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Fantasy buzz: Matthews, Andersen excel for Maple Leafs

Goalie, center spark victory against Canadiens to extend winning streak to six games

by James Harding / NHL.com Fantasy Correspondent

All season long, NHL.com's fantasy hockey staff will have you covered with daily lineup news, production trends and injury notes from around the League. We will identify how these developments affect fantasy owners in year-long (Yahoo) and daily (DraftKings) formats.

5 p.m.
Value fantasy studs of the week

Two Chicago Blackhawks linemates, forwards Artem Anisimov and Nick Schmaltz, are the top value players of the week.

Anisimov (21 percent owned in Yahoo leagues) led all scorers with five goals in three games, and had 14 shots on goal. Two of his goals came on the power play, where Anisimov centers the second unit. He has nine goals in his past 10 games, and his 10 goals lead the team. 

Schmaltz (10 percent owned) had six points in the week, all assists, and two multipoint games. Three of the assists came on the power play. Schmaltz, who is dual-eligible (C/LW), is beginning to see a turnaround in his play after a six-game pointless streak prior to this week.

Micheal Ferland is starting to break out thanks to his exposure to linemates Johnny Gaudreau and Sean Monahan on the Calgary Flames first line and first power-play unit. Ferland (14 percent owned) is dual-eligible (LW/RW) and had at least one point in each of his three games this week (two goals, two assists, two power-play points, nine shots on goal). Ferland has a six-game point streak (five goals, three assists), and has points (seven goals, four assists) in nine of his past 11 games. 

Nashville Predators defenseman Mattias Ekholm has a three-game point streak after scoring his second power-play goal of the week against the Colorado Avalanche on Saturday. Ekholm (38 percent owned) scored a goal in all three games this week with two assists and nine shots on goal. Ekholm is skating on the first defense pair with Roman Josi and is manning the point on the second power-play unit.

 

High-ownership fantasy duds of the week

San Jose Sharks defenseman Brent Burns continued to struggle, failing to score a point and was minus-2 in three games. He hasn't scored in seven games and has seven assists and no goals this season. Burns, who is owned in 100 percent of leagues, began the year as a top-10 fantasy asset in Yahoo standard leagues and is now on the borderline of falling out of the top 200. Fantasy owners should be very concerned with the level of production from Burns this late into the season. 

Buffalo Sabres center Jack Eichel has struggled for consistency over the past two weeks, and despite a multipoint game (one goal, one assist) against the Pittsburgh Penguins on Tuesday did little else the rest of the week. Eichel (99 percent owned) finished the week minus-2 with 10 shots on goal. Tuesday is the only time he has had a point in his past five games and he only has points in two of his past seven games. Eichel was a preseason top-15 fantasy asset but is currently ranked 146 in standard Yahoo leagues.

Boston Bruins forward David Pastrnak had a forgettable week going pointless in three games on the team's west coast road trip against the Anaheim Ducks, Los Angeles Kings and San Jose Sharks. Pastrnak (98 percent owned) has played on a line with Patrice Bergeron but without Brad Marchand (undisclosed injury). Pastrnak has gone pointless in his past four games and has eight shots on goal in that span but he leads the Bruins with 10 goals and 17 points. 

 

Rangers shuffle lines ahead of game vs. Senators

The New York Rangers shuffled their lineup around ahead of their game against the Ottawa Senators on Sunday. The only line staying intact is the first line of Mika Zibanejad, Chris Kreider and Pavel Buchnevich.

Forward J.T. Miller (44 percent owned), who is tri-eligible, moved from his spot as the right wing on the second line down to third line where he will center Mats Zuccarello (60 percent) and Michael Grabner (17 percent). Miller has 15 points this season, fourth on the Rangers. 

Jesper Fast will move up from the third line to the second line alongside center Kevin Hayes and winger Rick Nash. Fast (less than 1 percent owned) is scoreless in his past two games but has four assists in his past six games and will be a sneaky fantasy value on DraftKings in DFS contests with a $3,000 salary in a top-six forward role.

 

2 p.m.
DraftKings value picks
Center

Alexander Kerfoot, COL ($3,600) -- Kerfoot continues to look impressive this season for the Colorado Avalanche and is coming off another productive game with two assists in a 5-2 loss against the Nashville Predators on Saturday. Kerfoot has nine points (four goals, five assists) in his past six games, with four multipoint games in that span. He has 15 points this season for Colorado, which is third on the Avalanche and is tied-fourth in the NHL among rookies. He'll look to keep it going against the Detroit Red Wings on Sunday.

Spend up for: Anze Kopitar, LAK ($7,600 @ VGK)

 
Wing

David Perron, VGK (4,900 vs. LAK) -- Perron enters Sunday against the Los Angeles Kings with a six-game point streak that was extended with a multipoint game (one goal, one assist) against the Vancouver Canucks Thursday. Perron has been a fantasy beast for the Golden Knights recently with points in eight of his past 10 games, scoring 12 points (four goals, eight assists) with 15 shots on goal in that span. Perron has two goals, seven assists and three multipoint games on his current scoring streak. He leads the Golden Knights with 11 assists and 17 points through 18 games.

Spend up for: Mark Stone, OTT ($6,800 @ NYR)

Video: VGK@VAN: Perron dangles, snipes in sweet goal

 

Defense

Samuel Girard, COL ($3,900) -- Girard has settled in well with the Colorado Avalanche following a trade and has taken the place of Tyson Barrie on the first defense pair and first power-play unit in Barrie's absence. Girard has two assists and two shots on goal in four games with Colorado. With his exposure to the top forward lines and his positioning on their first power-play unit, he is an excellent value play against the Red Wings.

Spend up for: Erik Karlsson, OTT ($6,900 @ NYR)

 

Goaltending

Jimmy Howard, DET ($8,000) -- Howard was efficient Friday against the Buffalo Sabres, stopping 19 of 20 shots for his second consecutive victory. In seven starts since Oct. 28, Howard is 5-1-1 with a 1.83 goals against average and .940 save percentage. His goals-against average is tied for first in the NHL among qualifying goalies in that span, and his save percentage ranks fifth. He'll face the Avalanche, who are playing the second game of a back-to-back after losing in Nashville on Saturday.

Spend up for: John Gibson, ANH ($8,300 vs FLA)

Video: BUF@DET: Howard shuts the door on Nolan's breakaway

 
Khudobin has stellar game for Bruins

Boston Bruins backup goaltender Anton Khudobin had a strong game against the San Jose Sharks Saturday, making 36 saves in a 3-1 victory. It was the second consecutive start for Khudobin after he defeated the Los Angeles Kings 2-1 on Thursday, stopping 27 of 28 shots. Bruins starter Tuukka Rask has been shaky this season and Khudobin, who has yet to lose in regulation in eight appearances (5-0-2), has performed well when called upon.

Khudobin (12 percent owned in Yahoo leagues) has a 2.17 goals-against average and a .935 save percentage. He could see an increase in playing time if Rask's struggles continue. In deeper fantasy format,s Khudobin is a great add for teams in need of a solid depth goaltender, and should be a top target for fantasy owners who are in need of a good spot start or in DFS contests when he plays.

 
12:02 p.m.
Matthews, Andersen have stellar games for Maple Leafs

Forward Auston Matthews and goalie Frederik Andersen came up huge for the Toronto Maple Leafs in a 6-0 victory against the Montreal Canadiens on Saturday that extended Toronto's winning streak to six games.

Matthews returned after missing the past four games with an upper-body injury. He scored twice and had three shots on goal, centering the first line between William Nylander and Zach Hyman. His 12 goals lead the Maple Leafs.

Andersen (91 percent owned) made 33 saves for his second consecutive shutout and extended his winning streak to five games. His 12 wins are second in the NHL behind Andre Vasilevskiy of the Tampa Bay Lightning (14). Andersen has allowed seven goals with a 1.36 goals-against average and .960 save percentage during the winning streak.

Video: TOR@MTL: Matthews nets two in 3rd against Habs

 

Anisimov continues goal-scoring ways

Chicago Blackhawks forward Artem Anisimov scored in a 2-1 win against the Pittsburgh Penguins on Saturday and has a goal in seven of his past 10 games. Anisimov (21 percent) has a League-leading nine goals, an assist and 34 shots on goal since Oct. 27. Four of his nine goals have come on the power play. 

Anisimov is centering the second line between Patrick Kane and Nick Schmaltz, and the second power-play unit with Kane, Schmaltz, Brandon Saad and Cody Franson. Fantasy owners should be targeting Anisimov as a must-own asset going forward, especially with his continued exposure to Kane, his linemate the past two seasons.

Video: CHI@PIT: Anisimov bangs in carom off boards for PPG

 
Smith, Ekholm producing for Predators

Defenseman Mattias Ekholm and forward Craig Smith were productive for the Nashville Predators in a 5-2 win against the Colorado Avalanche

Ekholm (36 percent owned) scored a power-play goal to extend his point streak to three games (three goals, two assists, two power-play points, nine shots on goal) and has nine points (three goals, six assists) in his past nine games. He's skating on the first pair with Roman Josi, is running the point on the second power-play unit and is bordering on must-own in fantasy, especially in deeper league formats. 

Smith scored his seventh goal of the season, a power-play goal, in the first period and assisted on Anthony Bitetto's goal in the second for his second multipoint game in his past four games. Smith (14 percent owned) hasthree goals, two on the power play, two assists, two blocked shots and 10 shots on goal in his past four games. He is tied for the team lead with five power-play goals and his seven goals are third. Smith is skating with Kyle Turris on the second line at even strength and is someone fantasy owners will want to watch.

Video: COL@NSH: Ekholm blasts home a PPG off the post

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