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.
Montreal Canadiens @ St. Louis Blues
Totals: Highest 6.5 DK 6 FD 6.5
With points in six of their last seven games the St. Louis Blues (14-8-4) play host to the bottom feeding Montreal Canadiens (6-19-3). Recently the Blues’ games have seen plenty of scoring with 6+ goals in eight of their last nine.
The Blues are putting plenty of pucks on net (852, 32.76/game) and in the back of the net (8.2% 8th) at an excellent rate. While they’d like to see a few more chances with the man advantage, PPO (74, 2.84/game), their even strength opportunities are plentiful, ranking 5th in SCF (612, 23.53/game) and 22nd in HDF (156, 6/game).
St. Louis slides into the top ten of both defensive scoring chance categories, 4th in SCA (628, 24.15/game) and 9th in HDA (181, 6.96/game). Their PPOA (73, 2.8/game), shots against (833, 32.03/game) and save percentage (.929 12th) are essentially a mirror image of their offensive counter parts.
The Habs have continued both themes of their season so far, being a doormat for the rest of the league with five straight losses and playing in fantasy friendly game environments with fifteen out of their last seventeen games seeing 5+ goals.
A slight increase in PPO (83, 2.96/game) would be nice but what Montreal really needs is to improve on their bottom third shooting efficiency (6.1% 28th) and bump up their shot volume (819, 29.25/game) a bit. Despite those underwhelming numbers, the Canadiens offense is potent at five on five, ranking 10th in SCF (594, 21.21/game) and 9th in HDF (174, 6.21/game).
Defensively Montreal allows their opponents a decent amount of power play chances, PPOA (85, 3.03/game), and that’s the best defensive stat they have. The Habs are in the top two of both SCA (644, 23/game) 2nd and HDA (211, 7.53/game) 1st, their save percentage (.924 20th) is below average and they face a heightened amount of shots against (928, 33.14/game).
Montreal has been allowing opposing offensives to do whatever they want all year and the Blues have the type of dangerous offense that will take full advantage of that. The only fear about this game is the Canadiens being unable to finish the abundance of chances they get and let this one turn into a one sided affair.
Anaheim Ducks @ Pittsburgh Penguins
Totals: Highest 6 DK 6 FD 6
The Pittsburgh Penguins (13-8-5) fresh off of outlasting the Capitals in a 4-2 victory last night welcome the Anaheim Ducks (15-8-5) to town. The Pens have seen 5 more goals in five of their last six games.
With top ten rankings in both SCF (621, 23.88/game) 4th and HDF (177, 6.8/game) 8th, Pittsburgh’s offense creates opportunities at one of the best rates in the league. In addition to their scoring chance numbers their shot volume (921, 35.42/game) is phenomenal and just a slight uptick in shooting efficiency (7.2% 20th) would pay huge dividends. Only their underwhelming PPO (73, 2.8/game) is a concern.
The Penguins above average defense does offer some resistance for their games to reach their offensive potential, ranking 20th in SCA (535, 20.57/game) and 25th in HDA (151, 5.8/game). They’re also contending with few PPOA (64, 2.46/game) which is aided by a top ten save percentage (.934 7th). Only their decent amount of shots against (787, 30.26/game) offers some hope.
Despite a few recent disappointing offensive showings the Ducks have consistently played in some of the higher scoring games all year. This includes a current stretch of 6 or more total goals in six of their last nine games.
Anaheim delivers a healthy amount of shot volume (915, 32.67/game) but their middle of the road shooting percentage (7.5% 16th) and lack of chances with the man advantage, PPO (76, 2.71/game) holds them back a little. However their exciting offense does plenty of work at even strength, ranking 13th in SCF (572, 20.42/game) and 4th in HDF (192, 6.85/game).
An average save percentage (.926 17th) and an ability to keep teams off the power play, PPOA (73, 2.6/game) does temper some of the scoring expectations in the Ducks games. But their mouth watering scoring chance numbers, 6th in SCA (607, 21.67/game) and 4th in HDA (191, 6.82/game) more than make up for it.
Even with some average to above average defensive play expect the offenses to deliver in this matchup. Fatigue could play a role in this one as well, with the Pens in night two of a back to back and the Ducks playing their fourth game in six days, and tired teams make mistakes.