It was great to see Aleksander Barkov back in the lineup on Thursday, and if you didn't get him back into your lineup off injured reserve, well, that one is going to hurt for a while.  Barkov scored a hat trick in the first period against the Canadiens and added two assists in the 7-2 win over the Canadiens.  It hasn't been Barkov's best season to this point, but I'm buying Barkov going forward to get back to being well over a point per game.  Florida has dug itself quite a hole in the playoff race and I expect Maurice to really ride their top six even more.  Barkov's shooting percentage is also much lower than his career sh% (10.3 vs 14.0) so look for some positive regression in the New Year for the Panthers captain.  Let's take a look at what else happened over the last two nights:
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:
Colorado has been decimated by injuries at a level we've never seen before.  The return of Valeri Nichushkin makes him their second healthy top six forward.  Luckily for them, Mikko Rantanen put the team on his back on Sunday.  After scoring Colorado's only goal against the Rangers on Friday, Rantanen scored all three goals for Colorado on Sunday, tying the game with 7.1 seconds left before winning the game in overtime.  Quietly, Rantanen is up to 19 goals on the season, playing at a higher point pace than his monster 2021-22.  The shot rate is down a bit so his goal rate is a bit unsustainable, but hopefully the shots tick back up without MacKinnon.  Regardless, Rantanen has cemented himself as a top 10 fantasy hockey player.  Let's take a look at what else happened over the weekend:
Tage Thompson's nickname, as given to him by Sabres announcer Dan Dunleavy, is TNT.  Safe to say that everyone who watched Wednesday's game on TNT learned the nickname.  Thompson had the game of the season, scoring five times, five times, five times, five times!  He scored four in the first period, becoming the 18th player to ever score four in a period, and the fourth to do it in the first period.  He put nine shots on goal in total and added an assist despite playing only 13:56 in the game.  Here's the list of players who have multiple 3+ goals, 6+ point games in the last 30 seasons: Thompson, Zibanejad, Lemieux, and Gretzky.  And Thompson is only 1/3 of the way through the season!  He now has 21+19 in 26 games with over five shots per game.  Honestly, it doesn't look like a fluke at all.  Sure, his shooting percentage is a little high, but marginally so.  If he can maintain his shot rate, that's over 400 shots in a season, making him close to a lock for 50 goals.  As far as going forward, Thompson has played his way into the top 10 discussion.  His minutes could even end up increasing towards 20 per game from the 18:31 he's at now.  Thompson has already turned his contract extension into a massive steal for the Sabres.  Let's take a look at what else happened the last two nights:
As fun as it is to make fun of Toronto's Stanley Cup drought, it's very impressive when somebody breaks one of their major records.  On Saturday, Mitch Marner did just that, getting a point in his 19th consecutive game, scoring twice on five shots.  Toronto fans love to make Marner their whipping boy, but this should give him a respite until the playoffs come along.  The shot rate is slowly creeping back up for Marner, which is a necessity if he's going to approach last season's point total.  He's a bit behind at even strength, but he's managed to be even better on the power play.  Marner is as safe as it gets in fantasy at this point and remains in the top 20.  Let's take a look at what else happened over the weekend:
Dallas locked up the last part of their core on Tuesday, signing Roope Hintz to an eight year contract extension.  Even being in the midst of a three game pointless streak, Hintz remains over a point per game and based on game score, he's a top ten forward in the league to this point of the season.  I don't expect him to maintain that pace, but his line is right there for the crown of best in the NHL.  Fantasy wise, I'd like to see the shot rate uptick 10-20%, but even with where he is, Hintz is a solid piece towards the top end of your roster.  If DeBoer played him 20+ minutes like he should instead of 17 per game, the numbers would be even better.  Congrats to Hintz for securing the bag!  Let's see what happened over the last two nights:
Mikhail Sergachev had the game of the weekend, scoring two goals and two assists on three shots in the 6-3 win over the Capitals.  However, I was starting this post with Sergachev after watching the first ten minutes of the game.  Sergachev moved to the first power play unit and immediately delivered, with one goal and one primary assist coming there.  That is a massive boon to his value.  Whether it lasts, who is to say?  I would bet against it staying that way for the whole season, which is why I wouldn't panic if I owned Victor Hedman.  However, in the short term, this is enough to make Sergachev a #2 defenseman in a 12 man league, with upside to be a #1.  Getting to feed Stamkos and Kucherov for shots over and over again is a godsend to fantasy value.  Let's take a look at what else happened over the weekend:
It wasn't the best start to the season for the defending Stanley Cup Champions, who were 4-4-1 in October.  Time off before playing the Blue Jackets twice in Finland was just what they needed to get back on track.  Colorado won 6-3 on Friday before winning 5-1 on Saturday.  The stars led the way in both games.  Nathan MacKinnon dished seven assists between the two games, Mikko Rantanen had a hat trick on Friday, totaling 3+2, while Cale Makar had a goal and four assists.  Columbus is a complete disaster defensively, but it's great to see Colorado's stars continue to dominate.  Sadly, their weekend ended on a somber note with the passing of Peter McNab.  He was one of the best TV analysts in the league and he will be sorely missed.  Thankfully, he survived his illness long enough to get to see the Avalanche win the Cup again.  Let's take a look at what else happened over the weekend:
In terms of expected goals and puck possession, the Devils have been the best team in October, bar none.  They've been absolutely dominant and earned every single bit of their 6-3 record.  Their most impressive win came on Friday beating the Avalanche 1-0, and they followed that up with a complete demolition of Columbus, 7-1.  The common denominator?  Vitek Vanecek started both of these games.  Vanecek saved all 24 shots from Colorado before saving 20 of 21 shots from the Blue Jackets.  We're looking at a time share in New Jersey, but Vanecek appears to have grabbed the upper hand for now.  Before the season, I had little interest in either of their goalies.  Now, with how well they're playing, both could be owned in 12'ers, but Vanecek definitely has to be.  Ride the hot hand while you can.  Let's take a look at what else happened over the weekend:
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:
In stunning fashion, the Coyotes have won six of seven games this month, including games against the Avalanche and Maple Leafs.  In their last six games, they have goal totals of 8, 9, 5, 5, and 6.  Just as we all expected, an offensive juggernaut in the desert.  Wait, that's not Vegas...  Arizona won both games in a back-to-back on Monday and Tuesday, winning 5-3 in Ottawa and 6-3 in Montreal.  Their lead man was Lawson Crouse.  Crouse had a hat trick on four shots in the win over Ottawa before scoring a goal and an assist with three shots in Montreal.  That brings Crouse to 19+13 on the season, easily a career high in goals and one off his career high in assists.  For the time being, Crouse is an elite streamer.  You can even make a case for holding him in hits leagues given his gaudy total, and the PIM are great as well.  Crouse looked on the path to being a massive bust, and while he still has a way to go, this is an incredible encouraging season from the 24 year old.  Let's take a look at what else happened over the last two nights:
David Perron had a horrible start to the season and was shaping up to being one of the biggest fantasy busts of this year.  To say things have turned for the better is an understatement.  Perron scored two goals on seven shots against the Predators before scoring a goal on seven shots against Winnipeg.  Since Perron went back on the top line, Perron has exploded.  He has eight goals and five assists in the last ten games with 35 SOG.  It's good enough across the board that Perron is a clear hold in all formats again.  He's only available in about 25% of leagues, but even in a shallow league, I wouldn't be cutting Perron to keep a stream spot.  The schedule is a little light the next couple weeks, but it really picks up in the last week of March and early April.  Let's take a look at what else happened over the weekend: