It was a busy night on the National Hockey League ice on Saturday evening, as 26 of the 31 teams were in action. The Saturday before the Super Bowl is traditionally busy, as no league schedules games going up against the most watched sporting event on television. It was a great day for fantasy owners, too, as there were a slew of multi-point efforts all across the board. The goaltenders were in a tough spot in a lot of games, although a few of the netminders were able to shine through and frustrate opposing offenses. Let's get started!
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Saturday's Fantasy Five
Things haven't been going the way the fans in Chicago would like. They're accustomed to winning results, and they're just not there this season. However, there have definitely been a few bright spots, and Alex DeBrincat is one of them. He posted a goal with a pair of assists, including a helper on Erik Gustafsson's power-play winner in overtime, giving DeBrincat eight goals and 14 points over the past 10 games. In addition, he has logged four power-play goals and a total of eight points on the man advantage during the impressive 10-game stretch. The Blackhawks have 49 points and are mired in last place in the Central Division, but they're just five points out of a playoff spot, too, in the topsy-turvy Western Conference.
Claude Giroux posted a power-play goal while adding two assists in his team's wild 5-4 overtime victory against the Edmonton Oilers. He managed a minus-1 rating, which wasn't great for his fantasy owners, but the three-point night was outstanding. Giroux has managed goals in back-to-back games, and it's the first time he has lit the lamp in consecutive games since registering a three-game goal-scoring streak from Dec. 1-8. Sean Couturier posted a goal and an assist, giving him five goals and 14 points with a plus-9 rating over the past 10, and Jakub Voracek managed three assists. While he has no goals in the past nine, he has 10 assists and a plus-4 rating during the impressive run. But Giroux was the best of the lot on Saturday in Philly.
Nico Hischier was a No. 1 overall pick for a reason. He single-handedly provided the New Jersey Devils with two points. He leveled the game at 2-2 with an even-strength marker at 11:26 of the third period on a nice pass from Kevin Rooney. Then, just 1:56 into the extra session he delivered the game-winning goal on a tape-to-tape pass from Mirco Mueller to send the home fans away sad in Montreal. Hischier also added a plus-2 rating with a blocked shot and a hit, too, and he had three goals and a helper over the past two games. It's the first time he has had multi-point games in back-to-back outings since Oct. 25-27.
Mika Zibanejad registered two more assists with a plus-1 rating and a pair of hits in Saturday's 3-2 setback against the visiting Tampa Bay Lightning. He assisted on Mats Zuccarello's goal late in the second period and had a primary helper on the power-play goal by Kevin Hayes in the third period. He's up to eight goals and 15 points with a plus-8 rating across the past eight games, and he has rolled up four goals and seven points on the power-play during the impressive span. Zibanejad is a sharp play in most fantasy leagues right now while running hot.
Jonathan Bernier continues to bide his time playing behind All-Star Jimmy Howard, making the most of his scant opportunities. He stopped all 35 shots he faced in Saturday's 2-0 road victory against the Ottawa Senators to post his first shutout of the season, and the 17th of his career. Despite the impressive showing, he is still just 6-12-2 with a 3.34 goals-against average and .898 save percentage this season. It's doubtful very many people were able to enjoy the shutout from the Quebec native, although there might have been some savvy DFS players looking for a low-cost option who ended up breaking the bank.
Fantasy Game of the Night
The Winnipeg Jets were able to hang a nine-spot on the skidding Anaheim Ducks, who moved under .500 at 21-22-9. Jack Roslovic, a 22-year-old from Columbus, Ohio ended up with his first-career hat trick, four points, a plus-1 rating and a hit in just 14:47 of ice time across 20 shifts. More impressively, all three goals came on the power play. Not many saw that coming. Bryan Little joined the multi-point parade with two goals, an assist and a plus-2 rating, while Andrew Copp got into the act with a goal and an assist with a plus-1 rating. All-Star Blake Wheeler also chipped in with a goal, as did Brendan Lemieux, while rearguard Tyler Myers also struck for a goal while dishing out a hit and spending a couple of minutes in the penalty box. Mason Appleton, Ben Chiarot and Jacob Trouba each contributed two assists each, and Appleton joined Lemieux in leading the team with a plus-3 rating. It was more than enough offensive support for Connor Hellebuyck, who yielded just three goals on 29 shots in the easy victory. It's nice to be staked to a 6-0 lead after one period, eh?
If you started any Ducks, it wasn't a complete train wreck unless, of course, you had John Gibson going. He was dinged for six goals on just 14 shots through 17:41, getting pulled in favor of Chad Johnson. The latter ended up settling things down, giving up three goals on 17 shots. Nick Ritchie went for a goal, an assist and a plus-1 rating while delivering three hits. Devin Shore joined in on the scoring fun, while Daniel Sprong also etched his name onto the scoresheet while posting a plus-1 rating. It also wasn't a good day if you were starting Hampus Lindholm or Brandon Montour, as both were scoreless with a minus-3 rating.
Quick Hits: Zack Kassian posted a goal with an assist and a plus-2 rating for the losing side in Philly. … Connor McDavid continues to do his thing, posting a goal with an assist and a plus-2 rating, giving him a goal and six points during a current four-game point streak. … Mackenzie Blackwood is back after showing well in the AHL All-Star Game, and he turned back 37 shots while letting just two in to top the Canadiens in Montreal. … Teddy Blueger scored a goal for the second consecutive game, and he has a plus-1 rating in each of his three games since being recalled from the AHL. … Jake Gardiner, who has been unfairly maligned in Toronto, picked up two more assists with a plus-2 rating. He has two goals and 24 assists with a sparkling plus-20 rating through 49 games. … Garret Sparks allowed just two goals on 30 shots to pick up a win against the high-octane Penguins. … Alexander Barkov had a goal, an assist and a plus-2 rating against the Golden Knights. He entered scoreless in five of the past six, so his fantasy owners were relieved by this outing. … James Reimer bested Marc-Andre Fleury, and that's a sentence that might never be uttered again. … Dustin Brown posted two assists with three hits in the loss against the Islanders. He has a goal and six points over the past six games. … Anze Kopitar had a goal and an assist, giving him back-to-back multi-point games. It's the first time he has two or more points in consecutive games since a three-game run from Nov. 25-29. … Ryan Pulock picked up three assists with a plus-3 rating and three blocked shots. It was much needed, as he entered with no points over the past seven, and just one helper in the past 12. … All-Star Ryan O'Reilly posted a goal and an assist with a plus-3 rating, and he now has three goals and 10 points with a plus-5 rating during a seven-game point streak. … Brayden Schenn posted three helpers and a plus-3 rating, giving him six assists over the past five outings. … Vladimir Tarasenko had a goal, two assists and a plus-2 rating. He now has three goals and nine points with a plus-5 rating during his current four-game point streak. … Mats Zuccarello lit the lamp, giving him four goals, eight assists and a plus-9 rating during his seven-game point streak. He has four power-play assists during the impressive run, too. … Esa Lindell managed two assists with a plus-3 rating with a blocked shot, five PIM and two hits. That's a goal, five assists and a plus-6 rating over the past five outings. … In another sentence which may never be uttered again, Anton Khudobin outplayed Pekka Rinne to give Dallas a 3-1 road win. … Jonathan Toews has a point in four straight, posting five goals and nine points after another goal and assist. … Jake Virtanen had a goal and assist with a plus-2 rating. It was his first goal since Dec. 20, and he entered with just one assist over the past 13 games. … Antoine Roussel registered a goal, an assist and a plus-2 rating to post his first multi-point performance since Dec. 27. … Jacob Markstrom surprised the Avalanche in Denver, stopping 34 of the 35 shots he faced. … Brent Burns notched the game-winning goal in overtime, tying him with Scott Niedermayer for the most OT game-winners by a defenseman in NHL history.