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Fantasy: Players to watch on third playoff weekend

Sean Couturier, Brady Skjei among underrated options on waiver wire

by Pete Jensen @NHLJensen / NHL.com Senior Fantasy Editor

If you find yourself in a tight head-to-head fantasy playoff matchup this deep into the season, this weekend is crucial to your championship hopes.

Depending on your league format, you only may be able to add players Friday for use Saturday and Sunday. In such leagues you need to know who's playing weekend back-to-back sets. If you are able to make same-day roster additions, then you have three days to work with before your weekly matchup concludes.

[Related Fantasy Coverage: Top 100 'F' | Top 50 'D' | Top 25 'G' | Impact of Jost signing ]

Eight teams (ANA, BOS, CAR, DAL, MIN, NSH, PHI, TBL) play Saturday/Sunday back-to-back sets this weekend, one team (NJD) plays a Friday/Saturday back-to-back, and 13 teams (ARI, CGY, CBJ, CHI, COL, LAK, NYI, NYR, PIT, SJS, STL, VAN, WSH) play Friday and Sunday. The other eight teams play one game the rest of the week (Saturday: DET, EDM, FLA, MTL, OTT, TOR, WPG; Sunday: BUF).

Here are some low-ownership, short-term fliers who can help your team get over the hump in some key categories the next three days.

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GOALS

It's about time fantasy owners take notice of Montreal Canadiens forward Paul Byron (LW/RW, 9 percent owned), who scored two goals and was plus-4 against the Florida Panthers on Thursday. He has 22 goals and is plus-20 on the season, and is in an underrated spot on the third line with Tomas Plekanec and Brendan Gallagher. The Canadiens play Saturday (at TBL). ... Vancouver Canucks rookie forward Brock Boeser (RW, 1 percent owned) scored one goal on three SOG against the Anaheim Ducks on Tuesday, giving him two goals, a plus-2 and nine SOG in his first three NHL games. He's playing on a line with 50-point scorer Bo Horvat (C, 22 percent owned). The Canucks play Friday (vs. LAK) and Sunday (vs. SJS). ... It remains to be seen where recently signed prospect Tyson Jost will fit into the Colorado Avalanche's top-six forward group in his NHL debut against the St. Louis Blues on Friday, but Sven Andrighetto (LW/RW, 5 percent owned) has been playing well on their top line with Nathan MacKinnon and Mikko Rantanen. Andrighetto has 11 points (five goals, six assists) in 13 games since being traded from the Montreal Canadiens to the Avalanche on March 1. Two of his goals in the span have come on the power play. Colorado also plays Sunday (at MIN).

Video: COL@CGY: Andrighetto pots rebound off boards for PPG

 

ASSISTS

Tampa Bay Lightning left wing Ondrej Palat (LW, 39 percent owned) has 16 points and 41 SOG in 15 games this month, and plays Saturday (vs. MTL) and Sunday (vs. DAL). Four of those points have come on the power play, where he's been a fixture on the first unit with Nikita Kucherov. He should remain in the top six even if centers Steven Stamkos (knee) and/or Tyler Johnson (lower body) return this weekend. ... Elias Lindholm (C/RW, 31 percent owned) of the Carolina Hurricanes remains on a line with Sebastian Aho and has a chance to add to his strong primary assist total (28, T-10th) with a back-to-back set this weekend (Saturday vs. DAL, Sunday at PIT). ... Chicago Blackhawks rookie Nick Schmaltz (C/LW, 9 percent owned) has seven assists in his past six games and plays Friday (vs. CBJ) and Sunday (vs. BOS).

 

PLUS/MINUS

Philadelphia Flyers center Sean Couturier doesn't have much of a power-play role, but has been dominant at even strength with 14 points, a plus-16 (leads NHL this month) and 32 SOG in his past 14 games. He had three points against the New York Islanders on Thursday and ranks among Yahoo's top 30 (29th) in standard league value over the past 30 days. ... Nashville Predators forward Colin Wilson (LW, 2 percent) also has a back-to-back set Saturday (vs. MIN) and Sunday (at STL) and has seven points with a plus-8 in 13 games this month ... Jean-Gabriel Pageau (C, 6 percent owned) has eight points, 37 SOG and is plus-4 in 15 games this month for the Ottawa Senators, and has one game this weekend. He plays alongside Mike Hoffman at even strength and is one of 16 players with at least 150 shots (160 SOG) and 150 hits (157).

Video: OTT@MIN: Hoffman finds twine with powerful one-timer 

 

PENALTY MINUTES

The Blue Jackets have two tough games this weekend (Friday at CHI, Sunday vs. WSH), but Brandon Dubinsky (C, 35 percent owned) continues to be a must-own player in leagues that count PIMs. He has at least two PIMs in eight of his past 10 games, and has totaled 89 PIMs (21st in NHL) this season. Since Jan. 14, he has 25 points, a plus-17, 58 PIMs and 60 SOG in 35 games. ... Tom Wilson (RW, 7 percent owned) of the Washington Capitals has 123 PIMs (third in NHL) and plays Friday (at ARI) and Sunday (at CBJ). He had one assist against the Avalanche on Wednesday and has point potential any given night playing for the NHL's second highest-scoring offense (3.24 goals per game).

 

POWER-PLAY POINTS

Winnipeg Jets forward Mathieu Perreault (C/LW, 28 percent owned) had an assist against the Ducks on Thursday, giving him 11 points, six PPP and 18 SOG in his past eight games. He has been a fixture among Winnipeg's top six and on its first power-play unit. The Jets play Saturday (vs. OTT) ... If your lineup is crowded for Saturday and Sunday but not Friday, New Jersey Devils youngsters Pavel Zacha and Joseph Blandisi each has totaled four PPP in the past month. The Devils play Friday (at NYI) and Saturday (at PHI). Defensemen with power-play upside include Mark Streit (13 PPP) of the Pittsburgh Penguins and Troy Stecher of the Canucks (eight PPP).

Video: TBL@PIT: Streit buries Crosby's feed in Pens debut 

 

SHOTS ON GOAL

Gallagher (RW, 33 percent owned) is tied for 17th in SOG this month (48 in 13 games), and had a breakthrough performance with four points, a plus-4 and three SOG against the Panthers on Thursday. ... Teuvo Teravainen (C/LW/RW, 17 percent owned) plays two games this weekend for the Hurricanes and has covered PPP (14) and SOG (152) well this season. He had two assists against the Blue Jackets on Thursday and has totaled 50 SOG in 17 games this month ... Canucks veteran forward Daniel Sedin (LW, 67 percent owned) could be available as a streaming option in some keeper leagues; Daniel has a high shot volume and low shooting percentage (14 goals on 195 SOG; 7.2 percent), so don't be surprised if his fortunes even out a bit before the season ends.

 

DEFENSEMAN OUTLOOK

Brady Skjei (28 percent owned) of the New York Rangers is eighth among defensemen in even-strength points (31) and fourth among Rangers skaters in assists (33). He had three assists (two on power play) against the San Jose Sharks on Tuesday, is plus-13 this season and plays Friday (vs. PIT) and Sunday (vs. PHI). ... Jay Bouwmeester (5 percent owned) has had a plus or even rating in 18 straight games and has combined for five assists and a plus-13 over his past 12. The Blues play Friday (at COL) and Sunday (vs. NSH). ... Ducks defenseman Brandon Montour (less than 1 percent owned) has three points and is plus-10 over his past seven games. He's paired with Cam Fowler and has a solid shot volume (46 in 23 games).

Video: COL@ANA: Fowler wires a quick shot past Pickard

 

GOALIE OUTLOOK

The Predators play Saturday (vs. MIN) and Sunday (at STL), giving Juuse Saros an opportunity to get his second spot start of the week. He stopped 24 of 25 shots faced in a 3-1 road win against the Islanders on Monday, and is tied for 12th in even-strength save percentage (.929) among goalies with at least 19 games played. ... Carter Hutton (12 percent owned) stopped 22 of 23 shots faced in a 3-1 win against the Arizona Coyotes on Wednesday, improving to 5-1-0 with a .962 SV% since Mike Yeo replaced Ken Hitchcock as Blues coach. ... Peter Budaj (37 percent owned; 36th in Yahoo) could play Saturday or Sunday for the Lightning.

 

COMPLETE SCHEDULE OUTLOOK: MARCH 31 TO APRIL 2

 

- FRI/SAT B2B: New Jersey Devils

- FRI/SUN: Arizona Coyotes, Calgary Flames, Colorado Avalanche, Columbus Blue Jackets, Chicago Blackhawks, Los Angeles Kings, New York Islanders, New York Rangers, Pittsburgh Penguins, San Jose Sharks, St Louis Blues, Vancouver Canucks, Washington Capitals

- SAT/SUN B2B: Anaheim Ducks, Boston Bruins, Carolina Hurricanes, Dallas Stars, Minnesota Wild, Nashville Predators, Philadelphia Flyers, Tampa Bay Lightning

- SAT only: Detroit Red Wings, Edmonton Oilers, Florida Panthers, Montreal Canadiens, Ottawa Senators, Toronto Maple Leafs, Winnipeg Jets

- SUN only: Buffalo Sabres

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