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.
Tampa Bay Lightning @ Florida Panthers
Total: Highest 6.5 DK 6.5 FD 6.5
The Tampa Bay Lightning (21-6-4) who have remained hot despite a few game postponements and the holiday break take on the Florida Panthers (19-7-4) tonight. The Lightning have won nine of their last ten games and eight of those games featured 5+ goals.
The Lightning’s excellent shooting percentage (8.6% 5th) enhances the efficiency of their above average scoring chance numbers, 12th in SCF (672, 21.67/game) and 11th in HDF (205, 6.61/game). Their solid shot volume (905, 29.19/game) and a fair amount of PPO (95, 3.06/game) display their ability to consistently create offense.
Tampa Bay’s defense is pretty much average across the board except in save percentage (.937 3rd). They rank 14th in SCA (661, 21.32/game) and 22nd in HDA (185, 5.96/game) while giving up slightly more shots against (939, 30.29/game) than they face. But they contend with a few less PPOA (90, 2.9/game).
The Panthers entered the break on a three game losing streak but righted the ship after the extended layoff with a 4-3 win over the Rangers. Ten of the Panthers’ last eleven games saw 5 or more goals.
With elite level scoring chance rankings, 2nd in SCF (785, 26.16/game) and 2nd in HDF (244, 8.13/game), Florida brings one of the most dangerous offenses in the league into tonight’s contest. Their top ten shooting efficiency (8.2% 8th), monster shot volume (1084, 36.13/game) and heightened amount of PPO (97, 3.23/game) all reinforce that.
The Panthers’ defensive numbers are a mystery wrapped in an enigma, ranking 27th in SCA (580, 19.33/game) but 6th in HDA (220, 7.33), while their shots against (927, 30.9/game) and PPOA (92, 3.06/game) are just middling. Their save percentage (.920 23rd) ranks in the bottom third of the league.
With offenses that posses a phenomenal ceiling and defenses that fall somewhere between average and below average there is a great chance for scoring from both sides in this one.
Vancouver Canucks @ Los Angeles Kings
Total: Highest 5.5 DK 5.5 FD 5.5
After coming out of the holiday break with a 6-3 loss to the Knights the Los Angeles Kings (14-12-5) host the Vancouver Canucks (15-15-2). The Kings’ games have seen 5 or more totals goals in all of their last five games.
LA’s disappointing shooting percentage (6.5% 27th) prevents the Kings from reaching their offensive potential. They generate offensive pressure at one of the best rates in the league, ranking 6th in SCF (727, 23.45/game) and 11th in HDF (205, 6.61/game). LA’s healthy shot volume (1068, 34.45/game) and above average PPO (102, 3.29/game) give them plenty of opportunities to improve upon that dismal shooting efficiency.
Defensively the Kings allow their opponents plenty of chances to score, ranking 5th in SCA (732, 23.61/game) and 8th in HDA (218, 7.03/game). Their exceptional save percentage (.934 5th) allows them to overcome that leaky defense but the amount of shots (951, 30.67/game) they face and having to contend with a fair amount of PPOA (88, 2.83/game) will push their goalies to the limit.
The Canucks have quietly turned their season around with nine wins in their last ten games. Their offense has turned it up lately too with 4+ goals in five of their last nine victories.
Riding the wave of their recent performances Vancouver is climbing the scoring chance rankings, checking in at 13th in SCF (669, 20.9/game) and 23rd in HDF (177, 5.53/game). They’re also drawing plenty of penalties, giving themselves a good amount of PPO (104, 3.25/game) and getting a healthy amount of shots (1069, 33.4/game) on net. If they could just improve their abysmal shooting percentage (6% 31st) this offense could take off.
The Canuck’s defense is practically a mirror image of their offensive numbers, shots against (1016, 31.75/game) and PPOA (98, 3.06/game) both suggest their opponents will get opportunities to score in all facets of the game. While their scoring chance rankings, 14th in SCA (661, 20.65/game) and 20th in HDA (187, 5.84/game) show just an average five on five defensive team. But their astounding save percentage (.942 2nd) props up their mediocre defensive play.
LA continues to play in wide open games, creating plenty of offense for themselves while allowing plenty of chances for their opponents, and Vancouver has the offensive skill to push them to their limit.