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Hockey Daily Dose

Dose: Fighting through it

by James O'Brien
Updated On: October 4, 2018, 4:04 pm ET

Programming note: starting next week, you won’t see as many Doses penned by yours truly.

That doesn’t mean I’ll disappear into the pun-spewing mist entirely, mind you; I’ll just spring up less often. Basically I’ll become the Brock Lesnar of the Dose.*

The plan for now is to hand the keys over to some great people like Ryan Dadoun while I pump out the Wednesday and Friday editions. If you’re sad that I won’t be making as many cheesy jokes in a fantasy setting, at least consider that recapping the Tuesday and Thursday sets of games means that I’ll cover a ton of content, as those are two of the three busiest nights of the NHL week.

Generally speaking, at least.

So, this isn’t so much “goodbye” as “see you later, and less.” If you need to stem the tide, I often make bad jokes on Twitter.

Editor's Note: This is your chance to try FanDuel risk free! Sign up today and if you lose your first contest, you’ll be refunded the entry fee up to $10. Play now.


Don't forget, for everything NHL, check out Rotoworld's up to the minute coverage on Player News, as well as follow@Rotoworld_HK and @cyclelikesedins on Twitter.

* - This is a wildly inaccurate way of saying that I’ll be getting fewer “dates,” much like the magnificent meathead who doesn’t wrestle as regularly as some other WWE stars.

Yes, I watch too much wrestling.


-- With two important goals here, Sidney Crosby now has 31 tallies and 72 points in 69 games. Even with injuries limiting his reps, the more pass-leaning star has seven 30+ goal seasons now.

He's getting pretty close to 1,000 points, too: Crosby currently has 925 points in just 696 games. If he can stay healthy, he can finish his career with some lofty totals, as he's still just 28.

-- Phil Kessel scored a goal and an assist, giving him 47 points in 70 games.

Carl Hagelin has often looked potent, and like a great fit with Kessel in particular, and the speedy Swede stood out on Thursday with three assists.

-- Credit to the Penguins for shaking off a 2-0 deficit to win their fourth game in a row. As brutal as losing Evgeni Malkin is - and don't let anyone fool you, that hurts - it's sadly not as if it's unusual for Pittsburgh to play without one or more of its big stars.

Big game coming up for the Penguins, as they visit the Flyers in Philly on Saturday. They have three head-to-head matches with the Flyers, including the season-closer in Philly.


-- This one looked ugly from the get-go, with the Devils building a 3-1 lead in the first period, only to get worse with the second period ending 6-2. Pretty lousy effort for the Wild considering the playoff implications.

/Insert joke about the Devils helping the Avalanche for the first time since Martin Brodeur gave up that Joe Sakic goal in a Game 7 ...

-- Devante Smith-Pelly continues his rise since joining the Devils, and this was likely his best game yet: two goals, one assist, +4 and four SOG. This extends his point streak to four games: four goals, two assists. He has nine points in seven Devils games after being limited to 12 points in 46 contests with the Habs.

-- Mike Sislo scored two goals, the first tallies of his NHL career. Most importantly, he's from a town named "Superior" and his name sounds like a side character from "The Sopranos."

-- Adam Henrique ended a four-game pointless streak with two goals, including the game-winner. His 25 on this season ties a career-high. He needs seven points to match his career-best of 51 points, so this is indeed a strong year for the solid forward.

-- The Devils continue to amuse as an Island of Misfit Forwards. Tyler Kennedy has been struggling to even keep an NHL job, yet look at him lately: three assists on Thursday, 1G and 4A in a three-game point streak.

-- I've been soft-campaigning for Darcy Kuemper to at least get more of a look with Minnesota, but both Kuemper and Devan Dubnyk stunk up the joint in this one.


-- A little surprised the Red Wings only fired 22 SOG in a game they needed pretty badly, but hey, they won. It's really difficult to forecast who ends up winning the East wild card races, although Detroit might be able to creep in if the Penguins and Flyers keep their head-to-head games in regulation.

The Red Wings feel like they're running out of gas, but these guys come back from the brink more often than The Undertaker.

-- Super-useful tidbit: this game featured a lot of goal scorers whose names end in "g."

Luke Glendening scored the first goal, while Henrik Zetterberg collected what would ultimately be the GWG. Alexander Wennberg grabbed the troll goal, ruining Jimmy Howard's shutout with a tally with just a minute remaining.

Darren Helm ruined the theme though, very selfish stuff.

-- Is Sergei Bobrovsky going to bounce back? After two stellar seasons in 2012-13 and 2013-14, he slipped a tad bit in 2014-15 with a .918 save percentage. This season's just been a face-plant, though, and a concerning one. When he hasn't been injured, he's been hurting his team, going 11-16-1 with a troubling .909 save percentage. Bob's last win came on Dec. 5 and his second-most recent victory was on Nov. 27. Not good.

Although, if the Blue Jackets want to tank, they might as well "let Bob work things out."


-- It's starting to look like Steven Stamkos has a reasonable shot at scoring 40 goals this season. He's at 33 after scoring two goals on Thursday, giving him four goals and one assist in his last three contests.

His .802 point-per-game rate is his worst mark since his weird, Barry Melrose-tarnished rookie season. This is likely to be the second season in a row where he fails to generate a point-per-game.

That's a bummer, but he's still scoring goals at an impressive level, as he's currently tied with Tyler Seguin and Vladimir Tarasenko at fifth place in goals.

Is Stamkos going to be $10 million good? That's probably a subjective thing, but elite goal-scoring is one of those things that might be worth over-spending for.

(Of course, that assumes he'd continue to be an elite goal scorer, which is reasonable enough at least in the early years of his hypothetical contract.)

-- A bigger win for the Lightning might just involve finding a way to use Nikita Kucherov's RFA status to keep his next deal reasonable. He's been fantastic this season, collecting a goal and an assist to hit 57 points. He had 65 points in 2014-15, but he could add another bullet to his resume if he can bump his 26 goals past the 30-mark by the end of the season.

(He fell just short before with 29 in 2014-15.)

-- The Stars were down 1-0, 2-1 and 3-2 in this game but just wouldn't stay down. Eventually, two goals in the third period, including a game-winner by Jamie Benn, ended up making the difference.

Benn now has 36 goals and five GWG on the season. With 80 points, he's just seven shy of tying last season's Art Ross-winning career-high.

Spoiler: he'd need a lot more than 87 points to win the scoring title this season.

-- It's certainly not a done deal, but this win puts the Stars in a clear position at first in the Central. Remarkably, the Central's recent stumbles open the door for the Kings to possibly be the first seed in the West.


-- You could almost imagine the Panthers logo licking its lips over this game. Yes, the Maple Leafs have been pretty scrappy at times lately, but these are the type of games where you'd expect them to suffer a bit. I guess it could have been worse for the Buds.

-- Jussi Jokinen opened the scoring with two unassisted goals, which strikes me as a little odd. That second tally gives him his first GWG of 2015-16.

With 15 goals and 52 points in 70 games, Jokinen is quietly having another strong season. He's been on fire in particular lately, only failing to score a point in one appearance since Feb. 20.

He's just one of those guys who's pretty darn great except he's also strangely easy to forget about. Fantasy owners are sleeping on him, too, as he's only owned in 53 percent of Yahoo leagues.

-- Morgan Rielly (nicknamed "typo") scored his eighth goal of the season to give him 30 points, marking a new career-high. He'd be an interesting depth defenseman option if the Leafs make some gains. If THE DREAM comes true and Steven Stamkos comes to town with a bucket of money, I think he'd be one of the biggest beneficiaries.

OK, maybe not compared to Maple Leafs fans pleading for hope, but I meant that in a more functional, on-ice sort of way ...

-- Two of the Panthers' goals were empty-netters, even if they were not really marked as such in the box scores I leaf through. So, in other words, Jonathan Bernier was actually pretty good here.

Jaromir Jagr scored one of those ENGs, giving him 24 goals and 55 points this season.

Let's bask in the glory of his campaign: 24G, 31A for 55P in 68 GP, +18, 42 PIM, nine PPP and four GWG.

He's actually been a steadier PIM producer in his career than I realized: he's now at 1,095 PIM.


-- James Neal's hot streak is alive. He added a goal and an assist on Thursday to give him five points in his past two games and six in four. He's now scored 27 goals three times in his career, and is in an excellent position to cross the 30-goal barrier for the second time.

He'd need an astounding finish to match his career-high of 40 goals, though.

-- Earlier this week, I pumped up Calle Jarnkrok's credentials, at least in terms of very deep leagues. He notched an assist to give him three helpers in two games and could be in for a healthy final month of the season if he can stay with Neal.

-- Ryan Johansen has been nicely productive in Nashville, though his Predators numbers don't just destroy what he did in Columbus.

38 GP with Blue Jackets: six goals, 26 points, -4, etc.

31 GP with Predators: six goals, 22 points, +9, etc.

I wouldn't be surprised if history shines on Columbus' side of that trade more than Nashville's take, but this still strikes me as a reasonable pickup.

-- Pekka Rinne has two straight wins and victories in four of five games. The Predators didn't ask a ton of him on Thursday (stopping two goals on 22 shots), but that's OK.

-- You know, the Islanders could easily fall into the wild card position. They’re ahead of the Penguins and hold a game in hand, but the buffer is pretty small. I continue to be a little disappointed that the Isles haven’t taken that next step forward; they’re a good team that seems to be a courageous move or two from jumping to great.

With a raise coming for John Tavares, their window to succeed might be smaller than their young roster might otherwise imply.


-- FanDuel super-bargain Michael Stone is on a nice run. He scored a goal and an assist in this game, giving him four points in his past two appearances. He also has five points (1G, 4A) in his past four games.

He'll be interesting to watch in deeper leagues, as his 33 points in 70 games might not be a fluke. He's been an OK source of PIM, too: 56 so far this season, 60 in 2014-15.

Nothing spectacular, but again, interesting as a depth option in deeper leagues ... and a Daily Fantasy gem until he's finally found out.

-- Tomas Hertl is enjoying the best season of his young NHL career. With a goal on Thursday, he beefed up career-highs in multiple categories. I'm not sure what kind of ceiling he has, but as is, he's a solid contributor and the sort of supporting cast part who can help the Sharks remain competitive as their veterans slow.

-- Shane Doan is enjoying one of his best seasons in some time. His 25 goals is the most he's scored since generating 31 in 2009-09, which also ranks as the most he's ever scored. In other words, he could very well finish with a career-high in that category. With 43 points, a solid +3, 73 PIM and 98 hits, he's been a very nice power forward for those who tuned out all the negatives about him.

(He gets some heat on Twitter for often questionable hits and the way the media occasionally fawns over him despite those over-the-line checks.)

Maybe he isn't the hero he's made out to be - at least on the ice, he could be one of the many good guys off the ice who get a little nasty in competition - but Doan has been a very nice contributor this season.

-- Two straight wins for Mike Smith in his return from injury. I'm starting to wonder if the Arizona Coyotes should try to hypnotize Smith into thinking that he's always in March, as he's possibly on his way to another solid run when the games don't really matter that much for Arizona.

(Assuming they can’t make up a considerable distance between themselves and Colorado/Minnesota, of course.)


-- Anze Kopitar's been on fire lately. He scored two goals, including the OTGWG on Thursday. He now has 24 goals and 64 points with a +31 mark and eight GWG. Six of his points (4G, 2A) come during a four-game tear.

Kopitar also scored the goal that sent the game into OT. How do you say "clutch" in Slovene?

-- Jeff Carter was also a big part of this win, collecting three assists. It's a little bit of a bummer that he's no longer posting outrageous goal-heavy ratios of points, but fantasy owners probably aren't complaining much about 18 goals and 51 points in 65 games. He's not getting quite as much puck luck with a 9.1 shooting percentage, which isn't terrible but is a little short of the rates he was enjoying in recent seasons. So that might explain the slight dip in goals ... and he's still just 10 away from last season's total, anyway.

So he's really good, is what I'm trying to say.

-- Dustin Brown has NOT been very good for some time, but he's been showing some interesting signs of life lately.

With a goal and an assist on Thursday, he matched last season's totals in goals (11) and assists (16), so that's three-straight 27-point seasons.

That's nothing special, and a big irritant for Kings fans considering his salary, but Brown does have a three-game goal streak going. His shooting percentage has been under six percent during the past two seasons, and was only at 7.7 in 2013-14, so perhaps he'll get a little more puck luck and produce at a better rate down the stretch?

-- J.T. Miller opened the scoring with a goal and also added an assist, giving him four points in three games. He also has five points in as many games, a nice sign after he went eight games without a point from Feb. 21 - March 6.

Perhaps he's at that point where he's a hot-and-cold scorer, or maybe that's how he will always be. Either way, he's a solid guy to watch, even if I can understand the frustration for some.

James O'Brien
James O'Brien is the Hockey Daily Dose's author and has been a contributor to NBC's Pro Hockey Talk for more than four years. Follow him on Twitter.