Look, I know athletes probably skip most/all of the inconveniences that tend to pile up regarding Normal People Travel, but having done quite a bit of flying lately - not complaining, mind you - my feeling that the rigors of travel really do matter only intensified.
Granted, these guys are as close to “used to it” as it gets, and one would assume that they’re a TOUCH more resilient than your average wild-haired blogger.
Even so, players who hop on planes a lot can be excused for whipping out the smelling salts with aplomb, as jet lag is a foul beast that is difficult to tame.
Anyway, every moment spent lollygagging here keeps me (and a hungry wife) further away from eating foul beasts at breakfast, so let’s get cracking.
DUCKS 4, MAPLE LEAFS 0
-- Man, what a fine job by Frederik Andersen last night. Not only did he register a 28-save shutout, but he also earned his third assist of the 2014-15 season. Frederik of Hollywood is on a four-game winning streak and is now 24-6-5 with a solid .917 save percentage on the season. Considering the expected timeshare situation with injured potential platoon mate John Gibson, I imagine a few people probably would have been happy with 24 wins and solid individual stats over the full season, let alone more or less at the halfway point.
-- Corey Perry scored the game's last three goals for a hat trick, giving him 18 tallies on the season. Sometimes that last empty-netter goal kind of feels like cheating. I'm not saying put an asterisk on it, but maybe an EN in exponent form?
"There's not a lot of puck luck, that's for sure," Maple Leafs interim coach Peter Horachek said. "They scored a 5-on-3, an empty-net goal, one went off our skate and one was a breakaway."
-- Jonathan Bernier came into this game undefeated against Anaheim. I get why people cite individual player stats against a certain team, although I'm not totally sure how much weight should be placed in such a consideration. I totally understand that factor being a tiebreaker in a real toss-up situation, though.
-- Kyle Palmieri is on a two-game point streak with two goals and one assist, including a tally that stood as the game-winner last night. It's a familiar refrain with him as other fringe forwards: he needs to shoot more often; the 23-year-old only has 34 SOG in 20 games. Considering that low total, eight goals aren't so bad, especially considering his 23.5 shooting percentage.
Editor's Note: Rotoworld's partner FanDuel is hosting an $20,000 Fantasy Hockey league for Thursday night's NHL games. It's just $2 to join and first prize is $2,000. Starts Thursday at 7pm ET. Here's the FanDuel link.
-- Over the years, I've really softened on mocking players for bad contracts. After all, they have short windows of earning power, especially since entry-level contracts and restricted free agency limit their opportunities that much more. I get making fun of David Clarkson The Contract more than the person, though.
He's currently on an eight-game streak without a point and failed to get a SOG in four of his last five games.
Sometimes his ability to stack hits and PIM make him a sneaky solid consideration, but it's disappointing to see such a drop-off from a guy who (admittedly peaked) at 228 SOG in 2011-12.
On the bright side, his mug shot says "Help, I regret signing a risky contract in a merciless market."
CAPITALS 1, FLYERS 0
-- I doubt that Scott Laughton is on many/any fantasy radars - at least now, as the 20th pick of the 2012 NHL Draft could certainly develop into a factor in the future - but just in case he's relevant to you or you're a member of the Laughton family, do note that he suffered an upper-body injury in this loss.
-- Rob "Led" Zepp stopped 25 out of 26 shots, but Philly provided none of the goal support he received in winning his first two career starts, so his record now has a blemish on it.
-- Braden Holtby is the reason why, stopping all 21 shots for his fourth shutout of 2014-15. During his current three-game winning streak, he's only allowed two goals. His 22-8-7 mark is the kind of work savvy fantasy owners (plus your generally un-savvy author) envisioned when they considered the seemingly winning formula of a goalie who quietly puts up nice individual stats + Barry Trotz's presence. I'm not sure if that actually is why things are working out - one would think so, especially on a night when Holtby only faced 21 SOG - but either way, Holtby has been a great bargain.
-- Speaking of not shooting enough, Jason Chimera barely registers more than one SOG per game (44 in 41) after generally falling in the two-per-contest range in other years. While he rarely ranks as particularly prominent in fantasy, Chimera has a 20-goal season under his belt and has hovered around that mark before, so Trotz might want to encourage the plugger to put the puck on the net a little bit more.
DEVILS 5, KINGS 3
-- In a broader view, the Kings have really struggled on the road this season, going 5-8-6 away from the Staples Center (aka the home of that really annoying Cartman "Go Kings Go" sound clip*). Things have been rough for the Kings since late December, but the troubling thing is that they have only won one game during the first five contests of a seven-game homestand.
I guess it's not a real Kings season if they don't struggle to make the playoffs and then scare and/or beat everyone anyway, though, right?
-- The Devils are basically the Island of Broken Forwards. Steve Bernier scored his fourth and fifth goals of the season. Scott Gomez keeps lurking here and there (ninth and 10th assists!). Martin Havlat found the net for the fourth time, Michael Ryder scored and they all did it with Jaromir Jagr on the mend. What a weird team.
-- Marian Gaborik continues to play really well, continuing a three-game goal streak in which he's also thrown in one assist. Fifteen goals and 24 points in 31 games is pretty solid if you can stomach the constant threat of catastrophe.
-- Cory Schneider has won three of his last four games, inching closer to .500 (15-19-4). I get the feeling he'll have a nice second half of the season, though not quite the elite work one would hope for considering his significant skill.
-- Justin Williams is heating up, too. He has five points (four goals, one assist) in his last four games. Many daydreamed about the Los Angeles line of Williams, Gaborik and Anze Kopitar making good on playoff play, and maybe it is finally playing out that way now.
CANADIENS 3, BLUE JACKETS 2
-- Odd end to this one. From the 9:38 mark of the third period to the 15:23 point, four power-play goals were scored (three for Montreal, one for Columbus). The Blue Jackets saw a 2-0 lead dissolve into a 3-2 regulation loss.
One would feel worse for Columbus if Montreal didn't nearly double the shots (31-16), though.
-- Ryan Johansen hit a rough patch a while ago, but he is now on an 11-game point streak, which means it has been close to a month in which he has generated a point or two. He has been really pouring on the goals, as well. It was an awkward summer of negotiating, but the Blue Jackets enjoyed a ludicrous steal in his contract. The waves of injuries really overshadowed the fact that Columbus is cooking up something special.
-- P.K. Subban already has nine goals on the season. His career shooting percentage (6.3) indicates that he will slow down in that category (nine goals on 78 SOG, 11.5 shooting percentage), but few would be wise to say Subban cannot do anything ... except maybe be boring.
(Though one assumes Michel Therrien dreams of such a scenario.)
-- In daily formats like FanDuel, Andrei Markov is a nice Subban-lite. He has 22 points, just six short of Subban.
-- Honestly, it is hard to believe that Nick Foligno keeps doing this. Again, that 21.4 shooting percentage - he did not get a SOG, but did grab an assist - screams "peaking," yet he might not regress for a while. Just beware.
-- Speaking of steals of contracts on hot streaks, Max Pacioretty collected two goals (including his third game-winner) to give him 20 on the season. He gets about three and a half SOG per game (153 in 42), and has at least one goal in six of seven contests. Bravo.
* - I enjoy "South Park," but that might be because Cartman does amusingly evil things while never saying Go Kings Go in a shrill and awful voice.