Two hat tricks lead the way on Fantasy Saturday

Saturday, 12.05.2009 / 4:25 PM / Fantasy Hockey Draft Rankings, Advice and Analysis

By Matt Cubeta - Staff Writer


Yes, the Capitals had a nine-minute power play. Yes, they scored three times on it. However, did you start Tomas Fleischmann and Brooks Laich, who each scored on the lengthy power play? Or how about Daniel Carcillo, the Flyers' forward who was tagged with 29 penalty minutes on the play?

With 14 games and only the Anaheim Ducks and Montreal Canadiens having the night off, there was plenty to talk about on this action-filled Fantasy Saturday. Let's get started.

GAME STAR: Erik Cole
3 Goals, +1, 6 SOG
Alexandre Burrows continues to shine playing on Vancouver's top line with the Sedin brothers -- he notched a goal for the third consecutive game and has 5 goals and 2 assists in his last six contests. The disappointing Erik Cole contributed a hat trick and six shots on goal in the win, one coming on the power play. He has been dropped in several leagues but is an interesting player to keep an eye on -- if the Hurricanes start to turn their season around, he's going to be a major factor.

EDM 3, DAL 2 (SO)
James Neal
1 Goal, +1, 7 SOG
Dallas forward James Neal, a popular early season pickup, may be heating up again. After going five games without a point, the sophomore left wing scored a goal for the second consecutive game. He now has 13 goals and 11 assists in 25 games this season. Oilers blueliner Lubomir Visnovsky also scored for the second consecutive game -- he has 7 goals and 13 assists, ranking him sixth for points by a defenseman in the NHL.

GAME STAR: Paul Kariya
2 Goals, -2, 5 SOG, 2 PIMS
If Wayne Simmonds is available, grab him now. The 2007 second-round draft pick by Los Angeles notched a pair of assists giving him 4 goals and 4 assists during a six-game point-scoring streak -- ride him while he's hot. Anze Kopitar continues to struggle without Ryan Smyth; he has no goals in the last 12 games. It's doubtful that he's available in your waiver pool, but try to acquire Blues defenseman Erik Johnson -- he has 3 goals and 7 points in his last nine games and is a star in the making.

GAME STAR: Marc Savard
3 Goals, Even, 4 SOG
It's safe to say Marc Savard had his best game since returning from injury. Boston's No. 1 center notched a hat trick; I only hope you started him. Byron Bitz contributed two assists -- he's worthy of a pickup while he's skating on the top line with Savard and Blake Wheeler. With Jonas Gustavsson out indefinitely, Joey MacDonald made his second straight start. Joey was torched and didn't make it through the game -- don't pick him up.

GAME STAR: Henrik Lundqvist
Win, 36 saves
If you benched Henrik Lundqvist because of his three-game losing streak, it's safe to re-insert him into your starting lineup. Hank was outstanding stopping 36 shots in the Rangers' victory. Despite not playing on the power play, Marc Staal has a point in each of his last four games. Jason Pominville scored for the second straight game. Buffalo's top line of Jochen Hecht, Derek Roy and Pominville now has 15 points in the past four games. Popular PIMs-eater Sean Avery has also been producing lately; with tonight's assist he has 5 points in the past six games.

GAME STAR: Patrick Eaves
1 Goal, 1 Assist, +2, 2 SOG
New Jersey's Johnny Oduya returned to the lineup for the first time since late October and recorded his first points of the season with a goal. Oduya was pegged to have a breakout season after increasing his points total for three straight seasons (11-26-29), so if you're in need of help on the blue line, look to the now-healthy Oduya. Don't panic if you own Detroit's Nicklas Lidstrom; yes, he's struggling with no goals in the past 24 games, but he is still an elite fantasy defenseman. He's still logging plenty of minutes (30:48 in the shootout loss at New Jersey) and he'll come around soon enough, so be patient.

GAME STAR: Mike Green
2 Goals, 2 Assists, +2, 2 SOG
After going 12 straight games without a goal, Nicklas Backstrom netted his fourth goal in the last three games, not to mention he added 4 assists. Ray Emery had one of his worst starts of the season allowing 5 goals on 17 shots before being yanked. Tomas Fleischmann looks like he may be approaching another hot streak (he had 7 goals in 8 games earlier this season) -- he scored twice tonight and has 3 goals in the last two contests. Not that you would ever bench him, but it's nice to see Mike Green have a big game with 2 goals and 2 assists -- his first goals since November 13.


GAME STAR: Johan Hedberg
Win, 30 saves
Florida's Stephen Weiss scored a power-play goal giving him 15 points in his last 10 games. If he's still available, pick him up. However, I wouldn't expect more than a point per game production for long, as he only had 61 points all last season. In his ninth start of the season, Atlanta's Johan Hedberg was outstanding, making 30 saves for the win. Hedberg has six wins in his last seven starts and may be earning coach John Anderson's trust. If you have Ondrej Pavelec, it would be wise to grab Hedberg as insurance.

GAME STAR: Wojtek Wolski
1 Goal, 1 Assist, +1, 6 SOG
It's time to pay serious attention to Matt Duchene, the No. 3 pick in the 2009 NHL Entry Draft. The Colorado center is really heating up -- he recorded another assist against Columbus, giving him 5 goals and 8 points in his last six games -- so pick him up or try to trade for him. Craig Anderson missed his second straight game due to a neck injury. Peter Budaj was in net for the Avs and stopped 29 shots for the win. Jakub Voracek and Jason Chimera each chipped in a goal and an assist -- Voracek (18 points) could be useful, but stay away from Chimera.

GAME STAR: Antti Niemi
Win, 32 saves
Jonathan Toews' goal-scoring streak came to an end at three games, but he was still fairly productive with six shots on goal for Chicago. Another streak was snapped as Marc-Andre Fleury took the loss for the first time in seven starts (he has given up two goals or less in six of them). Antti Niemi gave Cristobal Huet the night off, but nothing to worry about here, just a routine night off for the Chicago goaltender. Pittsburgh's Jordan Staal (8 goals and 10 assists) scored his second goal in as many games; he has been very productive in what most of us are hoping is a step up from his 49-point campaign last season.

GAME STAR: Mike Smith
Win, 30 saves, SO
Tampa Bay's Mike Smith easily had his best performance of the season with 30 saves for his first shutout. Smith has really struggled with a GAA of 3.05 and a save percentage of just .900%, but maybe this outing will jump start the young netminder. Victor Hedman scored the first goal of his young career. He may not be useful this fantasy season, but he will be in the future. Keep an eye out for Isles goalie Rick DiPietro, who was back in action for the first time in nearly a year. DP began a rehab assignment with Bridgeport of the AHL. Yes he struggled (three goals on 13 shots), but still pay attention to the Islanders goaltending situation as they will soon have DiPietro, Dwayne Roloson and Martin Biron to sort out.

GAME STAR: Andrew Brunette
1 Goal, 1 Assist, +1, 2 SOG
In need of power play points? Look to see if Andrew Brunette is available. The Wild winger netted a power-play goal and 14 of his 26 points have come with the man advantage. Nashville's Jason Arnott scored his 10th goal and now has 7 goals and 4 assists in his last 10 games. In his five games with Minnesota, left wing Guillaume Latendresse has 2 goals and 1 assist while playing more than 16 minutes in each game. Keep him on your radar as the talent has always been there for Latendresse, it just never really clicked in Montreal.

GAME STAR: Ilya Bryzgalov
Win, 26 saves
Ilya Bryzgalov continues to build on his impressive season -- he improved to 4-0-0 in his last four starts by stopped 26 of 28 Ottawa shots. Bryz has allowed two goals or fewer in 17 of his 25 starts this season. After missing two games, Coyotes defenseman Ed Jovanovski returned to action and scored his sixth goal -- activate him as you normally would. Pascal Leclaire's replacement, Brian Elliott, started and allowed three goals on 25 shots. Elliott has struggled since taking the starting job and Mike Brodeur (yes, he's a distant cousin of Martin) could make his first NHL start on Sunday against the Ducks.

GAME STAR: Miikka Kiprusoff
Win, 35 saves
Despite getting off to a slow start, Sharks winger Ryan Clowe scored and now has a point in nine straight games. If you haven't already activated Rob Blake, feel free to do so. He's logging his usual minutes and recorded four shots on goal tonight. Calgary netminder Miikka Kiprusoff is as good as it gets in goal right now -- he stopped 35 of 36 shots for his 16th win of the season. Kipper hasn't allowed more than two goals in his last seven starts (5-1-1).

Looking for additional help on Sunday? Check the free agent pool for Rangers center Artem
Anisimov. The 6'4" Anismiov was on the top line with Marian Gaborik and Vinny Prospal on Saturday night -- he tallied an assist in 16:44 of ice time. He has 5 goals and 8 assists on the season and if he can hold onto the job he could be a useful player on your bench.

Another player to grab for Sunday is Anaheim right wing Joffrey Lupul. After missing seven games, Lupul returned to the lineup on Friday night playing on the top line with Corey Perry and Ryan Getzlaf. He scored 2 goals in over 19 minutes of ice time and like Anisimov, if he can keep the job, he could be a very valuable pickup.

Detroit (Jimmy Howard) at NY Rangers (Henrik Lundqvist), 7 p.m. ET
Ottawa (Mike Brodeur) at Anaheim (Jean-Sebastien Giguere), 8 p.m. ET


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