Between the Lines looks at how Boston's top group finally started to click.
Halloween can be a spooky time but even more so for fantasy hockey owners. Week 5 is already upon us and if it feels like there are a lot of changes on rosters, that is because there is. Overall, there were 37 new injuries last week and it doesn’t look like they’re going to stop anytime soon. Let’s go “Between The Lines”.
Lead Us Forwards
Jarome Iginla-David Krejci-Milan Lucic (Boston) -- It seemed like people whined about when this line would start producing. Well Week 4 provided a pretty clear and emphatic answer. This was the best line by far and away with 15 points when together. Iginla and Krejci had six points each while Milan Lucic tallied five. Keep in mind that Boston’s schedule played a role (especially against NJ). It will be interesting to see if the momentum can continue. I would still start without hesitation but do not expect this kind of outburst this week.
Nicklas Backstrom-Marcus Johansson-Alex Ovechkin (Washington) -- There is this lethal power play in Washington that provides the Caps and fantasy owners with a heck of a boost. Sadly they laid a huge egg on Sunday but they still cranked out a double digit Week 4. Ovechkin and Johansson led the trio with four points apiece. Their splits are not surprising either (29.9% EV, 70.3% PP). As long as Ovechkin is clicking, it really will not matter who is riding on either side of him. The road trip in Week 5 (@VAN, @PHI) should be a telling one.
Ryan Kesler-Henrik Sedin-Daniel Sedin (Vancouver) -- This line made the most sense for the last few years yet Alain Vigneault forgot the memo. Enter John Tortorella and an Alex Burrows injury to get the desired fantasy result for Kesler owners who had been dying for points. The 10 points was awesome but Kesler hammering home seven points in Week 4 may have been the death nail for Burrows owners. The schedule appears pretty favorable for Week 5 and these guys on the man advantage are definitely a cut above.
Matt Moulson-John Tavares-Frans Nielsen-Kyle Okposo (NY Islanders) -- So you can scratch Matt Moulson off the Islanders roster as he was traded Sunday along with two draft picks for Thomas Vanek. The former four man power play unit had nine points but many think Vanek can push this easily into the double digits. Can Vanek score three goals like Moulson did last week? We will find out quickly as the Isles face the New York Rangers Tuesday night. It won’t matter that Frans Nielsen had seven points in Week 4. The minute this Vanek deal was made the fantasy microscope focused really close.
Oliver Ekman-Larsson-Keith Yandle (Phoenix) -- It was a heck of a week for this pairing as they seemed to be everywhere. In all, the duo had seven points together with the younger Ekman-Larsson causing spacing fears that you would literally think it might be Erik Karlsson out there. Keith Yandle actually had six points while Ekman-Larsson had four. Both eat a lot of ice time which is great for owners and they can also fill quite a few stat categories. That 26:00 TOI is very nice for “OEL” owners as well. Basically there is a lot here to like as offense in Phoenix often starts from the defense.
Ryan Murray-James Wisniewski (Columbus) -- This was another duo that hit the seven point mark in Week 4. The thing is Wisniewski had a half dozen points and overall on the season, “The Wiz” has five points at even strength and two points on the man advantage with Murray. Murray has a way of helping to sustain plays that often lead to offense. It may not show up on the stat sheet but at the very least this is a pairing that can pay dividends for fantasy owners. Just don’t expect hot fire every week.
Kris Russell-Dennis Wideman (Calgary) -- Now here is a pairing that may get you a little of everything. It is not even the six points, it is the amazing 28+ minutes of TOI that Wideman receives every game night. They are going to receive top PP and PK time while Mark Giordano is out with an injury that will keep him on the shelf for awhile. Can Russell turn the corner? Fantasy owners are definitely going to find out. Week 5 is the first telling point as they say.
As always you can follow me on Twitter @ChrisWasselTHW. In the meantime, good luck and happy combination fishing. See you next week.
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