Fantasy Hockey ONE (12/29)


Tonight shapes up to be a very pivotal night fantasy wise (not as much as Saturday) but important nonetheless.  Let’s get down to it on Fantasy Hockey ONE.  So what did we learn about last night?  Let’s take a look back……



Petr Sykora, RW, New Jersey Devils — Sykora turned back the clock last night and seemed to be in the right place at the right time generating four scoring chances, three shots, and two goals.  The prime of his career has definitely passed but Sykora can still find the back of the net on occasion and that is important fantasy wise.  He is very much a solid alternative, racks up some decent minutes, and still puts pucks on the net.  It also helps that Patrik Elias is feeding him.  Elias has enjoyed a resurgence this year playing with his buddy (32 points in 35 GP).  Clearly Sykora’s fortune ride on Elias so as long as they are both healthy, you can reap the rewards.

Roberto Luongo, G, Vancouver Canucks — It was a bit of a light night offensively last night in the NHL so Luongo’s 33 save performance stood out on a night where Vancouver did not look like its best.  San Jose was generating scoring chances left and right at times and Luongo, to his credit, stood his ground.  The biggest thing was that Luongo was more aggressive and positionally sound last night.  He took advantage of San Jose tendencies and seemed to be a step ahead, especially in the third period and OT.  Since he got that rest (The Schneider Run), he has looked like the fantasy elite goalie that many are accustomed to seeing.  Luongo gets a much deserved rest tonight as Cory Schneider is likely to start against Anaheim.

Pekka Rinne, G, Nashville Predators — Rinne had some tough competition on this night and we did take into consideration that Rinne was playing a struggling Minnesota Wild team.  However, a 34 save performance, allowing only one goal, and coming up huge in the shootout made him a prime candidate to appear right here.  Rinne needed this more than anyone after playing awful (12 GA) in his last three previous starts.  Rinne is not stringing quality starts together like he did last year which is why his save percentage is only at .918 with a 2.64 GAA on the season.  There is no real litmus test when to say he will be more consistent either but you have to start him.  He is too good not to.


Fantasy POTN:

Jonathan Quick, G, Los Angeles Kings — Imagine how many wins Quick would have with a team that scored a few more goals in front of him.  The Kings are right at the bottom as far as goal support (82 goals in 37 GP) and yet Quick has a .930 save percentage, 2.07 GAA and 5 shutouts.  Yes three of those came in one week but no one expected the 38 save shutout in Chicago last night?  Quick was agile on rebound chances and did not give Chicago many second and third chances.  Also, he handled the puck better last night than most which gave LA a chance against a more talented Chicago squad.


Hockey Betting Time:

Calgary Flames @ New York Islanders – UNDER 5.5 GOALS (-134)

Calgary comes into this game winners of four straight, including a 2-1 shootout victory in Columbus on Tuesday night. The Flames are now 18-15-4 on the year. On the year Calgary is averaging just 2.5 goals per game, and that goes down to 2.40 goals per game on the road. The Islanders look to get back on track after dropping three straight games, which includes being shutout at New York (Rangers) on Monday. New York is just 11-17-6 this year and 6-9-3 on home ice. The Islanders are scoring just 2.2 goals per game this season. Take note that the Islanders are averaging just 1.60 goals per game over their last 5 games, and have scored no more than 3 goals in a game in their last 9. The UNDER is 4-2 in their last 6 overall. Calgary is averaging just 2.20 goals per game over their last 5, and are allowing just 1.80 against per game over that span.

Note that the Flames have gone UNDER the total in 8 of their last 10 games, and have scored more than 3 goals per game just once in those 10 games. If Kiprusoff is in net, he has won three straight games allowing just 4 goals against in total. On the season he has a 2.41 GAA and .917 SV%. Nabokov is just 2-8 on the season but has a reasonable 2.76 GAA and .910 SV%. Tonight we have the lowest scoring team in the NHL versus a team that isn’t much better in that department and has been playing great defensively lately. Goals should be hard to come by tonight and I was surprised to see the total sitting at 5.5 – I’ll play the UNDER.



Thursday, December 29, 2011

Teams Notes
Calgary at NY Islanders 7:00 PM | Gameday
Philadelphia at Pittsburgh 7:00 PM | Gameday
Toronto at Carolina 7:00 PM | Gameday
Montreal at Tampa Bay 7:30 PM | Gameday
Edmonton at Minnesota 8:00 PM | Gameday
Los Angeles at Winnipeg 8:30 PM | Gameday
Columbus at Dallas 8:30 PM | Gameday
Phoenix at Colorado 9:00 PM | Gameday
Vancouver at Anaheim 10:00 PM | Gameday

There are nine games tonight with the Battle Of Pennslvania being the main feature.  However do not sell yourself short here, there are many important games and a lot of back to back scenarios that teams could feed off of.  We have a few listed below……



Chris Mason, G, Winnipeg Jets — If you are desperate, Mason may be the guy for you tonight.  Los Angeles is coming off a tiring 2-0 win over the Chicago Blackhawks and Jonathan Bernier should be in net.  Winnipeg is more rested and still plays a hair better with Mason behind the pipes.  LA is 30th in goals per game and the Jets are a very good home team.  If you need a win, and the waiver wire is plentiful, then Mason just may be your guy to sneak a win in your leagues tonight.

Kari Lehtonen, G, Dallas Stars — Today has a goalie theme to it maybe because Lehtonen is returning after missing just about a month with a groin injury.  Dallas was clearly not the same team without him but now he does not have Stephane Robidas and Sheldon Souray (both out for 10-14 days).  It will be interesting to see how Lehtonen looks in his first game back against a Columbus team that does have the ability to score goals.  However, they can be ripe for a solid goalie performance.  The given is they give up almost 3.5 goals a game, so maybe Lehtonen is a pretty good start after all.

Fleury Vs. Bobrovsky (Battle Of PA) — This is a huge battle but may have some ramifications even for Ilya Bryzgalov down the road.  Why?  If Sergei Bobrovsky has a good performance tonight, he may get a few more starts which would further eat into Bryzgalov’s fantasy relevance.  Marc-Andre Fleury and Sergei Bobrovsky have about the same save percentages (.916 vs. .913).  It will be more fascinating to see how Bobrovsky plays in the big spot here because so far Bryzgalov has been very inconsistent.  We know what Fleury will bring tonight but sometimes the unknown may be the more interesting of the duo.


We will be live tweeting the night’s action as always as we look into what is working and not working in your fantasy leagues.  Keep the questions coming and thanks again for reading.

About Chris Wassel

Simply I am a hockey writer who is a jack of all trades. Whether it is draft, fantasy, NHL, KHL, AHL, etc...I probably can write about it. The challenge in hockey is to be able to step out of your comfort zone and write like you are still there. Hopefully you enjoy the humor in the writing on the site and tell your friends. Thanks for reading!