Ramblings: Sens Win Big in Calgary;Caps Stars Shine; Minnesota Injuries – October 14

by Michael Clifford on October 13, 2017 | (0 Comments)
  • Hockey Rambling
  • Ramblings: Sens Win Big in Calgary;Caps Stars Shine; Minnesota Injuries – October 14

It was a wild Friday the 13th in the NHL on Friday night. Even with just five games on the slate, but there were injuries across the league.

Minnesota was dealt three separate issue with three different forwards, two guys out of their top-six, specifically. There is obviously a lot of time left in the season, but they don’t want to give away too many points at any part of the season. Here’s the rundown:

With Mikael Granlund and Zach Parise already on the shelf, the team is missing what amounts to two-thirds of their top two lines. That is significant.

For fantasy purposes, this should mean more minutes for Jason Zucker. As it was, he played nearly 20 minutes in their last game when the Nino Niederreiter and Charlie Coyle injuries occurred, and that would have been the second-highest mark for him last year. I would assume he will play prime minutes for this team at least in the short-term.

Beyond Zucker, Chris Stewart played nearly 17 minutes, which is much higher than anyone should anticipate for him when this team is healthy. As a whole, though, this is just bad news for everyone on Minnesota. From the forwards to the goalie, injuries of this magnitude are tough for any team to overcome, and the Wild are not exceptions. It’s going to be a rough run for them over the next month. Check the waiver wires for Zucker, maybe Stewart or Tyler Ennis for those that are desperate, but it’s not a situation to chase.

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So this kind of went underreported from Thursday night, but Tim Heed played the entire game for San Jose on the top power-play unit alongside Brent Burns. Tim Heed? Glad you asked. You can read his Dobber Prospects profile here.

He only played 13:10 in that game against Buffalo, and that included three power plays. Even with that prime slotting, it’s hard for him to be incredibly productive on a game-in, game-out basis. If he can start earning some more five-on-five minutes, he could carry value as the season wears on, but that’s not right now.

 

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It was a goaltending battle in the 3-1 Columbus win last night over the Rangers. The third goal was an empty-netter by Lukas Sedlak. Each goalie faced over 35 shots, with Henrik Lundqvist facing over 40.

Just four goals means there wasn’t a lot to be had fantasy-wise outside of the goaltenders, but Artemi Panarin did pot his first goal of the season, who now has four points in four games this year. It was nice to finally see him shoot, too, as he managed just two in the team’s first three games but six in the contest against New York.

Zach Werenski had a fine fantasy night with two assists, as did his blue line mate Seth Jones with a goal and an assist. Each player now has three points on the season, and Werenski is up to 14 shots in four games.

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We got our first “is he playing or not” mix-up of the season last night. This happened in a span of 15 minutes, with Nicklas Backstrom finally announced as playing at 7:59 Atlantic time (one minute before lock):

This happens once in a while during the season, but for all the years I’ve played daily fantasy, it’s never been a persistent problem outside the season half the NHL was seemingly infected with the mumps. For those that might be diving into DFS for the first time, or are somewhat new at it, it’s a reminder to check Twitter constantly in the 30 minutes leading to lineup lock. Players get hurt in warmups, or already-injured players may test it out to see if they can play, so sometimes lineups can be greatly altered. There is nothing more frustrating than rostering a player that puts up a bagel because he was scratched and you weren’t paying attention.

For anyone wondering what happened, apparently Backstrom took a puck off the head early in warmups. When he went off, the listed him as a scratch. However, we know he ended up fine, and played. I’m sure the Caps are glad he did because the Swede had three assists and added a third-period power-play goal for good measure. One wonders how this game would have turned out had Backstrom indeed been scratched.

It was a monster fantasy night for the Washington top power-play unit. They scored two goals on the PP, which isn’t too out of the ordinary, but on top of Backstrom four-point night, Evgeny Kuznetsov had two assists, Alex Ovechkin had a goal (his ninth this year!) and an assist, and TJ Oshie had two goals and an assist.

Jakub Vrana also picked up his first goal of the year, giving him four points in five games. It appears the Caps are pretty much picking up where they left off last year.

Back on Ovechkin for a second: he scored his ninth goal on November 23rd last year.

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Craig Anderson turned in a solid 25-save shutout for the Senators, as they cleaned Calgary to the tune of a 6-0 game.

Ottawa had six different goal scorers and Kyle Turris posted three assists along the way. One of those goals came off the stick of Mike Hoffman, and it was both his first goal and point of the season. It was nice to see him with seven shots on goal as well. That gives him 18 shots in four games thus far which means hopefully many more goals are yet to come.

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At time of writing, James Neal tallied his sixth goal of the year, the team’s fourth game. It’s an incredible run early on.

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Injury news from last night:

This is a problem for Ryan Getzlaf owners. He missed time to start the year, returned, and then was scratched again last night. There is no telling what the severity of this lower-body injury is, but it’s clear he’s not healthy. Even if he returns to the lineup on Sunday, how healthy will he be? How healthy will he be in two weeks? A month? No one wants a lingering issue, but that’s what it looks like right now.  

There’s nothing fantasy owners can do except sit tight and hope he can get healthy ASAP. Who knows if, or when, that may be, though.

 

It gets worse for Anaheim:

This was the follow-up after the game:

Gibson was having a solid start to his season, and when healthy, he and the team should be among the best in the West. Hopefully he’s truly day-to-day and he can get back on the ice soon. With the other injuries in Anaheim right now, the team needs him in goal.

 

Matt Niskanen left Washington’s game after the second period, and did not return:

We don’t know the severity yet, though he’s an important part of the Washington blue line.

This one shouldn’t hurt fantasy owners too much as he’s at best a fourth or fifth defenceman on most rosters. Now we wait on the severity. In the meantime, Aaron Ness played over six and a half minutes in the third period after playing less than four in each of the first two frames. Anyone hoping for some extra Christian Djoos minutes may be disappointed, though it should be noted that the Caps played most of the final five minutes on the penalty kill and while they both played some PK, Ness played a lot more.  

 

This happened midway through the first period of the Ducks-Avalanche game:

 

Nathan MacKinnon did not return to the game. The team confirmed it was an eye injury, but it seems like he should be fine:

It’s a relief that his teammates were saying that he will be fine. Any potential eye injury is always a big scare, so it’s great news to hear everything is ok.

Just as an FYI, when MacKinnon left the game, both JT Compher and Matt Duchene saw some minutes with Mikko Rantanen and Sven Andrighetto. JT Compher also was moved to the power-play unit with Rantanen, Andrighetto, and Gabriel Landeskog. Interesting to just note that in case they ever shuffled the lines, Compher could bring value down the road this season.