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A hat trick and two shutouts power Fantasy Saturday

by Matt Cubeta

With the Olympic break finally here after Sunday's game, fantasy owners can take a two-week break from having to set your roster every day. However, feel free to use these two weeks to target players in a trade.

Saturday featured 11 games in action, so most of us were probably able to put out a full starting roster. From an outstanding hat trick to a 40-save shutout, Fantasy Saturday was filled with tons of action and plenty of highlights.

GAME STAR: Kyle Okposo
1 goal, 1 assist, even, 6 SOG
Steven Stamkos, C, TBL -- Stammer extended his points-scoring streak to 12 games (9 goals and 11 assists) with a goal and an assist against the Islanders. The youngster is having a breakout season with 34 goals and 34 assists, and nothing seems to slow him down. Put it this way: If there was a sophomore of the year award, he would be the undisputed winner.

Martin Biron, G, NYI --
Last week I spoke about Rick DiPietro. This week I'll take on the second of the three possible starting goalies on Long Island -- Martin Biron. Make no mistake, Biron will not be with the Islanders for much longer. While he has started two of the previous three games for the Isles, it is pretty obvious New York is showcasing the veteran with hopes of trading him. Keep an eye on Marty; he could end up being dealt to a team that will use him as a starter.

BUF 3, SJS 1
Ryan Miller
Win, 27 saves
Patrick Marleau, C, SJS -- Yes, he does have 38 goals and 64 points on the season, but did you know that the veteran Shark has gone four games without a point and is a minus-4 during those games? He did record seven shots on goal on Saturday night, and you can expect him to snap his little drought soon.

Ryan Miller, G, BUF --
Miller finally snapped his winless streak with a 27-save performance against the Sharks. After going five games without a win, the Buffalo netminder put together a solid effort to earn his first win in February. Miller had struggled during his five-game skid, allowing 18 goals in those five starts, but expect him to build off the win and regain his superstar form.

PHI 6, MTL 2
Danny Briere
3 goals - 1 PPG, +3, 6 SOG
Danny Briere, RW, PHI -- Briere had a monster night with his first hat trick since Nov. 21, 2007. He scored once at even strength, then added a power-play marker, and finished the hatty with a penalty-shot goal. Briere now has 21 goals and 40 points on the season and is a useful player in nearly all leagues.

Jaroslav Halak, G, MTL --
Halak easily had one of his worst outings of the season on Saturday as he stopped just 12 of 17 shots before being replaced by Carey Price. Prior to the loss, Halak had won three of his previous four starts surrendering 10 goals during that span.

GAME STAR: Ray Whitney
2 PPGs, 1 assist, even, 6 SOG
Travis Zajac, C, NJD -- Zajac isn't the most talented player in the world, but he is certainly a productive one. Whether it's Zach Parise or Ilya Kovalchuk, Zajac is centering a goal-scoring machine, and his stats show. Travis has 31 assists and should top the career-high of 42 he set last season. Use him with confidence.

Ray Whitney, LW, CAR -- The veteran Hurricane chipped in two power-play goals in a span of one minute during the second period against New Jersey. He has 19 goals on the season, six of them on the power play. People seem to forget he had 77 points last season -- Whitney should be owned in nearly all leagues.

GAME STAR: Tomas Vokoun
37 saves
Dennis Wideman, D, BOS -- Most fantasy owners drafted Wideman with hopes that he'd be their No. 1 or No. 2 defenseman -- too bad he's produced like a No. 5. While he did notch two assists on Saturday, Wideman has just 3 goals and 16 helpers this season. The Bruins may be seeking to trade him and a change of scenery could be what Wideman needs to return to his 50-point form from last season.

Tomas Vokoun, G, FLA --
Vokoun was outstanding on Saturday night as he stopped 37 of 39 Bruins shots, but took the loss as Florida fell in the eighth round of the shootout. Vokoun has not recorded a win in six straight starts, though he did not allow more than three goals in any of those starts. He is one of the most underrated goaltenders in the league and is extremely streaky -- expect a bunch of wins to come soon.

GAME STAR: Pavel Datsyuk
1 PPG, 1 assist, +1, 4 SOG
Todd Bertuzzi, RW, DET -- Big Bert recorded an assist on Saturday night, giving him four assists in six February games. Bertuzzi is skating on Detroit's second line with Henrik Zetterberg and Daniel Cleary and also sees time on the top power-play unit. As long as he stays healthy Bertuzzi should be good for close to 50 points.

Matt Cullen, C, OTT --
Cullen was a minus-1 with just one shot on goal in his debut with the Sens. He skated on the second line with Alex Kovalev and Peter Regin, and also recorded one minute of power-play time manning the point on the second unit. Pay close attention to what line Cullen sticks with, but if he holds onto the second-line spot with Kovalev, he could be a very useful depth forward.


1 goal, 1 assist, even, 4 SOG
Alexander Semin, RW, WSH -- With a goal and an assist against the Blues, Semin reached the 30-goal mark for the second time in his five-year career. There is no doubting his talent, but his health always remains a question mark. Semin has 65 points in 53 games and is clearly one of the most productive fantasy players in the biz.

T.J. Oshie, C, STL --
The talented youngster netted his second goal in as many games and added an assist against the Caps. Oshie is coming on strong lately with 2 goals and 6 assists in his last eight games. Expected to have a breakout season, Oshie has just 13 goals and 36 points so far.

GAME STAR: Marty Turco
Win, SO, 40 saves
Jamie Benn, LW, DAL -- The Dallas rookie scored his 15th goal of the season on Saturday night and fourth in his last four games. Being a former fifth-round draft pick (in 2007), Benn was never expected to be a great goal scorer, but he has proven us wrong so far. He's getting top-six forward playing time and his energy has helped the Stars and his fantasy owners.

Ed Jovanovski, D, PHX --
While no one put up any points in the loss to Dallas, it should be noted that Jovi is having a terrific season in the Desert. He's got 10 goals (five on the power play) and 19 assists -- start him every time you can.

GAME STAR: Patrick Sharp
1 PPG, 2 assists, +2, 1 SOG
Zach Bogosian, D, ATL -- Bogosian got off to a tremendous start this season, but has completely faded recently. The No. 3 pick in the 2008 draft hasn't had a point in 11 straight games, and while he certainly will be a force to reckon with in the future, it seems for now he's just a fourth or fifth defenseman in most leagues.

Dave Bolland, C, CHI --
Bolland scored his third goal of the season and first since returning from his back injury five games ago. Bolland has slowly been worked into playing time with Chicago and hopefully he shakes the rust off soon. Grab him in deep leagues and hope he catches fire like everyone else on the Hawks.

GAME STAR: Jarome Iginla
2 goals, +1, 4 SOG
Scott Niedermayer, D, ANA -- Niedermayer recorded his 30th assist of the season in Anaheim's loss to Calgary (it's his fourth helper in his last three games). While the veteran defenseman won't reach the 14 goals he had last season, he'still very helpful in the assists category.

Christopher Higgins, LW, CGY --
Higgins came over with Ales Kotalik in the Olli Jokinen trade with the Rangers. A lot of people thought the energetic winger would pick up his scoring with a change of scenery. Unfortunately that hasn't been the case, as Higgins has not recorded a single point in the six games with Calgary. Feel free to drop him, but keep an eye out just in case he catches fire at some point.

GAME STAR: Jonathan Quick
Win, SO, 22 saves
Chris Stewart, RW, COL -- While everyone on Colorado was held scoreless on Saturday, Stewart has still been arguably the most productive player on the Avs, other than goalie Craig Anderson. From his 42 points to his 55 PIMs, Stewart has come out of nowhere this season and should be used as a number 2 or 3 right wing in all fantasy leagues.

Jonathan Quick, G, LAK --
After sitting out one game due to an illness, Quick was back to his usual form on Saturday, earning his league-leading 35th win by stopping 22 shots for his second shutout of the season. Quick, who's headed for Vancouver as a member of Team USA, has been one of the biggest surprises in the fantasy community and should be trusted in every format.

With the NFL season officially over, NHL Sundays start to become more of a factor as more games will be on the schedule -- this Sunday features six matchups. Check your free agency pool for these players if you're in need of some production:

Cam Barker, D, MIN -- Barker will be making his Wild debut on Sunday, and while he did leave the far-better Blackhawks, Barker's fantasy value actually gets a boost with his new team. He'll be one of their top defenseman and should see plenty of power-play time.

Ryan Callahan, RW, NYR --
Since the acquisition of Olli Jokinen, Callahan has been playing on a newly formed line with Jokinen and Brandon Dubinsky. They seem to have found chemistry and should continue to produce. Calli also plays on the Rangers' top power-play unit.

Matt Cullen, C, OTT --
While he struggled in his first game with Ottawa, Cullen could be a great pick up for fantasy owners. As I stated earlier, he's on the second line, and with the way the Senators have been playing lately, he deserves a shot.

Tampa Bay (Mike Smith) at NY Rangers (Henrik Lundqvist), 1:00 p.m. ET
Nashville (Pekka Rinne) at Pittsburgh (Marc-Andre Fleury), 1p.m. ET
Vancouver (Roberto Luongo) at Minnesota (Niklas Backstrom), 3 p.m. ET
Ottawa (Brian Elliott) at NY Islanders (Dwayne Roloson), 5 p.m. ET
Chicago (Cristobal Huet) at Columbus (Steve Mason), 5 p.m. ET
Anaheim (Jonas Hiller) at Edmonton (Jeff Drouin-Deslauriers), 7 p.m. ET


Have a fantasy question you want answered? Want advice on a trade proposal, or have a hot tip you want to share with the fantasy community? Write to us at and your question may be answered in the Fantasy Forecast.

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