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Henrik Lundqvist
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Hockey Daily Dose

Daily Dose: Carolina Reaper

by Dan Dobish

It was a low-scoring game in the National Hockey League on Tuesday, at least by recent standards. Of course, all games pale in comparison to yesterday's crazy game between the Ottawa Senators and Chicago Blackhawks, or even the tremendously entertaining battle pitting the Boston Bruins against the San Jose Sharks. That's not to say there weren't any good games. Quite the contrary. I was able to catch the tussle between the New York Rangers and Carolina Hurricanes in person, and it was a defensive battle with plenty of hard hits, great goaltender performances and playoff implications, too. We also had a goaltender stand on his head and post a shutout, and it was an unlikely source, too. Let's get started!

 

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Tuesday's Fantasy Five

 

Henrik Lundqvist allowed just one goal on 33 shots to pick up a win in Carolina. What else is new? He has rattled off victories in 21 of his past 25 games against the Hurricanes dating back to Feb. 22, 2011. Overall in 43 career appearances against the Hurricanes he has picked up 30 victories. His huge performance in the crease was needed, too, as the red-hot trio of Kevin Hayes, Mika Zibanejad and Mats Zuccarello were each blanked in the road win. Lundqvist entered the day 0-3-1, 3.04 goals-against average and .900 save percentage, so this performance will put the minds of his nervous fantasy owners at ease. The bad news for Lundqvist's owners is that he won't get another crack at the Hurricanes until next season.

 

Aleksander Barkov had a giant performance against the Buffalo Sabres, as the Florida Panthers try to keep their flickering playoff hopes alive. If Barkov and his partner in crime, Jonathan Huberdeau, do what they did on Tuesday, they have a fighting chance. Barkov was white-hot for a second straight game, posting a goal, two assists and a plus-3 rating to give him four goals and seven points with a plus-5 over the past two after going scoreless in three straight. In addition, he has back-to-back game-winning goals for the first time since registering three GWGs from March 31-April 4, 2016. As far as Huberdeau is concerned, he had two goals, an assist and a plus-3 rating. He entered the day with no goals and three assists over his past eight since his last goal on Feb. 1.

 

Louis Domingue isn't someone fantasy owners rely upon in seasonal pools as long as Andrei Vasilevskiy is healthy. However, in leagues permitting daily transactions, as well as DFS play, Domingue has been a stud lately. He allowed just two goals on 30 shots to pick up a road victory against the previously unstoppable Philadelphia Flyers. Dominque improved to 19-4-0 with a 2.86 GAA and .908 save percentage, winning 11 straight appearances dating back to Nov. 27. We never got a chance to see this type of production during his time in Arizona because, well, the Coyotes didn't have the likes of Nikita Kucherov, Steven Stamkos, etc. But it hasn't been all about goal support, but the offense has enhanced his play and given him a lot more confidence it seems.

 

Sean Couturier posted two more assists with a plus-1 rating against the Lightning, giving him at least two points in four consecutive contests. He has a goal, seven assists and a plus-3 rating during the four-game run, and the pivot has managed five goals with 15 points and a plus-4 rating in nine games in the month of February. He just one time since Jan. 3 where he has had back-to-back scoreless contests. That's the kind of production fantasy owners love to see.

 

Leon Draisaitl posted two assists on four shots with a hit in a 3-2 home loss against the Arizona Coyotes. The reason the Oilers playoff hopes are on life support is because the Oilers have really had only two consistent contributors on offense, Draisaitl and Connor McDavid. On Tuesday we got a chance to see if Draisaitl can be productive with McDavid sidelined, as he was green in the gills and unable to play due to the flu. The German pivot showed he doesn't wilt without McDavid on the ice. Draisaitl has a four-game point streak cooking, posting three goals with five points, and he has managed eight goals and 10 points with five power-play markers across the past eight.

 

Fantasy Game of the Night

 

Pekka Rinne coughed up three goals on 39 shots, but that was good enough to pick up the victory against the Dallas Stars. He entered on a mini skid, losing two in a row, but he made some acrobatic saves and looked more like himself while nailing down his 21st victory. He has allowed three or fewer goals in six straight appearances, but a big part of his lack of wins lately has been a decrease in offensive support. Roman Josi was a big part of the offensive support, posting the game-winning goal late in the third period and an empty-netter for insurance. He also had an assist and a plus-4 rating, and he has picked up five goals and 13 points with a plus-8 rating in 10 games since flipping the calendar from January to February. Ryan Ellis also got into the mix with three helpers and a plus-4 rating, and he has a goal with eight points and a plus-8 rating over the past eight games to endear himself to fantasy owners again. Filip Forsberg also picked up his 21st goal of the season, and he has three markers and nine points in 10 games in February. He is on target for his third 30-goal season across the past four seasons. Brian Boyle and Rocco Grimaldi also checked in with goals, while Ryan Hartman, Calle Jarnkrok and Kyle Turris chipped in with assists. Boyle was also very physical, dishing out six hits while. Viktor Arvidsson was blanked on two shots, but he was able to step in front of five shots to at least five fantasy owners and DFS players something.

 

Anton Khudobin yielded four goals on 46 shots, as he faced a lot of rubber in another game holding down the fort in place of the injured Ben Bishop (upper body). The Stars scratched out three goals against Rinne, which is no easy feat. Jason Spezza turned back the clock in this one, potting a goal while adding an assist for his first multi-point game since Dec. 29. He entered the day with no goals and just one assist over the past 19 games, so don't go nuts and add him in fantasy leagues expecting a resurgence. Esa Lindell lit the lamp on the power play while adding an assist and he blocked three shots over 27:47 of ice time. His nine goals and 25 points are nice, but he really helps out in the blocked shots and hits categories. He has 101 blocked shots and 109 hits. Entering play on Tuesday only nine NHL players had 100 or more blocked shots and hits on the season. Jason Dickinson, Roope Hintz, Mattias Janmark and John Klingberg posted assists and both Hintz and Radek Faksa dished out four hits apiece to lead that department.

 

Quick Hits: Sabres All-Star Jack Eichel notched a power-play goal, giving him 19 markers on the season, but he also picked up an ugly minus-3 rating in Florida. While he has three goals and 10 points in nine games in the month of February, he also owns an ugly minus-11 rating to hurt his fantasy appeal. … Frank Vatrano added two assists with a plus-3 rating, three blocked shots, four hits and two PIM, giving him an impressive seven goals and 13 points with a plus-5 rating over the past 13 contests. … James Reimer let in just two goals on 34 shots to improve to 13-10-5 with a 3.01 GAA and .903 save percentage. He has won three starts in a row, but his fantasy appeal is still minimal unless something happens to Roberto Luongo. … Zach Aston-Reece posted a goal with a plus-1 rating, giving him three points over the past two. … Nick Bjugstad managed a power-play goal, giving him a three-game point streak. He has two power-play points in the past two. … Bryan Rust popped in a goal, giving him five goals and two assists in 10 games in February. … Keith Kinkaid allowed four goals on just 28 shots, suffering another loss. He entered the day 3-0-0 with a 2.00 GAA and .944 save percentage in his three previous meetings with the Pens, but his slide continues. Cory Schneider will continue to carve into Kinkaid's workload at this rate. … Alex Killorn, the Harvard product, produced his 100th NHL goal on Tuesday. … And stop the presses, Nikita Kucherov failed to score! He entered with a ridiculous seven goals and 18 points during his five-game goal-scoring streak, but Carter Hart and Brian Elliott actually cooled him off somehow. … J.T. Miller had a goal and an assist with a plus-2 rating, snapping a three-game scoreless skid. … Ryan McDonagh posted goal, an assist and a plus-1 rating with three blocked shots and two hits, snapping a five-game scoreless drought. It was his first goal in 14 games since Jan. 13. … Speaking of Hart, he was yanked after allowed three goals on nine shots in just 10:23. Elliott replaced him and was sharp, coughing up just one goal on 23 shots in relief. … Josh Anderson had a goal and an assist, and he has five goals with eight points to make fantasy owners happy. … Jesperi Kotkaniemi added two more assists with a plus-2 rating and two blocked shots, snapping a four-game scoreless skid. … Carey Price also snapped a drought, as he entered 0-3-1 over the past four. However, he gave up just two goals on 33 shots to turn back the Blue Jackets. … Price didn't have to face Artemi Panarin, who was sick as a dog. Those are John Tortorella's words, not mine. It could be a real sad end to his tenure in Columbus if he is traded at the deadline in five days. … Max Domi reached 20 goals with his marker on Tuesday, and he now has a career-high 52 points. The change of scenery from Arizona to Montreal has done him wonders. … Vladimir Tarasenko had his career-high 12-game point streak snapped. … Ryan O'Reilly picked up Tarasenko's slack, netting the winner in OT. He has seven goals and 19 points with a plus-13 rating over the past 16. … Jordan Binnington had his 173:50 shutout streak snapped, but he hung on for the OT win to improve to a ridiculous 13-1-1 with a 1.67 GAA and .937 save percentage. … Ryan Miller posted a shutout in Minnesota, stopping all 31 shots he faced for his 44th career shutout.

Dan Dobish