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.
Florida Panthers @ Carolina Hurricanes
Totals: Highest 6.5 DK 6 FD 6.5
Winners of five straight games the Florida Panthers (22-7-5) head up the Atlantic Coast for a matchup with the Carolina Hurricanes (24-7-1). The Panthers have scored 4+ goals in all five games since the winter break and all of those games featured 7+ goals.
Florida’s offense has been one of the best all season and that should remain the same tonight, with a shooting percentage (8.6% 5th) among the league’s elite and shot volume (1256, 36.94/game) that should make any goalie nervous. A healthy amount of PPO (111, 3.26/game) and scoring chance rankings of, 1st in SCF (904, 26.58/game) and 2nd in HDF (297, 8.73/game), display how the Panther’s create offense in all situations.
On defense the Panthers give up an unusually high amount of HDA, ranking 2nd (262, 7.7/game), compared to their 21st ranking in SCA (684, 20.11/game). Their team save percentage (.922 18th) is just middle of the road meanwhile they’re giving teams a decent amount of man advantage opportunities, PPOA (104, 3.05/game) and facing a heightened amount of shots against (1085, 31.91/game).
Riding a five game winning streak of their own and unbeaten in six straight at home the Hurricanes are proving themselves to be true contenders this year. Carolina’s games have seen 6+ goals in four of their last five, including three games with 8 or more goals.
Ranking in the top half of the league in both offensive scoring chance categories, 14th in SCF (719, 22.46/game) and 8th in HDF (237. 7.4/game), the Hurricanes have shown an ability to consistently generate pressure at five on five. With very good shout volume (1080, 33.75/game) and an excellent shooting percentage (8.6% 5th) they’re making the most of those offensive opportunities. Throw in the amount of PPO (100, 3.12/game) they’re receiving and it’s clear Carolina creates enough offense to keep up with anyone.
The Hurricanes defense has been formidable all season and it starts with their top ten save percentage (.931 8th) and the meager amount of shots against (870, 27.18/game) they allow. While they do make things a little difficult for themselves with the amount of penalties they take, PPOA (118, 3.68/game), at five on five their defense is smothering opponents, ranking 29th in SCA (609, 19.03/game) and 19th in HDA (208, 6.5/game).
Even against Carolina’s upper echelon defense the Panthers offense has the skills and ability to run roughshod over any team they face. While the Hurricanes can compete in an offensive shootout with most teams and Florida’s defense is nothing special, there will be fireworks in this one.
Detroit Red Wings @ Los Angeles Kings
Totals: Highest 5.5 DK 5.5 FD 5.5
2-2-0 in their first four games out of the break the Los Angeles Kings (16-13-5) are hosting the Detroit Red Wings (16-15-3) tonight. The Kings have only had one game with less than 5 goals in their last eight games and three of their last four have featured 6+ goals.
LA ranks in the top five in both SCF 4th (820, 24.11/game) and HDF 5th (242, 7.11/game) establishing themselves as one of the best teams at creating offensive pressure at even strength. With a fair amount of PPO (110, 3.23/game) coming their way and a juicy shot volume (1185, 34.85/game) the Kings have all the potential in the world for ceiling performances, only their dismal shooting efficiency (6.5% 27th) is stopping them.
A matchup with the Kings’ defense is the perfect occasion for any offense to find their game, with numbers that rank inside the top ten for both SCA 5th (795, 23.38/game) and HDA 8th (238, 7/game) it’s difficult not to create at least some offense on LA. In addition to the scoring opportunities they’ve given up, LA also allows a reasonable amount of shots against, (1026, 30.17/game). They do an adequate job of staying out of the penalty box, PPOA (97, 2.85/game) and their excellent save percentage (.934 3rd) does bail out their fragile defense.
After dropping two of three games at home the Red Wings head west for a three game road trip through California. Each of their last two games saw 6 or more goals.
Buoyed by a very respectable shooting percentage (8.2% 10th) the Red Wings make the most out of the limited amount of scoring chances they create for themselves, ranking 24th in SCF (654, 19.23/game) and 21st in HDF (202, 5.94/game). Unimpressive shot volume (980, 28.82/game) and an underwhelming amount of PPO (93, 2.73/game) reinforce Detroit’s need to play a weak defense in order to reach their offensive ceiling.
While their offense needs some assistance to reach fantasy relevance, the Red Wings defense is everything we look for in a matchup. Contending with an exceptional amount of shots against (1127, 33.14/game) and just a mediocre save percentage (.920 21st) is a recipe for plenty of goals against. Detroit keeps their opponents off the man advantage for the most part, PPOA (94, 2.76/game) but at even strength they’re allowing the opponents to move the puck at will, ranking 3rd in SCA (813, 23.91/game) and 5th in HDA (252, 7.41/game).
Neither defense in this contest will put up much of a fight and LA certainly has the firepower to take full advantage of that. The Red Wings offense isn’t as consistent but they’ve been lethal when given opportunities and the Kings will give up plenty of chances in this one.