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Saturday Daily Puck: Flip the Script

Dustin Nelson

Dustin Nelson is a writer based out of NYC. His fantasy team is full of loafers.

Just four games on the slate Friday night, but they managed to really drive home how the script gets flipped if you aren't paying attention.

Running through the stretch assuming that the storylines haven't changed will find you driving your team into the basement of your league.

For instance, while the Coyotes continue to surprise, the Ducks have figured out their struggles. They continue to suppress shots like crazy, but are scoring plenty now. If you avoided mid-range players in Anaheim because the team wasn't scoring -- a justified position through the season's first three and a half months -- you can freely pick those guys up now. They've scored 35 goals in their last eight games.

Winnipeg, once in playoff position and considered likely to continue their strong run from last year, are now tied for last place in the NHL, looking a potential lottery team. They were beat Friday by the Carolina Hurricanes, who are suddenly a very serious threat and could make a postseason appearance.

Another match pitted two teams picked preseason to do great things against each other. They both came out of the gates tepid. One got a coach fired. Now, both the Pittsburgh Penguins and Tampa Bay Lightning are looking a lot better. As are their star players, who were frequently derided early in the year.

Steven Stamkos is putting up points and Sidney Crosby has gone on one of the season's biggest tears. If Patrick Kane hadn't put together a record-breaking point streak this year, Crosby's current run would have a lot more people talking about his suddenly great season.

Hope you didn't trade him early on, buying into speculation that he'd maybe lost a step. He's on a nine-game point streak over which he's scored nine goals and six assists.

We'll get to a few more players who have had a great turn around this season, but before that...

Projected Goalie Starters (all times Eastern)
For updates on the projected goalies later in the day, check our Projected Goalies Grid

Capitals (Braden Holtby) at Devils (Cory Schneider), 1:00 PM
Rangers (Henrik Lundqvist) at PFlyers (Steve Mason), 1:00 PM
Oilers (Cam Talbot) at Canadiens (Ben Scrivens), 2:00 PM
Islanders (Thomas Greiss) at Red Wings (Petr Mrazek), 2:00 PM
Sabres (Robin Lehner) at Bruins (Tuukka Rask), 7:00 PM
Maple Leafs (James Reimer) at Senators (Craig Anderson), 7:00 PM
Penguins (Jeff Zatkoff) at Panthers (Roberto Luongo), 7:00 PM
Wild (Devan Dubnyk) at Blues (Brian Elliott), 8:00 PM
Sharks (Martin Jones) at Predators (Pekka Rinne), 8:00 PM
Blackhawks (Corey Crawford) at Stars (Antti Niemi), 8:00 PM
Jets (Connor Hellebuyck) at Avalanche (Semyon Varlamov), 10:00 PM
Flames (Karri Ramo) at Canucks (Ryan Miller), 10:00 PM

Injury News For Teams Playing Saturday

Washington Capitals
Brooks Orpik, D (lower body) - practiced Friday, but won't play Saturday or Sunday
Jay Beagle, C (hand) - skated on his own, but hasn't taken contact
Marcus Johansson, LW (upper body) - practiced Friday, but hasn't taken contact and is without a timetable for return

New Jersey Devils
Jon Merrill, D (upper body) - is unlikely to play Saturday
Patrik Elias, LW (knee) - may miss the rest of the season
Michael Cammalleri, LW (hand) - has been ruled out of Saturday's game
Jiri Tlusty, LW (wrist) - may not play again this season

New York Rangers
Rick Nash, LW (leg) - won't play Saturday
Kevin Klein, D (thumb) - might return Saturday

Philadelphia Flyers
Michal Neuvirth, G (lower body) - will not be on the ice Saturday
Sean Couturier, C (lower body) - the team announced Friday that Couturier is likely to miss a month

Edmonton Oilers
Andrew Ference, D (hip) - will not play against this season
Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, C (hand) - is out
Oscar Klefbom, D (infection) - is still without a timetable for return

Montreal Canadiens
Daniel Carr, LW (knee) - may not play again this season
Carey Price, G (leg) - doesn't have a timetable
Paul Byron, C (lower body) - remains on injured reserve

New York Islanders
Eric Boulton, LW (undisclosed) - remains on IR
Johnny Boychuk, D (shoulder) - may return Saturday
Adam Pelech, D (upper body) - could miss the rest of the season

Detroit Red Wings
Niklas Kronwall, D (knee) - hopes to practice on Monday
Johan Franzen, RW (concussion) - remains on long-term IR
Drew Miller, LW (lower body) - is out for the seasons

Buffalo Sabres
Cody McCormick, C (blood clots) - is still without a timetable
Tyler Ennis, LW (concussion) - is still dealing with a concussion
Marcus Foligno, LW (lower body) - is not traveling with the team

Boston Bruins
Chris Kelly, RW (fractured femur) - won't play again this season
Adam McQuaid, D (upper body) - hasn't been cleared for contact

Toronto Maple Leafs
Stephane Robidas, D (knee) - has no timetable for his season debut
James van Riemsdyk, LW (foot) - remains on IR

Ottawa Senators
Kyle Turris, C (ankle) - is a game-time decision for Saturday
David Dziurzynski, LW (undisclosed) - was injured in Thursday's game and will not play Saturday
Chris Phillips, D (back) - still isn't close to his season debut
Milan Michalek, LW (finger) - remains out indefinitely
Clarke MacArthur, LW (concussion) - practiced some Wednesday, but doesn't have a timetable for his return

Pittsburgh Penguins
Eric Fehr, RW (lower body) - will miss about a month
Evgeni Malkin, C (lower body) - will miss at least Saturday's game with a minor issue
Nick Bonino, C (hand) - is questionable at best for Saturday
Beau Bennett, RW (upper body) - has been tagged as a "longer term" injury
David Warsofsky, D (concussion) - is making progress

Florida Panthers
Willie Mitchell, D (undisclosed) - did not play Thursday
Dave Bolland, C (lower body) - remains out

Minnesota Wild
healthy

St. Louis Blues
Jake Allen, G (knee) - has been skating
Jaden Schwartz, LW (ankle) - won't play Saturday
Steve Ott, C (hamstring) - remains sidelined

San Jose Sharks
Raffi Torres, LW (knee) - is still in the AHL rehabbing his knee

Nashville Predators
Eric Nystrom, LW (foot) - is on IR
Colin Wilson, LW (lower body) - returned to practice Wednesday
Gabriel Bourque, LW (upper body) - has practiced, but it's unclear when he'll return

Chicago Blackhawks
Marcus Kruger, C (wrist) - remains out

Dallas Stars
Colton Sceviour, RW (head) - did not play Thursday
Jason Spezza, C (upper body) - was placed on IR Friday

Winnipeg Jets
Ondrej Pavelec, G (knee) - is making progress, but isn't cleared for game action

Colorado Avalanche
Ben Street, C (chest) - remains out
Reto Berra, G (ankle) - has skated, but isn't ready to return
Jesse Winchester, LW (concussion) - remains out
Brad Stuart, D (back) - had back surgery and is expected to miss an extended period of time

Calgary Flames
Dennis Wideman, D (suspension) - is serving a 20-game suspension

Vancouver Canucks
Dan Hamhuis, D (face) - is expected to return on Saturday

Hot
Tyler Johnson, C, TBL Johnson has not only put up some points, on the ice he's looked like the Johnson from last season suddenly. In the last four games he has two goals and three assists with 17 shots, a pair of power play markers and four penalty minutes. In fact, the entire Triplets Line looks like they're ready to take control of play again.

Phil Kessel, RW, PIT Even hockey fandom's favorite whipping boy is clicking in Pittsburgh right now. He's on a five-game point streak with three goals, three assists and 22 shots. You can extend that time frame and he's still looking pretty solid. Kessel has four goals and 13 points in his last 14 games.

Cold
Michael Frolik, RW, CGY He put on a show Wednesday, grabbing a few scoring chances while short-handed against Carolina, but he hasn't had as much luck at even strength. He's without a point in five games and has just a single goal in his last 11 games. While he has lots of utility to the Flames, his fantasy value is fading.

Viktor Tikhonov, RW, ARI In 2016, Tikhonov has just one assist in 16 games. In fact, he has just four shots in that time. That's not an error. Just four shots. Just four shots. Let's put that in perspective. He has four shots in his last 16 games with the Coyotes. John Scott played just 11 games this season -- all for Arizona -- and had six shots. Steve Downie has 11 shots in his last 16 games with Arizona. Both Scott and Downie were waived by Arizona this season. Tikhonov's ice time has dropped like crazy -- as you would expect when you manage just four shots in 16 games -- and he's no longer a viable fantasy option.

Recommended Pickup
Chris Kunitz, LW, PIT Because of his early-season struggles, Kunitz is only owned in about 50% of leagues. That's good news for you. He's on a four-game point streak, with four goals and six assists over his last seven games. In those seven games he's also a plus-7 with eight penalty minutes, 11 hits, a power play point and 13 shots.

The author(s) of this article may play in daily fantasy contests including – but not limited to – games that they have provided recommendations or advice on in this article. In the course of playing in these games using their personal accounts, it's possible that they will use players in their lineups or other strategies that differ from the recommendations they have provided above. The recommendations in this article do not necessarily reflect the views of RotoWire.