Originally posted on The Hockey Program  |  Last updated 2/10/12

 

It was another unexpected night in the National Hockey League and fantasy hockey leagues.  Just when you think that one has it figured out, Thursday happens.  There was everything from "warm ice" in New Jersey and Philadelphia to goalies coming out of the cold to vigilante justice.  The reality is there was just so much going on that sometimes the big efforts and the "under the radar" ones get lost in the shuffle. 

First up, let us get to the Fantasy POTN.  Last night's choice was a pretty easy one.

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FANTASY POTN:

Max Pacioretty, LW, Montreal Canadiens -- Pacioretty is a Long Island native so it was not a surprise when he tallied very early in the first period against the New York Islanders.  What was more surprising is an empty net goal that beats the buzzer like we all saw.  It was not just any goal as that was Pacioretty's third (hat trick).  This made it too easy to choose our best player from last night.  By the way, this talented winger has just about the same fantasy production as Alex Ovechkin.  Pacioretty is on the way up and Ovechkin is on the way down but good to see the Habs have a few good fantasy stories this year.

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A LOOK BACK:

Tyler Bozak, C, Toronto Maple Leafs -- Sure this was a bit tough but Bozak has battled through the slings and arrows as he lit up Philly for two goals on five shots.  Yes his faceoff win percentage was a major detriment at 33.3% but Bozak has the ability to set up plays but has a nose to the net as well.  Now, can Bozak stick on the first line and will Ron Wilson panic again at the first and second signs of adversity?  Those are questions that do not necessarily have easy answers.  Joffrey Lupul and Phil Kessel are going to need this youngster more than they think and fantasy owners have to be happy that he is producing again.

Jason Spezza, C, Ottawa Senators -- Spezza had been hurting fantasy players the last few games and had only one point in his last seven games.  Last night he delivered in a big way with two goals and an assist in the 4-3 win over the Nashville Predators.  That ended Ottawa's losing streak and gave Spezza owners a much needed shot in the arm.  Over the last few days, some were even considering trading the forward but second half fantasy wonders are hard to find.  This could be the beginning of a hot streak.  Stay tuned.

Leland Irving, G, Calgary Flames -- In a game where Calgary had very little life, Leland Irving stole a point for the Flames which in four of his five starts has been his M.O.  He stopped 33 of 35 shots and only a Shane Doan goal midway through overtime kept Calgary from getting a chance to go for the second point.  Backups have a tough job and an even tougher one when they have to play for the resting hot goalie.  Give Irving credit, he probably deserved a better fate last night.

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SCHEDULE TIME:

Friday, February 10, 2012 TeamsNotes Dallas at Buffalo 7:30 PM | Gameday Anaheim at Detroit 7:30 PM | Gameday Carolina at Colorado 9:00 PM | Gameday Chicago at San Jose 10:30 PM | Gameday

This is a light schedule and as Detroit is expected to win yet another home game tonight (19th straight), we have a tilt in San Jose between two teams that have to take that next step.  Chicago is struggling all over the place while San Jose is kind of there but not all the way in the conversation in the West.  Tonight could show us something and more importantly get some of these fantasy studs out of their doldrums one way or the other. 

Colorado plays against a Carolina team who plays very well in the second half.  Are we going to see the really good Cam Ward or the early season Ward?  Again that is a good question.  Also, when will Matt Duchene be back?  Does anyone actually know?  The Avalanche could use a weapon like him to go along with guys like Ryan O'Reilly, Paul Stastny, and Gabriel Landeskog among others.  Carolina will be quite ready for this one and no one knows how Colorado will show up at home.  That can mean much fantasy uncertainty.

Buffalo and Dallas shape up to be quite the goaltending duel that is provided if the two starters both actually played which does not look likely.  Ryan Miller has been pretty hot in the last two weeks and so has Kari Lehtonen.  Both have sub 2.00 GAA in that span with save percentages over .925.  If both backups do start, expect a different game or in our case do this.  Its a Friday Night in Buffalo, expect some goals anyway.  Jamie Benn and Loui Eriksson for Dallas along with Jason Pominville for Buffalo should be ready  for action.  The over should hit in this one.

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Good luck tonight as though its a light one, there could be a lot of fantasy value to be had.  All of this sets up a busy fantasy hockey weekend.  Thanks for reading.


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