One of the goaltending performances of the season came in the marquee showdown on Tuesday.  Toronto sure didn't make it easy on Matt Murray, taking seven penalties, but Murray stood up to the challenge and then some.  Murray had a 44 save shutout, leading Toronto to a 4-0 victory.  I thought the Toronto goaltending would be rough this season, but Murray has been very good when on the ice.  Same goes with Ilya Samsonov.  It could fall apart just like it did for Campbell last season, but the reason I liked these guys as #2 goalies is their floor is so high because of wins.  When Toronto gets this level of goaltending, it's extremely hard to beat them.  Here's to hoping Murray can stay healthy because he could be a big difference maker in fantasy.  Let's take a look at what else happened over the last two nights:
Fifty-six goals.  That's how many Auston Matthews has on the season after another two goal performance on Thursday.  Not only does he have the most goals in a season in Maple Leafs history, he now holds the record for most goals in a season by an US-born player.  Matthews has 49 goals on 49 games, a run that hasn't happened in this millennium.  He's locking up the Hart Trophy with this run, and the fantasy question is where he goes in drafts next season.  I still couldn't bring myself to take Matthews over McDavid because the floor for McDavid is the highest we've seen in the fantasy hockey era, but I think Matthews has played himself into tier one being worthy of the second pick overall.  Can't wait to see how Toronto performs in the playoffs this year.  Let's take a look at what happened over the last two nights:
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:
It looks like I was a year early predicting Matthew Tkachuk to be a top 20 fantasy hockey player.  It also looks like I sold him a bit short.  Tkachuk had five assists on Monday, all of which came in the first two periods.  He's playing at a 40+50 pace with well over three shots per game, elite play at even strength and the power play, and plenty of PIM.  The first line in Calgary is playing just about as well as any line in the league with Tkachuk leading the way.  He's a top ten skater on the season now, and while I wouldn't rank him as a first round pick i.e. the top 12, he's a slam dunk top 20 guy.  Guys who absolutely dominate all of the categories are harder to come by, and the only two that have been better so far are Marchand and Kadri.  For the rest of the season, I'd take Tkachuk over Kadri too, and long term, Tkachuk is the top guy.  Let's take a look at what else happened over the last two nights:
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:
The hype surrounding Kirill Kaprizov was building for a few years before he came to the NHL.  Even with the lofty expectations on his shoulders, he's played at a level higher than anyone expected.  On Friday, Kaprizov scored a hat trick on eight shots with two PIM and a +4 rating.  He followed that up with another eight shots on Sunday, adding an assist and two penalty minutes.  I wrote about a month ago that I expected Kaprizov's shot rate to take a big jump as the season progressed based on his shooting totals in the KHL.  Well, sixteen shots in the past two games brings him over 2.5 per game, an average rate for a forward.  Add in being just under a point per game and we can basically call the Calder race now.  I'm not convinced that it's going to get better in the future as Kaprizov will be 24 by the time the regular season ends, but either way, he should establish himself around a 30+40 pace in a normal season with slight upside on both of those numbers.  Kaprizov is definitely a top 50 dynasty asset, but I don't think he pushes the top 25 long term because the penalty minutes will be low and more importantly, I don't think he gets to be a 3.5-4 shot per game guy because he's too good of a playmaker for that.  Either way, if you're lucky enough to have him, enjoy it because there's nothing fluky about his performance.  Let's take a look at what else happened over the weekend:
To say I've been bullish on Filip Forsberg for half a decade now would be an understatement.  To say I've been over-bullish is probably fair.  Call it stubbornness, call it belief in the player, whatever you want, but I was the high man on Forsberg this year and I think we're finally getting that massive season we've all been waiting for.  Forsberg was incredible on Thursday night, a back-and-forth affair between the Panthers and Predators.  Forsberg totaled five points, two goals and three assists, with eight shots in the victory.  For the season, that puts Forsberg at 6+5 in 10 games with exactly four shots per game.  Pretty, pretty, pretty good.  He hasn't even played Detroit yet!  If he keeps shooting four shots on per game, he'll be a slam dunk top 50 player with upside from there.  Forsberg is at 15% shooting right now which isn't far off his norm.  The minutes are starting to go up a bit which is the main thing which held him back under Laviolette.  Thirty goals and over a point per game isn't out of the question.  Let's take a look at what else happened over the last two nights:
The Pittsburgh Penguins have taken a beating this season in terms of injuries, but they've kept chugging along piling up the wins.  On Tuesday, Sidney Crosby returned and he didn't miss a beat.  Crosby had a goal and three assists with three shots in the 7-3 win over the Wild.  So what impact does Crosby's return to the lineup have in fantasy?  Crosby centered Jared McCann and Dominik Simon on Tuesday.  McCann had a goal and an assist with three shots and two PIM while Simon had a goal and an assist.  These two guys are massive winners in this.  Both are elite streamers with upside from there.  Of the two, I prefer McCann going forward.  Props to Joey Jo Jo Jr. Shabadoo for picking Crosby for three points!  Let's take a look at what else happened over the last two nights:
For those of you doing well in your head to head leagues, this is the most important post of the year.  This is my annual playoff manifesto where I break down every team's schedule for the last four weeks of the season.  I tell you who are the best teams and players to stream from, who you should look to trade for or away if your deadline hasn't passed, and it allows you to plan ahead with ease.  For those who haven't read it in the past, the numbers in the parentheses are how many games the team plays in each of those weeks, with the last number being the last week in the season and preceding accordingly.  This is going to be a massive post so let's get right to the 2019 Playoff Manifesto!
Well if I had to guess who would have the second four goal game of the season, I'm not sure Brad Richardson would have been in the first 500 guesses.  Richardson single-handedly carried the Coyotes to victory on Thursday with those four goals on six shots, adding two PIM with a +4 rating.  Richardson has 16 goals in 48 games now, a career high in his 14th season.  For those of you in deep leagues, I would grab Richardson for the faceoff boost too.  In standard leagues, I'm probably passing still despite playing at a 27 goal pace.  Everything about it screams unsustainable, but we have to give props to him burying four in one game.  Let's take a look at what else happened over the last two nights:
I've long been a fan of Juuse Saros saying that he's the best goaltending prospect in hockey.  His time to be a #1 is coming sooner than later, but for the short term, it's his crease in Nashville.  Pekka Rinne is on injured reserve meaning he will miss at least the next three games, and that opens the door for Saros.  He came in relief for Rinne in a 3-3 game and didn't allow a goal on nine shots, before posting a 31 save shutout in the 3-0 win over the Oilers.  He's available in over 80% of leagues and quite frankly, I don't understand it.  Goaltending is awful around the league right now, so pretty much every fantasy team could use him as their G3.  That said, Saros should be a #1 option when he starts, so go grab him immediately.  He's going to get plenty of starts this year even when Rinne is back, so Saros can make a huge difference for you.  Let's take a look at what else happened over the weekend:
The Philadelphia Flyers were one of the most irrelevant teams in the league last season.  That's not to say they were a complete bottom feeder, they certainly weren't, but they were never truly in the playoff hunt either.  The majority of their top players had down seasons leaving them with the third most points of any non-playoff team 7 points out.  Luckily for them, the lottery gods were on their side as they hit a 7.3% chance of moving into the top three in the lottery, and more importantly, a 4.6% chance of moving into the top two.  In comes Nolan Patrick to add to their developing young core.  Can their core members who are currently in their prime bounce back?  Can their blue line be even average?  What will they get in net?  As Reid and I talked about in our Metro Division preview podcast, they are on the biggest wild cards in the league.  Let's take a look at what the Flyers are working with to see if we have any answers for fantasy this coming season: