There are not many that have the guts to take this one on but at The Program, we do. Yes Scott Gomez even failed to score in the shootout. Fantasy wise Gomez has sunk to new lows since his last goal on February 5th, 2011. That being said, the Montreal Canadiens have either hit rock bottom or are damn close to doing so. Fantasy wise, aside from their top line, where do you go for fantasy shelter? That becomes every Fantasy GM's worst nightmare.
Now let's take a quick look back at the light Friday Night schedule.
A LOOK BACK:
The Nation's Sluggish Snooze -- The Washington Capitals are boring and testing everyone's patience as last night they fell to Carolina predictably 3-0 while only generating 23 shots and 11 scoring chances. Most of these chances were not even quality as Cam Ward undoubtedly had his easiest shutout of the season. Jussi Jokinen scored twice and that was pretty much that. Washington gave up two power play goals and a shorthanded tally in the loss. The inconsistent play of the Caps is partly why the Southeast Division will likely be the biggest dogfight post All-Star Break. It is also a reason why Washington players are driving fantasy owners mad.
Tampa Survival -- Sometimes it is really better to be lucky than good. Tampa got two goals from Teddy Purcell who has been one of several key incosistent fantasy producers, in a 2-1 Tampa win last night in Dallas. Mathieu Garon made 27 saves in the victory and shook off an early injury to his shoulder as well. The problem is Tampa is so far down in the standings because the depth guys do not produce consistently enough. The defense and goaltending only show up every so often and not consistently enough. The only difference between Tampa and New Jersey is Tampa has even less depth. That eventually hurts fantasy numbers and a GM's bottom line. Let's see if Tampa can contine their momentum....
The Delay -- As everyone knows, the Chicago-Florida game was delayed because the Florida bus could not get to the arena for a little while there. When they did play hockey tonight, what resulted was a game with 41 combined shots and not a lot of flow for long stretches. The funny thing is Chicago did just enough and Ray Emery made 18 saves in the 3-1 win. Duncan Keith got the game winner and yet it was only his third of the year. If you had told me Nick Leddy was almost as much of a fantasy value as Duncan Keith, I would have sold every material item I have in existence. There is only a three point difference between the two defensemen. That is pretty stunning.
Okay let's get on with the schedule.........
SCHEDULE TIME:Saturday, January 21, 2012 TeamsNotes NY Rangers at Boston 1:00 PM
Philadelphia at New Jersey 1:00 PM
San Jose at Vancouver 4:00 PM
Ottawa at Anaheim 4:05 PM
Montreal at Toronto 7:00 PM
Carolina at NY Islanders 7:00 PM
Columbus at Detroit 7:00 PM
Florida at Winnipeg 7:00 PM
Buffalo at St. Louis 8:00 PM
Chicago at Nashville 8:00 PM
Tampa Bay at Phoenix 8:00 PM
Dallas at Minnesota 9:00 PM
Calgary at Edmonton 10:00 PM
Colorado at Los Angeles 10:30 PM
It is the third pivotal day of the week with 14 games on the schedule. All fantasy lineups should be full and ready to go. There are no excuses. We called in the big man Ian Gooding for his help with the Saturday Pick Six. Are you ready? We are! So let's go.......
Saturday shapes up to be one of the busiest nights of the week, with only Pittsburgh and Washington not in action that day. Those two teams return to action on Sunday, facing each other in NBC’s game of the week. Anaheim, Boston, Colorado, and Philadelphia also play on Sunday, meaning that those four teams are the only four that play both Saturday and Sunday.
As per usual, here are six players to take notice of in the world of fantasy hockey…
Peter Mueller, RW, COL – add/start
With all of the doom and gloom surrounding concussions, the return of Mueller this month is a great story. The former WHL scoring star scored two goals and added an assist against Florida on Wednesday, although he had failed to record a point in his previous six games. Those in deeper leagues could add Mueller and hope that Wednesday’s performance is a sign of things to come.
Brandon Yip, RW, NSH – watch
Claimed off waivers from Colorado on Thursday, Yip was a waiver-wire surprise two seasons ago with 11 points and 19 points in 32 games two seasons ago. The Predators seem to forever need help with scoring, so expect Barry Trotz to try Yip on one of the scoring lines at some point. Yip, who did not play for the Predators on Thursday, is someone that you could add to your watch list.
Joffrey Lupul, RW, TOR – trade
Because of the Leafs’ defensive struggles, Lupul has been pulled off the Leafs’ top line with Phil Kessel and is now playing on a line with Nazem Kadri and Tim Connolly. Yes, I know Lupul dished out three helpers against Minnesota on Thursday and that he now has 51 points already, but the recent line shuffle combined with Lupul’s career stats scream sell high. Since you probably grabbed him from the waiver wire early this season, see if you can flip him for a player that holds elite market value.
Viktor Stalberg, LW, CHI – add/start
As I’ve mentioned time and time again, fantasy hockey is all about linemates, so Stalberg has it made right now. The most recent winner to play on the Blackhawks’ top line with Jonathan Toews and Patrick Kane, Stalberg has five goals in his last five games. Included in that run is a hat trick against Columbus on January 10. Stalberg is only owned in about one out of every four Yahoo leagues, so he is likely there for the taking.
Andrew Shaw, C, CHI – add/start
Shaw is probably the most improbable rookie to go on a scoring run this season, since it is rare that fifth-round picks play in the NHL the year they are drafted. Still, Shaw is raising eyebrows with his play, scoring goals in four consecutive games. In fact, Shaw has inadvertently started his own Twitter trend known as #ShawFacts (at first, I thought that meant useless facts about my cable company, but it reads more like a list of Chuck Norris accomplishments). You might as well jump on the bandwagon while he is making believers out of everyone, but he will undoubtedly hit the rookie wall at some point.
Jonas Hiller, G, ANA – start
New coach Bruce Boudreau’s system has the Ducks playing dramatically better, particularly in their own end (a comment that will no doubt catch Capitals fans by surprise). Hiller has allowed just five goals in his last four games and has also recorded three consecutive wins, including a shutout win over Edmonton on Friday. It is safe to move him back into your starting lineup if you banished him to the bench earlier this season. Don’t be surprised if the workhorse starter plays on both Saturday and Sunday.
We will be on the road so to speak live at the Devils-Flyers game in the afternoon with a sprinkle of snow detail inbetween. However, we will be keeping an eye on the latest happenings and if another Alexei Ponikarovsky trade happens for a 4th round pick and a C rate defensive prospect, we will let you know. Good luck in your fantasy leagues and thanks for reading.
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