Another season of the Daily Dose, Sunday AM edition, means that I’ll hopefully shed some insight for your fantasy team/hockey knowledge base. Forewarning: I’m never going to get to touch on every goal scorer, point producer or even every goalie each night or else you will all be reading this for hours. My objective is to highlight different players or aspects of the game each Saturday night/Sunday morning. Fourteen games this Saturday, so let’s get right to it.
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LIGHTNING 4, SABRES 1
— Not at all a bad performance from the Sabres, if you ignore the score, of course. Buffalo kept up with the defending Eastern Conference champions, with the Lightning’s depth and talent winning out.
— The Lightning got goals from four different players: Steven Stamkos, Nikita Kucherov, Erik Condra and J.T. Brown. That’s the type of production that makes them so dangerous. Stamkos should be in line for another 40-plus-goal season and point-per-game production.
— Would it be crazy to see Kucherov pass Stamkos is points? The 22-year-old tallied 65 points in his first full season …
— Nicolas Deslauriers scored for the Sabres. There is plenty to like in this forward group for fantasy purposes, but he’s not one of them. He topped out at 15 points last season.
— Ben Bishop (24 saves) could be among the league leaders in wins. Just needs to stay healthy. Chad Johnson (27 saves) made 20 of 22 stops in the first two periods, but the game came undone in the third.
AVALANCHE 6, STARS 3
— Gabriel Landeskog is such a great player, and captain. A two-way forward with an edge and offensive ability. He had two goals and two assists, a career-high, in this one. Just 22 and with his work ethic and tenacity on the ice, Landeskog’s best is yet to come. In his career, he’s topped out at 26 goals and 65 points. Those numbers are very much within reach this year.
— Nathan MacKinnon “sophomore slump” did everything to dull his value this year and provide excellent value to those fantasy players who are “in the know.” This kid is insanely talented. He will blow past his 14-goal, 38-point season from last year.
— Cody Eakin scored twice for the Stars. He’s a third-liner to me, which means his offensive upside is limited.
— Expect Kari Lehtonen to get the next start in net after Antti Niemi gave up six goals on 28 shots. The Stars are employing a 1A-1B philosophy in net. The problem is I don’t think either of their goalies is all that good.
CANADIENS 4, BRUINS 2
— It’s early, sure, but the Canadiens needed a performance like this where they didn’t have to rely on Carey Price (19 saves). They outshot the Bruins 38-21. It could be a very long year in Boston … shoddy defense, forward group might not be as good. Tuukka Rask (34 saves) has no choice but to carry them.
— Lars Eller scored twice. I would not go out to the waiver wire to claim him as he’s topped out at 15 goals and 30 points in his career.
— Matt Beleskey’s first goal with the Bruins is a notable one because he’s coming off a year that screams aberration — 22 goals, 32 points. The Bruins need him to be a top-six performer. Thus far he has two points in two games.
— Patrice Bergeron also scored his first of the year. There is not a more well-rounded, complete player in the league. It’s a joy to watch him do his thing.
PANTHERS 7, FLYERS 1
— Steve Mason made me somewhat of a believer last season. After all, he’s been well above average while with the Flyers and his save percentage (.928) last season was elite. That being said, this performance was horrendous: four goals on eight shots in 6:46. That’s what ruins fantasy weeks.
— I’m a big fan of the Panthers this season. A lot of young, talented forwards and defensemen, Roberto Luongo and that guy, Jaromir Jagr. Vincent Trocheck led the way in this one with a goal and three assists, but the 43-year-old would not disappoint, scoring twice. I’m not believing in Trocheck after one game and some underwhelming numbers prior to this.
— But Jagr, he defies time. Would it surprise anyone if he scored 25 and had 60 points this season? No. That’s what makes him so great.
— Brandon Pirri’s two assists tied the same number of assists he had last season. He also had 20 goals.
— Reilly Smith scored twice, too. 20 and 50 this season? Very likely.
— Nick Bjugstad might be my favorite of the group. A power forward who continues to improve, he had a goal in this one. He’s getting more than 50 points this season. Book it.
— Luongo made 38 saves. If he can post a save percentage above .920, the Panthers will be in this race all season. A young team means there will be some dips, but he’s the veteran in the back end that can cover that stuff up.
RANGERS 5, BLUE JACKETS 2
— The Rangers are 3-0 and they’ve been led by Henrik Lundqvist (37 saves) and rookie Oscar Lindberg, who scored twice. He now has goals in all three games, and four on the season. Lindberg found his offensive stride in the American Hockey League last season. Only 23, he’s looked comfortable on the third line with JT Miller and Viktor Stalberg. He is a guy worth watching, but I wouldn’t go crazy for him just yet.
— Lundqvist, on the other hand, was a major reason for this win, even if the final score doesn’t show that. He made several mouth-dropping saves to keep the Rangers’ distance. Lundqvist has given up two goals in all three wins this year.
— The Rangers also got goals from Derick Brassard, Derek Stepan and Dominic Moore. Brassard and Stepan might be two of the more underrated 1-2 center punches in the league. Don’t really do it with huge numbers, but by the end of the season they’re around the 60-point range. Stepan could be much better than that this year.
— Sergei Bobrovsky has not been good this year, but you can’t fault only him for it. He gave up four goals on 22 shots in this one, hitting the showers after two. I’m a believer, despite back-to-back four-goal efforts, or lack thereof.
— Ryan Johansen scored his first goal of the season. I’m expecting him to finish within the top 10 of goal scorers this season, reaching the 80-point mark.
SENATORS 5, MAPLE LEAFS 4 (SO)
— Does anyone actually think the Maple Leafs will be good this year? Good. Now that we got that out of the way, I think it’s reasonable to expect them to be bad, but not look as bad doing it, if that makes sense. The Mike Babcock effect, if you will.
— Kyle Turris is proof that all players take different paths. It took him several seasons to fulfill first-round promise. He had a goal and an assist Saturday. We could see a 70-point season this year.
— Mark Stone does not look like he’s going to succumb to the “sophomore slump.” He had a goal and an assist, too, so he now has four points on the season.
— What’s great about Erik Karlsson is that so much of the offense runs through him, he touches the puck a lot. And what you get, even with no goals, is a night like this: Three assists, two shots on goal.
— Have to say only one Maple Leaf (Peter Holland) goal scorer could be around when I’m writing this column in a few months. Tyler Bozak, Joffrey Lupul and Daniel Winnik all are likely to be on the trade block as the season progresses.
CAPITALS 5, DEVILS 3
— Last year’s goal leader, Alex Ovechkin, needed one game to tickle the twine in this season. His third-period goal gave the Capitals a 3-2 lead, and they would score two more unanswered to put the game away.
— There is a lot of hype for Marcus Johansson among Capitals fans/media types. He had 20 goals and 47 points last season. He already has a goal in this one and is getting time on the second line.
— Brooks Orpik had no goals last season. He already has one this season. Hockey, man. Stay far away from him in fantasy leagues, though.
— Braden Holtby (21 saves) didn’t have the finest performance. But his emergence last year is a major reason why the experts think the Capitals are due for a big season. Call me crazy, but I have him winning the Vezina this year.
— Mike Cammalleri scored and assisted. He led the Devils with 27 goals and 42 points was second-best, in 68 games. I don’t see who else could lead the team in scoring this year, either. This team is going to have trouble finishing better than 28th in scoring this year, too.
RED WINGS 4, HURRICANES 3
— Nothing about this game indicates the Red Wings should’ve won, other than their talent level of course. Carolina outshot Detroit 47-19. The Red Wings had no business even keeping this game close. Thanks to Petr Mrazek and his 44 saves, the Red Wings are 2-0. Jimmy Howard posted a shutout in his first start, so there’s no more clarity in net in Detroit.
— Teemu Pulkkinen scored twice. He could be a sneaky addition; he scored 34 goals and 27 assists in 46 AHL games last season. The Red Wings have him on the third line right now.
— Henrik Zetterberg and Justin Abdelkader each had a goal and an assist. If everything went right for Zetterberg, I would not be surprised to see him get 20 goals and 70 points this season. At 35, he is still highly productive.
— Justin Faulk scored with three seconds remaining, on the power play. This game perfectly portrays him as a player: a goal, seven shots, but also a minus-three in 23:48. If you can take the hit in plus-minus, Faulk will more than make up for that with high-level production. He had 238 shots on goal last year, but also a minus-19 rating.
PREDATORS 2, OILERS 0
— Filip Forsberg had 26 goals and 63 points in his first full NHL season. He had a goal Saturday, on four shots. The Predators will not contend in this tough Central Division without Forsberg playing at a high level. I just don’t see a lot high-end offensive finishers in this group.
— Craig Smith also scored. He doesn’t appear to have that top-end ability, but is capable of a 25-goal, 50-point season, which makes him own able.
— Pekka Rinne (31 saves) has given up one goal on 57 shots this season. With that defense, Rinne is going to be the gift that keeps on giving for fantasy owners. He posted a 2.18 GAA and .923 SV% last season, with 41 wins. He could get his third 40-win season in 2015-16.
— Cam Talbot (24 saves) has given up four goals in two games, but he has yet to win because Edmonton has scored one goal. Nothing to freak out about just yet; the Oilers should be able to generate plenty of offense.
WILD 3, BLUES 2
— Two games in, and Zach Parise has four goals. He’s aiming for his seventh 30-goal season. Love his tenacious style and ability in front of the net.
— Charlie Coyle scored twice. Don’t think he’s worth even spending more than 10 seconds talking about as he has topped out at 12 goals and 35 points in his career.
— Devan Dubnyk has two wins, but this is more of what the Wild are looking for. He made 30 saves. Can’t expect a 1.78 GAA and .936 SV% this year, but he should be among the better netminders this year.
— Vladimir Tarasenko might be in the goal-lead conversation this year. This kid, still 23, is an NHL sniper in every sense of the word; crazy skills with the puck and a nose for the net. He also had seven shots on goal in this one, along with an assist on Alexander Steen’s goal.
BLACKHAWKS 4, ISLANDERS 1
— Patrick Kane and Artemi Panarin each scored and assisted twice. We know what Kane could do. I think it’s time — yes, three games into the Blackhawks’ season — for a PSA on Planarian. He should be owned in 100% of leagues. The rookie is playing on the second line, with Kane, and has two goals and four points, with eight shots on goal. He enters the NHL with rave reviews from the KHL and could have a pretty big season in Chicago.
— Brent Seabrook got a goal so he’s already justifying the Blackhawks’ new extension. Oh wait, that does start until next season.
— The Islanders opened their season with two losses against the Blackhawks. John Tavares didn’t get on the scoresheet Saturday, but he did have 14 penalty minutes. Yes, you read that right.
FLAMES 3, CANUCKS 2 (OT)
— Three-on-three overtime, meet Johnny Gaudreau. All you need is a little space, and this 5-9 forward will make you pay. He beat Ryan Miller (35 saves) short-side for the game winner after Dennis Wideman pinched to keep the puck in the zone. Gaudreau also tallied two assists.
— Sean Monahan, 20 years old, has a 22-goal and 31-goal season to his name. He potted his first this season. Should we expect a 40-goal season this year? I think that might be a bit much, but this kid has the knack.
— Dougie Hamilton scored a power-play goal. Still can’t believe the Bruins traded him.
— I’m expecting the Canucks to be closer to a lottery pick than a playoff spot this year, but the continued progression of their young players, such as Bo Horvat, could make that look foolish. Horvat got his first goal in this one.
COYOTES 2, PENGUINS 1
— I would’ve bet a good amount that the Penguins would win this game, but that’s what makes sports so great. Mike Smith (27 saves) has enjoyed a fine start to the season. He really has no choice — if the Coyotes are going to avoid being a laughingstock, Smith needs to return to his old form, not the guy from early last year.
— Jordan Martinook got his first career goal. He also had five shots on goal. His AHL numbers don’t really pop off the page, so I have trouble recommending him right now.
— Sidney Crosby has no shots through two games. My worry level is 0.
— Phil Kessel scored his first goal with the Penguins. A 40-goal season appears to be in the offing. Might we get a career-best points season too? I almost think that’s more likely.
SHARKS 2, DUCKS 0
— Patrick Marleau scored both goals. He’s another guy whose draft stock dropped a bit after a 19-goal, 57-point 2014-15. Blame the 8.2% scoring rate on the goal dip; his career average is 13.4%. It would not shock me to see him get close to 30 again.
— Martin Jones is looking every bit the number-one netminder the Sharks hoped they’d received this offseason. He’s allowed one goal on 47 shots. Still two games, just remember that.
— Frederik Andersen blocked 42 shots in the loss. Is there an incumbent number-one netminder facing more pressure this season? Anton Khudobin is capable of starting more than a backup. And John Gibson, he of his new extension, is in the minors. Andersen needs to perform.