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Toews and Budaj power Saturday's Fantasy Roundup

by Matt Cubeta
With 12 games on the NHL schedule for Saturday night -- and only the Devils, Rangers, Capitals, Flames, Oilers and Ducks having the night off -- there was plenty of action around the League.

Alex Kovalev may have started the season with no goals in his first eight games, but after scoring two more on Saturday, the veteran forward now has five in his last six contests. He's an extremely streaky player, so start him while he's hot.

• Like Kovalev, Flyers captain Mike Richards also got off to a slow start in 2010. He notched a goal and an assist on Saturday and now has 3 goals and 7 assists in his last eight games. It's safe to start him with confidence again.

• Speaking of the Flyers, they've won six straight games. Playing arguably the most important role in their hot streak has been goaltender Sergei Bobrovsky, who's started all six wins while allowing no more than three goals in any of those starts. Bobrovsky stopped 31 Islander shots en route to his eighth win of the season (he did get a little help from defenseman Matt Carle -- check it out below). "Bob" is the clear-cut No. 1 in Philly and should be started every time he gets the call in net.

Jaroslav Halak continues to show he has been arguably the league's best netminder of the season -- he stopped 33 of 34 shots in a 2-1 shootout win over Boston. It's probably safe to expect the former Canadiens goaltender to perform like a top-10 goalie for the remainder of the season.

• The lone bright spot in Buffalo continues to be forward Derek Roy -- he notched a goal and an assist, giving him 7 goals and 15 points on the season.

• Swedish netminder Jhonas Enroth recorded his first career win by stopping 23 of 25 shots in a 3-2 shootout victory. The youngster is currently filling in for the injured Ryan Miller, who is hoping to be back in goal for Buffalo in the next game.

• After combining for 11 goals on Friday night, the Hurricanes and Panthers decided to slow down a bit on Saturday (Carolina won 3-2). Shockingly, Eric Staal was held pointless in Friday's shoot-em-up, but on Saturday he scored his fifth and sixth goals of the season. The Hurricanes' captain has 11 points in 14 games, but a hot streak can be expected soon enough.

Scott Clemmensen made just his second start of the season for the Panthers -- he turned aside 26 of 29 shots while taking the loss.

• The superstars were on display for the Blackhawks in Atlanta: Jonathan Toews erupted for 2 goals and 2 assists -- he now has 5 goals and 9 helpers in 16 games; Patrick Kane woke up and recorded 2 goals, an assist, a plus-2 rating, 8 shots on goal and 2 penalty minutes -- he now has 6 goals and 9 assists on the season. The two-goal games were each players first of the season, and their point totals were also a season-high.

• Columbus goalie Mathieu Garon was saddled with his first loss of the season -- he surrendered three goals on just 24 shots. The start was Garon's fourth straight, but you can expect Steve Mason to be back in net for the Jackets' next game -- it appears that head coach Scott Arniel will ride the hot goalie.

• Wild defenseman Brent Burns potted two goals (one being this fantastic goal set up by Matt Cullen) -- he is now tied for the league lead among d-men with 5 goals on the season (Atlanta's Dustin Byfuglien being the other 5-goal scorer).

• In his fourth start since taking over for the injured Craig Anderson, Peter Budaj put together his best performance of the season -- a 31-save shutout against the red-hot Dallas Stars. The Avalanche have yet to release any timetable for Anderson's return from a knee injury, but he hasn't started practicing again. For the time being, Budaj is your goaltender in Colorado.

Wojtek Wolski finally scored his first goal of the season and added an assist -- he now has 1 goal and 6 assists in 11 contests this season for Phoenix. After totaling 18 points in 18 games last year after the Coyotes acquired the Polish-native at the trade deadline, many people expected Wolski to have a big season. Unfortunately, he has let most of us down to this point. Perhaps Saturday's two-point performance will be the start of his turnaround.

Marc-Andre Fleury made his eighth start of the season. It didn't last long as he was yanked after allowing two goals on five shots. Brent Johnson replaced him and stopped 22 of 23 shots. Johnson is the guy to have for now, but expect his hot start to run out at some point, and Fleury to eventually retake the starting job in Pittsburgh.

Justin Williams continues to fly under the radar in most fantasy leagues -- he tallied two assists on Saturday night and has 6 goals and 8 helpers in 13 games for the Kings. Williams is a top-six forward on one of the League's best teams, and when healthy he's capable of putting together a big season.

• Our stat of the night goes out to Red Wings goalie Jimmy Howard -- the talented netminder lost his first regular season game in regulation in his last 23 starts between the pipes. Simply outstanding, but unfortunately the Canucks peppered him for six goals on 34 shots. Expect a bounce-back performance from one of the best goaltenders in his next outing.

Manny Malhotra and Raffi Torres each deserve a little fantasy praise. Malhotra netted 2 goals and an assist on Saturday, giving him 4 goals, 6 assists, a plus-5 rating, 4 penalty minutes, and 28 shots on goal. After recording an assist on Saturday, Torres now has 8 goals, 2 helpers, a plus-3 rating, 23 penalty minutes and 25 shots on goal. Neither player sees much time on the power play, but they are both producing plenty of points from Vancouver's third line.

Patrick Marleau put together a very solid effort against the Lightning -- 2 goals, a plus-3 rating and 8 shots on goal. With Joe Thornton on the sidelines because of his suspension, Marleau proved he doesn't always need the talented playmaker around to score goals.

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