasties again.  Props to Fungazi for picking him in the Three Point Challenge.  If you need streamer help for the weekend, go check out JKJ's piece from yesterday here!  Let's take a look at what else happened over the last two nights:
We have our first big named moved prior to the trade deadline.  It appears that teams want to get their business done early this season, especially Montreal, and they did on Monday sending Tyler Toffoli to Calgary for a prospect and picks, including a first.  In Toffoli's first game, he scored a goal on four shots in 12:18 of ice time.  The game was lopsided so it's hard to make a lot of judgments yet.  Toffoli started the game on the third line, but his goal was assisted by Lindholm and Gaudreau as Sutter was trying out different looks.  Given how well the first line has played, I can't imagine Toffoli stays there, but it's worth noting.  If he's on the third line and second PP, he's capable of being a hold like Mangiapane has been in that role in the past, but it also caps his ceiling quite a bit.  I'm not rushing to hold him, but his underlying numbers are still quite good this season despite Montreal being a dumpster fire.  I wouldn't be surprised if he does turn into a hold at some point again, so if you want to make the spec add, I'm completely fine with it.  Let's take a look at what else happened over the last two nights:
Outside of more COVID cases and postponements, there wasn't a lot that went on over the weekend in the NHL, at least with a fantasy impact.  The big story was Marc-Andre Fleury returning to Vegas, the first face of the franchise.  Fleury was excellent, stopping 30 of 31 shots to win the game 2-1 for the Blackhawks.  MAF's overall numbers are more of a top end #3 goalie, but the volume is really good.  I'm indifferent towards holding him or not, but I'd lean that way since it's been better after the brutal first month.  There's also some additional upside if he moves somewhere at the trade deadline as a rental.  I assume Chicago will ask him what he wants at this point in his career but they're well out of the playoffs so for a couple months, I could see him going to a team for a few months before retirement.  The schedule for Chicago over the next 10 days is quite appealing before it gets ugly at the end of the month, which is more reason to hold Fleury for now. 
A week without hockey in December did not seem right at all.  Thankfully, the NHL is back up and running.  Sure, there are plenty of postponements, but I'll take what we can get.  There's not a lot of games over the past two nights, but I'm going to do a quick recap of everything that happened.  Goaltending was mostly optional, especially in Wednesday's games.  The highlight was a 8-7 SO win by the Sharks over the Coyotes, where Arizona scored two goals in the last three minutes of the game to send it to overtime.  Phil Kessel had four assists and four shots in the game, and was dominant throughout the entire game.  He's an elite streamer for now, but he can end up a hold depending where he goes at the trade deadline.  Yes, I'm assuming he's traded, but that seems like a formality.  Let's take a look at what else happened over the last two nights.  I hope everyone enjoyed the holidays!
The Winnipeg first line did all of the scoring for the Jets over the weekend, totaling six goals between Friday and Sunday.  Nikolaj Ehlers contributed to all six goals, dishing two assists on Friday while scoring a goal and three assists on Sunday.  With nine shots between the two games, Ehlers is over four shots per game and inching closer to a point per game again.  Not bad considering he has the worst shooting percentage he's had since his rookie season.  Loyal Razzballers know how much I like Ehlers.  There could be additional upside with Maurice gone because for whatever reason, he refused to use Ehlers on the first power play unit.  Hopefully that changes because he clearly deserves to be there and we could see new career highs as an effect.  Obviously Ehlers should be owned in all formats.  Let's take a look at what else happened over the weekend, a light slate of games due to all of the postponements.  As noted on Friday, I won't be listing every player that goes on the COVID list or every postponement because it's changing rapidly, but I'll note where it's making an impact on lines, PP units, etc.
For players that aren't superstars, Cam Atkinson is among the best for having games that he completely dominates.  He did that on Tuesday night, scoring a hat trick on seven shots and adding an assist in the 6-1 Flyers win over the Devils.  Atkinson is pushing three shots per game with 12+7 in 27 games.  He has eight points in the last seven games and is receiving more ice time since Yeo took over as the coach.  That's enough to make him a hold in all formats.  Let's take a look at what else happened on Tuesday night:
It wasn't hard to figure out who to feature in the opening paragraph tonight.  Andre Burakovsky started off the weekend with two goals on six shots against the Red Wings and finished it off with a hat trick on six shots against the Panthers.  That brings Burakovsky to 12+8 in 24 games on the season, quite the respectable total.  He's still available in 40% of leagues and that needs to change immediately.  With Gabriel Landeskog out for two weeks, Burakovsky is playing on the top line and top power play unit.  That's enough to make him must own in all formats, and he showed why on Sunday, getting a hat trick in a tough matchup.  It should be an excellent December for Burakovsky and hopefully it continues into the New Year.  Let's take a look at what else happened over the weekend: