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.
Toronto Maple Leafs @ San Jose Sharks
Totals: Highest 6 DK 6 FD 6
In the middle of a four game road trip the Toronto Maple Leafs (14-6-1) continue their swing through California with a matchup with the San Jose Sharks (10-8-1) tonight. The Leafs have won seven of their last eight games, they’re 10-2-0 in the month of November and their most recent game against the Kings featured 8 goals.
Toronto’s offense is generating excellent shot volume (714, 34/game) and scoring chances, ranking 1st in SCF (588, 28/game) and 1st in HDF (172, 8.19/game). Their offense is getting ready to erupt, the only things holding them back are a below average shooting percentage (6.4% 25th) and a lack of PPO (59, 2.8/game).
The Leafs defense has been almost as atrocious as their offense as been exceptional. They do a decent job not giving up too many PPOA (56, 2.66/game) and they’re holding opponents to slightly under thirty shots a game (625, 29.76/game). It’s their scoring chance numbers that stand out, ranking 6th in SCA (448, 21.33/game) and 7th in HDA (136, 6.47/game).
The Sharks have won their last two games and nine of their last eleven games have featured 5+ goals. Their above average shooting efficiency (7.7% 11th) has allowed San Jose to toke advantage of their middling shot volume (536, 28.21/game) and below average PPO (53, 2.78/game). The Sharks scoring chance numbers aren’t overly impressive, ranking 25th in SCF (349, 18.36/game) and 16th in HDF (115, 6.05/game).
Defensively San Jose gives their opponents plenty of chances to put up points, allowing over five hundred shots against on the year (570, 30/game) despite allowing less than three PPOA a game (54, 2.84/game). They are allowing over twenty scoring chances a game though, ranking 16th in SCA (397, 20.89/game) and 21st in HDA (112, 5.89/game).
San Jose has a very efficient offense but hasn’t performed to its ceiling yet this year, while the Leafs generate and give up plenty of chances in every game. Expect the Leafs to drive the play in this one and pull one of the better offensive performances out of the Sharks to date.
Pittsburgh Penguins @ New York Islanders
Totals: Highest 5.5 DK 5.5 FD 5.5
Finishing up a four game home stand after starting the season with thirteen games on the road the New York Islanders (5-9-2) welcome their Metro division rival Pittsburgh Penguins (9-6-4) to New York tonight. The Islanders have dropped seven straight but four of their last five games have seen at least 5 combined goals.
While their shooting percentage (6.5% 23rd) and PPO (47, 2.93/game) don’t inspire much confidence in this offense, New York is generating over twenty scoring chances a game, ranking 31st in SCF (326, 20.37/game) and 23rd in HDF (107, 6.68/game). The Islanders are also averaging nearly thirty shots on goal a game (470, 29.37/game).
New York’s offense may not be perfect but their defense offers up the exact kind of sieve like resistance we look for in fantasy match ups. Allowing plenty of shots against (524, 32.75/game) to go with an average number of PPOA north of three (49, 3.06/game). Their scoring chance numbers are even better, ranking 21st in SCA (387, 24.18/game) and 17th in HDA (119, 7.43/game).
Starting to really turn it on lately the Penguins have won four in a row, including sweeping a three game road trip through Canada. Pittsburgh is currently generating massive shot volume (677, 35.63/game) to go with top ten spots in scoring chances, 9th in SCF (441, 23.21/game) and 7th in HDF (7.10/game). Those numbers along with the PPO (58, 3.05/game) they’re creating allows them to get by with just an average shooting percentage (7.5% 13th).
The Penguins do a fairly decent job limiting their opponents scoring chances, ranking 19th in SCA (391, 20.57/game) and 23rd in HDA (108, 5.68/game), however they are giving up over thirty shots against per game (592, 31.15/game). Pittsburgh keeps their opponents off of the man advantage with a impressively low amount of PPOA (49, 2.57/game).
The Islanders generate enough offense of chances to keep pace with Pittsburgh in this one even though the Penguins should be expected to carry the play. If New York can improve their shooting efficiency this game could explode.