Ramblings: Bergeron, Carter, Pacioretty and Perry score big.
Patrice Bergeron has continued his tear, even with a new coach in Boston. He scored a goal and added two assists, giving him nine goals and 22 points in the last 19 games. Stud.
Here were the Bruins lines from last night:
#1 24.7% BACKES,DAVID - BERGERON,PATRICE - MARCHAND,BRAD
#2 20.3% MOORE,DOMINIC - NASH,RILEY - SCHALLER,TIM
#3 19.8% BELESKEY,MATT - KREJCI,DAVID - PASTRNAK,DAVID
#4 14.5% HAYES,JIMMY - SPOONER,RYAN - VATRANO,FRANK
They did indeed break up the Bergeron, Brad Marchand and David Pastrnak trio but don’t worry, they were still together on the top power play unit combining for a couple of Pastrnak goals, including this gem:
Pastrnak has his second of the game, heating up again. pic.twitter.com/pkdYRe5szq— Stephen Laidlaw (@SteveLaidlaw) February 10, 2017
David Backes is a big winner here because the Bergeron-Marchand duo is hitting legend status. Backes had a three-point night of his own last night.
I’d be more excited about Backes but after their back-to-back this weekend, the Bruins hit their bye week and then immediately head out on the dreaded California road trip.
Since January 1, the Bruins have scored on 18 of 56 power plays, a 32% success rate. Safe to say that will tail off at some point so don’t bet the farm on the Bruins’ big dogs now that they have firmly turned their offense around.
Joe Thornton scored just his fourth goal of the season, and it was a unique one in that it was the first goal that he had scored that wasn’t an empty-netter. That is it’s own special kind of impressive. Thornton’s never been a big goal scorer, but his aversion to shooting has hit new heights this season. He has just 56 shots in 55 games. That’s David Desharnais type aversion. You never want to go that deep.
Even without shooting the puck, I do think that there is another gear for Thornton to hit but it’ll rely on one of his teammates heating up or their power play starting to find itself. His on-ice shooting percentage is down slightly to 7.0% and his individual point percentage is down as well. I don’t expect him at point-per-game levels. It took some magic in the other direction to create that last season.
I’d have guessed the floor for Thornton was 60 coming into the year but he has to go a point-per-game the rest of the way to get there now so he’ll probably come up shy. He should do better than the 51 he is currently on pace for, however.
Holy hell the Kings ran over the Panthers last night, forcing James Reimer from the game and then forcing him back in as both Florida netminders conceded three goals.
Jeff Carter scored a pair, all part of a four-point night that continues his MVP-level run. He has 29 goals on the year, just one behind Sidney Crosby. Not bad for a guy who went around the 130th pick in the average draft. He and Ryan Kesler (on average the 128th pick in fantasy drafts) are no doubt among this year’s top steals in terms of making an immediate and sustained impact. Also, it helps when these players were drafted in every league unlike other steals like Leon Draisaitl who were more likely waiver claims.
Tyler Toffoli scored his first goal/point since returning from injury. He was held off the board in the previous three games. He’s skating with Anze Kopitar, which is a great spot for both of these guys.
Tanner Pearson clicking with Carter on one line and Kopitar with Toffoli on another line, suddenly the Kings resemble a team trying to score goals.
Defenseman prospect Paul Ladue notched his first NHL point in just his second career game. He’s skating in a limited role but is seeing secondary PP time.
I don’t think LaDue is a big-time fantasy prospect. He didn’t score more than 0.5 points per game in any of his three college seasons and is at the 0.5 mark in his first pro season at the AHL level. That said, he’s a right-handed shot and has flashed some goal-scoring chops at every level. Other than the unicorns, most defensemen are reliant on secondary assists to pile up points so this could be a situation where LaDue wasn’t getting much support.
Bottom line, there’s a long line of solid fantasy defensemen ahead of LaDue so we’re talking injuries or trade before he really becomes relevant no matter what you think of his prospects.
You probably wouldn’t be surprised to hear that last night was Corey Perry’s first multi-goal game of the season. The sniper has struggled to score all season with a shooting percentage of just 7.2%. The last time he had a shooting percentage below 10% was in his sophomore year a decade ago.
Some of Perry’s struggles come as a result of deference to Rickard Rakell who has banged in more than his fair share of goals. He has also lost his top PP spot to Rakell and Kesler who are just producing at a better rate.
The Ducks’ power play has clicked on just seven of 55 chances since January 1, which is just a 12.7% success rate. They could probably use a shakeup, which would be one way to get Perry rolling down the stretch. He’s not the only one who could use it either. Cam Fowler has just six points in the last 23 games and no PPP in that stretch.
Fowler isn’t shooting enough for me to put up with this dry stretch either. I might have dumped him by now if I had him in any leagues. League size always matters with these decisions but you guys know that I need big shot volume or at least a 50-point pace to warrant holding defenders through cold streaks. He is on pace for 41 points and 187 shots now. Right on that borderline of dropability.
Another defenseman trending in that southern direction is Zach Werenski. He has just seven points in 17 games since January 1 and has seen his shot rate fall steadily as the season has worn on. He’s still above 2.0 SOG per game but he’s fallen off a 200-shot pace.
The Blue Jacket power play, much like the Duck power play, has gone into the tank after being lights out early on. They’ve converted on just seven of 46 power plays since January 1, a 15.2% clip. The lesson: teams adjust. You can’t expect elite production out of a unit for a full season, no matter how good they look. Now we get to see if they can make adjustments of their own.
Personally, I’m adjusting expectations for these guys downward, across the board. I wonder if you can still sell high.
One example: I’m staring down a potential Kyle Okposo for Nick Foligno trade. Foligno would help give me a boost in hits but I’m terrified of watching these guys go into the tank for the stretch run. I have much more confidence in the talent in Buffalo, even if they have a weaker team on the whole. A big reason for that is Jack Eichel:
Eichel off the draw! pic.twitter.com/hTxiMhJrt3— Stephen Laidlaw (@SteveLaidlaw) February 10, 2017
Elite shooters have a way of elevating your floor. I put Eichel just below the Ovechkin/Stamkos/Laine tier of shooters but he’s still capable of being an offensive fulcrum both in volume and in conversion rate. I had some questions about him coming into the season but Eichel has answered all of them.
The Predators’ lines last night:
#1 28.5% ARVIDSSON,VIKTOR - JARNKROK,CALLE - WILSON,COLIN
#2 26.3% FORSBERG,FILIP - JOHANSEN,RYAN - NEAL,JAMES
#3 19.7% ABERG,PONTUS - FISHER,MIKE - SMITH,CRAIG
#4 11% FIDDLER,VERNON - MCLEOD,CODY - WATSON,AUSTIN
PK Subban had his first multi-point game since November. I’m still out on him. Not that I’d drop him, but I’d be trying to trade. It’s Josi or bust.
Mattias Ekholm wasn’t particularly relevant with power play time but he’s seen no man-advantage time in three straight. Now that Subban and Josi are healthy there’s no time for Ekholm.
Bad news for the Capitals who had their third line clicking at full steam:
Burakovsky is out with an upper body injury.— Tarik El-Bashir (@TarikCSN) February 10, 2017
Andre Burakovsky went into last night with six goals and 14 points in his previous 13 games and had started to bring his linemates along for the ride. Brett Connolly has goals in four of the last five games, while Lars Eller has a four-game point streak going.
Word is that Burakovsky has a hand injury and will miss some time, with surgery a possibility. Stay tuned. I’d have jumped off this line anyhow but that’s mostly because they hit their bye week after their game on Saturday. Odds are you wouldn’t fit any of these guys into your lineup tomorrow so you may as well jump off early.
We may see the return of Jakub Vrana at some point, although Zach Sanford was recalled earlier this week and may get the first crack. If neither can help that third line maybe we see the Caps jump into the trade market after all.
Henrik Zetterberg still has some tricks up his sleeve:
Another angle on that Zetterberg backhand. The old man still has it. pic.twitter.com/WJcnl5KHYb— Stephen Laidlaw (@SteveLaidlaw) February 10, 2017
It helps that he gets a wicked feed from Anthony Mantha, who is exactly the kind of electric young talent who can help Zetterberg stay relevant. We all assumed that Tomas Tatar and Gustav Nyquist would be the ones to do it but I’ve moved on to Mantha, Dylan Larkin and Andreas Athanasiou.
Mantha went quiet for a couple of weeks before the All-Star break but has since rebounded with five point in the last five games.
Athanasiou, meanwhile, scored a pair of goals to end a five-game drought. He’s basically Michael Grabner 2.0, although he may yet find more to offer. He is only 22.
Paul Stastny left last night’s game and did not return. No update on his status, I’m sure we’ll know more for tomorrow’s ramblings. Look for Alex Steen to move to center if Stastny misses serious time. It would be a shame if he did, Stastny had scored 17 points in the previous 16 games.
At least they still have Vladimir Tarasenko:
Vladimir Tarasenko with a beauty to win it in OT pic.twitter.com/8uj42KgICw— Pete Blackburn (@PeteBlackburn) February 10, 2017
Carey Price needs next week’s bye desperately:
Price suddenly remembered bees are dying at an alarming rate pic.twitter.com/BqoN6cseGh— Marc Dumont (@MarcPDumont) February 10, 2017
He’s got a 3.06 GAA and a 0.899 Sv% since January 1. I believe in him as one of the league’s best goaltenders but yikes! Some of this is that the Canadiens are playing poor defense in front of him but the elite guys are supposed to bail that stuff out.
Other goalies around or below a 0.900 Sv% since January 1:
Henrik Lundqvist – 0.902
Jake Allen – 0.901
Sergei Bobrovsky – 0.900
Corey Crawford – 0.898
Chad Johnson – 0.895
Frederik Andersen – 0.894
Andrei Vasilevskiy – 0.892
Cam Ward – 0.889
Ondrej Pavelec – 0.888
Steve Mason – 0.885
Tuukka Rask – 0.868
That is not the full list but it gives you a good idea. Some of these things are not like the others.
Good thing that Max Pacioretty brought the heat to bail out Price, scoring a pair of goals and adding two assists. He’s up to 27 on the season. Pacioretty scores 30 goals a year like clockwork.
Max Domi notched a pair of points in his third game since returning from injury. He skated under 14 minutes in the first two games but was up at 18:42 last night. Some of that is because of overtime but expect Domi to be stretched out going forward, which bodes well for his fantasy prospects.
Shayne Gostisbehere finally got back into the Flyer lineup, skating over 22 minutes including over four on the power play. He assisted on their lone goal, a power-play marker but he was also a minus-two, which means he’s headed back to the press box.
That last part was a joke, I think.
Thanks for reading! You can follow me on Twitter @SteveLaidlaw.
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