For most of you, it's now or never. The fantasy hockey playoffs are in full swing and at this point you're going to need to lay it all on the line in order to advance. Throw conventional wisdom out the door, because with roughly three weeks left in the regular season, does it really matter what a players ownership percentage is? No. Does it matter what team a particular player is playing for? No. All that matters is what they do during this final stretch of the season, and how they can help you win a championship.
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Speaking of championships, if the Pittsburgh Penguins want to repeat as Stanley Cup champions, they'll need C/LW Jake Guentzel (20 percent owned in Yahoo) to continue to produce at an elite level. Skating on the top line with Sidney Crosby has done wonders for the 22-year-old, who assisted on each of Crosby's three goals in a 4-0 win against the Florida Panthers on Sunday.
Guentzel has 25 points (11 goals, 14 assists) in 34 games, and his 0.74 points per game ranks sixth on the Penguins. He is averaging 3.25 shots on goal per game in his past eight, and five of Pittsburgh's final 11 games are against opponents not currently in a Stanley Cup Playoff position. It may be risky, but a case can be made for starting Guentzel over players in your lineup you may not want to bench.
It feels like the past two months the Carolina Hurricanes have been prominently featured in the waiver wire watch. Yet their most consistent point producer lately has been C/RW Elias Lindholm (11 percent owned), who seems to get no love in Yahoo leagues. He has a seven-game point streak with three goals, six assists and four penalty minutes with a plus-4 rating and 18 SOG in that span.
Video: CAR@PHI: Di Giuseppe feeds Lindholm for a pretty goal
Lindholm has been a top 50 player the past 14 days and the Hurricanes have the most favorable schedule the rest of the season. Carolina has 12 games remaining, seven of those against opponents outside of the playoff picture. Lindholm isn't the only valuable Hurricanes player: LW/RW Sebastian Aho (34 percent owned), C/LW/RW Teuvo Teravainen (15 percent owned), C/LW Jordan Staal (24 percent owned), and D Jaccob Slavin (18 percent owned) are all top 50 players the past two weeks.
The Detroit Red Wings may not qualify for the playoffs for the first time in 26 seasons, but that doesn't mean some of their top players can't help you in your postseason. LW/RW Tomas Tatar (18 percent owned) has three multipoint games in his past five, including two with at least three points. He has five goals and three assists during that stretch, and though his plus/minus is concerning (minus-9), he also has a power-play point in back-to-back games. C/LW Andreas Athanasiou (2 percent owned) and LW/RW Gustav Nyquist (28 percent owned) have also come on strong despite little to play for.
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Paul Stastny, C, STL (30 percent owned)
The St. Louis Blues schedule the next two weeks appears to be a cake walk. They play the Colorado Avalanche and Arizona Coyotes each twice, and the Vancouver Canucks once the next six games. Stastny hasn't been particularly productive, but is centering the top line between Jaden Schwartz and Vladimir Tarasenko. An 11-year veteran, Stastny should be able to exploit the young centers he'll face the next few weeks. LW/RW David Perron (13 percent owned) and C Patrik Berglund (5 percent owned) also are worth consideration on the Blues.
Video: ANA@STL: Stastny cuts across slot, finishes five-hole
Philipp Grubauer, G, WSH (18 percent owned)
The Washington Capitals have clinched a playoff berth, and although they'd be wise to continue their push for home-ice advantage throughout the postseason, they also may opt to rest No. 1 goalie Braden Holtby. The Capitals have three sets of back-to-back games remaining and start a stretch of six games in 11 days Tuesday against the Calgary Flames. If you're in need of goalie help, or have Holtby on your roster, you'd be wise to add Grubauer, who has a 2.10 goals-against average and .925 save percentage in 19 appearances.
Video: WSH@LAK: Grubauer stones Brown in front
Andrej Sekera, D, EDM (16 percent owned)
The Edmonton Oilers are in a tight race in the Pacific Division, but have a favorable schedule to end the season. The Oilers face the Avalanche and Canucks each twice, and play all of their final 11 games against Western Conference opponents. Sekera is on a three-game point streak (three assists), and has 15 points (three goals, 12 assists) and is plus-9 with 18 PIM in 37 games against the West. He plays on the second power-play unit; Edmonton has scored six PP goals in its past five games. If you're in a deep, deep league, Oilers defenseman Darnell Nurse (3 percent owned) could be a sneaky add.
Video: EDM@SJS: Sekera ricochets one-timer past Jones in 1st
Matt Martin, LW, TOR (8 percent owned)
It may be a hassle, but don't forget about PIMs. The Toronto Maple Leafs play six of their final 12 games against Atlantic Division opponents, four against rivals (Boston Bruins, Buffalo Sabres twice, Red Wings). Expect some of those matchups to get chippy with the Maple Leafs vying for the second wild card into the playoffs from the Eastern Conference. That's where Martin comes in. He only has two PIM in his past 11 games, but has points in two of three. Any additional category coverage would be welcomed from Martin, who has 95 PIM this season and hasn't had less than 114 PIM in each of the past two seasons prior.
Video: TOR@TBL: Martin bangs a loose puck past Vasilevskiy
Jakob Chychrun, D, ARI (5 percent owned)
Chychrun, who is a rookie, isn't going to mail it in for Arizona considering he has plenty to prove. As a result, he has two goals and three assists, and is plus-3 with two PPP and 18 SOG in his past five games. Chychrun not only has appeal to finish the season, but in the long term as well if you're in a keeper or dynasty league. He could eventually emerge on the first power-play unit next to Oliver Ekman-Larsson, Max Domi and Dylan Strome.
Video: DET@ARI: Chychrun pots long shot through traffic
Other candidates: Andre Burakovsky, LW/RW, WSH (18 percent); David Savard, D, CBJ (17 percent); Aaron Dell, G, SJS (15 percent); Dustin Brown, LW/RW, LAK (10 percent); Brayden Point, C/RW, TBL (4 percent)