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Sid's hat trick highlights Fantasy Saturday

by Matt Cubeta /

Well, this Saturday night saw plenty of action. From six shootouts to Sidney Crosby's five-point night, it was a Fantasy Saturday to remember. There were 26 teams in action with just Anaheim, Phoenix, San Jose and Toronto having the night off.

In the only afternoon game, Patrik Elias and Brian Rolston each chipped in two goals and two assists in the New Jersey Devils' 6-1 win over the New York Islanders. I think it's safe to activate Elias if you haven't yet. He may have opened his season with four straight pointless games, but in the last six contests, Elias has recorded 3 goals and 7 assists. Rolston is still a risky play because of his inconsistency; prior to Saturday, the veteran forward had tallied just 2 goals and no assists in his previous seven games. Of course, you can keep him on your bench in case he gets hot. If you own goalie Martin Biron, look to acquire his counterpart, Dwayne Roloson. Biron stopped 36 of 42 shots and took the loss, dropping his record to 2-8-2.

Milan Michalek continued his stellar play, scoring twice and adding an assist in Boston's 4-3 shootout win against Ottawa. That's 6 goals in the past seven games for Michalek, who is one of the reasons why the Sens are off to a solid start. Mike Fisher returned to the lineup after missing two games; he played over 20 minutes and had four shots on goal. If you didn't do so tonight, activate him. Tim Thomas got the nod for the first time in seven starts (Thomas missed six games due to a hand injury). He wasn't tested much with just 19 saves, but he did earn the win. Thomas is a great buy-low goaltender, so make an offer for him now before it's too late.

Ryan Miller continued his phenomenal season as he stopped 30 shots in Buffalo's 5-1 victory over the Carolina Hurricanes. Miller has allowed three or more goals just four times in 20 games this season, so make sure you're starting him every time he's in goal. Buffalo's 2008 first-round pick, Tyler Myers, is a defenseman to keep an eye out for. He got off to a great start this season and then slowed down, but on Saturday he tallied three assists (3 goals, 10 assists overall), so perhaps a hot streak is coming. With Manny Legace's rough start on Friday, Michael Leighton made his fourth start on Saturday night. He didn't do much better, taking the loss and allowing five goals on just 19 shots. Stay away from him.

With Jose Theodore missing time over a personal matter, Semyon Varlamov got his fourth straight start and improved to 10-1-2 in the Caps' 4-3 shootout win in Montreal. Look for the youngster to continue to see playing time as he's been red-hot lately. Alexander Semin missed his sixth straight game, so Washington called up Alexandre Giroux on Friday and placed him on the top line with Ovechkin and Backstrom. If you have Semin and need a quick replacement, give Giroux a shot.

In the quietest game of the night, Thrashers backup Johan Hedberg stopped 34 shots for his first shutout since November 16, 2007. Rich Peverley netted his 10th goal as the Thrashers topped the Flyers 1-0. With Ray Emery having lost five of his last six starts, Brian Boucher was between the pipes for Philly. Boucher wasn't tested much, stopping 17 of 18 shots.

In another shootout game, Miikka Kiprusoff got a rare night off despite having a 7-1-3 record on the road. It didn't matter, though, as the Flames topped the Blue Jackets 4-3 with Jamie Lundmark netting the shootout winner. Nigel Dawes continued his hot play by scoring a goal for the third consecutive game. Dawes is a good pickup in deeper leagues. Kristian Huselius had two assists, giving him 11 points in his last eight games (5 goals, 6 assists).


In the most lopsided game of the night, Sidney Crosby had one of his best games of the campaign with his second hat trick of the season in the Pens' 8-3 win over the Rangers. He also added two assists coming one point shy of a career high and was a plus-4 with five shots on goal on the night. Marc Staal netted his first goal in 12 games. Two top-of-the-line defenseman returned to action for the Penguins; Alex Goligoski, who missed six games, added two assists, while Kris Letang, who had missed nine games, matched his teammate with two helpers of his own. The only bright spot for the Rangers was Marian Gaborik who added two assists. Henrik Lundqivst was given the night off, but he'll be back in net on Monday night when the Rangers host the Pens in the back end of a home-and-home.

Henrik Zetterberg tallied a goal and an assist in Detroit's 4-3 shootout win over the Blues. I know a lot of people may be disappointed having used a first- or second-round pick on Zetterberg, but he now has 10 goals and 16 assists in 25 contests. He is struggling and still averaging at least a point per game. He will pick it up and he is a terrific buy-low player. Despite 33 saves, Chris Mason was the hard-luck loser for the Blues; his record falls to 7-7-4. A lot of owners may have jumped ship on David Backes, but he might be getting on track. He scored his fourth goal of the year and now has 3 goals and 2 assists in his last three games (not to mention his 38 PIMs on the season).

Dan Ellis stopped 23 shots and earned his fourth win of the year as the Predators downed the Panthers, 4-1. The Preds continue to go with a borderline split in net, as Pekka Rinne has started 16 games to Ellis' 10, but I would try to acquire Rinne if possible. A lot of people in the fantasy community may have sent the goaltender to the waiver pool, but Rinne has won seven of his last eight decisions and is 11-2-0 in his past 13.

Tom Wandell's fourth goal of the year in overtime gave the Stars a 4-3 win over the Lightning. Steven Stamkos continued his unbelievable season as he netted his 17th goal of the campaign, this one coming on the power play. If you're trying to acquire him it will take a top-caliber player to get him. Brenden Morrow and Stephane Robidas each scored power play goals for Dallas. Mike Smith made his second start in as many nights as he's trying to take hold of the starting gig for the Bolts. He wasn't quite as good as Friday night against the Rangers, stopping 34 of 38 shots in the loss to the Stars.

The slumping Craig Anderson made 34 saves, but took a 3-2 shootout loss against the Wild. Craig Anderson is a great player to trade as Colorado continues to slide. The Avs have just two wins in their last nine games and have allowed 41 goals over that stretch. Chuck Kobasew didn't have any points, but he played nearly 20 minutes and had three shots on goal. Keep an eye on Kobasew, who notched a hat trick on Friday afternoon. He has scored at least 20 goals in three of his five full NHL seasons and could be a nice source of production off your bench. Josh Harding made his fourth start of the season for the Wild and finally earned his first win of the year. Not much use here, but he has a bright future in the NHL.

A lot of fantasy analysts predicted Alexander Edler to have a breakout season, but it just hasn't happened yet. Watch out for him now though; he netted his first goal of the season and added two assists (1 goal, 14 assists for the season) in Vancouver's 7-3 win over Edmonton. Ryan Kesler and Mason Raymond also had three points for the Canucks. Oilers forward Ryan Potulny was held scoreless in the game, but he has 5 goals on the campaign and 3 in the last three games. He's seeing nearly 15 minutes of ice time and could be a nice replacement if you had Ales Hemsky (out for the year due to a torn labrum). Gilbert Brule had a goal and assist giving him 8 goals on the year, one short of a career high.

In the final game of the night, Jonathan Quick was outstanding as he stopped 32 shots in the Kings' 2-1 shootout win. Quick has won seven straight shootouts. Jonathan Toews buried a power play goal with Patrick Kane assisting on it. Kane and Toews have combined for 19 points in the nine games since Toews returned from injury. Wayne Simmonds scored his third goal in as many games; he's a real solid source of all-around fantasy production. On the season Simmonds has 8 goals, 7 assists, a plus-7 rating and 40 penalty minutes. Anze Kopitar and Justin Williams have no goals and just two assists in the five games that linemate Ryan Smyth has been out with an upper-body injury. Their value decreases until Smyth returns.

There are two games on Sunday with only the Canucks playing on back-to-back nights. If you're looking to pick someone up for some Sunday production, check to see if Radim Vrbata is available (95 shots this season). In deeper leagues, pay attention to Anaheim forward Evgeny Artyukhin, who's been bumped up to the second line with Teemu Selanne and Saku Koivu. The 6-foot-4 right wing is known for his physical style of play creates space for the talented Selanne and Koivu, and they seem to be meshing well so far.

Phoenix (Ilya Bryzgalov) at Anaheim (Jonas Hiller), 8 p.m. ET
San Jose (Evgeni Nabokov) at Vancouver (Roberto Luongo), 10 p.m. ET


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