Edmonton Oilers phenom Connor McDavid broke out of his goalless slump in a huge way on Saturday when he had a hat trick against the Dallas Stars in a 5-2 Oilers win. Prior to recording his first career three goal game, McDavid had not scored a goal in 10 games. During that stretch however he did have seven assists, but was a -8 and only 29 shots on goal and two power play points. There is no question that the month of November was going to be significantly more difficult than October for the Oilers, but I don’t think too many people expected Edmonton to be 3-7 when the calendar turned for the new month.
In Calgary, the Flames suffered a huge loss this week when Johnny Gaudreau broke his finger. Gaudreau did undergo surgery and is out indefinitely. Surprisingly however Calgary has won three of their last four games since the Gaudreau injury. The team has tightened up defensively, has had great goaltending from Chad Johnson and received timely goals from Garnet Hathaway, Matt Stajan, Michael Frolik, Matthew Tkachuk and Mikael Backlund. Johnson may be a solid pickup this week as the Flames play easier opponents in Buffalo and Columbus.
In other injury news, the New York Rangers suffered a big blow on Sunday when forward Mika Zibanejad broke his fibula against the Florida Panthers. He will now be out six to eight weeks. With the injury, expect a fantasy hockey spike for Kevin Hayes, as he is set to play regularly with Mats Zuccarello and rookie Jimmy Vesey on the Rangers’ number two line. However, don’t expect to see a drastic improvement in fantasy stats for Hayes, as Rangers’ head coach Alain Vigneault continues to rotate all four of his offensive lines on a regular basis.
Another player out is Taylor Hall of the New Jersey Devils. Hall suffered a knee injury on November 12 in a 4-2 New Jersey win over Buffalo that required surgery. He is expected to be gone for a month. New Jersey has been unable to score more than two goals in a game in each of the first three games that Hall has missed. Other injuries include Bobby Ryan of the Ottawa Senators (broken finger), Patric Hornqvist of the Pittsburgh Penguins (concussion) and once again Steven Stamkos of the Tampa Bay Lightning (torn meniscus).
Washington Capitals center Nicklas Backstrom is red hot. In his last four games, Backstrom has four goals and four assists for eight points. Five of those points (two goals and three assists) came in a 7-1 Capitals win over the Pittsburgh Penguins last Wednesday.
This week avoid taking Los Angeles Kings as they only play twice. In Los Angeles, the Kings are doing respectable without goaltender Jonathan Quick, forwards Marian Gaborik and Anze Kopitar and defenseman Brayden McNabb. The Kings are in a playoff spot (tied for second in the Pacific) and have got great offensive production from Jeff Carter who leads the team with nine goals and 17 points.