With 10 games on last night’s docket, I thought it would be best to shrug away the usual preamble and just jump right into recaps. Hopefully some of these nuggets will help you …
Lightning 2, Flames 1 (OT)
-- With injuries piling up for Tampa Bay, the team might just stumble upon some interesting combos. I'd be tempted to invest in one of Valtteri Filppula (one goal last night) and/or Jonathan Drouin (his first career point assisting on Filppula's tally), as they seem to have won the Steve Stamkos Sweepstakes. This constellation might not stay together long-term, but you can merely drop them if they don’t seem valuable post-Stamkos.
(For the record, it’s my opinion that both have a chance to be productive on their own, considering Fil’s respectable resume and Drouin’s pedigree.)
-- Dennis Wideman is heating up, as all four of his points came in the last four games and he's on a two-game goal streak. If you can ignore the bad contract (which you should in fantasy), he's at least worth considering in especially deep leagues. I'd maybe lean more toward watch-listing him overall, unless you're liberal with your defensive add/drops anyway.
-- Anton Stralman is streaking as well. Keep in mind that he only has one strong offensive season (34 points with Columbus in 2009-10) to his name. Does that mean he can't climb the ranks, especially during the 4-6 weeks Victor Hedman's on the shelf? No, he could be a nice deeper option. Just saying ... don't drop anyone you'd regret to get him.
Maple Leafs 5, Islanders 2
-- I've mentioned this before, but Tuesday's results made another strong argument for this season having the potential to be a bit of an "adventure" for Jaroslav Halak. He might end up being the preeminent high-risk, high-reward netminder in 2014-15.
-- While I'm excited about Nick Leddy's potential on Long Island, his three goals so far this season came on just 10 SOG, so just keep that in mind. Even so, seeing Leddy get almost four minutes of PP TOI last night is promising, even if the Islanders won't receive six power-play opportunities each night (Johnny Boychuk had 5:15 PP TOI).
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Bruins 5, Sharks 3
-- It looks like the Simon Gagne experiment is done (or paused, at best) regarding Milan Lucic and David Krejci. Shift charts send mixed messages, but my guess is Seth Griffith is getting another look. This much is clear: Krejci and Lucic are fine on their own; it's just a matter of seeing who else might benefit. While Loui Eriksson works well with Carl Soderberg, I wonder if he deserves a chance with that dangerous duo, too.
(This is why it's best not to depend too much upon linemate situations, though.)
-- Brent Burns is still making an impact on D. His stat line from last night says it all: one assist, two PIM, six SOG and three hits.
-- I'm not sure what's more promising for Logan Couture: that he's firing away (8 SOG last night) or that he's getting a nice bump in offensive zone starts (51 percent this season versus 46 last year). Either way, I think he could enjoy a big season.
Predators 4, Coyotes 3 (SO)
-- One human factor we often forget is "former player trying to get revenge against former team." Both Mike Ribeiro and Martin Erat scored goals against employers they likely held a grudge against. I’d say that’s an underrated tiebreaker if you’re making tough calls regarding who to bench and who to play.
-- Filip Forsberg’s getting a spin with Neal and Mike Ribeiro. I’ve liked what I’ve seen from him so far; consider him a great option in deeper leagues and a good one in most formats. C/RW eligibility doesn’t hurt matters, either.
Canadiens 2, Red Wings 1 (OT)
-- Pavel Datsyuk did, in fact, return last night, collecting an assist (but no SOG) in 18:05 minutes of play. It looks like he's lining up with Henrik Zetterberg and Justin Abdelkader to start off. Zetterberg owners have probably uttered quite a few sighs of relief lately, huh?
-- More good news for Detroit: Jimmy Howard returned to the Red Wings' net and helped them grab a "charity point" by stopping 34 out of 36 shots.
-- My feeling is that this will be a breakout season for Alex Galchenyuk, and not just because he has four points in his last three games. (That certainly helps, though.) He's averaging more than two extra minutes per night compared to 2013-14 ... yet it's difficult not to greedily ask for even more than his 16:37 per night.
Rangers 4, Devils 3 (OT)
-- Five of the seven goals scored between these two teams came on the power play. I wouldn't be surprised if future meetings are low-scoring affairs.
-- Ryan McDonagh finally scored his first points of the season thanks to two assists (both PPP) last night. Pretty disappointing start, but he still has a chance to top 2013-14's 43-point campaign.
-- Damon Severson keeps producing (one assist) and continues to get quality reps (23:06, 3:51 of which was on the PP).
-- Rick Nash is playing so well, one can only wonder how healthy he was late in 2013-14, especially during his much-criticized playoff work.
Stars 6, Canucks 3
-- Well, the Ryan Miller honeymoon ended in an ugly way last night, didn't it? I still think he's an OK mid-level option, however.
-- Tyler Seguin and Jamie Benn are so dominant, the Stars are approaching "just sit your goalie when you see them on your schedule" territory, at least if said goalie's team lacks a great defense. Jason Spezza's getting some time with Benn and Seguin, and probably deservedly so (one goal, seven assists already for Spezza).
-- Win or lose, it seems like the Daniel Sedin - Henrik Sedin - Radim Vrbata line will get their points. Vrbata has a goal in all but one of his games so far, and with 25 SOG, it's clear that the twins are setting him up for a huge year. I wouldn't be surprised if he topped his career-best efforts in 2011-12 (35 goals, 62 points) and echoed that work by having quite a few more goals than assists.
-- Kari Lehtonen is a star-quality talent who's often been hung out to dry behind bad teams. The squad in front of him is probably the best he's ever seen, yet a so-so defense should still make him a busy man.
Blackhawks 4, Flyers 0
-- The best sign for Philadelphia might come in its PDO (explanation found here) being an ugly 92.05, which is the second-worst mark in the NHL behind Winnipeg. Then again, with Steve Mason and Ray Emery as the Flyers’ goaltending options, they might need things to more-than-even out as far as lucky bounces go.
-- Corey Crawford is day-to-day with an upper-body injury, so Antti Raanta gets a chance to prove himself after his team basically dragged him to a 13-5-4 record last season (his .897 save percentage was ugly). If he has any ability, he could be a solid plug-in option when he starts. That remains an if even after last night's 32-save shutout, however.
-- Bryan Bickell's offensive production can be quite erratic, yet he'd be worth the hassle in hits leagues if he can approach last night's big-time impact (goal, assist, three SOG and six hits).
Jets 3, Hurricanes 1
-- By far the best news for Carolina in this one: Jeff Skinner fired five SOG and collected four PIM in 17:26 of ice time in his return to action.
-- Dustin Byfuglien only has two goals (and as many points) in six games, but he's also piled on 25 SOG and 18 PIM (thanks to that freakout against San Jose). Much like Neal, he's going to be just fine.
That said, I wonder if he’s better off as a full-time blueliner. If nothing else, it usually means more ice time.
-- It's sad when a .913 save percentage is a source of excitement, but that's what it's come to with Ondrej Pavelec. So, hooray?
-- As painful as this is to admit, I can't really blame anyone for cutting bait on Alexander Semin. The two assists and -3 could be attributed to a slow start, but just nine SOG in five games? Maybe he can turn things around, but ... not good.
Panthers 4, Avalanche 3 (OT)
-- While I've shared my concerns about Nathan MacKinnon as a third-round-type pick in fantasy, it's important to note that he really stepped it up another gear last season after New Year's Day. Maybe it's a coincidence or maybe it was a matter of more fatigued players becoming nearly helpless in handling his speed, but the bottom line is that MacKinnon should be fine.
His team, on the other hand, worries me quite a bit.
-- Good to see Ryan O'Reilly do a little more. With his Byng-like PIMs (one minor last season, just 52 penalty minutes in 351 career games), let's hope he continues to fire SOG. He has 21 in three games, although that trigger-happiness has been a bit hit-or-miss lately (five SOG last night, four on Oct. 14, but only one apiece on Oct. 16 and 18).
-- Aleksander Barkov obviously boasts a bright future, but his stats seem to scream "not yet." We'll see how the 2014-15 season shakes out, though.