Week 3 NHL Wrap up

Week 3 is in the books for the 2015 NHL season. One team remains undefeated, that is Montreal. It’s early, but they look like early candidates to make a Stanley Cup appearance. I’ll touch on them more in my take away. Let’s give a big congratulations to the Columbus Blue Jackets. They notched their first win of the season last night against the Avalanche. Washington and Montreal both set the ceiling this season for most goals scored in a game at 7. That ties Vladmir Putin’s 7 goal output earlier this month during his birthday party. Anyway, here are the top undervalued skaters going into this week, as well as the top stacks for Sunday’s slate.

Let’s get started with the Most Undervalued skaters heading into week 3. With most of the 1st and 2nd line value players seeing their price increase, I have still found a few that stick out.

Adam Henrique (NJ-F) $4.2k 6 G 3 A 0 +/- 19 SOG
The New Jersey Devils don’t score often, but when they do, Henrique is almost always involved. Henrique has scored or assisted on 11 of the 19 goals the Devils have put up. In addition, New Jersey faces off against the Blue Jackets, Flyers, and Islanders this week. These teams have combined to allow 81 goals. If there is any week that Henrique can break out, it’s this week. He has a knack for scoring and should continue to put the puck in the net. And yes, oddly enough I had him on my list before last night’s game.

Marcus Johansson (WSH-F) $4.0k 2 G 3 A 3+/- 12 SOG
Washington has been on an offensive tear lately. This output is largely due to the consistent play of their second line. Johansson centers this line of Backstrom and Williams, who have been meshing well lately. They combined for 5 goals and 7 assists last week. The Capitals are also second in the league in PP%. This adds a lot of value to Johansson who doesn’t get a lot of shots on net. Because of his low price and team production, I can’t shy away from him just because he hasn’t lit up the scoring column.

Dustin Brown (LA-F) $3.8k 0 G 2 A 1 +/ 25 SOG
There isn’t much to say about Brown this season, as he has been very quiet. With 0 goals and only 2 assists on the top line of a very good offensive team, his stats are surprising. The only reason I put him on this list is because of his potential to break out on that top line and his low price tag. With 25 SOG, it’s only a matter of time before one of those shots finds the back of the net.

Top Stacks for Sunday

Stepan – Nash – Yandle (NYR)
Coming off a 2-3 loss last night in Philadelphia, the Rangers will be looking for redemption when facing the Flames at home. Their top line will need to step up to do so. Rick Nash and Derek Stepan have combined for only 4 goals through 8 games. They do however lead the team with 28 and 22 SOG respectively. With a flames team allowing just over 30 shots per game, look for these two to notch a goal or two. I’m also stacking Yandle with these two due to his power play production. The Rangers aren’t very productive on their power play lately, but the Flames aren’t good on their penalty kill either.

Parise – Zucker – Koivu (MIN)
Koivu and Zucker each picked up an assist last night against the Ducks, while Parise was held pointless for the second time against the Ducks this season. With that being said, a solid outing is in order against the Jets. Parise still needs no argument on why he should be bought, especially with a short slate. The 2nd line of Minnesota, Zucker, Koivu, and Niederreiter, has played very well together this year. They have combined for 5 goals and 6 assists. The line meshes well and that’s key when looking to stack a line. Side note, Winnipeg has allowed 8 goals their last two games.

Kopitar – Brown – Doughty (LA)
The King’s top line has been everything but spectacular this season. Their lack of production has shown, combining for only 2 goals (Kopitars) and 4 assists. Brown leads the team in SOG so he’ll eventually get scoring soon like I mentioned before. The Kings face an Oilers team who average 3 GA a game and 30 shots against per game. This could be the game where we finally see the Kings team we’ve been use to seeing in the past.

The “Holy” Goalie
This week’s Holy Goalie award goes to Carey Price for leading his team to a perfect 9-0 record, while adding two wins this week. Remind you, these stats are for week 3.

Carey Price (MON-G): 2 W 3 GA 87 SV 0.971 SV% 1.50 GAA

I’ll dig more into the amazing start Montreal has had in my take away below. Let’s first look at the good week Price put in. On Tuesday, he shut out the Blues while making 38 saves. To hold Tarasenko and Steen pointless deserves a standing ovation in my book. Price then got pelted with 52 SOG, allowing 3, Saturday night against the Toronto Maple Leafs. He set the mark for the most saves in a game this season with 49. His stats might seem skewed given he only started 2 games and allowed all 3 goals in one game. Look for Price to continue his hot start Tuesday against the Canucks, as the Canadiens are on the road for a mini 3 game Canada tour.

Take Away
As you might all know, the Montreal Canadiens have yet to lose this season. On Saturday against Toronto, they broke the NHL record with 9 consecutive regulation wins to start a season. After Saturdays win, the Canadiens lead the league in PTS, GF, GA, GA/GP and PK%. There can’t be anyone that would argue they aren’t the best team in the NHL right now. They are led by the production of their first line; Pacioretty, Plekanec, Gallagher, Subban, and Markov. All 5 skaters have combined for 50 points, including 18 goals. To put that into perspective, that line alone has scored more goals than 13 other teams in the league. They have yet to score no less than 3 goals in a game. Montreal’s hot start is also due their goaltending, led by Carey Price. He has taken 228 SOG while allowing only 9 goals through his 7 starts. Furthermore, 3 of those goals were in one game. No team seems to match up well and figure out how to slow them down. Every game they have played has basically been an onslaught. I’ll leave you with this quick fact.

Montreal has only trailed once this season, which was last week against the Red Wings at the 3 min mark of the second period. Safe to say, that was their worst period they’ve played all season.

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