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.
St. Louis Blues @ Minnesota Wild
Totals: Highest 6 DK 6 FD 6
The Minnesota Wild (19-9-2) are the hosts of this year’s Winter Classic as they welcome the visiting St. Louis Blues (18-9-5) to town. The Wild haven’t played a game in eleven days and are currently stuck in a four game losing streak, but three of those games hit 5+ goals including two with 10+ scores.
The Wild’s offensive strength is their excellent shooting percentage (9.1% 2nd) as well as a fair amount of PPO (97, 3.23/game). Minnesota also has very good shot volume (986, 32.86/game) despite just average scoring opportunities, 19th in SCF (639, 21.3/game) and 15th in HDF (197, 6.56/game).
Defensively the Wild find themselves on the penalty kill frequently, PPOA (106, 3.53/game), and allow a decent amount of shots against (958, 31.93/game) with a bottom third save percentage (.920 23rd). But at five on five their defense smothers the opposition, ranking 27th in SCA (581, 19.36/game) and 30th in HDA (156, 5.2/game).
The Blues enter tonight’s contest having won six of their last eight games and every one of those games featured 5 or more goals, including four games with 6+ goals.
Possessing a very good overall offense the Blues rank in the top ten in shooting efficiency (8.1% 8th) and SCF 5th (746, 23.31), that’s in addition to their healthy shot volume (1038, 32.43/game). Holding them back is their lack of HDF, 18th (190, 5.93/game), and a lack of PPO (92, 2.87/game).
St. Louis has become a very inviting defense lately, ranking 1st in SCA (766, 23.93/game) and 5th in HDA (230, 7.18). However despite the solid amount of shots against (1018, 31.81/game) they face the Blues don’t have to cope with very many PPOA (83, 2.59/game) and their goaltending is above average, ranking 10th in save percentage (.930).
Both of these teams offer talented offenses and fair but flawed defenses, expect a good amount of scoring in this year’s outdoor spectacle.
Philadelphia Flyers @ Los Angeles Kings
Totals: Highest 5.5 DK 5.5 FD 5.5
The Philadelphia Flyers (13-12-6) have picked up points, 1-0-1, in both of their games since the return from the winter break. They continue their West Coast road trip against the Los Angeles Kings (15-12-5) tonight. Since November 26 the Flyers have had only one game feature less than 5 goals.
Philadelphia brings a frustrating offense into this contest, they’re generating plenty of shot volume (961, 31/game) and are in the top half of the league in HDF 14th (198, 6.38/game). However the Flyers can’t seem to create enough SCF 23rd (607, 19.58/game) plus their shooting percentage (6.8% 25th) is disappointing and they’re not giving themselves many PPO (88, 2.83/game).
While their offense is underwhelming the Flyers defense offers a ton of potential for fantasy scoring, ranking 8th in SCA (724, 23.35/game) and 3rd in HDA (237, 7.64/game). They also have to contend with their opponents having the man advantage often, PPOA (99, 3.19/game), as well as a heightened amount of shots against (1085, 35/game). An average save percentage (.927 15th) does little to help out their fragile defense.
The Kings enter tonight’s matchup having alternated wins and losses over their last seven games. LA has seen their games hit 5+ goals in five of their last six.
The Kings have been a fantasy player’s wet dream so far this season, ranking 4th in SCF (761, 23.78/game) and 8th in HDF (218, 6.81/game). Their impressive shot volume (1103, 34.46/game) and enticing amount of PPO (103, 3.21/game) reinforce their offensive potential. It’s only their dismal shooting efficiency (6.4% 28th) that prevents them from being a truly elite offense.
Just like their offense LA’s defense is beyond alluring to fantasy players, even considering their excellent save percentage (.936 3rd). The Kings rank top ten in both SCA, 5th (750, 23.43/game), and HDA, 8th (221, 6.9/game). While they limit their opponents’ chances on the power play, PPOA (89, 2.78/game) the Kings still face plenty of shots against (969, 30.28/game).
Neither of these teams offer a defense better than any high school JV team, if the Flyers offense can hold up their end of the bargain this game is a dark horse for the highest scoring game of the night.