For most of the season, I’ve talked about why I wouldn’t want to own Semyon Varlamov. Long story short, I don’t trust the Avalanche to play defense well enough to prevent Varlamov from having a high goals against average. Well, the counter to that is Varlamov is a very good goaltender who can carry his team to wins. It happened twice this weekend. On Friday, he stopped 33 of 34 shots to beat the Blues 2-1 in a shootout, then he came back Saturday to make 42 saves against the Stars in a 3-1 victory. Even after these games, his goals against average is below league average but his save percentage is strong and he’s top 10 in the league in wins. There’s still plenty of value in a goalie like Varlamov, you just need to balance it by having an elite goalie to carry you in goals against average. Here’s what else I saw around the league this weekend:
Red Wings 3, Sabres 0 – I attended this game and saw the Red Wings dominate the Sabres, outshooting them 45-19. Robin Lehner kept it 0-0 into the third period and ended up making 42 saves. He’s looked great since coming back but unfortunately hasn’t won a game. In a dynasty, I’d look to buy low if possible. Petr Mrazek had an easy 19 save shutout in the win. Dylan Larkin looked great throughout the entire game finishing with a goal and an assist with four shots and two PIM. It was a treat to see him in person. Henrik Zetterberg scored a goal on a gorgeous pass from Larkin and finished with five shots.
Rangers 4, Hurricanes 1 – Henrik Lundqvist was his usual self stopping 30 of 31 shots. Kevin Hayes saw a nice minutes boost and had an assist with two shots. I’m a big fan of his game so it’s worth monitoring his minutes going forward. Ryan McDonagh kept up his recent hot play scoring a goal on four shots. J.T. Miller scored two goals making me look great for making him one of my streamers of the night. He’s right on the fringe of being a hold in 12’ers and is a top notch stream at the very least. Eddie Lack didn’t get much help from his defense facing a bunch of difficult shots. He ended up making 28 saves on 32 shots but I’d still hold him going forward.
Islanders 5, Senators 2 – Jaroslav Halak stopped 28 of 30 shots in the win which is right in line with his season stats. It’d be nice if he starts to get more games. Nick Leddy scored a goal on two shots but I still wouldn’t own him in 12’ers. The shots are poor and the plus-minus is really bad. Frans Nielsen continued his strong season with two assists, a shot and two PIM. He’s quietly on pace for over 50 points with very good shots and special teams points. Kyle Okposo and John Tavares each had a goal and an assist proving their worth; you know what to do with those two. For the Senators, Erik Karlsson did what he does scoring a goal with an assist plus six shots and two PIM. He played almost 33 minutes showing how ridiculous he is. Bobby Ryan keeps proving me wrong scoring once on four shots.
Panthers 4, Blackhawks 0 – Roberto Luongo snapped out of his slump to shut down the Blackhawks juggernaut stopping all 27 shots he faced. Aaron Ekblad returned from his brief absence to score a goal on his only shot. Jonathan Huberdeau is still on fire and had an assist with two shots in this game.
Avalanche 2, Blues 1 (SO) – While Varlamov earned the win, Brian Elliott was the hard luck loser. He played outstanding in his own right stopping 40 of 41 shots. Since Jake Allen went down, Elliott has been outstanding. Alex Steen is still dominating games scoring the lone Blues goal on five shots. For the Avs, the big guns scored their goal with Nathan MacKinnon scoring the goal (with seven shots) from Matt Duchene (four shots). Amazingly, the Avs are currently in the playoffs despite a rough start and a brutal defense.
Penguins 5, Canucks 4 – It’s rare to see a game with two hat tricks but it happened Saturday afternoon. Jannik Hansen scored three goals on seven shots continuing his great year. It’s unfortunate he doesn’t get power play time because 25 even strength points in 45 games is terrific. If you can stomach getting no power play points, Hansen has a lot of value. Bo Horvat scored the other Canucks goal on four shots and should be owned everywhere. For Pittsburgh, Evgeni Malkin had the other hat trick on five shots boosting him up to a point per game with elite penalty minutes and special teams points. He’s starting to pay off being drafted in the first round. Sidney Crosby‘s second half tear continued with a goal on three shots although he was -3. Carl Hagelin had an assist with a shot and is right on the fringe of holding in 12’ers. Again, it comes down to whether you can absorb the lack of special teams points. Kris Letang had two assists while Phil Kessel had an assist with six shots as the Penguins stars are carrying them over the last month plus.
Sharks 4, Wild 3 – Darcy Kuemper received a second consecutive after his shutout and gave up 4 goals on 33 shots. He will remain a spot starter going forward. Charlie Coyle scored a goal on two shots and is somebody I love in dynasties. Other than Coyle, the bottom six and bottom end defenseman got on the scoresheet for the Wild leaving us without much fantasy impact. Joonas Donskoi was somebody I discussed on Friday and he delivered with a goal and an assist. He’s back in prime streaming territory. Tomas Hertl had a goal on five shots and definitely needs to be owned everywhere right now. The Joe’s were great as usual with Jumbo Joe Thornton had two assists, three shots and two PIM while Joe Pavelski scored a goal on three shots and added two assists. Joel Ward had a goal and an assist with four shots and two PIM keeping up his great season.
Bruins 3, Blue Jackets 2 (SO) – Joonas Korpisalo received the start with Sergei Bobrovsky out indefinitely and stopped 32 of 34 shots in the loss. I still want nothing to do with him going forward. Kerby Rychel had a goal and an assist with four shots despite playing only 10 minutes. If he starts to play more minutes, he’ll be on my radar but it’s hard to trust somebody playing 10 minutes and getting barely over one shot per game. Jonas Gustavsson played well again stopping 31 of 33 shots in the win. He’s not getting a lot of starts but he’s a great streamer. The big guns led the way for the Bruins. Patrice Bergeron had an assist with five shots, Brad Marchand had a goal on four shots and David Pastrnak had a goal on two shots with two PIM. Pastrnak is available in the majority of leagues and quite frankly, I don’t understand why. Grab him.
Canadiens 3, Maple Leafs 2 (SO) – There wasn’t much that happened in this game with a fantasy impact. James Reimer stopped 27 of 29 shots putting him atop the league in save percentage. Absolutely mind-blowing to me that Red Light Reimer leads the league in save percentage. Nazem Kadri is carrying the Leafs offense right now and scored again on four shots. Morgan Reilly had two assists with a shot. I don’t think he’s doing enough right now to be owned in 12’ers but I love his potential for dynasties.
Ducks 4, Red Wings 3 – Ryan Kesler scored two goals on six shots and should probably be owned again with his recent resurgence. The penalty minutes are great with solid shots and power play points. Corey Perry scored the other two goals on four shots and is doing what we expected from him in the preseason. David Perron had an assist with four shots and four PIM and remains a decent streamer. Jakob Silfverberg is on fire and had two assists again with a shot and two PIM. I’m holding him now and riding this wave. Rickard Rakell had two assists, three shots and two PIM maintaining his top streamer status. Jimmy Howard got the start despite Petr Mrazek getting the easy shutout the night before and stopped 31 of 35 shots. You can safely drop him in 12’ers unless you own Mrazek; I’d keep the security blanket if you have both. Danny DeKeyser scored a goal on three shots and two PIM. He’s on the first power play unit right now so in deep leagues, he’s worth a look. He’s only taking one shot per game though so he’s not in play in 12’ers. Teemu Pulkkinen has returned from his long injury and had an assist with two shots. For now, he’s on the fourth line so he’s left as a streamer on short nights.
Panthers 5, Lightning 2 – The Panthers extended their lead atop the Atlantic Division in the Battle of Florida. For the Lightning, Tyler Johnson had an assist with four shots and two PIM. I’d try to acquire him as a buy low. Nikita Kucherov maintained his torrid pace with an assist and two shots. Roberto Luongo received the second straight start coming off the shutout and played outstanding again stopping 38 of 40 shots. Aleksander Barkov had an assist in the second straight game as his breakout year shows no sign of slowing down. Nick Bjugstad scored a goal and an assist with two shots and is somebody else I’d try to buy low. Brian Campbell scored for the second straight game and has a lot of value in deep leagues but is still on the outside looking in for 12’ers. Jonathan Huberdeau killed it again with a goal and an assist with two shots and two PIM.
Devils 3, Jets 1 – Cory Schneider keeps pushing the Devils to the playoffs stopping 22 of 23 shots. The Devils are starting to score goals again and it’s mostly because Michael Cammalleri is back in the lineup. Cammy had two assists as he stays close to a point per game on the season. Lee Stempniak scored two goals on two shots and should be owned again everywhere now that Cammalleri is back. The first line has been potent all year when they were together and healthy. Connor Hellebuyck had some horrible defense in front of him and couldn’t bail his team out with a big save. He saved 13 of 16 shots but I have no worries about him going forward. Dustin Byfuglien scored the Jets goal on three shots as he stays around the top 5 fantasy defensemen. Nikolaj Ehlers is back on track and is on NBA JAM fire right now. He had another assist with two shots and played 19 minutes in the loss. He should be owned everywhere and it’s not even a debate in dynasties.
Avalanche 3, Stars 1 – Varlamov stole this game as the Avalanche were outshot 43-15 by the Stars. This game is a prime example of why I don’t have any worries about the Stars’ stars going forward. If you take that many shots, the goals are surely coming. Gabriel Landeskog scored a goal on his only shot and is making it difficult to judge his season. On one hand, he is on pace for 40 assists and is racking up the penalty minutes again. On the other, his shot rate has plummeted decreasing his goals. He’s been around forever but he’s still only 23 years old so the shot rate is likely to go back to previous levels. Carl Soderberg scored a goal on three shots and added four penalty minutes. He’s been solid across the board and definitely be owned in 12’ers.
Coyotes 3, Kings 2 – This was a bizarre game with one of the strangest goals I’ve ever seen. Louis Domingue was bumped into behind the net and the strapping came off on his mask. He took his mask off yet played continued and Nick Shore scored into an empty net. The Coyotes overcame this mixup to win the game. Milan Lucic was his usual dirty self sucker punching Kevin Connauton and getting tossed. He had 12 penalty minutes in the game and was suspended for the Kings game Sunday night. Shane Doan‘s amazing season kept rolling with a goal and an assist. He now had 17+10 in 38 games with 54 PIM. Absolutely incredible. Max Domi had a power play assist on a gorgeous saucer pass to Oliver Ekman-Larsson (four shots). Tobias Rieder tallied an assist with a shot and remains on the fringe of 12’ers depending on the categories you need.
Predators 4, Oilers 1 – Pekka Rinne actually had a great road start stopping 23 of 24 shots. I’d try to sell high on him if you can; I discussed why last week but long story short, I don’t trust the injuries he’s had and simply looks off. Mattias Ekholm scored two goals on four shots continuing his strong play after the Seth Jones trade. At this point, I’m taking the chance on him as my last defenseman in 12’ers. Filip Forsberg scored a goal on three shots and added an assist as he inches closer towards last year’s form. Roman Josi and Shea Weber did what they’ve been doing tallying an assist with two shots each. For the Oilers, the first line scored their goal with Leon Draisaitl burying a pass from Taylor Hall. They’re rolling again and looked to have put their slump behind them.
Senators 3, Rangers 0 – The Senators have been a disaster defensively all season yet found a way to shutout the Rangers Sunday. Craig Anderson stopped all 35 shots he faced to get his goals against down to 2.88. Yikes. I wouldn’t own Anderson outside of deep leagues where you need the starts. Mike Hoffman showed no signs of slowing down as he scored a goal and an assist with five shots. Bobby Ryan scored again as he’s still overcoming having two first names while Mika Zibanejad had an assist with a shot. I like Zibanejad’s upside more than other guys on the fringe of 12’ers but at this point, if you can stream in your league, I’d rather rotate that spot than hold him.
Hurricanes 5, Flames 2 – Both goalies were quite poor for the Flames with Jonas Hiller stopping 15 of 17 shots in relief of Karri Ramo who allowed 3 goals on 19 shots. Sadly, these games are quite frequent for the Flames goalies at this point. Neither of their stats are anything special. Ramo is an okay third goalie at this point but with Hiller cutting into his starts, his value has dropped quite a bit. Mark Giordano dished an assist keeping up his incredible offensive production over the last couple months. Jiri Hudler scored a goal on four shots and added two PIM. He’s another guy who has upside (he was a top 10 scorer in the league last season, after all) but the lack of shots really hurt. You could go either way with him in 12’ers. Eddie Lack bounced back from his poor start Friday to stop 33 of 35 shots. Like I said in Friday’s daily notes, he should be owned in all 12’ers right now. For the Hurricanes offensively, they had a balanced attack led by their top six. Kris Versteeg scored twice on five shots and remains a top streaming option. Jordan Staal had two assists with two shots and is playing much better lately. That said, I’m still not owning him in 12’ers. He’s just mediocre across the board and lacks upside. Jeff Skinner tallied an assist with five shots and I prefer him to both Versteeg and Staal because of the goals and shots. Elias Lindholm scored on a penalty shot and is a great piece in dynasty leagues. In standard 12’ers, he’s still a streamer. Besides Lack, the only Hurricanes I would hold are Skinner, Eric Staal (assist) and obviously Justin Faulk.
Blackhawks 2, Blues 0 – Brian Elliott was solid once again stopping 23 of 25 shots in the loss. He was the tough luck loser again as Corey Crawford recorded another shutout, this time stopping 25 shots pushing himself towards the Vezina discussion. Artemi Panarin scored a goal on four shots, naturally on a ridiculous cross-ice backhand pass from Patrick Kane. Andrew Shaw scored the other Blackhawks goal on four shots and is still a top end streamer as long as he stays in the top 6.
Kings 3, Sharks 2 (OT) – The Sharks were on the verge of defeating only for Vincent Lecavalier to tie the game with 13 seconds left in the third period. I still wouldn’t touch Vinny in 12’ers but he’s carved out some value in deep leagues. Jhonas Enroth played well in his spot start stopping 30 of 32 shots. Drew Doughty‘s offensive breakout continued with a goal on two shots with four penalty minutes. The duo of Anze Kopitar and Tyler Toffoli are as hot as anybody in the league right now with both registering an assist. For the Sharks, the first line of Tomas Hertl, Joe Thornton and Joe Pavelski all had a point. Logan Couture kept up his great play since returning from injury with a goal and three shots. Joonas Donskoi had another assist with two shots and two PIM as he extended his point streak to five games. He’s definitely going to be one of my streamers for Tuesday’s article.
Monday Streamers – There are six games on the docket tonight, a bit more than usual but still prime for streaming. This is one of the most important weeks to stream with it being a short week due to the All-Star Game. Here are my top options:
J.T. Miller (8.8%) – Going back to the well again after he proved me right on Friday. He’s looked great and after the embarrassing loss to Ottawa Sunday, I expect the Rangers to come out flying tonight against the Sabres.
David Pastrnak (11.3%) – I talked about him above but I’ll repeat myself. I think he should be owned in 12’ers, period. Streaming him is an absolute no-brainer.
Charlie Coyle (2.5%) – He gets a great matchup against the Coyotes and has scored in two straight games.
Antti Raanta (2.9%) – Bonus goaltender streamer on the short week. It’s no guarantee he starts but on the back to back, I think there’s a good chance. Like I said above, I expect the Rangers to come out firing making Raanta a good bet to get a win.
That’s all for now guys. I’ll be back on Tuesday recapping tonight’s action. As always, please ask any questions and leave any comments below. Take care everyone!