Top of the Rock rebounded after a miserable performance in week eight to grab the brass ring again and claim first place for the fifth time in the last six weeks.
This past week’s victory came at the hands of our number one rivals, Bros Before Ahos. For those unfamiliar with our long-standing competition with our opponent, we play their manager in all four fantasy leagues, and as a personal friend, these battles always have a little more spice to them.
As one of the top teams in the league, The Rock plans on locking down their first-ever playoff spot with just three weeks left. This 2020-21 season will mark the first time the franchise produces a winning record, makes the playoffs, and doesn’t finish in the last place.
In week nine, both teams collected points right down to the final games of the week. When the final buzzer sounded, The Rock and Bros battled to a tie in three categories, assists (17), wins (1), and shutouts (0).
After that, we took five out of the seven remaining categories to secure their sixth win of the season, 5-2-3. Except for the goalie categories, the matchup was pretty close. We won goals by one, 9-8, and they took penalty minutes by one 15-14. The Rock had a better plus/minus rating by nine and power-play points by three. They schooled us with 19 more shots on goals in the final offensive category, 109-90.
We took two of the goalie categories thanks to Jack Allen (Montreal) and Casey DeSmith (Pittsburgh), who combined for a 2.01 GAA and a 0.930 save percentage. The pair gave up a total of six goals against, winning a game between the two netminders.
As mentioned in the previous paragraph, this matchup was a lot closer than the final numbers show. Bros jumped out to a considerable lead on opening night, 6-1, before we flipped the script and took a 6-3 on Tuesday. They rebounded and went ahead by one, then we secured out five categories on Thursday night, riding out that score until Sunday night. Our opponents’ closest to catching us was Friday night when our deficit was just cut down to 5-4.
Every week we check the standings, and then we crunch our team statistics. Somehow The Rock remains one of the top teams in the league but has some of the worse goalie numbers. Then when we examine the offensive numbers, we are a middle-of-the-pack kind of group.
Our best category is shots on goals, where we rank 4th overall. Then we have the sixth most goals, seventh-most assists and seventh-best plus/minus rating. Regarding penalty minutes and power-play points, we come in with the eighth-most points collected in those categories.
We remain the worse team in wins and shutouts in the crease, yet impress with the sixth-best goals-against average and fifth-best save percentage.
There are only three weeks left in the regular season, and no one has clinched a playoff spot yet. Thirty-one points separate first place from 12th place, and the top six spots are only 10 points apart.
The battle for first overall will most likely come down to the wire since the top three have a buffer of just a point apiece.
Only six teams make the playoffs, and so far, those six teams all have winning records. For one of the lower seeds to make a push, they better win a bunch of their final matchups to make up some ground.
Week nine could have had a different outcome if our bench players were in the lineup. Mika Zibanejad (New York Rangers) had one of the best weeks of his career with a boatload of points. He was joined on the pine by Rickard Rakell (Anaheim), William Nylander (Toronto), and Elias Lindholm (Calgary).
Together they scored enough points that could have drastically altered the final score. We left 37 shots on the bench and lost the category by 19. We lost penalty minutes by just one minute and had four from Rakell. Neither team won the assists category, yet we missed out on an additional eight helpers.
When you factor in all those numbers, we would have secured an 8-0-2 victory and some breathing rooms in the standings.
In preparation for our week ten matchup, we noticed that the Montreal Canadiens would play the Edmonton Oilers three times during the week. We didn’t like the matchup for goalie Jake Allen, so we cut him for Joonas Korpisalo (Columbus), who was playing Carolina and Detroit.
Weekly Move Total: 1/4
Season Move Total: 12/50