Opening night also saw a number of players get off to great Fantasy starts. As is the case in all low-scoring affairs, the little things made all the difference in this one. The Oil got key contributions in the face-off circle from captain Shawn Horcoff
, as well as in the defensive end from leading shot-blocker, Ladislav Smid
. The Oilers were also able to stay within striking distance of the Penguins throughout the night, thanks in large part to the stellar goaltending of Devan Dubnyk
Things should continue to get very interesting as the team travels to Minnesota and Vancouver later this week. With some players still trying to find their stride in this young season, here is a look at three players to keep an eye on this week:DEVAN DUBNYK
The Oilers can give a large portion of the credit for Sunday’s win to their young netminder. Dubnyk was sensational from start to finish in the opener as he made key saves to keep his team in it. Getting the start over veteran Nikolai Khabibulin, Dubnyk made the most of his opportunity and showcased an ability to hold the fort in key moments.
|Devan Dubnyk vs. Calgary during pre-season action on Sep. 25, 2011. |
Dubnyk would stop 33 of the 34 shots he faced in regulation and overtime, as well as stopping 2 of 3 in the shootout. Posting a .971 SV% and collecting 24 fantasy points, Dubnyk should be a solid Fantasy option for players later this week.
Although the Oilers captain may not have appeared on the scoresheet in game one, he sure made an impact in other areas. Horcoff was 65% (17 of 26) in faceoff dot, allowing him to rack up 13 total Fantasy points.
|Shawn Horcoff was a game-best 17-9 in the dot on Sunday evening vs. Pittsburgh. |
If Horcoff can continue to be a factor in the faceoff circle, he will represent a solid Fantasy option for owners going forward. Centering a line with Omark and Paajarvi, Horcoff may also be able to add some points to his Fantasy totals, thus increasing his value.
Make no mistake; Ryan Nugent-Hopkins was great in his NHL debut. Creating offence with slick passes and scoring the Oilers’ lone regulation goal was exactly what Oilers fans were hoping to see from the first overall pick.
This production was a little bit misleading though, as the young forward would go only 2 of 13 in the faceoff circle. This stat alone would drop Nugent-Hopkins’ Fantasy total to 6 pts.
Looking towards the next game, Fantasy owners should be weary of Nugent-Hopkins. Until he shows an ability to turn around his fortunes in the faceoff circle, Nugent-Hopkins will continue to be a Fantasy risk.
Author: Travis Knee | edmontonoilers.com