It was an extremely busy night in the National Hockey League, and there were some big results as far as fantasy is concerned. While we didn't have any hat tricks, there were several players lighting the lamp multiple times, a few three-point performances and a shutout from a goaltender, too. Hopefully you didn't spend your Saturday watching that other sport with the round orange ball, or that other game where they're simply playing practice games in Arizona and Florida. This is an important time of the NHL schedule with huge playoff implications in both real life and fantasy. Let's get started!
For NHL news and fantasy advice, find me on Twitter here!
Saturday's Fantasy Five
Mikko Rantanen did his best Connor McDavid imitation with a goal, two assists and a plus-2 rating while adding a blocked shot, a minor penalty and a hit in a 5-2 victory against the Coyotes. He has rolled up three goals with 10 points and a plus-4 rating in five games in March, including a power-play goal and three assists on the man advantage. He has racked up 23 goals and 69 points so far this season to emerge as a must-start in all fantasy leagues after going mostly undrafted across all formats. In his first full NHL season in 2016-17 he managed 20 goals with 38 points and a minus-25 rating across 75 games.
McDavid probably could be on this list every game. He has a career-high 33 goals with 51 assists and 84 points through 68 games, and he is on pace for his second consecutive 100-point season. While he has taken a step back this season in terms of power-play production, he has a career-high five goals on the man advantage with 16 power-play points. One of those goals on the man advantage came against the Wild, and he totaled two goals with three points to give him six goals over the past six games. However, until recently, Saturday has been a non-productive day for the Oilers superstar. In three Saturday games in February, McDavid went scoreless with a minus-2 rating. And while he had four assists in three Saturday games in January, he had zero goals. In two Saturdays so far in March he has managed three goals with two assists and a plus-3 rating to make up for lost time.
Editor’s Note: With over 15,000 reviews, DRAFT is the highest rated fantasy sports app. For a limited time, DRAFT is giving Rotoworld readers a FREE entry into a real money draft and a Money-Back Guarantee up to $100! Here's the link.
Jaden Schwartz registered his 20th goal of the season while chipping in with two assists and a plus-3 rating, as the moribund Blues offense erupted for seven goals in the win at Los Angeles. He has two goals with seven points across the past five games. He fell just short of the 20-goal plateau last season, hitting 19 goals with 55 points. He'll blow past both of those marks this season, and he is on pace to tie the career high of 63 points he set during the 2014-15 campaign. He'll need some work to tie or exceed the 28 goals he posted during that same season. His nine power-play points are also tied for the second most of his career.
Philipp Grubauer was rarely tested in Saturday's 2-0 shutout victory at San Jose, making just 24 saves. However, a shutout for the backup goaltender against a contending team in the Western Conference is remarkable nonetheless. Grubauer improved to 9-8-3 with a 2.25 goals-against average (GAA), .925 save percentage and two shutouts. This was the first shutout for Grubauer in a game he actually won, as his last shutout was credited Dec. 27 on the road against the Rangers when a 0-0 game was decided in a shootout. He has allowed just 10 goals over his past nine appearances, posting a 5-2-0 record with a 1.33 GAA in nine appearances dating back to Feb. 4.
In a wild 7-4 loss in Boston, Erik Gustafsson was the offensive star for the losing team. He posted a goal with a pair of assists, a plus-2 rating, three blocked shots and two hits over 19:21 of ice time. The rearguard was also charged with a tripping penalty midway through the third period to tack on a few points for fantasy owners in leagues rewarding bad behavior. The Swedish blue liner has come alive in the Windy City lately, notching two goals with four points and he is working on a five-game streak with a plus-1 rating or better. He has managed two goals and six points with a plus-10 rating over his past nine contests to emerge as a useful fantasy option across most formats.
Fantasy Game of the Night
The matinee action in Beantown got everyone off to a big start in DFS and seasonal fantasy play. We touched on Gustafsson above, as the unlikely hero came up with three points. However, John Hayden, Matthew Highmore and Jonathan Toews also etched their name on the scoresheet, as the Blackhawks turn to some younger players to see if they can help for the future. Hayden is normally known for his rough stuff, logging 48 PIM through 40 games, including 25 penalty minutes over the past seven outings. It might be too little, too late for this season, but Toews has come alive in March. After a five-game scoreless skid from Feb. 19-March 1, he has logged three goals with six points over his past five games, including a pair of game-winning tallies. Patrick Kane has managed three goals with 11 points over his past 11 outings, humming along at a point-per-game clip across the past month. One of the only Chicago guys not helping fantasy owners was Jean-Francois Berube, as he let in six goals on 39 shots in the loss. No one in the Chicago crease can be trusted for fantasy purposes these days.
On the Boston side of the ledger, David Krejci bagged a pair of goals, as his offensive onslaught continues. He has five goals in five games in the month of March, including four power-play goals, and he has managed six goals with eight points across the past nine outings. Jake DeBrusk picked up a career-high three assists and three points in the victory, and he has managed three goals with eight points over the past eight games. The 21-year-old left winger, son of former NHLer Louie DeBrusk, is on pace for 17 goals and 47 points in his rookie season. Brian Gionta, recently inked to a contract after competing for Team USA in the Olympics in PyeongChang, has re-discovered his scoring touch. He has goals in back-to-back games, and two goals with six points in five outings since his return to the NHL. Sean Kuraly picked up a goal with an assist and plus-1 rating, although he is only worth a look in the deepest of fantasy pools at this point. Brad Marchand, who is a fantasy staple, chipped in with a pair of helpers and a minor penalty. He has five goals with 11 points in a five-game point streak in March, including three game-winning markers.
Quick Hits: Marc-Andre Fleury and Robin Lehner went toe-to-toe in Buffalo, with the Golden Knights coming away with a 2-1 shootout victory. Fleury allowed just one goal while making 31 saves, while Lehner stopped 33 of the 35 shots he faced. … Patrik Laine notched a power-play goal in the City of Brotherly Love, accounting for Winnipeg's only goal. It was his 40th marker of the season, and he is on pace for 48 goals and 76 points. He needs just one more point to eclipse his 64 points set in his rookie season last year. … Petr Mrazek has been quite the addition for the Flyers, as he stopped just one goal with 27 saves to pick up the victory against the Jets. … Claude Giroux posted a goal with a plus-1 rating and two blocked shots with one hit. There is something about the weekend that agrees with Giroux, as he has lit the lamp in each of his past four Saturday games. … Nathan MacKinnon posted two assists while logging nine PIM. He has eight goals with 20 points across his past 10 outings. … Tyson Barrie continues to roll up big points, as he has a goal and assist with a plus-2 rating, five SOG and a hit in the win. He has logged at least one point in six consecutive games, totaling four goals with nine points during the span. … The Blues had four players to post a goal and assist in their 7-2 victory against the Kings, the worst loss of the season for L.A. Ivan Barbashev, Kyle Brodziak, Alex Pietrangelo and Vladimir Tarasenko each had a marker and a helper. Pietrangelo also rolled up an impressive plus-5 rating to help his fantasy owners. … Morgan Rielly picked up three assists with two blocked shots and a hit in a 5-2 victory against the visiting Penguins. Nazem Kadri was also mightier than the Pens, flicking the switch on the lamp twice. … Vincent Trocheck posted two assists with a plus-1 rating and two hits, and he also netted the game-winning tally in a shootout against the Rangers.