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.
Pittsburgh Penguins @ Vancouver Canucks
Totals: Highest 5.5 DK 5.5 FD 5.5
In the middle of a five game road trip the Pittsburgh Penguins (10-8-5) head to Western Canada for a matchup with the Vancouver Canucks (8-14-2). Penguins games have featured 7 or more goals in two of their last three.
Pittsburgh is one of the best teams at generating offensive chances, ranking 6th in SCF (544, 23.65/game) and 9th in HDF (156, 6.78/game). They also bring with them excellent shot volume (813, 35.34/game), allowing them to overcome a below average shooting percentage (6.7% 23rd) and a lack of PPO (66, 2.86/game).
While the Penguins do a fair job at limiting their opponents’ chances, they still allow a reasonable amount of scoring opportunities per game, ranking 20th in SCA (482, 20.95/game) and 20th in HDA (138, 6/game). Even though they keep their opponents off the man advantage, PPOA (58, 2.52/game), they’re still facing plenty of shots against (704, 30.6/game).
The Canucks host the Penguins after going 2-3-0 on their five game road trip. Vancouver has seen their games reach 5 or more goals in four of their last five.
The Canucks are wasting their healthy shot volume (816, 34/game) and high amount of PPO (83, 3.45/game) with their lousy shooting efficiency (5.7% 31st). They’re creating offensive chances at an above average rate, ranking 13th in SCF (488, 20.33/game) and 18th in HDF (137, 5.7/game).
Vancouver has improved a bit defensively this season, checking in at 19th in SCA (484, 20.16/game) and 21st in HDA (136, 5.7/game). However they’re still playing quite often with a man in the box, PPOA (76, 3.16/game), and facing a decent amount of shot volume (757, 31.54/game) from their opponents.
Pittsburgh should have no problem getting opportunities in this one and if the Canucks give them more PPO then they’ve been seeing on the season the Pens offense could really hit their ceiling. Vancouver has all the talent in the world and they’re generating scoring chances and drawing penalties, if they can start finishing their chances they could really push the Pens and make this game a shootout.
Toronto Maple Leafs @ Minnesota Wild
Totals: Highest 6 DK 6 FD 6
Starting a quick two game road trip tonight, the Toronto Maple Leafs (17-6-1) bring with them an offense that is firing on all cylinders to take on the Minnesota Wild (16-6-1). The Leafs have won five in a row and their last four games have all had at least 5+ goals.
Toronto is putting up league leading numbers in scoring chances, ranking 1st in SCF (654, 27.25/game) and 1st in HDF (194, 8.08/game). They are generating high shot volume (819, 34.12/game) with a league average shooting percentage (7.5% 15th) but an underwhelming amount of PPO (64, 2.66/game).
The Leafs also have top ten rankings in defensive scoring chance categories, 6th in SCA (525, 21.87/game) and 7th in HDA (159, 6.62/game). They limit their amount of PPOA (64, 2.66), neither themselves or their opponents get very many special teams chances, but they face almost as many shots against (731, 30.45/game) as they put on net.
Currently 4-0-0 on their home stand, the Wild look to go a perfect five for five tonight before they get back on the road. All four games of this home stand have seen 6 or more goals.
Minnesota relies on their superb shooting percentage (9.4% 2nd) and great shot volume (780, 33.91/game) to power their offense. They see a fair amount of PPO (74, 3.21/game) and are just outside the top ten in both scoring chance categories, ranking 12th in SCF (498, 21.65/game) and 11th in HDF (155, 6.73/game).
Defensively the Wild are facing plenty of PPOA (78, 3.39/game) and shots against (700, 30.43/game). But they are limiting chances at five on five, ranking 28th in SCA (423, 18.39/game) and 11th in HDA (155, 6.73/game).
Toronto has more than enough firepower to overcome the Wild’s above average defense and Minnesota’s offense should be able to do just enough to keep pace in tonight’s contest. Expect plenty of points from both teams in this one.