The Pittsburgh Penguins and New Jersey Devils kicked off Friday night's NHL games and the Pens were dominant from the start. The usual combination of Chris Kunitz and Sidney Crosby helped open the scoring by setting up Pascal Dupuis just 19 seconds into the game. With a stat line of 1 goal, 3 shots, 4 hits and 3 blocked shots, Dupuis was easily the best fantasy performer in terms of skaters.
The Pens continued their dominance by registering another two goals in the first, with credit going to Chris Conner and Jayson Megna. In the third, the Devils were able to muster some offense with Patrik Elias scoring on a tip-in, and Danius Zubrus scoring with help from Jaromir Jagr and Travis Zajac.
Marc-Andre Fleury was the best fantasy performer for both teams, stopping 37 of 39 shots en route to a 3-2 victory. Fleury leads all goalies with 18 wins this season and continues to be a must-play in all fantasy formats.
In the second game of the night, the Florida Panthers won a hard-fought shootout victory against the Washington Capitals. Nicklas Backstrom lead the Caps with two points, scoring a goal and assisting on the other. Marcus Johansson continues to rack up the helpers, while Mikhail Grabovski has maintained an impressive season with the Caps so far.
For the Cats, Aleksander Barkov scored a a beautiful goal after stealing the puck in the offensive zone, giving him five goals and 12 points in 33 games. These numbers may not shout franchise player, but in a keeper league, Barkov is a solid bet for future production. Speaking of which, another youngster trying to regain his step is Jonathan Huberdeau. After tearing up the NHL in his Calder-winning rookie season, Huberdeau is recovering from hip surgery and trying to get back to lighting the lamp. Last night's assist should help his cause.
If your league counts penalty minutes, both Erik Gurdbranson and Troy Brouwer were players of the night, accumulating a combined 32 PIMs before being ejected.
In the final game of the evening, the Vancouver Canucks took it to the Edmonton Oilers in a 4-0 stomping. Jason Garrison continued his career year by dishing out three helpers, two of which came on the powerplay. Ryan Kesler also contributed two assists, with one also coming on the man advantage.
Zack Kassian and Daniel Sedin found the score-sheet, along with Chris Higgins and Dale Weise. Unlike himself, Henrik Sedin spent time in the penalty box on three different occasions, giving him six PIMs on the night. Roberto Luongo was good once again, stopping all 19 shots to earn his third shutout of the season.
NHL Three Stars of the Night
First Star - Roberto Luongo: 1 Game Started, 1 Win, 0.00 GAA, 1 SO
Second Star - Jason Garrison: 3 A, +1, 2 PPP, 2 Shots, 0:49 PP ice-time (team lead)
Third Star - Marc-Andre Fleury: 1 Game Started, 1 Win, 2.00 GAA, .949 SV% (stopped 37 of 39 shots)