Couture Five-Point Game; Hart Shutout; Eyssimont, Cates, DeBrincat (Jan 29) – DobberHockey

Alex DeBrincat entered Saturday’s game with no points in his last four games and just three points in 12 games in January. Prior to January, DeBrincat was a point-per-game player (36 points in 36 games). Fortunately, DeBrincat scored a goal on Saturday and had also recorded an assist that appeared to be taken away later. DeBrincat has a bunch of slightly lower than normal advanced stats (9.5 SH%, 6.5 5-on-5 SH%, 969 PDO, 25.0 Sec Asst %). For that reason, I would definitely hold onto the Cat and may even buy low.

DeBrincat’s linemate Claude Giroux scored a pair of goals and added an assist, extending his point streak to four games. Giroux now has eight points over those four games, including three consecutive games with at least one goal and two points. Ottawa as a team might be a disappointment this season, but at least Giroux has held up his end of the bargain. He’s now nearing point-per-game territory (47 PTS in 49 GP).

The third member of the DeBrincat/Giroux line is Ridly Greig, who I mentioned yesterday. Greig recorded a power-play assist on Saturday, giving him two assists over his three NHL games. This line really seems to be clicking, and 2020 first-round pick Greig seems like he could stick around. He’s also available in a lot of leagues (3% Yahoo/23% Fantrax). See his Dobber Prospects profile for more.

Yesterday, I also brought up the fact that Anton Forsberg would be starting back-to-back games because of Cam Talbot‘s injury. Well, Forsberg has now posted back-to-back wins, including a 28-save shutout of the Canadiens on Saturday. The Sens face the Habs one more time before the All-Star break, and Forsberg should be a must-start for that rematch in Montreal. He should be added in most formats while Talbot is out.

Owen Beck was recalled by the Canadiens from the OHL on an emergency basis, making his NHL debut on Saturday. The 2022 early second-round pick wasn’t expected to make his NHL debut this season, but the Habs have been dealing with a ton of injuries this season. Beck was on a line with Christian Dvorak and Jesse Ylonen, skating just under 10 minutes. He is expected to return to the OHL after this game, so he’s only worth an add in keeper leagues. See his Dobber Prospects page for more.

It’s fair to say Samuel Girard has performed below preseason projections this season, as he is on pace for less than 30 points. However, he is starting to heat up a bit with four points over his last three games, including an assist on Saturday. He’s fallen to being just 10 percent rostered in Yahoo, so he might be worth taking a flier on if you need a defenseman. Colorado has been battling injuries all season, but they are starting to get it together with wins in seven of their past eight games, which should ultimately help Girard. Just keep in mind that Bowen Byram could return after the All-Star break, which could cut into Girard’s power-play minutes.

On the Blues side of things, Torey Krug has eight points (all assists) in his past seven games. Since returning from a lower-body injury, Krug has three points over his last three games, including a power-play assist on Saturday. Krug also has nine shots over his last four games. Krug has also resumed his spot on the first-unit power play.

When Michael Eyssimont was claimed off waivers by the Sharks from the Jets, very few fantasy leaguers took notice. Yet landing on a new team with a new situation can suddenly move a player onto the radar. Eyssimont has been delivering on a scoring line with Logan Couture and Alexander Barabanov, scoring a goal on Saturday while adding a plus-3, eight shots, and five hits. Eyssimont had an even better game scoring-wise on Friday night with another goal and two assists. Two strong efforts that helped almost no one, since he’s 0% rostered in Yahoo and 4% rostered in Fantrax. Forget about scoring – Eyssimont has averaged about two hits per game and two shots per game over the entire season. At the very least, he’s a deeper league source for peripherals. If he can stick on the scoring line (and of course, score a little), then he’s something more than that.

Eyssimont’s Saturday statline mainly stood out because of his peripherals. Yet the statlines of his linemates stood out for their scoring. Barabanov scored a goal while adding two assists and a plus-3. Couture exploded for two goals and three assists and a plus-4 and five shots. Not what we were expecting, since Couture had only hit three points in a game one other time this season. Couture was 43% rostered and 35% started in Yahoo, so no doubt he didn’t make the cut on a few rosters in a game where he hit his career high in points.

Erik Karlsson has now matched his jersey number in points, and we’re about to reach the All-Star break. Yeah, you read that right. Karlsson is now 11 points ahead of any other defenseman in scoring – certainly a shocker for those of us who had him posting good-but-not-great numbers while remaining an injury risk. Karlsson has already guaranteed himself his best offensive season since the 2016-17 season while with Ottawa, and he has a shot at exceeding his career high of 82 points from 2015-16. Sure, scoring has skyrocketed since that time, but this is well beyond goal inflation.

I’m pretty sure Carter Hart was benched in a few leagues for a matchup in Winnipeg. Yet he turned aside all 40 Jets shots to pick up his first shutout since November 2021. Hart has posted one shutout in each of his last four seasons. Even though the Flyers won’t likely be a playoff team and thus shouldn’t be counted on to provide wins, Hart has been decent this season with a positive 5.44 GSAA (goals saved above average). Starting him might be more of a call based on the matchup, but there are definitely worse options in net.

With a goal and an assist, Noah Cates has five points in his past five games. Cates is playing on what resembles a scoring line with Kevin Hayes and Owen Tippett. Cates is also a top-10 rookie scorer with an identical point total (22 PTS) in the same number of games (51 GP) as Wyatt Johnston, with nearly three more minutes of icetime per game than Johnston. Cates is rostered in just 1% of Yahoo leagues and 20% of Fantrax leagues, making him readily available.

Just one point ahead of Cates in the rookie scoring race is Kent Johnson, who scored Columbus’s only goal on Saturday. Johnson now has four points over his last five games.

In the Seattle win, Eeli Tolvanen scored a goal for the third consecutive game. In just under a month with the Kraken, Tolvanen has scored eight goals in 15 games. The shooting percentage (18.5%) will no doubt come down, but it appears that Tolvanen has found a soft landing in Seattle after the Predators placed him on waivers.

The final minute and change of the Bruins/Panthers game was as crazy as it could get.  

Aleksander Barkov finished the game with three points – two of which were from the Panthers’ last-second tying goal and early overtime winner. Barkov is hot with an 11-game point streak in which he has piled up 17 points.  

In case you weren’t already aware, the schedule really thins out starting today.

If you play in a head-to-head league, hopefully your league has combined next week with one of the adjacent weeks. Otherwise, you’ll want to load up on players from the following teams next week: Carolina (2 games), Boston, Buffalo, Columbus, Los Angeles, Montreal, Ottawa, St. Louis, Toronto, Winnipeg, Washington (each 1 game). In an odd scheduling quirk, the Hurricanes actually plays thrice including today (Sunday) before the break, while the Bruins, Leafs, and Capitals each play twice over that span. Keep in mind that after the All-Star break, all of the teams listed in this paragraph will be off until at least Friday, as they will receive their “bye week.”

To determine how the schedule affects your fantasy team, check out the Schedule Planner on Frozen Tools. It’s one of my most-utilized pages on there.

With three assists on Saturday, Nick Perbix now has three multipoint games over his last five games. Those games were broken up by an upper-body injury that lasted a week. Perbix has the ability to generate a bit of offense (32-point pace over 82 games), but he has no power-play points and would only receive power-play time in the event of an injury.

If you didn’t stay up late, there was an EBUG in the Chicago/Edmonton game. With the score 7-3 for the Oilers with just over two minutes left, Matt Berlin from the University of Alberta received the call to make his first NHL appearance. Berlin made a single save to preserve the win for the Oilers. Jack Campbell earned the win for the Oilers, with Stuart Skinner out with the flu. Nice move by the Oilers to give Berlin an experience he’ll never forget. Easily the most interesting moment of the game, which I had kind of tuned out prior to that moment.

Evander Kane entered Saturday’s game without a point in three games since returning from a wrist injury and without a point in his last four games overall. He broke that slump with a goal on Saturday, his first since November 1, when he recorded a hat trick. Kane also took five shots on Saturday and even had seven shots in his return to the lineup on January 17, so testing the wrist hasn’t been a problem. It was just a matter of time before the puck would go in for him.

Tyson Barrie scored a pair of goals, which were his first goals since December 27 – a span of 14 games. Barrie had also been held without a point in his previous four games.

With a goal and two assists on Saturday, Zach Hyman continues to be hot. He has 16 points over his last seven games and at least one goal in each of his last five games. In under 50 games, Hyman has already smashed his career best in both points (60) and power-play points (19). He’s also taking nearly four shots per game, a full shot per game higher than he was taking even last season.  

Darnell Nurse assisted on three Oilers goals. Checking the SOG+HIT+BKS combined category, Nurse is currently 15th in the league with a combined 297 SOG+HIT+BKS. That’s why he’s valuable in multicategory leagues.

Follow me on Twitter @Ian_Gooding for more fantasy hockey.

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