Here in the environmental study we’re going to identify the games with the best fantasy scoring environments for everyday of the NHL season. To do this we’re going to look at teams’ scoring chances for (SCF), scoring chances against (SCA), high danger chances for (HDF), high danger chances against (HDA), power play opportunities (PPO) and power play opportunities against (PPOA). The reason for applying those stats to this particular exercise is because they are the best indicator of a team’s scoring opportunities and we want to identify games with teams that possess the best combination of quality and quantity of scoring opportunities.
Vegas Golden Knights @ Toronto Maple Leafs
Totals: Highest 6 DK 6 FD 6
The Vegas Golden Knights (4-4-0) kick off an Eastern Conference road trip tonight against the Toronto Maple Leafs (4-4-1). Four out of Vegas’ last five games featured 4 or more goals and two of those games had 8+ goals. Already short handed missing Mark Stone and Max Pacioretty the Knights will be without William Karlsson tonight as well after he broke his foot and is expected to be out 4-6 weeks. Despite the injuries Vegas’ games are averaging a very nice 68.1 total shots on goal and their below average shooting percentage (6.8% 20th) suggests there is room for improvement on the 5.7 total goals average per game they currently sit at. The Knights’ scoring chance rankings also allude to their games having plenty of offensive potential, coming in at 4th in SCF (194), 3rd in SCA (211), 2nd in HDF (70) and 1st in HDA (87). The Maple Leafs last five games have all had 5 or more goals and two of those featured 8 or more goals. Austin Matthews’ infuriatingly low shooting percentage (4%) is nearly 12 points lower than his career average (15.9%) and has to improve at some point. The Leafs as a whole also have an overall shooting percentage (6.5% 24th) that should rebound and revert to the mean over time. Toronto’s games are currently averaging 5.5 goals, 65 total shots on goal and 6.2 power plays per game. Their scoring chance rankings are similar to the Knights adding to the potential offensive fireworks, ranking 1st in SCF (242), 9th in SCA (189), 3rd in HDF (69) and 6th in HDA (56). This game is likely to be the highest scoring on the night and has a chance to combine for double digit goals.
Detroit Red Wings @ Montreal Canadiens
Totals: Highest 5.5 DK 5.5 FD 5.5
The Detroit Red Wings (4-3-2) continue their swing through Canada squaring up against the Montreal Canadiens (2-8-0). Three of Detroit’s last five games combined for 7 or more goals and none of those five games had less than 5 goals. The Red Wings will be without Dylan Larkin and Tyler Bertuzzi tonight but they should still be more than capable of taking advantage of the Canadiens sieve like defense. Detroit’s games currently average 6.6 goals, 63.7 total shots on goal and 7.4 power plays on the year. The Red Wings scoring chance rankings highlight a team defense vulnerable to even high school hockey teams, ranking 23rd in SCF (162), 2nd in SCA (222), 14th in HDF (50) and 2nd in HDA (77). Montreal’s games have seen 4 or more goals in nine of their ten games on the season and five of those games have had 6 or more goals. The Canadiens’s offense as a whole has been struggling to get going early in the season, but this matchup might be what they need to improve their bottom third shooting percentage (6.3% 25th) and finally cash in on their vast scoring opportunities, they rank 9th in SCF (181), 6th in SCA (196), 7th in HDF (58) and 4th in HDA (65). While both of these teams have offenses that are underwhelming, the defenses in this game are top ten in scoring chances against and high danger chances against, offering plenty of upside for these struggling offenses.
New York Rangers @ Vancouver Canucks
Totals: Highest 5.5 DK 5.5 FD 5.5
The New York Rangers (6-2-1) take on the fantasy friendly Vancouver Canucks (3-5-1) tonight on the second stop of their road trip. All five of New York’s most recent games had at least 4 goals and two of them had at least 5. There’s only been three games this season that Artemi Panarin hasn’t registered a point and with this matchup with the Canucks, the Bread Man is likely to deliver again tonight. Nine games into the season Rangers’ games average 4.5 goals, 58.5 total shots on goal and 6.7 power plays, their 22nd ranked shooting percentage (6.6%) suggests team wide efficiency improvement. Their rankings in scoring chance categories suggests a team that will be allowing plenty of chances to their opponents, checking in at 18th in SCF (167), 4th in SCA (199), 31st in HDF (38) and 10th in HDA (53). Before their last two games only had 3 goals apiece, the Canucks’ first seven games never had less than 4 goals with six of those games featuring 5 or more goals. Elias Pettersson’s 4.2% shooting percentage on his 24 shots on goal (2nd on the team) is frustrating but a break through is coming. Vancouver’s 29th ranked shooting percentage (5.9%) is too low for a team with this much offensive talent and their average of 63.4 total shots on goal and 6.3 power plays suggests improvement for their 5 combined goals per game average. The Canucks rank 28th in SCF (150), 6th in SCA (196), 32nd in HDF (36) and 10th in HDA (53). As always with the Canucks their high end offensive skill and turn style defense always offers a game environment that fantasy managers can take advantage of.