Four of the best lines to key on for Week 13...
The holiday roster freeze is here but most importantly it is a crazy schedule. This will be a faster edition because Christmas is literally just around the corner and then the World Junior Championships. This is a busy time so let’s get right to “Between The Lines”.
Lead Us Yuletide Forwards……
Sidney Crosby-Chris Kunitz-Pascal Dupuis (Pittsburgh) -- This was the best line from Week 12 with a total of 13 points together. However, if you watched the Monday game against the Senators, Pascal Dupuis looks to be out for a good while with a lower body injury and Sidney Crosby even got dinged up a bit. Last week they were world beaters however expect James Neal to step in, for now, in place of Dupuis. This is until Evgeni Malkin comes back (whenever that is). Just keep an eye out because it seems Pittsburgh cannot keep guys in the lineup consistently right now.
Claude Giroux-Jakub Voracek-Michael Raffl (Philadelphia) -- Hey, it is a return for these guys who racked up 12 points in Week 12. Giroux and Voracek had 15 points combined overall during the week as Philadelphia clearly has a line that can find the back of the net. The real catalyst has been Michael Raffl, who for whatever reason was just the spark Giroux and Voracek needed. It continued a bit on Monday night as well so this is a line to continue to be bullish for Week 13 and beyond.
Nicklas Backstrom-Alex Ovechkin-Troy Brouwer-Marcus Johansson (Washington) -- Anyone disputer the power of this four man power play unit? I did not think so. That 61% PP number is quite high. Anything above 50% as a rule is a clear indication that the line plays together on the man advantage for more than 60 seconds per shift. They clearly generate the most scoring chances and a reason why Washington just has one of the best power plays in the post 2004-05 lockout era. The concern is the rest of the lines.
Matt Duchene-Nathan MacKinnon-Ryan O’Reilly (Colorado) -- There is something I have always liked about this line and was eagerly awaiting for it to come to full fruition. Now is that time. This line had a nice double digit point week when together and it is nice to see Nathan MacKinnon starting to put some pucks in the net while piling up the points. By the way, Matt Duchene led the league with nine points in Week 12 and when he is on, he is on! The late precincts reported that MacKinnon tallied his 8th goal of the year late Monday. Week 13 continues the good times for this trio.
Defend This Santa!
Andy Greene-Marek Zidlicky (New Jersey) -- New Jersey plays defense? Okay offensively this was the top duo of the week with seven points for the pairing. The quirky part is they split time. Greene was paired with Mark Fayne for good parts and Zidlicky with Eric Gelinas. Greene had five points on the week which led the NHL amongst defensemen. Zidlicky chipped in a few points too but the power play points were a real surprise to fantasy owners. The frustrating thing for owners of Devils defensemen is that for as good as they can look one week, they can look awful the next.
Mark Streit-Nick Grossman (Philadelphia) -- The four points when both on the ice was encouraging but the five point week by Streit had to feel good for fantasy owners who actually stuck with him this far into the season. It does seem like Streit gets most of his points (3 of 5 in Week 12) when the top Philadelphia forwards were on the ice. For now, I would hold on this duo but if you are desperate enough, this may be a gamble worth taking at least.
Roman Josi-Shea Weber (Nashville) -- Again, if Nashville is going to contend for a playoff spot, they need goaltending but they need scoring depth from both offensive and more importantly defensive end. Josi and Weber have done their part as they popped in four points as a duo. Shea Weber had four points by himself and for the second week in a row looked like the Weber everyone thinks he can be. It has been tough in Nashville and depth is an issue but this pairing with their high ice time and output is at least worth a look for Week 14 more than this week.
As always you can follow me @ChrisWasselTHW and thanks again for reading. Good luck this week and enjoy your waiver wire shopping looking for those last minute combinations! Merry Christmas!