Originally posted on The Hockey Program  |  Last updated 3/31/12

 

For whatever reason, Buffalo could be at the top of their game and as soon as they play Pittsburgh, everything goes awry.  Why?  Simply the reason was not Sidney Crosby, who scored above.  However, the Sabres just seem to not play quite as well against Pittsburgh and that is the difference between giving up one or two goals and five.  Crosby was close, real close to nabbing the Fantasy POTN but not quite.  The problem is in the grand scheme of things, getting that unexpected performance took a little more priority over even a nice "passing display".

Last night, there were a lot of people surprised at the fight of Colorado and truthfully even I was hesitant of playing a few guys.  However, in the end, it somehow all paid off and resulted in that very Fantasy POTN.

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Fantasy POTN:

Semyon Varalmov, G, Colorado Avalanche -- Yes this was a desperate game for both the Calgary Flames and Avalanche but it was a road game few saw Colorado winning.  So what happens of course?  Colorado comes out and converts their chances while Calgary did not.  Semyon Varlamov made 38 saves and all while Calgary piled up the scoring chances.  It was not a case of Calgary quitting in this game, it was a case of Varlamov being more fresh than his counterpart, Miikka Kiprusoff.  People forget that middle part of the season where the Colorado goalie just did not have it.  His goaltending over the last few weeks have been a bastion to fantasy owners who took the risk.  It was well worth it.

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QUICK LOOK BACK:

Sidney Crosby, C, Pittsburgh Penguins -- Normally a four point effort gets you the top spot but it just seemed Crosby was mostly doing his usual passing fancy.  That sounds unfair but Crosby had two shots on goal and seems to lack the zip his shot had last year before all the concussion problems.  However he still has enough to cause fear in the eyes of Ryan Miller clearly.  His faceoffs were not so good last night (7 for 18) but again the goal and three assists offset that considerably.  What you have to like about Crosby is this.  He is playing smarter and not getting into those silly battles and scrums like in comeback number one.  We call that fantasy beneficial.

Michael Del Zotto, D, New York Rangers -- Yes we did kill Del Zotto for about a 15-20 game stretch where he just looked kind of lost and well hurt out there.  Not only was he hurting his team but seemed to be hurting himself as well.  That has all changed now as he is 100% and played his best game since early in the season with a two goal, one assist effort against Montreal in a 4-1 win.  The most important aspect was Del Zotto let the game come to him and then picked the time to take it to the game.  Those two goals in the third period are exactly what the Rangers needed but were more of a boost to Del Zotto owners because disciplined creativity has no bounds.

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SCHEDULE TIME:

Saturday, March 31, 2012 TeamsNotes Boston at NY Islanders 1:00 PM | Gameday
Ottawa at Philadelphia 1:00 PM | Gameday
Buffalo at Toronto 7:00 PM | Gameday
Montreal at Washington 7:00 PM | Gameday
New Jersey at Carolina 7:00 PM | Gameday
Winnipeg at Tampa Bay 7:00 PM | Gameday
Columbus at St. Louis 8:00 PM | Gameday
Chicago at Nashville 8:00 PM | Gameday
Los Angeles at Minnesota 8:00 PM | Gameday
Anaheim at Phoenix 9:00 PM | Gameday
Calgary at Vancouver 10:00 PM | Gameday
Dallas at San Jose 10:30 PM | Gameday

When the schedule is packed with 12 intense games, it tests the mettle of every fantasy hockey GM.  Get ready and buckle in for what promises to be one hell of a night.  Ian Gooding has us covered with a special Pick Six and here we go.......

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PICK SIX:

Nicklas Backstrom, C, Washington Capitals -- Add/Start

Gee well this was a no brainer as Washington was a mere two games over .500 without him and looked like they were breaking out just before he got hurt in Game 38.  They play Montreal tonight who is just wasting away the season.  By the way Backstrom had 42 points in 38 games this year and was into a very good scoring stretch when the concussion happened.  It would not surprise anyone to see Backstrom notch a point or two tonight against a Habs team that cannot even kill penalties at this point anymore.

Martin Brodeur, G, New Jersey Devils -- Bench

Something just seems to be in the water when Brodeur plays in Carolina.  This goes back a good decade now but for whatever reason, the goalie does not equal wins and just does not have any luck down in Raleigh to be honest.  The Devils could officially clinch a playoff berth tonight and perhaps they will but starting Brodeur is a bit of a risk as he let in four goals on 20 shots against Tampa.  Honestly two of those were goals that bounced like a pinball but if there are better options tonight (12 games) then go take that chance. 

Jason Spezza, C, Ottawa Senators -- Start

Spezza and Ottawa travel to Philly for an afternoon game.  Please note that Philadelphia in home afternoon games this year has been so porous that if they played every game on a Saturday, they would never make the playoffs.  It really is that bad and Spezza is looking like that 85-90 point guy we all thought he was at the start of the year.  This could be a great game to pad his totals as the Flyers defense and goaltending is average at best and below average in this scenario.  If you have any of the major Sens players (except Craig Anderson), it might be a time to take a shot.

Marty Turco, G, Boston Bruins -- Bench

The Islanders are making it tough for these playoff teams.  They just walloped Pittsburgh twice and get to play a banged up Boston team that could be short a couple defenseman.  Add in the fact that this is a 1pm game today and that Boston plays on national television against the New York Rangers tomorrow, it may just be wise to not start Turco.  Do not give in to the temptation here as Turco has looked pretty good at times but also has looked ugly.  Even if he wins today, he may give up three or more doing it.

Andy McDonald, C, St. Louis Blues -- Start

The Blues are a different team when McDonald is in the lineup.  Players are allowed to go back to their own roles and yes St. Louis is healthy for the first time in nearly two years (160 games).  One has to almost feel sorry for Columbus here but the power play is a top unit when McDonald is on the ice to add insult to injury.  It does seem like he will get a point or two at least against a Columbus squad who is typically overmatched by a team like St. Louis.

Patrick Marleau/Joe Thornton, W/C, San Jose Sharks -- Watch

This is a bit of an odd request but watch this duo tonight because they could be playing for their very careers over these last few games.  Should San Jose miss the playoffs, one or both of these players (who are very talented) could find their way out of town.  If you own one or both then you are going to insert them in the lineup because of ATOI but do they show up on the scoresheet tonight?  That is probably not as iffy tonight because Dallas is on a back end of a back to back but never say never.  San Jose has a habit and this duo particularly of making it harder than it has to be.  Watch and go yellow light with them.

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Good luck everyone and we will be following all the fantasy carnage today and tonight.  We have a big April Fools Day show planned tomorrow night and yes maybe with a few pranks too.  Thanks for reading.

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