On January 3rd, the St. Louis Blues were in last place of the entire NHL.  Here we are six weeks later and they're safely in a playoff position.  The Blues have matched the longest winning streak in the NHL this season at 10, winning two games this weekend in convincing fashion.  First, Jake Allen shutout the Avalanche, then Jordan Binnington shut out the Wild on a back to back.  Right now, Binnington is as hot as it gets in the league.  I don't expect this to continue, but for now, he's a must start every time out.  I still view Allen as somewhat of a desperation play, but with how well the team is playing in front of him, I'm fine with streaming him for the time being.  Looks like a coaching change was what they needed to right the ship.  Let's take a look at what else happened over the weekend:
The Penguins have been on quite a tear lately, and it's not just their All-Stars.  Over the weekend, Jake Guentzel destroyed the Ducks and Kings.  In the Penguins comeback against the Ducks, Guentzel had a hat trick on seven shots with two penalty minutes, before scoring two more goals on six shots against the Kings.  That brings Guentzel to 23 goals, which is already a career high.  The shot rate has taken a big jump as well, although we can't expect him to shoot 19% all season.  Regardless, Guentzel has settled into being a top 100 player who is a clear hold in all formats.  As long as he continues to play with Crosby, things will be just fine.  Let's take a look at what else happened over the weekend:
It was quite the weekend for last season's Calder Trophy winner.  Mathew Barzal entered Friday's game against the Senators with five goals on the season, and he matched that in two games.  Barzal scored two goals and an assist against the Senators before scoring a hat trick against the Maple Leafs on Saturday.  That brings Barzal up to 10+25 in 37 games with solid PIM and an improved shot rate.  He's still only 21 years old so clearly the best is to come.  For the rest of this season, I think he's just inside the top 50 now that his shot rate isn't far from average.  If he can eventually get that up towards three a game, it's game over.  Barzal has top 20 player upside down the line; hopefully the Isles get some more talent around him.  Let's take a look at what else happened over the weekend:
In the game of the night, a stealth Hart Trophy candidate led his team to glory.  Johnny Gaudreau scored a hat trick on four shots in the 4-1 win in Winnipeg.  Just like that, he's 5th in the NHL in scoring with by far the best shot rate of his career.  Couple that with a career high shooting percentage and Johnny Hockey is well on his way to a career high in goals.  I've generally been lower on Gaudreau than most, but this year he has proven me wrong.  That line is among the best in hockey and Gaudreau is at the forefront.  I don't expect him to slow down much in the second half making Gaudreau is a good bet to finish as a top 20 player in fantasy.  Let's take a look at what else happened on Thursday night:
Jonathan Quick was already out.  Now Jack Campbell is out 4-6 weeks with a knee injury.  That makes Cal Petersen the starter in Los Angeles for the time being.  Petersen was a 5th round pick for the Sabres that blossomed at Notre Dame and signed with the Kings after he became a free agent due to waiting out his time at Notre Dame.  He is a very good prospect, and now he's jumped into the show.  In his two starts over the weekend, Petersen made 34 saves on 35 shots against the Blackhawks before stopping 38 of 42 shots against the Predators.  Obviously the Kings are a bad team, but their schedule is decent for the next two weeks, so I don't mind taking a gamble on Petersen if you need goaltending help.  Let's take a look at what else happened over the weekend:
There wasn't a ton of goal scoring over the last two nights, but the most notable performance came from the reigning MVP.  Taylor Hall won the game against the Penguins virtually by himself, scoring two goals and two assists with six shots in the 4-2 win.  That brings Hall up to 5+14 in 16 games with over 3.5 shots per game.  Can we expect a repeat of last season?  That would be a stretch.  Hall shot 14% last season while for the majority of the rest of his career, he's been in the 8-11% range.  This year he's at 8.6, a little low but not an outlier.  I would say 25-30 goals seems likely, but a new career high in assists (54) is certainly within range.  Let's take a look at what else happened over the last two nights:
It looks like we could be seeing the Timo Meier breakout right before our eyes.  The former top ten pick is really coming into his own this season as DeBoer has given him a top six role.  Meier scored a goal on Friday because totaling two goals and an assist with four shots on Sunday.  That brings Meier to eight goals and four assists in 11 games with over three shots per game.  It's pretty clear at this point: Meier is a must-own in all formats right now.  He's still available in over one third of leagues, so if you're fortunate enough to be in one of those, go grab him now.  Let's take a look at what else happened over the weekend:
Last year's point leader for defensemen is off to an even better start this season.  John Carlson had a goal and two assists on Monday, bringing his totals to 5/8/+6/6/19/8 through eight games.  It was hard to see any upside from last season's totals, but some shooting percentage luck could have Carlson around 20+50.  Add in a quality plus-minus, and there's a chance that Carlson ends up the #1 defenseman for the season.  It's far from a guarantee, but it's abundantly clear through three weeks that last season's big breakout was no fluke.  Let's take a look at what else happened over the last two nights:
Jeff Skinner was off to a slow start with the Sabres going pointless in his first four games.  That said, having watched all of the games, he was generating plenty of chances and it was only a matter of time.  That time was on Saturday, as Skinner did all of the work on Rasmus Dahlin's first career goal getting his first point as a Sabre, and he followed that up with a smooth backhander in the third period for his first goal.  Yes, Skinner played only 13 minutes in this game, but I expect him to settle in the 17-18 minute range as the season progresses.  Other players had bigger games on Saturday, but I wanted to highlight Skinner for two reasons.  One, if you own him, do not panic and hold onto him.  Two, if you don't, you might be able to buy low, and I think it's a great opportunity to get a 3 time 30 goal scorer on the relative cheap.  Let's take a look at what else happened over the last two nights: