Ah, Thanksgiving, the holiday of conflicted emotions.
On one hand, it’s a day in which you fill your belly with comfort food; on the other hand, it’s a day in which you fill your belly with comfort food. You get the spend time with family members, including ones you rarely see; that said, you get the spend time with family members, including ones you rarely see. Also, it’s a deeply historic holiday if you pay attention. Unfortunately, it’s a deeply historic holiday if you pay attention.
Personally, Your Dose Author is thankful to not know the addresses of NHL schedulemakers, as that knowledge may have resulted in the purchase of toilet paper and eggs that would have be used on a person’s property rather than to fulfill their intended duties.
Anyway, enjoy this fitting celebration of gluttony: a massive column covering 13 games.
/Throws the least attractive side dish at schedulemakers.
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CANADIENS 5, RANGERS 1
-- Uninformed Habs fans - who I assume are living under some sort of rock that only allows you to get Rotoworld, which is still a pretty cool rock in the grand scheme of things - might look at that score and smile. This game provided reasons to sweat, cringe and grimace … not smile, as Carey Price aggravated a previous lower-body injury.
It’s tough to tell how serious the issue might be, but Montreal owns a significant standings cushion, so the Canadiens have little motivation to force their superstar goalie into action before he’s ready (especially if they already did so here).
-- P.K. Subban is tied for third place in the NHL with 19 assists. He's a guy, like Kris Letang (we'll get to him soon) who should get a few more goals, as P.K. has a meager shooting percentage of 1.8 (one goal on 56 SOG). Defensemen are obviously lower-percentage shooters than forwards, but someone as talented as Subban is likely to connect at a much higher rate, possibly very soon.
As usual, confer with news sources that track line combos and keep in mind the fluid nature of these situations before making moves that are any bolder than merely dropping the worst skater on your roster for Smith-Pelly.
-- Rick Nash continued his three-game goal streak with one tally in this one.
His numbers in that span: five goals, even rating thanks to last night's -3, four PIM, two PPG, 16 SOG. Both of his two GWG came in this span, obviously not last night.
PREDATORS 3, SABRES 2
-- The Predators hadn't scored a goal in three games (in real-time, actually pretty close to four), but they put up three on the struggling Sabres. Buffalo has now lost six games in a row.
-- To Buffalo’s credit, the Sabres actually owned the puck for much of this contest. It’s interesting that this team is actually a LOT better than last season, yet still stuck in largely the same place. More than anything else, it highlights just how putrid they’ve been and how far they still need to go.
-- Cody Hodgson scored the game-winning goal for Nashville. It was Hodgson's first game back in Buffalo. It’s incredible to reflect upon how far his stature has fallen in mere seasons.
-- Linus Ullmark allowed all three Nashville goals and eventually got the hook.
BLUE JACKETS 2, DEVILS 1
-- Patrik Elias made his season debut for the Devils. The center finished the game with two shots and was a -1 in 14:50 TOI. Honestly, I don’t see much of a reason to grab Elias, although keep an eye out if he can latch onto one of the Devils’ top scorers/scoring pairs.
-- Brandon Dubinsky has missed six games due to 1 shot, Dubinsky finished the game +1, with one shot and two hits. He logged pretty solid ice time too, at 17:48 TOI.
-- Adam Henrique picked up his 10th goal of the season for the Devils. Henrique is on pace to far exceed his goal total from last year (16 goals in 75 games played).
-- Sergei Bobrovsky is on fire and seems to be the most obvious beneficiary of John Tortorella’s presence. Columbus is in a solid position to try to grind its way into a playoff berth, so focus more on the team’s numbers in November after a shaky but increasingly irrelevant start (for fantasy forecasting reasons).
CAPITALS 5, JETS 3
-- Alex Ovechkin scored only his second power-play goal of the season. It was his 11th goal of the season. He earned his keep in this one, firing a ton of shots (some that didn’t register as SOGs) while also delivering four hits.
-- Dmitry Orlov had a big night for the Capitals scoring a goal and picking up an assist. It was the defenseman's third goal in as many games. I mentioned this in a recent Dose, but it’s worth repeating: Washington should make it a point to feature that kid’s wicked shot.
-- Evgeny Kuznetsov added a goal and picked up two assists to give him 24 points so far in 2015-16. His talent was no secret, yet this has been a remarkable breakthrough, and he’s not merely riding Ovechkin’s coattails being that Nicklas Backstrom is back with Big 8.
-- Toby Enstrom is on a mini-hot-streak, with three of his eight points from 2015-16 coming in the past four games, including Wednesday's goal. The talent's there, yet the opportunities aren’t always what they were compared to his borderline All-Star days, so I'd expect this pace to cool at some point.
PENGUINS 5, BLUES 4 (OT)
-- Crosby scored twice in the wake of news that there is a rift between him and Mario Lemieux, which were denied by “The Magnificent One.” Both goals were quite pretty, I might add. Wouldn’t it be amusing if this lit his fire?
(It could just as easily be a coincidence.)
-- Evgeni Malkin ended it 1:03 into overtime after collecting two assists.
-- Kris Letang has really been taking a beating from certain media members this season, but I think that stuff can get unfair, especially when the real problems (my impression: coach Mike Johnston) can manifest themselves in subtle ways.
Regardless, the fantasy results haven't been very appealing, but there are reasons to bank on better days ... and maybe try to target Letang for a trade.
With two assists on Wednesday, Letang has five points - all helpers - in the past four games.
I'd also expect his dangerous shot to hit the mark more often going forward. Despite firing almost three SOG per game (60 in 21), he only has one goal, translating to a terrible 1.7 shooting percentage.
His career mark of 5.5 won't set the world on fire, but could mean more fruitful times in 2016 (and probably December too).
ISLANDERS 3, FLYERS 1
-- Allow me to trot out what might be a recurring thought throughout the 2015-16 season: I vastly prefer the uneven, wild and erratic (but entertaining) version of the Flyers over the bland and bad one we're seeing this year.
-- Boy, this was one flat game. I wonder if the Barclays Center will be this dead for playoff games, too?
-- Kyle Okposo looked fantastic in this one, bulling through hopeless Flyers defensemen and scoring his fifth goal of 2015-16.
BRUINS 3, RED WINGS 2 (OT)
-- Boston keeps starting off months in such bad ways that people slam them, only to finish up red-hot. With three road games to start December, that trend may continue, too.
-- Pavel Datsyuk's second goal of the season was a bit of puck art that few other humans could pull off. You know, so standard Datsyuk procedure, basically.
-- Jonas Gustavsson stopped 32 out of 34 shots to beat his former team, improving his record to 5-1-0 with a .920 save percentage that would easily be a career-best if it persists.
LIGHTNING 2, KINGS 1 (SO)
-- Tyler Johnson returned to the Tampa Bay lineup and scored its only "real" goal. The look on his face in this mug shot captures how once-hopeful hockey fans feel about watching the listless Lightning so far this season.
-- Milan Lucic scored his seventh goal with Los Angeles, continuing to enjoy a lot of puck luck, as his shooting percentage is at 25. He's generally a pretty high percentage shooter - which isn't as much of a compliment as you might think, since he is under two SOG per game for his career - but his career mark is at 14.9. He'll need to do better than 28 SOG in 22 games if he wants to keep scoring goals at a decent-ish pace.
-- Ben Bishop is now on a three-game winning streak and has generated at least a standings point for Tampa Bay in his past five appearances (4-0-1). With a .929 save percentage, he's easily one of the feel-good stories for a surprisingly gloomy band-o-Bolts.
COYOTES 4, DUCKS 2
-- Sami Vatanen only managed a goal in 10 October games. It almost seems like a switch flipped after Halloween, however, as he already has 10 points in 12 November contests. He's currently on pace for 45 points, which would mark a new career-high.
-- Antoine Vermette scored two goals on Wednesday, so he's generated more than half of his season's offense (three points) in the past two games after only managing two points in his first 13.
-- Max Domi seems for real, although I'd expect him to cool down considering his 19 shooting percentage. Regardless, it seems like the Coyotes may have landed a real find at the 12th pick in 2013, and plenty of people anticipated as much.
-- If the Coyotes edge the Ducks for a final playoff spot, recall games like these.
HURRICANES 4, OILERS 1
-- Yes, Nail Yakupov has been neutralized without Connor McDavid in the mix - not excessively surprising - but it doesn't change the fact that his injury wasn't brutal and ridiculous. An official sprawled after a faceoff and basically took Yak down with him, and it's a wait-and-see sort of thing.
He even grabbed an assist to break his slump on Wednesday, just to make it sting for Edmonton that much more.
-- Eric Staal broke a four-game pointless streak with an assist in this game, also generating a +2 rating and two PIM. If Carolina can get anything for him, why not trade him? I don't get this franchise, unless I'm merely correct that they prefer the ineffectual status quo to even the slightest bit of discomfort that comes with meaningful change.
(They are really, really good at wasting money, though.)
CANUCKS 3, WILD 2
-- This is starting to look like a resurgent season for Thomas Vanek, who scored a goal to give himself four points in his past four games (and 17 points in 20 contests). There is a red flag in his 18 shooting percentage, but the important thing with a truly mercurial talent like Vanek is confidence, so this is promising.
-- Mikko Koivu extended his point streak to seven games with two assists. He also has 20 points in as many contests. He manages to do so while being vaguely boring, at least if you're the type who's more interested in dynamic work rather than the steady stuff.
-- Did someone remind Radim Vrbata that he's in a contract year? He's now on a three-game point streak with three goals (two last night) and one assist.
-- I can't say I saw a point-per-game start for Ryan Suter in the cards, but here we are, as he also has 20 in 20.
SENATORS 5, AVALANCHE 3
-- This wasn't one of those times where Colorado seemingly dominated puck possession, and then you dug a little deeper and it turned out that it was same old, same old.
Granted, it was very even until the third period, when the Senators seemingly decided that a 4-1 lead was reason enough to shut things down; the Avs managed a 22-4 shot advantage, and almost came back. The deficit seems larger because of a late ENG by Mika Zibanejad, but Colorado actually made it 4-3.
Craig Anderson deserves plenty of credit in this one, stopping 40 out of 43 shots and foiling his former team in stretching his winning streak to four straight games. This hot run leaves him with the kind of numbers his owners were likely crossing their fingers for: 10-4-3, .920 save percentage, two shutouts (both during this winning streak).
-- Shane Price enjoyed a breakout night, grabbing the game's first two goals while assisting on the eventual game-winner.
-- Jarome Iginla may have hit a wall. He's failed to score a point in five of his last six games, managing two assists on Nov. 19.
BLACKHAWKS 5, SHARKS 2
-- Brent Burns' career-high for goals is 17, a mark he's reached twice (including last season). He already has nine, and with 102 SOG in 22 games, there's a healthy chance that bodaciously bearded Burns may just hit 20 goals for the first time in his career.
He's currently on a three-game goal streak (four goals, one assist), and it really doesn't seem that outrageous considering his 19 SOG. He's also added eight PIM just to make fantasy owners swoon a little more.
I'm not even sure his 8.8 shooting percentage is THAT out of step with what we should expect, as he's just a unique animal right now.
My biggest concerns would be a) an injury or b) a pizza shortage.
-- Artemi Panarin likely benefited from some rest after going pointless in back-to-back games on Nov. 20 and 21. He generated two assists in this one, upping his point total to 23 in 22 games.
-- Even beyond the icky factor with Patrick Kane (who continues to push his play through the roof with a career-best 17-game point streak), I feel like it's only so useful to discuss his exploits because it's unlikely many owners will get a chance to acquire him.
OK, that's only partially true, as I'm willing to praise Alex Ovechkin and you're unlikely to nab him via trade. Still, I don't think we need to devote a lot of time to Kane's uncomfortable Art Ross run, but let me know if you disagree.
-- For all the talk of shooting percentages, Jonathan Toews' 14.8 mark might not be misleading, as his career average is at 14.9.