It was a busy and eventful day on the National Hockey League ice on Saturday. Hopefully you took a little time away from the college football madness to check in on pucks. There were a ton of big fantasy producers, although no skater was able to break through for a hat trick. Still, the stat sheet was littered with multi-point performances. We also saw the return of Erik Karlsson to Ottawa for the first time since his trade to the San Jose Sharks, and he was upstaged by a former teammate. Let's get started!
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Saturday's Fantasy Five
Frederik Andersen was tagged for three goals on 41 shots in Saturday's 5-3 road victory against the Minnesota Wild, as he continues to stay hot. After a two-game losing streak from Nov. 21-23, Fred the Red is back on track. He has won three straight outings, allowing a total of eight goals. A big reason for his resurgence is that the support is back, with the Leafs providing 4.7 goals per outing over the past three. Overall he has managed a 15-7-0 record, 2.30 goals-against average and .931 save percentage. His 15 goals lead the NHL, and he is three clear of Buffalo's Carter Hutton for the lead in the Eastern Conference.
Thomas Chabot has filled the void of Erik Karlsson, who was traded to San Jose before the regular season. He had a chance to face his former teammate, and he overshadowed the veteran's return to Canada's capital city. Chabot was good for two assists, a plus-2 rating, two shots on goal and five blocked shots over 26:23 of ice time. Karlsson managed a game-high nine shots on goal, but he finished scoreless with a minus-2 rating, which is a microcosm of both of their seasons so far. Chabot has seven goals and he already has a career high with 31 points through just 27 goals while already tying a career-best with eight power-play points. Karlsson, on the other hand, has struggled in his new surroundings. He has just two goals with 15 points and a minus-11 rating through 27 outings, although he does have two goals and nine points on the man advantage to at least offer some decent help to fantasy owners in those departments.
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Mark Scheifele led the way in his team's 4-3 overtime victory in New Jersey, including the game-winning tally. He also finished with a plus-1 rating, four shots on goal and two hits. About the only thing that didn't go well for Scheifele was his work in the faceoff circle, winning just 13 of his 32 chances (40.6 percent). He has been red-hot lately, posting three straight multi-point efforts, gathering four goals with seven points and a plus-7 rating during the impressive span. The game-winning goal was his first since Oct. 11, and second of the season, which ironically enough was also against New Jersey back at MTS Centre.
Andrew MacDonald registered three assists with a plus-3 rating, two shots on goal, two blocked shots and three hits across 20:02 of ice time over 26 shifts as the Flyers doubled up the Penguins 4-2 in the Steel City. It was an unexpected performance considering he entered the game with just one helper over his first nine outings. In standard fantasy play he is only a wait-and-see option, but in those pools which use blocked shots and hits he is worth scooping up immediately. MacDonald has 12 hits and 16 blocked shots, and that's where his real value lays.
Chabot wasn't the only Senator ruining Karlsson's return. How about the play of Mikkel Boedker in this one? While not in the Karlsson deal, Boedker spent his past two seasons wearing a San Jose sweater, so this game likely had a little extra meaning for him, too. It showed. He registered a goal, three assists, a plus-3 rating and three shots on net with a blocked shot. He is up to three goals with 16 points, on track for 39 assists which would be a new career high. He is also on pace for 49 points, which would be just two short of his total of 51 points during the 2013-14 campaign when he played for the then-named Phoenix Coyotes.
Fantasy Game of the Night
The Sunshine State battle between the Tampa Bay Lightning and Florida Panthers featured quite a few outstanding fantasy performances. Well, that is unless you were using a goaltender. At least Louis Domingue was on the winning side of the ledger, stopping four of the 27 shots he faced for the 5-4 victory. Mathieu Joseph, Alex Killorn, Cedric Paquette and Brayden Point each finished with a goal, as did Nikita Kucherov who also has two assists for a total of three points. Point's tally was the game winner, and while he was a minus-2 rating, he managed a blocked shot to help out in his 20:01 of ice time. The pivot also won 11 of his 17 faceoff opportunities. Steven Stamkos and Tyler Johnson didn't have a giant game, but they were able to contribute with an assist among the offense, while Brayden Coburn, Dan Girardi, Victor Hedman and Mikhail Sergachev also chipped in with a helper. Erik Cernak didn't etch his name onto the scoresheet, but he chipped in with a game-high six blocked shots and two hits over 21:10 of ice time.
As far as the home team is concerned, they still had a nice night despite the one-goal loss. James Reimer was dinged for five goals on 39 shots to take the loss, but the skaters did all right for themselves. Jonathan Huberdeau led the way with a goal, an assist, a plus-2 rating, four shots on goal and a blocked shot in just shy of 20 minutes ice time. Evgenii Dadonov equaled Huberdeau's production with a goal and helper. Aleksander Barkov and Frank Vatrano also lit the lamp for the home side, and the latter added a blocked shot, a pair of minor penalties and three hits over 15:10 of ice time. Ironman Keith Yandle added an assist with a plus-1 rating and a blocked shot with a hit, giving him assists in three consecutive outings, all on the power play.
Quick Hits: Magnus Paajarvi was good for a goal, an assist and a plus-1 rating with three SOG, a blocked shot and a hit in Ottawa's win over San Jose. … Craig Anderson was the beneficiary of plenty of goal support, and he allowed just two goals on 38 shots to pick up his 11th victory of the season. … Ben Bishop coughed up just one goal on 25 shots to earn the road victory in Vancouver. He improved to 9-5-1 while lowering his GAA to 2.25. … Jamie Benn picked up a goal, an assist and a plus-2 rating, giving his multi-point efforts in back-to-back games, and four goals with six points over the past five. … Gustav Nyquist registered a rare three-point night, going for a goal with two assists and a plus-1 rating as the Red Wings doubled up the Bruins 4-2. In that game, Dylan Larkin racked up a power-play goal, his 10th marker of the season. Most impressively, though, he won all 15 of his faceoff chances. … Artturi Lehkonen went for two goals, a plus-2 rating and three hits in a 5-2 win over the Rangers. … Shea Weber posted his first two goals of the season, opening the scoring with Montreal's first two markers of the game. He also delivered four hits in the contest. … Laurent Brossoit did a good job for the Jets, backstopping the team to a 4-3 overtime win in Jersey. He improved to 5-1-1 with a 2.16 GAA and .935 save percentage, and the Jets likely feel pretty confident that if anything should happen to Connor Hellebuyck that Brossoit can more than handle the job. … Thomas Greiss was solid for the Islanders, as they returned to the Coliseum with a win over the Blue Jackets. He allowed just two goals on 30 shots in the victory. … Jakub Voracek was busy with a goal, an assist, a plus-2 rating, four shots on goal, a blocked shot and two hits as the Flyers doubled up the Pens 4-2. … Anthony Stolarz drew the start between the pipes in the Steel City and he allowed two goals on 32 shots in Pittsburgh to move to 1-1-0 with a 2.88 GAA and .912 save percentage. … Zach Hyman led the way for the visiting Maple Leafs, scoring two goals in a 5-3 win against the Wild. … Nazem Kadri notched the game-winning tally in St. Paul. … Kevin Fiala, Ryan Johansen, Craig Smith and Eeli Tolvanen each posted a goal and assist in a 5-2 win against Chicago. Tolvanen's goal was his first in the NHL. … Brandon Saad notched a shorthanded marker for the 'Hawks. … Former Blackhawks forward Nick Schmaltz was solid for the Coyotes, posting two assists with a plus-2 rating. … Adin Hill has been solid for the injured Antti Raanta, allowing just one goal on 26 shots in a win. … Mikko Koskinen continues to hold down the fort in Edmonton, backstopping another victory. He is now 8-2-1 with a 2.15 GAA and .928 save percentage.