As we approach the one-quarter mark in the NHL season, which coincides with the American Thanksgiving, there have been quite a few surprises. Starting with the play of some of the top end rookies such as Patrik Laine, Mitch Marner, William Nylander and Zach Werenski, there have been a few surprises in the standings as well. The play of the Calgary Flames has caught my attention and not in the good way. So, speaking of Flames, let’s take a look at a few players who have been very hot of late for some Saturday water cooler discussion.
James Neal ($7200, Nashville): Neal has scored a goal in six straight games with eight goals and three assists over his last eight games. Problem is Neal seems to be the only one who is scoring for the Preds, who have been beginning to heat things up lately, going 5-2-3 over their last ten contests. Ryan Johansen ($5900) centers Neal on Nashville’s top line and top power play unit, so my advice is to play both in daily contests and get the Chicken/Rib combo going in points. Neal is a must-start until the well dries up, and adding Johansen could sweeten the pot until the ride is over.
Robby Fabbri ($4600, St. Louis): After having his tenacity questioned by head coach Ken Hitchcock last week, Fabbri has responded in grand fashion over his past three games to the tune of three goals and a helper. The Blues, who are night and day with their home/road splits, are fortunately at home (7-1-2) hosting the previously mentioned Nashville Predators, and riding a small two-game winning streak. Fabbri has been skating on line two with Jori Lehtera and all-world sniper Vlad Tarasenko these past few games, but without any special teams time. Three of Fabbri’s four goals have come at the man advantage, so look for Hitch to insert him into one of the Blues power play combos, which are clicking at a 22% mark early on.
Devan Dubnyk ($7800, Minnesota): As of this writing, I’m not 100% sure Devan is even starting, but I'm very sure he will be between the pipes for the Wild as they host the Colorado Avalanche Saturday night. Coming off a 1-0 shutout of the hot Boston Bruins, Dubnyk has been very solid in the net this season with a 1.47 Goals Against Average and a .952% Save Percentage, both best in the NHL. The Wild leave him hanging quite often with their lack of offense, which consequently is the Minnesota Wild team mission statement apparently since the re-inception of NHL hockey in the state of Minnesota. With a 7-5-1 record so far, I feel very safe starting him against the last-place Avalanche. Dubnyk also leads the NHL in shutouts this young season with four so far, with two on the road and two at home. Colorado is a team still trying to find its legs under new head coach Jared Bednar, and Dubnyk is in a prime spot to continue his hot play tonight.
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