SATURDAY'S ROUNDUP (01/16/10):
With five day games and seven night games, the NHL action was spread around on yet another fun-filled Fantasy Saturday.
From a wild third period in the day's first game in Columbus, to a blowout in the final game in Vancouver, each and every matchup featured plenty of excitement.
The day started with a bang with Jonathan Toews
powering the Hawks past the Blue Jackets. "Captain Serious" scored two third-period power play goals and had an assist in the win. Troy Brouwer
added a goal and an assist for Chicago -- I think it's safe to say he should be owned in most leagues; after all, he is skating on the top line with Toews and Patrick Kane
(who had three assists). Brouwer is also a power-play specialist -- he's tied with Toews for the team lead with 7 PPGs. Kristian Huselius
tallied a goal and 2 assists for Columbus; he has been a bright spot for the Jackets recently, notching 10 points in his last eight games. While Duncan Keith
's six-game scoring streak came to an end, it's pretty clear Keith is among the Fantasy defenseman elite -- he's up there with guys like Mike Green
, Dan Boyle
and Chris Pronger
Dallas backup Alex Auld
stopped 26 shots while Steve Ott
's controversial shootout goal gave the Stars a 3-2 win over Detroit. Ott is an interesting player -- if your league counts PIMs, he could be very useful. With 70 penalty minutes on the season, his 10 goals and 6 assists are just an added a bonus. Brad Richards
is quietly putting together an unbelievable season -- after scoring his 14th goal, he now has 54 points on the season. Veteran defenseman Nicklas Lidstrom
chipped in 2 assists for the Wings. Lidstrom just snapped his 42-game goalless drought on Thursday night, and has 15 points in his last 21 games after tallying just eight in his first 26 -- I hope you were able to acquire him while he struggled early on this season. Dallas forwards Brenden Morrow
and Jere Lehtinen
both left the game with upper-body injuries -- details were unavailable.
Colorado's Craig Anderson
stopped 37 of 38 shots and improved his record to 23-11-5 in a 3-1 win over New Jersey. I had said earlier this season that Anderson was a great sell-high player, but he has proven me wrong. With three shutouts and a solid 2.62 GAA, Anderson is well on his way to his best NHL season. Zach Parise
and Travis Zajac
had a rare day on Saturday -- each was minus-3, their first time with that rating since Mar. 22, 2008 when Parise was a minus-4 and Zajac a minus-3. Zajac has 4 goals and 3 assists in his previous six games and should certainly be owned in all leagues -- he plays on the top line with Parise, and although New Jersey changes their lines frequently, Zajac is a reliable forward no matter the line. Avs rookie Chris Stewart
scored his 15th goal and added an assist, giving him 4 goals and 2 assists in the last five games.
Another defenseman among the fantasy elite this season is L.A. youngster Drew Doughty
(held scoreless today) -- with 9 assists in his last eight games, Doughty can easily be a No. 1 defenseman on any fantasy squad. Anze Kopitar
forced overtime with his 19th goal, he has 3 goals and 4 assists in his last seven games. Boston's David Krejci
returned to the lineup in the Bruins' 4-3 shootout loss after missing Thursday's game in San Jose -- he recorded an assist and now has a goal and 6 helpers in his last seven games. Blake Wheeler
snapped a three-game pointless streak with a goal and an assist. Wheeler continues to build on his sophomore season and now has 12 goals and 28 points in 47 games. Jonathan Quick
outlasted Tim Thomas
in the battle of Team USA goaltenders -- Quick took the win, stopping 21 shots, while Thomas had 31 saves.
Right wing Devin Setoguchi
easily had his best game in a long time, scoring two goals for the first time since Oct. 19. Setoguchi finished last season with a career-high 31 goals, but has really struggled this year (mostly due to the acquisition of Dany Heatley
-- before Heatley arrived, Setoguchi was on the top line for the Sharks) with just 12 goals and 5 assists. Edmonton's Patrick O'Sullivan
netted his 10th goal (shorthanded) -- if you're in a league that has special-teams points as a category, O'Sullivan may be worth a pickup, he also has 6 power-play points in the last eight games. San Jose center Manny Malhotra
(7 goals and 9 assists on the season) was bumped up to the second line, replacing Ryane Clowe
who was dropped to the third line. Malhotra notched two assists playing on a line with Setoguchi and Joe Pavelski
. The former No. 7 overall draft pick is a good sleeper in deep leagues, especially if he can hold onto his new promotion.
The story in Ottawa's 4-2 win at Montreal was the return of Daniel Alfredsson
, who had been out since Dec. 23 with a separated left shoulder. The Ottawa captain had a goal and two assists to go along with a plus-3 rating and 3 shots on goal in 17:36 of ice time; you can go ahead and pop him back into your starting lineup. Rookie goaltender Mike Brodeur
was rewarded with his second straight start after his shutout against the Rangers; he went on to stop 30 of 32 Habs shots. Could a goaltending change be coming for the Sens? I think so. With Pascal Leclaire
injured and Brian Elliot sick (flu) and struggling, Brodeur could be in line for more starts. While Alex Kovalev
notched an assist, he has not scored in 32 of his last 34 games. Benoit Pouliot
continues to score for the Canadiens. After netting his eighth goal on Saturday night, Pouliot has 6 goals in his last nine games. He was Minnesota's first-round draft pick in 2005 (4th overall), so he may finally be living up to the early expectations he had. His linemates, Scott Gomez
and Brian Gionta
assisted on the goal -- Gomez has a goal and 4 assists in his last four games, while Gionta has 3 goals and an assist in his last four.
Islanders goaltender Rick DiPietro
made his second start of the season and stopped 31 of 33 shots, earning his first win since Dec. 26, 2008. Keep a lookout for DiPietro -- if he continues to get more starts and earns the trust of the Isles' coaching staff, he could get more starts between the pipes. Rookie John Tavares
scored his 17th goal -- it was just his third point in 16 games. Tavares has all the talent in the world, but keep him on your bench until he snaps out of this funk. Kyle Okposo
had an assist to extend his points streak to five games. In need of some depth scoring? Grab Buffalo's Drew Stafford
, who scored his 12th goal of the season. After notching 20 goals last season, Stafford is headed for that mark again. Center Tim Connolly
extended his point-scoring streak to 11 games with an assist on Mike Grier
's ninth goal.
Florida's Rostislav Olesz
scored his 12th and 13th goals and now has 5 goals in his previous four games -- he could be useful during his current hot streak. Cory Stillman
also scored twice and had an assist for the Panthers -- he now has 3 goals in his last two games. The Lightning line of Vincent Lecavalier
, Alex Tanguay
and Jeff Halpern
continues to shine as they combined for a goal and three assists in the 5-2 loss. In their last three contests Lecavalier has a goal and 4 assists, Tanguay has a goal and 3 assists, and Halpern has 2 goals and an assist. Bolts defenseman Andrej Meszaros
scored his first goal since Nov. 25 -- he has just nine points on the season and carries little to no fantasy value. Panthers blueliner Keith Ballard
matched a season-high with three assists and now has 16 points on the season.
Atlanta defenseman Zach Bogosian
scored his ninth goal and first since Nov. 15 (he also had an assist) in a 5-3 win at Carolina. Bogosian was one of the hottest early-season pickups, but has cooled off with just 7 points in his last 25 games. I wouldn't recommend dropping him, but keep him on your bench and hope he builds on his productive night. Carolina forward Jussi Jokinen
had two power-play goals, his first goal in eight games -- he also had an assist. Jokinen is extremely streaky, so insert him into your starting lineup while he's hot. Tobias Enstrom
became Atlanta's franchise-leading scorer by a defenseman when he assisted on Ilya Kovalchuk
's eventual game-winning goal. In his second game since returning from a hip injury, Nik Antropov
tallied a goal and an assist -- use him as you normally would. Hurricanes defenseman Joni Pitkanen
had a season-high three assists.
scored his first goal since Dec. 20, when he had two, in St. Louis' win over the Rangers. While he isn't scoring a ton, Backes still has 7 assists in his previous eight games for the Blues. Out of all the Rangers players, fourth-liner Brian Boyle
scored to snap the Blueshirts' goalless drought at exactly 172 minutes. The newly formed line of Brad Boyes
, Jay McClement
and Alexander Steen
has really clicked lately for the Blues. They were a combined plus-6 with a goal and a pair of assists against the Rangers. Boyes now has 3 assists and is a plus-6 in his last four games, McClement has a goal and 6 assists in his last five, while Steen has 3 goals and an assist in his previous three games. Chad Johnson
struggled in his second career start for New York; expect Henrik Lundqvist
to be back in net on Sunday against the Canadiens. Marian Gaborik
has gone five games without a goal, his longest streak of the season.
continues to thrive with the Wild -- the left wing recorded his first career hat trick (Martin Havlat
assisted on all three goals) and has 7 goals and 5 assists in his last seven games. Pick him up while he's hot, maybe try and sell him high if you can because I'm not sure this hot streak will last the rest of the season. Coyotes defenseman Ed Jovanovski
had a career-best four assists after returning from a two-game suspension. After recording 73 points last season, Shane Doan
has certainly been one of the bigger disappointments in the fantasy world. He scored his 13th goal and had an assist to snap a four-game goalless drought -- Doan now has 30 points on the season. He has also let us down with just 31 penalty minutes, as opposed to his 72 from last season. Petr Prucha
scored twice for Phoenix, his first goals in five games.
GAME STAR: Henrik Sedin
1 goal, 2 assists, +3, 4 SOG, 2 PIMS
Pittsburgh backup John Curry
made his first start of the season; it didn't go well. Curry allowed five goals on 14 shots before being replaced by emergency callup Alexander Pechurski
. Marc-Andre Fleury
is out with a broken finger, and his owners are certainly hoping he's back sooner rather than later. Vancouver's Pavol Demitra
made his season debut and was a minus-1 with no shots on goal in 14:26 of ice time. Don't go rushing to pick him up just yet, let's see if he can contribute some points first. Alex Burrows has been arguably the best fantasy player in the New Year -- Burrows scored his 21st goal and 11th in his last seven games. Mikael Samuelsson
may be finding his groove again -- with a goal and an assist on Saturday, the Swedish winger has 6 goals and 3 assists in his previous 10 games. Evgeni Malkin
scored his first goal since Dec. 23 when he had a hat trick against the Senators; let's hope this one gets Geno going again.
With four games on the NHL schedule on Sunday, and four teams playing on back-to-back nights (Chicago Blackhawks
, Detroit Red Wings
, Montreal Canadiens
and New York Rangers
), feel free to check free agency for these players:
Brandon Dubinsky, C, NYR -
I know the Rangers aren't scoring lately, but I have a hunch they breakout against Montreal -- they did score 4 goals against them in a shootout loss earlier this season. Dubinsky has been skating on the top power play unit and sometimes with Gaborik during even strength play. Both players are overdue; Dubie will find himself on the scoresheet.
Mike Knuble, RW, WAS -
If he's out there, definitely grab him. Knuble is currently on the top line with Alex Ovechkin
and Nicklas Backstrom
, and also on the top power play unit. He has 5 goals in his last five games including two against the Leafs on Friday night.
Benoit Pouliot, LW, MTL -
As I stated earlier, Pouliot has 6 goals in his last nine games and he's skating on a line with playmaker Scott Gomez
and veteran Brian Gionta
. Give him a shot.
Dan Sexton, RW, ANA -
With Saku Koivu
and Teemu Selanne
both sidelined, Sexton becomes the go-to-guy playing on a line with Bobby Ryan
for the Ducks.
SUNDAY'S PROJECTED GOALIES:
Chicago (Antti Niemi
) at Detroit (Jimmy Howard
), 12:30 p.m. ET
Philadelphia (Michael Leighton
) at Washington (Jose Theodore
), 3 p.m. ET
NY Rangers (Henrik Lundqvist
) at Montreal (Jaroslav Halak
), 7 p.m. ET
Calgary (Miikka Kiprusoff
) at Anaheim (Jonas Hiller
), 8 p.m. ET
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