Is it just me or are there WAY more Monday night games this season than in the past 3 seasons combined. For a while the schedule was like clockwork: Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday, with the occasional national game sprinkled in on a Wednesday or a Sunday for good measure. Monday and Friday games were rare. I knew when every game would be, now I have no idea whats going on and I don’t deserve that. Get your scheduling shit together NHL.
Because really, it’s all about me.
As of writing this, there are only 3 players listed with injuries: McQuaid, Cehlarik, and DeBrusk! I know it’s still early, but currently Boston is sitting just one point away from a playoff spot. It’ll be great to see what happens with a healthy roster.
Showdown in Music Shitty:
Sorry, I really hate country music.
After a rocky start, Nashville is right there in the race that is the Central Division. Forsberg is leading the offensive charge, but they have one of the more balanced offenses in the league right now.
Note that I just said balanced. Their scoring has been good enough but definitely shy of the really elite offenses. If the Bruins play like we’ve occasionally seen that they are capable of, they should be able to keep them at bay regardless of who is in net.
Defense and Special Teams are another matter. Nashville is 8th in the league in Goals Against, and 3rd and 5th in PP and PK respectively. Boston comes in at an abysmal 26th in Goals Per Game and a slightly less abysmal 18th in PP percentage, so goals are going to be a precious commodity.
Luring The Coyotes Out of the Desert:
Folks, I don’t know if you know this, but the Coyotes are really bad, like REALLY bad. They’re 30th in Goals per Game and dead last in GA. Clayton Keller and Ekman-Larsson are solid players, but that’s really all Arizona has going for them.
If you care about +/-, then here is a fun fact. No player on Arizona who has played more than 5 games has a +/- in the positives. I think there may be a 0 here or there, but that’s it.
That’s all I got really. It’s the god damn Arizona Coyotes, they’re more impotent than that coyote from Looney Tunes.
Trust The Gorton’s Fisherman:
The Islanders are a one trick pony, but it just so happens that the trick is scoring. They lead the league in scoring, but they’re 26th in Goals Against and PK. Tavares and his silky, sexy hands lead the team in goals with 16, but Anders Lee is right behind him with 15. They currently have 5 player with 20+ points.
They also have Halak and Greiss in net and a defense full of pylons.
All in all, these are three very winnable games for the Bruins. The Preds could be a tough match up, but I’ll be shocked if they don’t get at least 4 out of a possible 6 points, especially if they continue to get healthier. Rask is earning more and more trust and the coming week will be a solid test for him.
by This Guy
…The thing is that you’re not gonna sit him, you’d never sit him…because of the implication.
There are a ton of Predators you’re going to want to always play. You’re always going to want to play Subban, Forsberg, Arvidsson, Josi, and Johansen. All four of those guys are either over or nearing 20 points on the season with Forsberg being the only over point-per-game player on the roster.
Another guy you may want to look at is Kyle Turris. Turris has 7 points in 10 games since being traded to the Nashville Predators in that three-way trade for Matt Duchene. A warning if you’re looking to take a chance on Turris: In his last three games, despite registering two assists, he hasn’t taken on shot on goal. If SOG is a tracked stat in your league and you struggle in that arena, Turris may not be the guy for you.
Pekke Rinne is having a pretty good year. On the season, Rinne boasts a .926 SV% and a GAA of 2.35. The reason you’d start him against the Bruins is that he has owned Boston in the 7 games against them. In those seven career games, Rinne is 4-2-1 with a .930 SV% and has only allowed 16 goals.
Rinne has been a decent startable goalie this season and should continue that if he gets the start against Boston.
It’s possible that Juuse Saros could get the start against Boston since he hasn’t played a game since November 26 against the Hurricanes. Saros numbers this season are pretty terrible as he’d had three games where his save percentage has dipped number .900. Avoid him at all costs.
Well it’s Arizona, so don’t expect paragraphs on paragraphs. There’s only a couple of players on Arizona that I can recommend and they’re not the everyday starters like Nashville’s skaters.
Clayton Keller has been a wonderful surprise for the Coyotes (and the Boogaards and Cum – my fantasy hockey team) as he is the only Coyotes’ player over 20 points this season. Currently Keller has 11 goals and 10 assists and leads the team in shots as well.
Oliver Ekman-Larsson is going to be a good defenseman to play, especially if your league captures powerplay goals and/or powerplay assists. 12 of OEL’s 18 total points on the season have come while Arizona has been on the man advantage. He’s also second on the Coyotes in shots on goal.
A word to the wise: If your league counts plus/minus, you want to consider not starting any Coyotes’ players. Currently, there is zero players on Arizona with a plus/minus rating that is positive (as of this writing, 12/2/2017). Guys like Keller, OEL and Steppan, while productive, all sport a plus/minus close or under -10. Again, if plus/minus is a thing your league – you may want to pass on all Coyotoes.
Antti Raanta is the man in Arizona, but he’s not a man you should have on your fantasy team. Raanta sports a .914 SV% and while that looks good, his 2.94 GAA will kill any and all goaltending categories. The only way Raanta is feasible as your starting goaltender is if you’re in some fucked up league where goals don’t matter (and they’re out there).
Raanta has faced an average of 26 shots per game in his 13 starts for Arizona. If he’s in net against Boston, don’t play him. The same goes for Scott Wellwood.
New York Islanders
We are in Nashville territory. If you have Josh Bailey, Anders Lee, John Tavares, Mathew Barzal, or Nick Leddy you’re going to want to start them. All five of those players have more than 20 points on this season with Bailey hitting 30 so far.
The only issue with the Islanders is that you’re not going to get much goal scoring. Outside of Tavares and Lee, only one other player has double digit goals and that’s Jordan Eberle. Tavares (16) and Lee (15) have done the heavy lifting when it comes to lighting the lamp. While being the second highest goals for team in the NHL, their goals come incredible spread out after Eberle.
Are you Matt Damon because what you’re going to get from the Islanders in bushels is apples. All five players I mentioned at the beginning of the first paragraph have double digit assists with Bailey at a staggering 25. If you’re playing at home, that’s good for second in the NHL.
Defensively, Nick Leddy is your best bet at the all-around game. He’s one of their top point getters and has 30 hits on the season. He has also blocked 34 shots. Leddy is on pace for 98 hits and 111 blocks – all career highs.
Both Islanders’ goaltenders should be avoided. Jaroslav Halak has a save percentage that plummeting towards .900 (currently at .905) and a GAA nearing 3.00. Thomas Greiss has been a horror show in net as well. His GAA is a 3.61 and his SV% is under .900 (.896).
Stay away homies.
Start your usuals. Brad Marchand and David Pastrnak are auto starts. What’s becoming harder for me is advocating for Patrice Bergeron. Bergeron has always been an auto start for me but his season has been so up and down that you’re going to need a really good matchup. As long as Brad is scoring, it seems Bergeron is okay to chip in an assist here or there.
Bergeron registered an assist against Philadelphia on Saturday but before that had three games where he went pointless. It seems as Brad Marchand goes, so does Patrice Bergeron.
Charlie McAvoy is a guy you’ll want to start most of the time as well. He’s not afraid to mix it up so if you’re league counts PIMs, he can get you a couple. McAvoy is currently third on the team in that category. He will also shoot and anytime you have a defenseman who QBs a powerplay, you’re going to want him on the ice. McAvoy currently averages 1:56 of PP/TOI per game which is second best among defensemen.
Lastly, Torey Krug is quickly becoming an auto start in the D slot. Krug is fourth on the team in total points and leads the teams in PP/TOI. 4 of Krug’s 14 points have come while Boston has been on a powerplay. While, seasonaly, his defensive game has been a nightmare – he’s been a wonderful fantasy hockey player.
This is where the tricky stuff is. Anton Khudobin and Tuukka Rask seems to now be a goaltending-by-committee pairing. Rask was wonderful against the Flyers on Saturday and Khudobin has already been named the starter against Nashville. Going forward though? Who knows.
I’ll tell you this: Avoid any goaltender against Nashville and New York. New York is second in the NHL is goals for while Nashville is thirteenth. Both have the ability to put up huge numbers incredibly quickly.
You’ll also want to start whoever is between the pipes against Arizona. Arizona sucks.
Pez’s Incredible, Stupendous Top 5 Starts Of The Week:
- John Tavares
- Filip Forsberg
- Brad Marchand
- Josh Bailey
- David Pastrnak
by That Guy