After a light-scoring night, the National Hockey League scoring picked up dramatically on Saturday night. In fact, it has been a light-scoring December so far. In Vegas, there is a wager called the 'Grand Salami'. One must wager whether or not the total number of goals for all games that evening will go under or over. So far, until Saturday, the under had come in during every night in December. That means fantasy production for skates has been down across the board. But the skaters started making up for lost time on Saturday night. Let's get started!
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Anthony Duclair was the fantasy stud for the visitors, posting a pair of goals with a plus-2 rating and seven shots on goal. One of the goals was of the shorthanded variety, and he is now up to 13 for the season. The 24-year-old has three goals and an assist in three game since flipping the calendar to December.
Carter Hart stopped 27 of the 30 shots he faced to pick up the win. Scott Laughton was the unlikely offensive hero, posting a goal, an assist and a plus-1 rating, while James van Riemsdyk was also in the multi-point club.
Jack Eichel, Johan Larsson and Rasmus Ristolainen didn't score goals, but they were in the multi-point club with two assists each. Zemgus Girgensons, Marcus Johansson, Kyle Okposo, Victor Olofsson and Sam Reinhart were the goal scorers, with the latter also posting an assist each. Larsson also registered an impressive seven hits.
For the winners, J.T. Miller scored a water-bottling shattering power-play goal in overtime to pick up the victory. Josh Leivo and Antoine Roussel each had two goals apiece, and Tyler Myers was good for a goal and an assist while posting a plus-2 rating. Jake Virtanen posted a pair of assists and a plus-1 rating to also join the multi-point club.
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It was ugly early for the Avs, as Philipp Grubauer checked out early due to an undisclosed injury. There wasn't an update from the team immediately following the game, but Pavel Francouz saved the day with a stellar relief appearance to pick up a win.
It's inexplicable, but the Avalanche just own the B's. They're now 11-1 in their past 12 trips to Boston, one of those things you just can't explain. Jaroslav Halak was on the wrong side of that crazy trend in this one, taking the home loss.
Andre Burakovsky, Joonas Donskoi and Valeri Nichushkin are finding Denver to be a tremendous stop in their careers. Burakovsky reached 12 goals in this one, a mark he hit exactly in each of the past three seasons in Washington, and he has plenty of time to set a new career best. Donskoi had two helpers, and he now has 12 goals and 25 points in his 29 games with the Avs. Nichushkin is getting comfortable in Denver, too, going for four goals and six points with a plus-4 rating across the past nine outings.
Matt Murray is suddenly in a goaltender controversy, so he needs to keep ticking off wins to hold off Tristan Jarry. The latter is working on two straight shutouts and counting. Murray wasn't as fortunate, but he did get the win despite allowing three goals.
Jake Guentzel and Evgeni Malkin each had a goal and three points for the Pens, and Geno now has eight goals and 26 points with a plus-9 rating in 19 games. Guentzel has been on fire with eight goals and 17 points over his past 11 outings while posting a plus-7 rating.
The unlikely fantasy hero was Chad Ruhwedel, who had his first multi-point game of the season. He had no goals and just one helper in his first seven outings this season, spending much time in the press box as a healthy scratch. You'll need to see more nights like this before risking a fantasy spot on him.
Robby Fabbri has been a godsend in Hockeytown. He had a power-play goal and an assist, giving him six goals and 12 points in 15 games since being acquired from the St. Louis Blues. But his contributions weren't enough to save Jonathan Bernier, who was actually pulled after allowing four goals on 23 shots.
Tampa Bay Lightning 7, San Jose Sharks 1
The Lightning provided Andrei Vasilevskiy all the support he could ever wish for, not that he needed it. Steven Stamkos and his fantasy owners were the biggest winners, as he had his first multi-goal game since March 25 of last season. Alex Killorn also had a giant performance, posting a goal and three points, giving him markers in three consecutive outings.
Carter Verhaeghe posted a goal and three points, and Victor Hedman did the same, as it was a nightmare performance for Martin Jones. He coughed up four goals on 21 shots before getting the hook, but Aaron Dell wasn't much better. He allowed three goals on 17 minutes in just over 19 minutes of relief.
Florida Panthers 4, Columbus Blue Jackets 1
Sergei Bobrovsky left the Blue Jackets after a surprising playoff run last season, and he faced his former mates Saturday in Sunrise. He allowed just one goal on 34 shots, as Vladislav Gavrikov beat him. Other than that, he was rock solid, and backed by a tremendous offensive show.
Mike Hoffman had a goal and an assist, as he tries to slowly awaken from his slumber. It was his first multi-point performance since Nov. 14. Keith Yandle had a pair of helpers with a blocked shot, and he has six assists during his four-game point streak.
Carolina Hurricanes 6, Minnesota Wild 2
The Hurricanes welcomed the Wild to PNC Arena and it was Star Wars night at the barn in Raleigh. Carolina treated their visitors like Darth Vader treated Luke Skywalker's arm on Cloud City. Yeah, I am old. I don't pay attention to most of the new movies in the series. Ha.
Sebastian Aho was the biggest jerk of the group, posting his third-career hat trick and his first five-point night in the NHL with a pair of assists, as when he breaks a slump he does it up big. Teuvo Teravainen went for three helpers and a plus-2 rating, which was a huge way of snapping a five-game scoreless slide.
Petr Mrazek loved the support, as the Mrazelorian…OK, I do see Instagram posts…allowed just two goals on 24 shots he cruise to the easy win. He is 10-3-0 with a 2.29 GAA and .910 save percentage in 13 appearances at home.
Forgot in all the shuffle was Eric Staal's return to Raleigh, which is always special. He starred for the Canes for over a decade and he etched his name on Lord Stanley's Cup in their only championship season. He had an assist with a minus-2 rating.
Toronto Maple Leafs 5, St. Louis Blues 2
The Maple Leafs are a hard bunch to figure. They lose the games you feel they should win, then pull off a shocker by topping the defending champs in their own barn.
Toronto became the first team to chase Jordan Binnington from an NHL game, as he allowed four goals on his first 11 shots before head coach Craig Berube had seen enough. Jake Allen went the rest of the way and allowed just one goal, but the damage was done.
Zach Hyman and Auston Matthews had two goals apiece, and that was more than enough for Frederik Andersen, who allowed just two goals on 28 shots to improve to 14-7-3 with a 2.54 GAA and .918 save percentage, averaging a loss to the Blues back on Oct. 7.
To make matters worse, Robert Thomas left briefly after taking a puck to the face, and Zach Sanford checked out for good due to an upper-body injury. Ivan Barbashev had a goal, giving him three markers with seven points and a plus-6 over his past six.
Nashville Predators 6, New Jersey Devils 4
Pekka Rinne allowed four goals on 33 shots, but that was good enough to earn the win. Nick Bonino scored a goal with an assist, Dante Fabbro had a goal and an assist and Rocco Grimaldi managed a goal and an assist with a plus-4 rating, as they made up an unlikely multi-point club for the boys from Music City.
Taylor Hall had a goal and an assist, as he doesn't seem distracted in the least by trade rumors swirling around him.
Dallas Stars 3, New York Islanders 1
Andrew Cogliano scored his first of the season with a little help from Jamie Oleksiak and Miro Heiskanen to open the scoring, and Alexander Radulov and Denis Gurianov struck on the power play to back Ben Bishop. Radulov also had a helper on the second power-play goal, as his fantasy owners were smiling.
Speaking of Bishop, he allowed just the one goal on 35 shots to improve to 11-6-2 with a 2.13 GAA and .932 save percentage.
Calgary Flames 4, Los Angeles Kings 3
Zach Rinaldo had a goal, his first of the season, in the second period, which is also when he had his fighting major and game misconduct after a donnybrook with Kyle Clifford. He just missed the Gordie Howe hat trick by an assist.
Cam Talbot wasn't great, but he made 30 saves on 33 shots to pick up the home victory.