Still digging out from the massive snowstorm that blasted the D.C. area and couldn’t be happier to sit down to write Sunday’s Dose. Quick note: Islanders vs. Flyers at Barclays Center was postponed (no make-up date was announced).
Let’s get right to the rest of the day’s recaps:
PENGUINS 5, CANUCKS 4
— For the second consecutive game, the Penguins fell behind by two. In this game, they had to claw back from 2-0 and 3-1 deficits.
— It’s nice to have talent like Evgeni Malkin (three goals) on the roster, though. When you have game-breakers, you can’t be counted out. The ability to pounce on a mistake and make an opponent pay in an instant is a rare quality. While the Penguins are clinging to the last playoff spot in the East, Malkin can’t be blamed. He has 23 goals and 47 points, both of which rank sixth in the NHL and first on the Penguins. He has at least a point in four of the past five games. He could get to 40 goals for the third time in his career, though his 16.9% scoring rate is above his career average (13%).
— Sidney Crosby scored an empty netter to extend his point streak to six games. During this stretch, he has four goals and nine points. Remember when the majority of fans (and media) wondered if Crosby was done? He has 40 points in 46 games, with 13 points in 10 games this month.
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— Marc-Andre Fleury (28 saves) did not have his best game. He has won three games in a row and has helped Pittsburgh earn a point in six consecutive games. But in four of those games, he’s given up at least three goals. If the season ended today, his .923 SV% would be a career-best.
— Jannik Hansen’s hat trick probably didn’t help many fantasy owners. After all, this is a guy whose career high in goals is 16. He does have 15 this year, but these were his first goals since Dec. 26. While he had seven shots Saturday, he combined for seven shots total during his seven-game goal drought.
— Bo Horvat (goal) is one of the young players the Canucks are counting on to be a part of their next legitimate winner. He has points in three games in a row. A nine-goal, 22-point season from a 20-year-old is not bad, especially since he topped out at 13 and 25, respectively, in 68 games during his rookie campaign.
— Ryan Miller (25 saves) is more of a league-average goalie now. But he did have three games in a row with at least a .923 SV%. He’s a lower-end number two in fantasy leagues.
SHARKS 4, WILD 3
— Joe Pavelski (goal, two assists) has turned into Mr. Consistent the past few seasons. With 23 goals and 46 points, he’s on pace for his second 40-goal season and first 80-point one. He’s a stellar fantasy forward.
— Tomas Hertl (goal) is starting to find his groove … finally. He was building on a disappointing second season this year, until recently: five of his nine goals and eight of his 23 points in the past eight games. What’s even more promising is his shot total; he had five Saturday.
— Joonas Donskoi and Joel Ward each got a goal and an assist. Even though Ward has the better to-date stats, Donskoi has been more productive since December, with 13 points (compared to 11 for Ward). Neither holds much fantasy value.
— Martin Jones (25 saves) has won six games in a row. He’s posted at least a .914 SV% in four of those games.
— Charlie Coyle scored for the second game in a row. Not a ton of fantasy value, but he has tied his career high in goals (12) and is 11 points from 35, his best mark. There is some sneaky upside here.
BRUINS 3, BLUE JACKETS 2 (shootout)
— Brad Marchand (goal) has recorded a point in five consecutive games, with goals in four in a row. He’s been a valuable fantasy forward — Marchand is on pace for 34 goals and more than 100 penalty minutes. These skilled/feisty types are fantasy gold.
— David Pastrnak (goal) clearly has NHL talent. But at 19, the consistency isn’t there yet. He has a point in three games in a row. In fact, three of his five goals and five of his nine points have come in his past five games. He’s going to be an impact player, though it might need to wait a year or two.
— Jonas Gustavsson (31 saves) made his first start since Jan. 2. Unlikely he helped many fantasy owners. He has been great when called upon lately, with three wins in a row while sporting at least a .950 SV%.
— Kerby Rychel (goal, assist) requested a trade out of Columbus before the season started, but that’s before he carved out a role. The 19th overall pick in the 2013 draft has two goals and four points in his past three games. This is a guy Columbus should build around.
— Joonas Korpisalo (32 saves) will likely have this job for the rest of the year. Sergei Bobrovsky’s groin issues continue to persist. While he looked overwhelmed early on, Korpisalo has posted a SV% of at least .941 in three of his past five games. Still don't recommend him.
CANADIENS 3, MAPLE LEAFS 2 (shootout)
— While Marc Bergevin gets ripped for some of the moves (or lack thereof) he’s made (i.e. Alexander Semin), Tomas Fleischmann (goal) was a decent gamble at $750,000. Even though this was his first goal (and second point) since Dec. 10, he has been a solid real-life contributor.
— Mike Condon (17 saves) did just enough to get away with this win. Montreal led 2-0 after the first period and Toronto ended up tying it early in the third. There is not a lot right going on in Montreal, and I’m not sure you can feel too confident in Condon (.907 SV%), either.
— Nazem Kadri (goal) might only have nine goals and 25 points, but he is a player the Leafs should keep during their rebuild. He has scored on 5.4% of his 166 shots, which rank 10th. He’s a guy to target on a buy-low.
— James Reimer (27 saves) has had a fantastic season (.937 SV%). He has given up more than two goals once in six January starts. Can’t count on the wins, but his ratios have been elite. He’s a guy who many might call a fluke, thereby allowing you to acquire him at a discount. The system under coach Mike Babcock helps.
DUCKS 4, RED WINGS 3
— As poorly as the Ducks played early in the season, they are two points back of a playoff spot in the weak Pacific Division. This team could make some noise in the playoffs, which I expect them to qualify for.
— Ryan Kesler and Corey Perry each notched two goals. Kessler gets so much love for his physical, bruising style as a top-six center. But he’s really been a tease offensively the past few seasons, almost to the point that he’s overrated. Now all you can really expect is 20 goals and 45 points.
— Perry, on the other hand, has recorded a point in three of his past four games. His 31 points are below his standards, but the 19 goals are nice. If the Ducks start scoring, Perry will likely benefit on the assists side of things. No reason to sell short.
— John Gibson (24 saves) has emerged as the number one, though he’s been a bit off lately. The 22-year-old has given up three goals in four of the past six games, all sub-.900 SV% performances. I think he’ll regain his rhythm and be an asset in the second half.
— The Red Wings defense did a lot of standing around in this one, making Jimmy Howard’s (31 saves) job even more difficult. Howard made his first start since Jan. 11. He has given up four goals in two of his past three. Howard isn’t winning back the number-one job anytime soon.
— Tomas Jurco (goal) is a player who frustrates a lot of Red Wings fans. The ability is there for him to become a top-nine player. You wouldn’t know that by five goals and 22 points in his past 88 games.
PANTHERS 5, LIGHTNING 2
— The Panthers halted the Lightning’s seven-game winning streak in a game that was probably a lot closer than the score indicated. The difference was the goaltending.
— Roberto Luongo (38 saves), in my book, should be in the MVP discussion. The Panthers have not been a plus possession team, meaning Luongo has to keep the Panthers in games when they should probably not be as fortunate. He has a .930 SV%. Love seeing the grizzled veteran thrive.
— Jonathan Huberdeau (goal, assist) and Nick Bjugstad (goal, assist) are part of a young core that offers so much promise. The fact the Panthers are in a playoff spot now is a bonus. Huberdeau has been more of a set-up man in his career, with eight goals and 26 assists. Bjgustad’s numbers (nine goals, 15 points) are deflated this season … he hasn’t been as dominant at even strength (1.1 points per 60 minutes) and has dealt with some injuries. Both of these guys are strong options this year — and beyond.
— Vincent Trocheck (goal) recorded his first point in seven games. Even though his production has slowed lately, don’t think anyone could have expected a 22-goal, 42-point pace.
— While we all sit here and wonder whether Steven Stamkos will be the next to get $10 million a year on his next contract, Victor Hedman (goal) might soon be joining the likes of P.K. Subban as the richest defensemen. He is an unrestricted free agent after next season. Who would you rather have: Hedman at $9 million on a long-term deal or Stamkos at $10 million? There are cases to be made for both.
— Ben Bishop (26 saves) did not have a good night, giving up four goals in two periods. Chalk this up as a fluke as he’s been stellar this season, allowing a total of six goals over his past five games. Tampa Bay’s arrow is point up and Bishop should continue to benefit.
DEVILS 3, JETS 1
— Don’t count out the Devils. Those pesky Devils. They might not score a lot, but they play a stingy defense and structured system that allows them to stay in games. It also helps to have one of the league’s top goalies, Cory Schneider (22 saves) in net. He and the Devils have won four in a row, and he’s yielded a total of six goals. He’s my pick to start for Team USA at the World Cup.
— Think the Rangers or Jets wouldn’t mind having Lee Stempniak (two goals) back? I wonder sometimes how teams evaluate players. Stempniak is a perfect third-line player, and he’s getting scoring-line minutes from the Devils at an $850,000 salary. He has four of his 14 goals and six of his 36 points over his past four games. He might set a career high across the board.
— Is Dustin Byfuglien (goal) long for the Jets? He’s an unrestricted free agent this offseason, along with Andrew Ladd. Byfuglien would seem like a player to lock up, but maybe the Jets hit the reset button and move him prior to the trade deadline.
— I’m honestly in shock that the Jets are only two points better than the cellar-dwelling Oilers. I thought Winnipeg would be much better. I still do like their group, though the defense needs some work. Connor Hellebuyck (13 saves) has been a bright spot. But not in this one. He's lost three in a row.
AVALANCHE 3, STARS 1
— I’m not sure if I’ve seen a more lopsided shot-attempts chart than this one. Dallas out-attempted Colorado 73-28 at even strength and 106-32 in all situations. This is a game where you look at the process and say it worked, despite the result.
— The Avs should buy Semyon Varlamov (42 saves) dinner after this game. He was basically a one-man team, a mode he’s been accustomed to with the Avs, who have won four in a row. Varlamov has given up one goal in each of the past four games. When he’s hot, he’s one of the best.
— Love Gabriel Landeskog’s (goal) game. He has all the qualities you want in a young leader and plays a 200-foot game. The goal, his 11th, was his first since Jan. 8. If he can get more shots on net, 20 is within reach.
— It feels like Mikhail Grigorenko (goal) is 25 years old. He entered the league in 2012-13, but is still only 21. Eventually I think he’ll become a consistent factor.
— Antti Niemi (12 saves) would like to have this game back. Neither Niemi (.913 SV%) nor Kari Lehtonen (.908 SV%) have been that good this year. It could be the Stars’ downfall in the playoffs, when the contests are tighter.
— Jason Demers (goal) is one away from setting a career high, which stands at five. Not a lot of fantasy value here, though he’s benefited from the uptempo Stars’ system.
COYOTES 3, KINGS 2
— The Coyotes are 11-2-2 against the Pacific Division, the main reason they are in a playoff position. This win snapped a three-game skid.
— Wouldn’t it be cool if Shane Doan (goal, assist) was made a Commissioner’s Selection (stick tap to USA TODAY’s Kevin Allen) for the All-Star game, you know, because the Coyotes don’t have a true representative now and Doan could be in his last season and is playing very well? The veteran has points in three games in a row, good for 17 goals and 27 points on the year. He could reach 30 goals for the first time since 2008-09.
— Jordan Martinook’s goal 22 seconds into the third period was the winner. His numbers don’t stand out, but Martinook has a promising future.
— Oliver Ekman-Larsson (goal) has always been an excellent defenseman. But it seems like this year he’s getting more notice because of the way his team has surprised. He is likely to top last season’s 23 goals and 43 points.
— Dustin Brown’s (goal) offensive production hasn’t warranted an eight-year, $47 million contract. He has five goals and 15 points this season (after 11 and 27, respectively, last year). But I took a quick glance at his defensive advance stats … and they are stout.
— Jonathan Quick (21 saves) has been pretty good this season (.921 SV%). He has given up at least three goals in three of his past five games, though. The team he plays for provides his upside … other than that, I’m not a fan.
PREDATORS 4, OILERS 1
— It looked like the Predators would be destined for more disappointment when Leon Draisaitl got the Oilers on the board first. He has points in three of his past four games. Never expected him to be this much of a difference maker. Worth noting he has six shots over his past six games, though.
— The reason the Predators were able to move Seth Jones was because of their defense depth. Mattias Ekholm (two goals) sports some great defensive metrics. He has made strides offensively, too, with six goals and 19 points in 48 games; he had seven and 18, respectively, last year.
— Mike Fisher (goal) was once a solid complementary player. Now he will have a tough time reaching 15 goals and 20 points.
— Pekka Rinne (23 saves) has posted his first back-to-back .900-plus save percentage games since Dec. 19 and 21. It’s been that kind of year for Rinne, who doesn’t deserve an All-Star nod but got one because it’s being played in Nashville. He has stopped 49 of 51 shots against over the past two games. Rinne has a 2.54 GAA and .903 SV%.
— Cam Talbot (21 saves) was roughed up in this one, but has looked more comfortable as the season has progressed — with .934 SV% in December and a .932 SV% in January.