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Monday Daily Puck: Johnny Be Good

Dustin Nelson

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

It's just a single game, but might Jonathan Toews be close to turning his season around? It's been a slow season for the Chicago captain. He's way off pace for the 58 points he put up last season. And that itself was the slowest point pace of his career.

Sunday, he exploded for four points to help Chicago rally very late and grab their third straight win.

Might that mean he's about to return to form? Don't make a sweeping prediction on a single game, but it's worth paying attention to. Everyone knows Toews is capable of more and most expect him to start providing a little more offense sooner rather than later.

Let's dig into Monday's busy schedule.

Featured Matchups
Hurricanes (PP: 23, PK: 1) at Capitals (PP: 14, PK: 3), 7:00 p.m.
Expected Goalies: Cam Ward (18-14-6, 2.54, .909), Braden Holtby (22-8-4, 1.99, .929)
Key Injuries: Eddie Lack (concussion), John Carlson (lower body)

Both teams sport depth with utility in most fantasy formats and both teams are playing at close to full health. It's a good situation, especially if there are depth players you're getting surprising production out of.

For Carolina, the line of Sebastian Aho, Teuvo Teravainen and Lee Stempniak has been clicking. Brock McGinn had an outstanding week out of nowhere. He's gone quiet the last three games, but the three before that saw him post four goals and three assists with nine shots.

Jeff Skinner has likewise been tearing things up on a consistent basis. Even though he's gone without a point in his last four games, he has 17 shots and has put up 35 points in 45 games overall.

Similarly, things are going very well in Washington. In particular, Nicklas Backstrom has been unstoppable. He has played so well he's now in the scoring race. The Swedish center has points in nine straight with a total of four goals and 12 assists.

While most aren't rising to those heights, plenty of players have been streaking in the nation's capital. Alex Ovechkin is on a seven-game point streak. Justin Williams has points in nine of his last 12. Andre Burakovsky is on a five-game point streak. T.J. Oshie has points in nine of the last 11. Evgeni Kuznetsov has points in eight of his last 10.

The problem in this game is both teams have been stingy defensively. Carolina allows the fifth fewest shots per game, while Washington ranks sixth. There isn't a team that allows fewer goals than the Caps per game. To boot, both teams have thrived on the penalty kill this season.

Ducks (PP: 8, PK: 10) at Jets (PP: 15, PK: 26), 8:00 p.m.
Expected Goalies: Jonathan Bernier (7-4-1, 2.95, .899), Connor Hellebuyck (16-13-1, 2.82, .907)
Key Injuries: Simon Despres (head), John Gibson (upper body), Jakob Silfverberg (upper body), Ben Chiarot (illness), Marko Dano (lower body), Patrik Laine (concussion), Tyler Myers (lower body), Drew Stafford (lower leg)

What's good here? The Ducks have a nice match-up. They have two lines of players creating offense and they're playing a team that's been a disaster.

The Jets are struggling to get any goaltending. That's why Ondrej Pavelec made his season debut recently. Though the Jets have put a few more goals on the board lately, they're struggling to keep good teams from scoring in bunches.

The Jets are allowing 3.06 goals against per game, which ranks 25th in the league. Their penalty kill is hovering just above the rancid basement and they're allowing 30.6 shots against per game, which ranks 20th overall.

It's a good time to throw some Ducks in your lineup and hope the Jets keep up their proud tradition of being less than the sum of their parts.

Sharks (PP: 21, PK: 9) at Avalanche (PP: 28, PK: 25), 9:00 p.m.
Expected Goalies: Martin Jones (24-14-2, 2.24, .917), Calvin Pickard (7-12-1, 3.01, .904)
Key Injuries: Tyson Barrie (lower body), Rene Bourque (lower body), Erik Johnson (leg), Semyon Varlamov (groin), Dylan DeMelo (wrist), Micheal Haley (upper body), Tomas Hertl (knee)

This is a similar situation. The Sharks have a potent offense and a solid defense. Meanwhile, the Avalanche are a mess even before you consider that they're missing their top two defenders and their starting goaltender.

Even with those three around, the team is atrocious. Their power play is tepid. Their penalty kill is weak. They allow 32.3 shots against per game. Even worse, they're allowed 3.34 goals against per game, the worst mark in the NHL.

Stats don't create perfect predictions, but there's no doubt the Avalanche are one of the best matchups this year for opposing players in fantasy. Start the best of the Sharks for sure and know that there's a decent chance there's still meat on the bone further down the depth chart.

Other Matchups
Kings (PP: 20, PK: 14) at Rangers (PP: 9, PK: 13), 7:00 p.m.
Expected Goalies: Peter Budaj (20-14-3, 2.14, .916), Henrik Lundqvist (19-12-1, 2.86, .902)
Key Injuries: Nic Dowd (lower body), Jonathan Quick (groin), Tyler Toffoli (lower body), Jesper Fast (upper body), Kevin Hayes (lower body), Matt Puempel (concussion), Antti Raanta (lower body), Marc Staal (concussion)

The Kings are struggling to produce offense. Looking for depth starts there has been a dubious proposition all year. Their top guys have been their top guys (though Anze Kopitar's production is down), but the depth has been middling

However, Lundqvist has not been the Lundqvist of the past. That doesn't make the Los Angeles third line lousy with superstars, but it's hard to feel good about the Kings producing when they run into a tough defense or hot goaltender. That won't be the case against the Rangers.

Even with the possibility that Hayes is out for the Blueshirts, they've been a team with much better offensive depth. But the Kings have retained their identity through and through. They're a stingy defensive team and aren't giving up many goals, even with the season-long absence of Quick.

Flames (PP: 11, PK: 16) at Maple Leafs (PP: 2, PK: 4), 7:30 p.m.
Expected Goalies: Chad Johnson (16-11-1, 2.41, .917), Frederik Andersen (19-10-8, 2.69, .918)
Key Injuries: Garnet Hathaway (upper body), Joffrey Lupul (abdomen), Morgan Rielly (lower body), Ben Smith (hand)

It remains difficult to instinctively adjust expectations for what the Maple Leafs are this year. They're good. They own the second-ranked power play and fourth-ranked penalty kill. They're currently sitting in a playoff spot, have been getting good goaltending and they're more than capable of putting up a few goals.

Meanwhile, the Flame continue to not be quite as good as they should be. They bounced back from an ugly start, but they've been slipping back toward their early-season struggles recently. The goaltending has been patchy, Johnny Gaudreau hasn't scored in nine games and Sam Bennet was recently a scratch.

The bright spots for Calgary have been few. Sean Monahan has a five-game goal streak rolling and has put up at least four shots in five of his last six. Meanwhile, Dougie Hamilton has points in five of his last six. Also, the Mikael Backlund, Mathew Tkachuk and Michael Frolik line continues to provide a surprising amount of production while dominating the possession battle overall.

Panthers (PP: 24, PK: 6) at Coyotes (PP: 25, PK: 27), 9:00 p.m.
Expected Goalies: Roberto Luongo (13-13-5, 2.44, .921), Mike Smith (9-13-5, 2.99, .915)
Key Injuries: Max Domi (hand), Brad Richardson (leg), Aleksander Barkov (upper body), Nick Bjugstad (lower body), Jonathan Huberdeau (achilles), Alex Petrovic (ankle), James Reimer (personal)

This battle of struggling teams is hard to get excited about. Neither defense is playing particularly well and that'd be a great omen if it wasn't entirely possible that their floundering offenses still don't manage to produce much.

For the Panthers, in particular, it's been a rough stretch. They're down the usual suspects, but rumors have been floated that Huberdeau and Barkov could miss the rest of the season. Bjugstad has once again missed most of the season and when he's been in the lineup he hasn't been that effective, putting up just two points in 21 games.

Recommended Pickup
Dougie Hamilton, D, CGY There's a taste of it above, but Hamilton is still being undervalued by many. His early-season struggles had insiders talking about the possibility that Calgary would trade him. He's turned the ship all the way around since then. Over the last 21 games, he's put up five goals and 13 assists. If he's available he's been driving some offense and he's seeing solid power play time.

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.