A FANTASY HOMER MOMENT:
There are just things that are automatic in life and then there is Ilya Kovalchuk in shootouts lately. He has missed all but one this year and since he has been in New Jersey, Kovalchuk finds the net more in shootouts than he does not (one glaring whiff aside). New Jersey would go on to win via the shootout over the New York Rangers in what was a huge two points for New Jersey even though they tried to give it away in every way imaginable. Kovalchuk had a goal, a shootout game winner (when will these be a category in fantasy?), and was a +2. David Clarkson, a fantasy surprise, notched a goal and assist in the win.
Andrew Cogliano, F, Anaheim Ducks — The Ducks Winger notched a natural hat trick in the 4-1 win over the Phoenix Coyotes last night. All three goals were scored in the second period to give Cogliano 11 tallies on the season. His 20 points in 49 games is pretty respectable and even moreso when you consider he averages 12 or 13 minutes of ice time a night. The knock on Cogliano was that he was average, according to Edmonton, in almost every aspect of his play. Yet, the feeling is he has the potential to break out even with limited time (a poor man’s Viktor Stalberg of Chicago). Last night he stole the show and if you see him available in deep leagues, at least take a shot.
COMEBACKS, MIRACLES, AND UNICORNS?:
Sometimes the NHL is a crazy place and then it goes completely insane on nights like Tuesday. What happened last night with the Pittsburgh-Toronto and Nashville-Minnesota tilts was utter pandemonium. Pittsburgh and Nashville were down and out then all of a sudden they came back. Nashville did it in regulation while Pittsburgh took a little extra time to do the deed.
In a game where Pekka Rinne was off (4 GA on 25 shots), Mike Fisher saved the day with two very late goals as Minnesota had no answer on defense in the final half of the third period. Now this did come after the Marek Zidlicky comments but it seemed the two events had little or no relation. Minnesota wasted a great effort by Dany Heatley with two goals and an assist but clearly the Wild defense let them down in a big way and has for almost a couple months. The Wild were going to come back to Earth fantasy wise. When will Nashville? The answer on that is stay tuned.
As for Pittsburgh, they stole two points against Toronto after going down 4-1 a third of the way into the third period. Toronto scored two goals in 19 seconds and at that point, Mikhail Grabovski had two goals and an assist then Pittsburgh roared back with goals from Steve Sullivan, Joe Vitale, and of course Evgeni Malkin with the goal that tied it. Naturally Malkin struck again in the shootout to gain the second point as well. Is there a better fantasy threat than Evgeni Malkin right now? Good luck finding one ladies and gentlemen.
Wednesday, February 1, 2012
|NY Rangers||at||Buffalo||7:30 PM | Gameday|
|Pittsburgh||at||Toronto||7:30 PM | Gameday|
|Washington||at||Florida||8:00 PM | Gameday|
|Dallas||at||Anaheim||10:30 PM | Gameday|
|Columbus||at||Los Angeles||10:30 PM | Gameday|
Tonight offers somewhat of a breather and yet not really with the five games because there are quite a few teams on the back end of the back to back which offers some interesting fantasy scenarios. For example, Henrik Lundqvist (NYR) was “rested” last night so he could start against Buffalo tonight. Do note that Scott Clemmensen is likely to start for Florida in place of Jose Theodore (undisclosed) against Washington tonight. It will be interesting to see how Dallas responds with Jamie Benn and Brendan Morrow both back in the lineup. There are lots of subplots including the Pittsburgh-Toronto game as well.
Add in the fact that LA plays Columbus in a game that almost shapes up to be another low scoring snoozefest. LA only averages 2.22 GPG (30th in the NHL) and at home that number drifts even closer to two. Columbus comes off a 6-0 whitewashing at the hands of the San Jose Sharks. Curtis Sanford is a bit more of a stable fantasy option over Steve Mason and Jonathan Quick will have little margin for error. Quick is technically a .500 goalie (21-12-9) with a sub 2.00 GAA. Just think of how rare that is fantasy fans. If he was in Detroit, imagine how many wins he would have.
Washington and Florida kind of completes the craziness of the night. It appears that Scott Clemmensen will face a Caps team still without Alex Ovechkin (who sits out the last game of his suspension). Both teams need the two points and preferably in regulation. Keep an eye on the playing status of Kris Versteeg, who did not participate in the morning skate. It is anyone’s guess who will win this game but if Tomas Vokoun starts, this could be Washington’s to take.
The Program strikes again at 8pm ET tonight and we will bring all the fantasy hockey news and hockey news of the week all into focus as well as timely updates. Good luck fantasy hockey fans and thanks again for reading.