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:

Sunday’s Games

Tim Stutzle – Two goals on four shots.  It’s no surprise that Stutzle is starting to heat up.  He couldn’t shoot that low of a percentage forever.

Joel Farabee – Goal and two assists with seven shots.  Farabee has already matched his previous career high in points.  He’s an easy hold everywhere with the minutes he’s getting.

Egor Zamula – Two goals and an assist with three shots.  He’s on the top unit right now, but I don’t see Zamula as more than a bottom end streamer.

Kirill Kaprizov – Hat trick on five shots.  After a very slow start by his standards, Kaprizov has 10 goals and seven assists in his past ten games.  A monster second half is firmly in play.

Joel Eriksson Ek – Goal and two assists with two shots.  JEEK has taken another step forward this season offensively.  His game is so well-rounded and he’s become a fantasy force.  Clear top 100 guy now.

Brock Faber – Two assists with two PIM.  The assists are really starting to come in for Faber.  With all of his minutes, he’s a bottom end hold, especially if you have blocks as a category.

Alex Lyon – 27 saves on 28 shots in the 2-1 win over the Red Wings.  Lyon has become the clear #1 in Detroit and has to be held in all leagues.  He’s carried over last season’s success in Florida to Detroit and is saving their season like he did Florida’s last year.

Joe Pavelski – Two assists with four shots.  The line shuffle hasn’t hurt Pavelski at all.  Just below a point per game pace at 39 years old.  What a monster.

Mathew Barzal – Two assists with two shots.  Noah Dobson also had two assists.  Could these guys actually do better with a coaching change?  Roy coming in was a massive shocker.  It’s worth monitoring to see the stylistic changes, but either way, both guys have been outstanding.

Adam Henrique – Two goals on four shots, both assisted by Troy Terry and Leo Carlsson.  I’m not sure if he’ll be moved, but Henrique could make a difference for a contender if he’s moved at the deadline.  Henrique is a solid streamer, while Terry and Carlsson are elite streaming options.

Chris Kreider – Goal and two assists with four shots and two PIM.  Kreider is going to obliterate his previous career high in assists and is in line to top last season’s 36 goals.  He’s been fantastic once again.

Adam Fox – Two assists with three shots.  Fox’s stat line is fine, but he’s more in the #2 range than a #1 now that his shot rate is a fair bit below two per game.

Ilya Samsonov – 16 saves on 17 shots in the 3-1 win over the Kraken.  That was Samsonov’s first good start in over a month.  Use him at your own risk.

Monday’s Games

Jonathan Marchessault – Two goals and an assist with six shots.  Nic Roy had a goal and two assists with three shots.  With Eichel out, Roy is in the top six, making him a solid streamer.  Marchessault remains on the fringe.  With a four game goal streak, you can hold him as a hot schmotato.

Mark Stone – Two assists with three shots.  Just stay healthy!

Chandler Stephenson – Goal and an assist with five shots.  Stephenson hasn’t been talked about enough as a pending UFA.  He’s been underpaid his entire career and would make a huge difference on any team.  For fantasy, he’s a solid streamer, bordering on elite with Eichel out, but the shot rate is holding him back.

Curtis Lazar – Two goals.  And there’s your annual Lazar update!

Nathan Bastian – Two assists with a shot.  Easy pass.

Simon Nemec – Two assists with a shot.  Nemec has been fairly good as a rookie, especially since he’s still 19 years old.  He’s on the fringe in 12’ers.

Charlie Coyle – Goal and an assist.  At this point, Coyle needs to be held everywhere.  He’s on a massive tear playing on one of the best lines in hockey and hits all of the categories well enough.

Jeremy Swayman – 20 saves on 21 shots in the 4-1 win over the Jets.  Swayman has been as good as anyone on a per-game basis this season.  I don’t expect that to change in the second half.

Sam Bennett – Three assists with a shot.  Carter Verhaeghe and Matthew Tkachuk each had a goal and an assist.  Two of the goals were empty netters, so I don’t want to overreact too much to these big games.  However, I’m quite surprised Bennett is still available in over 50% of leagues.  He’s on the fringe.

Jason Zucker – Goal and an assist with three shots and two PIM.  Revenge game!  Zucker hasn’t done enough in Arizona to warrant being more than a bottom end streamer, and I’m not sure he’s even worth considering.

Thatcher Demko – 31 save shutout in the 2-0 win over the Blackhawks.  The only surprise here is that Chicago got 31 shots on goal.  The shutout certainly isn’t surprising.

Andrei Kuzmenko – Two assists with a shot.  We knew Kuzmenko would regress after shooting 27% last season, but we weren’t expecting this big of a drop off.  He’s a middling streamer.

Kevin Fiala – Two assists with four shots.  The story is the same for Fiala.  I was expecting more goals in L.A., but he’s right around a point per game again so it’s hard to complain.

Quinton Byfield – Goal and an assist with three shots.  Byfield has really taken the jump this season.  And to think he’s still only 21 years old.  The shot rate is poor enough that it’s fringy, but I would hold because he’s a real plus at everything else.

Three Point Challenge: We’ll go with Tuesday’s games per usual.  You can’t select Kucherov, MacKinnon, Panarin, Pastrnak, Miller, McDavid, Nylander, Pettersson, Rantanen, or Reinhart.  I’ll go with RNH against the Blue Jackets.

That’s all for now guys.  I’ll be back tomorrow recapping tonight’s games.  As always, feel free to ask any questions, leave any comments, or give any suggestions below.  Thanks for reading, take care!