Originally posted on The Hockey Program  |  Last updated 3/5/12

ATLANTA - JANUARY 14: Goaltender Ryan Miller #30 of the Buffalo Sabres against the Atlanta Thrashers at Philips Arena on January 14, 2010 in Atlanta, Georgia. (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)

 

 

When elite players go into extended funks, what do or can you do?  Imagine a world where Tim Thomas and Ryan Miller are not Top 5 goaltenders in the league.  Miller is playing more like it to be honest but Thomas has cracked this year kind of like he did two years ago.  It is funny how these "sustained runs" can sometimes peter out unexpectedly.  Even Ilya Bryzgalov has shown better fantasy numbers than Tim Thomas.  Yes Thomas still has a pretty good record with solid numbers but people forget that two years ago, Thomas's second have save percentage was under .910.  Last year it was only .916.   This year it is below .910 again.  What happens when your goalies go into the tank in March like this?  Head to the waiver wire and use whatever stopgaps you can.  There is no band-aid to fix gaping wounds only quick patch jobs that hopefully do not burst.

So what did we see yesterday?  Well first let's take a look at our Fantasy POTN for Sunday in the NHL....

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FANTASY POTN:

Semyon Varlamov, G, Colorado Avalanche -- Fantasy hockey can be very frustrating this time of year with goaltenders asserting themselves while some others crack like "Martha Stewart Housewares".  Here is one oddity in a fine example.  Varlamov is a .500 goaltender this year with much better talent.  Some will say he has completely underperformed on the road with his 3.14 and .897 splits.  However he does have four shutouts on the road and has played well in five of his last six road starts (2 SO in that span).  The overall 2.69 GAA and .909 save percentage may drive some nuts but if Varlamov keeps playing like this he can make a decent push for your fantasy team.  Even a 30 save shutout against Minnesota gets fantasy notice this time of year.

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QUICK LOOK BACK:

Jamie McGinn, LW, Colorado Avalanche -- He did score the only two goals of the game.  Mind you they were in the first period but on a slow offensive day and night in the NHL Sunday, this one seemed to stick out a bit.  McGinn's minutes are down in Colorado and he only played 13:48 last night but he was effective early and some nights, it is better to be good early than not at all.  This was one of those nights.  Obviously do not expect this going forward.

Matt Hackett, G, Minnesota Wild -- Yes Ilya Bryzgalov (Philly) had a shutout but Hackett was a show stealer last night against Colorado.  He settled down after the rough first ten minutes and kept his team in a game that they had no business being in.  Honestly this one could have been five or six to nothing very easily.  The 34 saves on 36 shots were good in itself but the composure the young goalie showed will serve him well.  Exepct him to maybe get a couple more starts especially if Josh Harding struggles at all.

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SCHEDULE TIME:

Monday, March 5, 2012 TeamsNotes Phoenix at Pittsburgh 7:00 PM | Gameday
Buffalo at Winnipeg 8:00 PM | Gameday
Edmonton at Anaheim 10:00 PM | Gameday

The light schedule has a very strange feel to it as Phoenix looks like it is heading into the lambs of slaughter and Anaheim is now limping a good bit after that torrid stretch.  Then there is the big matchup in Winnipeg between the Sabres and Jets.  Something in this night of hockey screams mostly low scoring affairs but then there is part of me that thinks Winnipeg is under more pressure, so is Anaheim, and so is Phoenix to a point.  They may all have to score a bit more than expected on this night.  Ryan Miller showed he was very human in Vancouver, especially in that third period and Winnipeg can definitely pot some goals at home. 

The law of averages still says to run with the home teams and their top lines fantasy wise tonight and it is one of those rare occurrences where we are willing to endorse it.  It still will be interesting to see how Pittsburgh does long term without Kris Letang (concussion).  Something tells me they may miss him a bit more than yes, Sidney Crosby. 

For Buffalo to be successful tonight, they have to score early.  Depth scoring was kind of their problem all season, which is why they acquired a youngster like Cody Hodgson, who has to step up.  Poor 22 year old kid has a little pressure on him and he had no points last week.  Sometimes expectation makes one a bit nervous in the early going with a new team but its a big stage and Hodgson does have big stage potential.  Let's see what the kid has in this kind of spot.

Does Anaheim kill your fantasy teams tonight?  Jonas Hiller was horrendous against Los Angeles and without a few breaks could have given up five or six.  For as consistent as Hiller was during the Ducks run is as inconsistent as he is playing right now.  Though they may get a bit "well" against Edmonton tonight, the Ducks are pretty much middling now as they seem destined to play out the string.  Expect Corey Perry and Teemu Selanne to have strong weeks with a slightly easier strength (weakness) of schedule.

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As always we live tweet the happenings of a light fantasy night in the NHL.  Thanks again for reading and good luck out there as the fantasy season officially enters the "Final Five".

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