Saturday was a fantasy fiesta

Dan Dobish
·12 min read

The National Hockey League had 14 total games on the schedule for Saturday. It was a great day for fantasy managers and DFS players, as we had plenty of scoring, but also a handful of shutouts. In fact, three goaltenders managed to blank the opposition, yet we still had a total of 6.36 goals per game. That total was skewed slightly by one late-night game which saw a total of 13 goals in a wild outing. And one final stat before we push on to the recaps and fantasy analysis - we had a total attendance across three venues of 8,042 spectators. It isn't much, but we're slowly, but surely, working our way back to some normalcy. Let's get started!

Philadelphia Flyers 3, Buffalo Sabres 0

Brian Elliott of the Flyers was the first of the three goaltenders in the NHL to post a shutout on the day. He stopped all 23 shots he faced, improving to 5-1-0 on the season. More importantly, he is 15-2-2 with four shutouts in his career against the Sabres. He also blanked them Jan. 19, posting 40 saves, also in a 3-0 win.

Sean Couturier posted a goal with an assist, giving him four goals and nine points across his five-game point streak. Scott Laughton, who was back from a two-week absence due to COVID protocol, scored a goal, too, while rearguard Shayne Gostisbehere also lit the lamp.

It's no surprise the Sabres were toothless on offense, as Jack Eichel, easily their best player, was out due to a lower-body injury. He joins Linus Ullmark on the shelf, as he will be out at least a month due to a lower-body injury, too. Carter Hutton, his replacement, turned aside 36 shots.

Jeff Skinner was also back from a three-game banishment to the press box as a healthy scratch. He was blanked, and hasn't scored a goal in 19 games dating back to last season.

Claude Giroux played his 904th career game, passing Bill Barber for second place all-time on the franchise list. He trails only Bobby Clarke (1,144 games).

The Flyers also welcomed back Justin Braun, Oskar Lindblom and Jakub Voracek to the lineup, as Travis Konecny is the only Philly player still on the COVID list.

The Sabres saw Rasmus Ristolainen return after a seven-game absence, also due to COVID. Curtis Lazar was blanked in his 300th career game.

Washington Capitals 5, New Jersey Devils 2

The Capitals got off to a quick start and never looked back. Garnet Hathaway and Daniel Sprong scored in the first 5:06 to give the Caps a 2-0 lead, and Lars Eller scored for the second straight game to make it 3-0.

Nico Hischier notched a power-play goal late in the first period to make it 3-1 before intermission. Hischier would later leave the game after being hit in the fact by a puck. Head coach Lindy Ruff said after the game that the team is hoping for the best for its captain.

Pavel Zacha closed it to 3-2, but that's as close as the Devils would get. Zacha has points in nine straight games, and he is worth scooping up in fantasy leagues while running hot. He is also a tremendous DFS play until he cools off.

Jakub Vrana scored in the third, and Nic Dowd added an empty netter to put a bow on the scoring. That was enough support for Vitek Vanecek, who made 22 saves for his ninth victory of the season.

Calgary Flames 6, Ottawa Senators 3

The Flames bounced back after a beating from the Senators in the front end of the back-to-back.

Juuso Valimaki scored his first of the season, and Mikael Backlund scored 37 seconds later to make it 2-0. Elias Lindholm staked David Rittich to a 3-0 lead, one which the Flames would never relinquish.

Drake Batherson, Colin White and Brady Tkachuk did have power-play goals for the Senators, but they were never really in this game.

Andrew Mangiapane continues to surprise, as he scored a shorthanded goal and had an assist with a plus-4 rating. He is up to eight goals, all in the month of February, emerging as a useful fantasy option in most pools and in DFS. Backlund also finished with three points and a plus-4.

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Nashville Predators 2, Columbus Blue Jackets 1

Nashville's Juuse Saros and Columbus' Joonas Korpisalo were locked in a rare goaltender duel on Saturday. Korpisalo allowed two goals on 33 shots, and he was on the short end. Saros allowed just one goal on 30 shots.

Korpisalo was strong, except he couldn't figure out how to stop Mattias Ekholm, who had both of the Nashville goals. That includes the game-winning tally at 16:54 of the second period.

Cam Atkinson had the only Columbus goal, and he led the team with five shots on goal.

Pittsburgh Penguins 4, New York Islanders 3 (OT)

Tristan Jarry started off slow this season, but if he could only face the Islanders every time, he'd be just fine. He won his third straight start against New York.

Sidney Crosby and Kris Letang had the only multi-point games for the Pens, as Crosby had a goal and an assist. Letang scored two goals, including the game-winning tally to beat Semyon Varlamov in OT. Letang ended up with three points and a plus-1 rating overall. As far as Crosby is concerned, he has 38 goals and 84 assists in 72 career games against the Isles, most of any active NHL player against one team.

Brock Nelson added a goal and an assist for the Isles, his first multi-point game since March 10, 2020, the game before the NHL paused its season nearly a calendar year ago. Nick Leddy had a helper on Nelson's goal, and he now has eight assists across the past nine outings, while Nelson has lit the lamp four times in the past seven. Anders Lee also has five goals and three assists across the past eight games.

Jared McCann was activated from injured reserve, and made his presence felt with a goal.

Tampa Bay Lightning 5, Dallas Stars 0

Andrei Vasilevskiy shut down the Stars, posting his second consecutive shutout and the 23rd of his career.

Not that he needed it, but Vasilevskiy received plenty of offensive support. Anthony Cirelli was back from injured reserve, and he scored goal with an assist. Steven Stamkos had a goal and an assist, too, and he has 10 goals and 19 points through 17 games.

Mikhail Sergachev added two assists to give him 13 assists across the past 14 games dating back to Jan. 30.

Anton Khudobin was yanked in the third period after yielding five goals, as Jake Oettinger steered the ship the rest of the way.

Carolina Hurricanes 4, Florida Panthers 3 (SO)

The Panthers traded Vincent Trocheck last season, a move they're likely wishing they never made. Trocheck scored his 10th goal of the season, a power-play marker, and he scored on the shootout, too.

Jake Bean scored his first, and it came on the power play, and Carolina held a 2-0 lead early in the third period. That was just the start of a wild period.

Jonathan Huberdeau and Frank Vatrano scored within two minutes of each other to make it 2-2 midway through the third. Warren Foegele gave the Canes a 3-2 lead, but Patric Hornqvist tied it up 3-3 with an attacker, forcing overtime.

James Reimer nearly blew the game, coughing up two leads in regulation, but he outdueled Sergei Bobrovsky.

Toronto Maple Leafs 4, Edmonton Oilers 0

The Maple Leafs welcomed Jack Campbell back from long-term injured reserve, and he stopped all 30 of the shots he faced for his first Toronto shutout, and third of his career.

William Nylander opened the scoring on the power play, and Mitch Marner scored 73 seconds later to make it 2-0. Jason Spezza added insurance in the second, with Zach Hyman adding another in the third.

Mike Smith, who had never started his career 5-0 until earlier this week, entered the day 6-0. The Leafs weren't impressive, shutting him down.

Detroit Red Wings 5, Chicago Blackhawks 3

The Red Wings had a rare showing of power, notching five goals from five different scorers. Christian Djoos, Darren Helm, Frans Nielsen, Bobby Ryan and Evgeny Svechnikov each had goals, with Helm, Svech and Nielsen netting their first of the season. The goal by Djoos was on the power play, the team's first since Jan. 28. They entered the day last in the league on the man advantage at just 6.1 percent.

That was more than enough support for Jonathan Bernier, who moved to 6-3-0, accounting for six of the team's seven victories this season.

For the losing side, Alex DeBrincat scored to reach 10 goals on the season, and Mattias Janmark and Dominik Kubalik scored in the third to make things a little more interesting.

Minnesota Wild 4, Los Angeles Kings 3 (OT)

The Wild and Kings played for the seventh and final time this season. And Minnesota improved to 4-0 in overtime this season, including their third 4-3 win in OT against L.A.

The Wild blew a 3-0 lead, as Joel Eriksson Ek, Nico Sturm and Kirill Kaprizov gave Kaapo Kahkonen a big lead. Drew Doughty got the Kings on the board with a power play goal early in the second, and Austin Wagner had an unassisted goal to make it 3-2. Adrian Kempe notched a power play goal, as Drew Doughty had his second point of the game with the primary helper. Anze Kopitar also had two assists, and is up to 19 on the season.

Kahkonen settled down in overtime, and Cal Petersen looked like he was going to have to win it in a shootout. But Matt Dumba streaked in on a pass from Jordan Greenway, juked and beat Peterson with just one tick left on the clock in OT.

Colorado Avalanche 6, Arizona Coyotes 2

Philipp Grubauer was tuned up in his most recent start. But he was fine in this one, and the offense found its groove again, too.

Nathan MacKinnon helped the Avs to a 1-0 lead after the first period, before Clayton Keller answered for the Coyotes in the second. But Jacob MacDonald scored his first from Andre Burakovsky and Joonas Donskoi to give the Avs a one-goal lead heading to the third. And it was a wild third.

Gabriel Landeskog scored on the power play, the eventual game-winning tally, and Donskoi scored to make it 4-1. Tyson Jost added to the woes of Antti Raanta with his first of the year, making it 5-1. Johan Larsson scored for Arizona late, but Pierre-Edouard Bellemare restored the four-goal lead for the final marker of the game.

The Coyotes really missed Conor Garland, the leading scorer with 19 points, as he was out with a lower-body injury.

Winnipeg Jets 2, Montreal Canadiens 1 (OT)

The Jets and Habs had another low-scoring battle, a rarity for this Saturday.

Connor Hellebuyck made 40 saves in the 2-1 win, allowing just one goal to Nick Suzuki in the second period.

Nikolaj Ehlers had a power-play goal to open the scoring for the 'Peg, while Paul Stastny scored just 36 seconds into overtime to make a winner of his goalie. Josh Allen stopped two goals on 21 shots in a hard-luck loss.

Vegas Golden Knights 3, Anaheim Ducks 2 (OT)

Marc-Andre Fleury continues to do the heavy lifting in the crease for the Golden Knights, and he keeps chugging right along. He allowed two goals on 30 shots to improve to 9-3-0 with a 1.59 GAA and .941 save percentage in his 12th start of the season. He stopped Isac Lundestrom right on the doorstep in OT, too, perhaps his best save of the evening. It was his 100th victory in a Vegas sweater.

Rickard Rakell opened the scoring midway through the first, giving Anaheim its only lead of the game. But Alex Pietrangelo tied it up just over six minutes later. Pietrangelo has points in three straight games.

William Karlsson scored midway through the second, and Wild Bill returned in overtime with the winner.

Shea Theodore also had two assists, giving him 10 on the season. Meanwhile, Cam Fowler and Kevin Shattenkirk each played their 700th games in the NHL. Fowler had a helper with two blocked shots, while Shattenkirk was blanked.

Jani Hakanpaa didn't score, but he dished out a game-high nine hits.

St. Louis Blues 7, San Jose Sharks 6

The Blues and Sharks hooked up in what turned out to be a fantasy fiesta and grand finale.

Timo Meier opened the scoring just 17 seconds into the game to set the tone, while Marco Scandella had an unassisted goal at 6:08. Evander Kane scored on the power play to make it 2-1 in favor of the home side.

The second period saw a total of five goals, with Sammy Blais leveling the score at 2-2. Meier was back on the power play for his fourth of the season, and he also added a secondary assist in the third on Kevin Labanc's goal.

Kane joined Meier in the two-goal club, while Logan Couture had a goal and an assist, while Brent Burns also chimed in with two assists. He was one of four players with two or more points for San Jose.

Jordan Binnington had a tough day at the office, allowing four goals on 19 shots. Ville Husso came on and earned the win in relief, thanks to a Scandella goal midway through the third. Scandella also had primary assist on Mackenzie MacEachern's shorthanded goal for his third point of the day.

One San Jose player who didn't get on the board was Erik Karlsson, who returned after a four-game absence due to a groin injury. He was blanked with a minus-2 rating.

The Blues saw Jacob De La Rose leave in the first period due to a lower-body injury.