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.
New York Rangers @ San Jose Sharks
Totals: Highest 5.5 DK 5.5 FD 5.5
Wrapping up a swing through the West Coast the New York Rangers (23-10-4) enter tonight’s contest against the San Jose Sharks (20-16-1) having alternated wins and losses over their last four games. The Rangers games have featured 5 or more goals in five of their last seven games.
With an above average shooting percentage (7.8% 12th) New York has been able to overcompensate for some other underwhelming offensive numbers. They rank 23rd in SCF (698, 18.86/game) and 16th in HDF (227, 6.13/game), and their shot volume (1050, 28.37/game) isn’t intimidating anyone. While a just average amount of PPO (109, 2.94/game) does little to compliment their lack of even strength chances.
Their offense might leave much to be desired but their defense is exactly what a fantasy game environment needs. Ranking 4th in SCA (846, 22.86/game) and 8th in HDA (251, 6.78/game). An elevated amount of shots against (1172, 31.67/game) adds to their defensive vulnerabilities. However their great save percentage (.932 5th) and discipline staying out of the penalty box, PPOA (108, 2.91/game) can hold back their opponents offensive ceiling.
The Sharks are hosting the Rangers tonight riding a three game winning streak with identical 3-2 scores in each game. San Jose hasn’t played in a game with less than 5 goals since December 14th.
The Sharks offense is solid from top to bottom, ranking 12th in SCF (775, 20.94/game) and 6th in HDF (255, 6.89/game). Their shot volume (1112, 30.05/game) doesn’t stand out as high or low. Their below average shooting percentage (7.4% 19th) isn’t great but doesn’t hold them back either, only a lack of PPO (92, 2.48/game) slows them down.
Defensively San Jose gives their opponents ample opportunities to hang around, ranking 11th in SCA (791, 21.37/game) and 13th in HDA (223, 6.02/game). While they don’t put teams on the man advantage often, PPOA (95, 2.56/game), they are contending with a good amount of shots against (1143, 30.89/game) and their goalies rank in the bottom half of the league in save percentage (.922 19th).
New York’s offense isn’t exactly exciting but lucky for them the Sharks defense is weak enough to let them get plenty of chances tonight. San Jose should have no problem taking advantage of the Rangers soft defense corps.
New Jersey Devils @ New York Islanders
Totals: Highest 6 DK 5.5 FD 6
The New York Islanders (10-12-6) have played only two games in the last three and a half weeks as they prepare to host the New Jersey Devils (14-17-5) tonight. Due to all their game postponements and an odyssey level thirteen game road trip to start the season the Islanders have played the fewest games of any team in the league.
Having played so few games all the Islanders numbers will be skewed but looking at their per game averages they still show offensive upside. They rank 31st in SCF (589, 21.03/game) and 30th in HDF (180, 6.42/game) but a lack of PPO (75, 2.67/game), mediocre shot volume (799, 28.53) and disappointing shooting percentage (6.3% 30th) does hold them back.
On the defensive side of things only their save percentage (.932 6th) sticks out as a positive for New York. They rank 29th in SCA (639, 22.82/game) and 27th in HDA (201, 7.17/game). They do limit their opponents chances on the power play, PPOA (76, 2.71/game), but face a heightened amount of shots against (909, 32.46/game).
The Devils visit the Islanders having won four of their last six contests, with five of those games featuring 7 or more goals.
New Jersey’s offense is generating chances among the league’s best, ranking 11th in SCF (790, 21.94/game) and 9th in HDF (248, 6.88/game). While a depressed shooting percentage (7.3% 20th) and minimal PPO (97, 2.69/game) are slight concerns, the Devils are getting a healthy shot volume (1136, 31.55/game).
The Devils’ goalies are little help to their team defense with a basement level save percentage (.910 31st), the amount of scoring chances they allow doesn’t make things easy on them though, ranking 13th in SCA (773, 21.47/game) and 15th in HDA (218, 6.05/game). Despite just a middling amount of PPOA (103, 2.86/game) New Jersey still contends with a fair amount of shots against (1110, 30.83/game).
Both of these defenses will give their opposition chances to find the back of the net and the Devils have proven this year that they’ll take advantage of weak defenses. If the Islanders can hold up their end of the offensive bargain this game is a dark horse for the highest scoring game on the slate.