Originally posted on The Hockey Program  |  Last updated 3/19/12

 

The funny thing for fantasy purposes is that the Alex Ovechkin play only counts for one goal in the grand scheme of things.  That is the cold reality of fantasy leagues especially this time of year.  Maybe it is a springboard for Ovechkin to finally get him going consistently.

Either way, we thank Garrett Rees for this week's Looking Ahead.  It is a very good fantasy read that gives the lay of the fantasy land.  That finishing line is really almost here.  In three weeks, it is all over.  Just think of the finality of that very statement.  Sure there are fantasy playoff pools and such but its not quite the same.  Today is a bit different so let's get right down to the Fantasy POTN.

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Fantasy POTN:

Eric Staal, C, Carolina Hurricanes -- Staal played what we like to call "Kovalchuk Minutes" last night as he was on the ice for a grand total of 26:40 in the 4-3 road win over the Winnipeg Jets.  The bottom line was Staal had two goals and an assist plus set up the game winning goal by Chad LaRose.  He was a man apart as they say and yes some may wonder where this was early in the season but give Kirk Muller and John MacLean credit.  The coaches have resurrected the star's confidence and it shows.  Yes his power play goal production is half of last year's but maybe the surge this second half serves him well next year across the board.

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QUICK LOOK BACK:

Andrew Shaw, W/C, Chicago Blackhawks -- Shaw is one of those likeable players that can produce fantasy wise enough to put him on your team as a depth forward.  Now if he keeps getting 16-18 minutes a night, that can change but for now, he is a point every other game guy.  That is not a bad thing to say the least as Shaw torched Washington for two goals and an assist last night.  The youngster averages over two hits a game as well so call it an added bonus to your fantasy bottom line.  It may be a good time to invest now in keeper leagues for next year and Shaw is a name you will hear about.

Mike Smith/Devan Dubnyk (PHX/EDM) -- The goalies put on a nice little show last night stopping 76 of 80 shots combined in the 3-2 shootout win for Phoenix.  Give credit to the Coyotes as they rallied back with two goals in the third but the goaltending is what stole the show.  Smith is obviously the better fantasy option of the two as Phoenix battles for their playoff lives but Dubnyk is no slouch.  Smith would be a high first/low second option while Dubnyk is still more tertiary.  Either way, some of the saves in that game last night needed some more press than they got.

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SCHEDULE TIME:

Monday, March 19, 2012 TeamsNotes Toronto at Boston 7:00 PM | Gameday
New Jersey at NY Rangers 7:30 PM | Gameday
Buffalo at Tampa Bay 7:30 PM | Gameday
Washington at Detroit 7:30 PM | Gameday
Vancouver at Minnesota 8:00 PM | Gameday
Anaheim at San Jose 10:00 PM | Gameday

Jonas Hiller is scheduled to make his 33rd consecutive start tonight.  Someone give that guy a night off.  San Jose should be able to take advantage of this opportunity despite some of their recent struggles against the Ducks.  The funniest bottom line to come out of fantasy hockey is how the Sharks are faring after the benching of Colin White.  They are 3-0-1 since the "demotion" and look like the team many thought they would be.  It is strange and wacky how these things work.  Even the goaltending has been a bit more consistent with Joe Thornton even heating up as he cranked out a six point fantasy week.  Him and Patrick Marleau could enjoy a nice fantasy night with Joe Pavelski.

The Rangers and Devils get together as one of the hottest lines is cooking with GAS.  No it is not that "GAS line" but the Brad Richards-Marian Gaborik-Carl Hagelin trio.  They combined for 14 points when together over the last seven days and Hagelin manifests the speed and creativity of that line.  When you add in two shot blocking, physical defensemen, this line looks like a world beater.  New Jersey will counter with their Parise-Kovalchuk-Henrique line which does cause the Rangers some fits.  The real player to keep an eye on is David Clarkson, who seems to always find a way to get under an opponent's skin and has scored a couple timely goals this season (28 in all).

It will also be interesting to see how Tim Thomas follows up his performance against Philadelphia and how Detroit and Washington fare tonight.  Further, we want a bit of a look at that Marcus Foligno from Buffalo.  Him, Drew Stafford, and Tyler Ennis put up 15 points in total as Lindy Ruff may have found something by accident.  This line's speed and puck handling could create havoc against a Tampa team that has just about mailed it in.  Sure Tampa has Steven Stamkos but their defense and goaltending is just well skunky.

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Good luck in your fantasy leagues and it is time to get it on tonight.  Thanks for reading.


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