Fantasy Spotlight: Niklas Backstrom
After his unbelievably-good play to start February, it's not surprising that Niklas Backstrom
cooled off a bit to end the month. Really, how long can you expect a goalie to practically earn a shutout every night? It's not to say that Backs' "cool down" was very severe; the Finn still finished the month with a .940 SV%, good for second in the NHL, and a 1.69 GAA that was tied for third in the League.
Yet, something was different in Backstrom's game, so Head Coach Todd Richards looked to Jose Theodore to start the Wild's game Sunday against Buffalo. In going back to his starter tonight against the Avalanche, Richards seemed nothing but confident in his decision. Fantasy hockey players should be confident in Backstrom having a big game tonight, too. In the previous instances where he's been given some time off, Backs nearly always comes back with an A+ performance.
Wild PR guru Ryan Stanzel has the stats to prove it: Backstrom's career record in a start after getting pulled (not counting injury) is 14-2-4 with a 1.94 GAA and a .930 SV%. He's even better the last 13 times it has happened, going 11-0-2 with a 1.73 GAA and a .940 SV%.
The 33-year-old should also get a boost of confidence by going up against Colorado tonight. Backstrom has posted wins in his last two starts against the Avs with a 1.50 GAA and a .952 SV%. During his career, he is is 16-4-2 with a 2.29 GAA, a .923 SV% and two shutouts in 22 starts against Colorado.
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