Fantasy Hockey MINI ONE (3/23)

 

The fight had more scoring than the game did last night in Los Angeles as the game went to the shootout tied at zero.  Ultimately, Jonathan Quick and the Los Angeles Kings would win in “Period 5” as I like to call it but hey Brian Elliott of the St. Louis Blues got the “faux shutout”.  It all counts in fantasy right down to the last second of the week and that double shutout may make a difference in quite a few leagues.

There were quite a few 2-1 and 3-2 games last night and one notable blowout as we welcomed back Alexander Radulov into the league.  Yes he scored for Nashville but was a -2 on the night with two shots on net and 15:54 of ice time.  In the meantime, Marc-Andre Fleury made 29 saves, Evgeni Malkin scored twice on ten shots, and James Neal tallied four assists in the 5-1 win over Nashville.  Pittsburgh clinched a playoff spot but that Neal-Malkin combo is gold right now again in fantasy.

Ultimately that is what made choosing a Fantasy POTN tough because there were so many solid choices.  Who did we come up with?  Let’s find out.

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Fantasy POTN:

Jonathan Quick, G, Los Angeles Kings — Quick has had one of those seasons where you go, god if the Kings had acquired Jeff Carter sooner, where would he be in the Vezina race?  That being said, Los Angeles reverted back to old LA with lots of scoring chances and no pop as Quick dueled with Brian Elliott almost save for save in one of the best low scoring games all year (NJ-COL a close second).  While Elliott made 37 saves, Quick made 35.  However his save on Chris Stewart in the shootout ultimately decided things.  Yes Quick will not win ten in the shootout like he did last year but he still knows how to stop pucks in Period 5.  Give a huge stick tap to Elliott as well.  Hell of a game.

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QUICK LOOK BACK:

Evgeni Malkin and James Neal (PIT) — While Antti Niemi and Tim Thomas put on a nice little duel last night in San Jose.  Malkin and Neal stole the show as they almost singlehandedly disposed of Nashville with ease.  The Center, who could still have a 50-50 season, is up to 45 goals and 95 points (he is our Fantasy Hart winner) and Neal is now up to 76 points on the year.  The two have the ability to take over games and no matter who is riding on the other Wing, they seem to benefit a little as well.  Once Neal got going this year, he did not stop.  As for Malkin, he has taken over like a man possessed.  Some just had that feeling and boy were they right!

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SCHEDULE TIME:

Friday, March 23, 2012

Teams Notes
Toronto at New Jersey 7:00 PM | Gameday
Buffalo at NY Rangers 7:00 PM | Gameday
Winnipeg at Washington 7:00 PM | Gameday
Carolina at Columbus 7:00 PM | Gameday
Ottawa at Montreal 7:30 PM | Gameday
Edmonton at Florida 7:30 PM | Gameday

There is a nice easy six pack of games tonight and all but one of them have playoff implications in one way or another, especially for your fantasy leagues.  Ottawa gets Craig Anderson back but some still feel that Ben Bishop may be a slightly better alternative.  Bishop’s sample size is really too small to compare but Ottawa did tend to play a bit more defensive when he was in the net and a little more sound on that end of the ice.  However, their offense has suffered of late which is leading to unexpected playoff pressure.  The fact that Johan Hedberg shut them out in their building on Tuesday spoke volumes.  Can they get back to that more run and gun style and will Jason Spezza be 100% after riding out the flu bug?  Those are two questions that need to be answered.

The other matchup that we have a keen eye on is the New York Rangers entertaining the Buffalo Sabres.  Last time this was not an easy matchup for the Rangers even though they ultimately took the two points.  It may not be this time either as Ryan Miller is outplaying Henrik Lundqvist at least as of late.  Lundqvist is still the likely Vezina winner and Fantasy Vezina but lately Miller and Buffalo have come on.  Include the Ennis-Stafford-Foligno trio in your fantasy databanks as they have torn it up over the last ten days.  Combine this with the fact that Jason Pominville and Thomas Vanek always seem to give the Rangers fits and you could see why New York may have a bit of a problem here.

New York however counters with a nice trio of there own (when they use it) in Richards-Gaborik-Hagelin.  The speed and shiftyness of that line make up for any physical shortcomings.  Speed kills and in your playoffs, how matchups like these go determines your fate more often than not.  Whomever wins the first line battle, wins the game, especially in this one.

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Good luck in your fantasy leagues ladies and gentlemen and thanks for reading once again.


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!

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