It seemed for four games last night, there were about seven or eight games worth of entertainment in them. Ryan Miller stood on his head last night in the third period against Anaheim in one of the tour de force performances of the season but was it good enough to win the Fantasy POTN. There were a few other candidates worthy of the honor. Also since Feburary did end, we have to acknowledge our best fantasy performer of the month. I think anyone with a pulse knows who that is going to be. However, let’s make sure the formalities are met here.
And now our Fantasy Player Of The Month is……….
Mike Smith, G, Phoenix Coyotes — Perfection is very sweet for any player. This one is simple. 11 starts, 11 wins. His GAA in February dropped from 2.49 at the start of the month to 2.24 now. The save percentage rose a good amount as well from .921 to .927. The goalie went from a pretty good to a very good fantasy player in the process. Now his ability did not change to be honest but his team played better and scored almost a half goal per game more this month. Just imagine if a guy like Jonathan Quick had some support like that the last few months. The goalie also did something rare this month by winning three straight starts in four nights (Feb 6-9). Definitely it was an elite performance by a goalie who has thrived under Dave Tippett’s system.
Ryan Miller, G, Buffalo Sabres — It was not just the fact that Miller stopped 43 shots in the 2-0 shutout over the Anaheim Ducks last night but it was more that he did it on the road. Also, Miller did stop 20 Anaheim attempts in the third period alone to preserve the shutout. The Buffalo goalie has played much better in the last month or so notching three shutouts in February (Mike Smith had two). Now the Sabres find themselves inching back into the playoff conversation in the East and honestly it was almost all due to Miller in that third period because Anaheim just kept coming with wave after wave of scoring chances. Can Miller do this again in March? That would make his owners almost forget the last few months.
The DEFENSE Never Rests…….
Kevin Shattenkirk, D, St. Louis Blues — Someone in St. Louis seems to always step up when another teammate has not performed well. Last night, the Blues offense stepped up for Jaroslav Halak, who was kind of having one of those nights. In the 5-3 win over the Edmonton Oilers, Shattenkirk ended up with a goal and two assists. Also his goal was the game winner and on the power play for the cherry on top. Owners of Shattenkirk have been frustrated by some of his categories but his points are pretty solid along with his ATOI and power play points of late. Andy McDonald could not have come back any sooner.
Thursday, March 1, 2012
|New Jersey||at||Boston||7:00 PM | Gameday|
|Minnesota||at||Montreal||7:00 PM | Gameday|
|NY Islanders||at||Philadelphia||7:00 PM | Gameday|
|NY Rangers||at||Carolina||7:00 PM | Gameday|
|Florida||at||Winnipeg||8:30 PM | Gameday|
|Columbus||at||Colorado||9:00 PM | Gameday|
|Calgary||at||Phoenix||9:00 PM | Gameday|
|St. Louis||at||Vancouver||10:00 PM | Gameday|
|Buffalo||at||San Jose||10:30 PM | Gameday|
Now this is more like it! There are nine games on the docket tonight in the NHL with some significant fantasy implications. The time is now. It is March 1st and most trade deadlines have taken place or are about to very soon. There really is no time to retreat. Now is the time to go into no surrender mode. We bring Ian Gooding in for his Thursday edition of the Pick Six. Do not worry, we always have more.
Now that the trade deadline has finally come and gone, we can now focus on gearing our fantasy teams toward the fantasy playoffs. In one league, my fantasy playoffs start next week, so it’s important that I have my team in order so that I can compete for the money!
So what’s in store for Thursday? Nine games, that’s what. The matchup to watch will involve a surging St. Louis team rolling into Vancouver to play the Canucks, who are back from a grueling six-game road trip. Could it be a possible playoff preview?
Without further ado, the Pick Six for Thursday…
Gabriel Landeskog, LW, COL – start
Landeskog is currently riding a six-game point streak, including six points and a +7 over his last three games. Impressive is his 40 points that is only one point behind Adam Henrique among NHL rookies, but even more impressive is his somewhat unexpected +22. Both keeper and non-keeper leaguers need to take this Calder Trophy candidate seriously.
Drew Stafford, RW, BUF – add
Stafford could be considered a mild bust this season, but at least he has shown signs of life recently with five points in his last five games. Having a new center in tow in Cody Hodgson could help Stafford continue this recent run, as the Sabres have been inconsistent up the middle all season – certainly a factor in Stafford’s lack of scoring (31 points in 60 games).
Danny Briere, RW, PHI – bench
To put it nicely, Briere has simply fallen off the map since returning from his concussion ten games ago – correction, he fell off the map well before that. He has not only not scored a goal since his return, but he has also not scored a goal since netting a hat trick on January 7 – a span of 17 games. Don’t be surprised if you were a Flyers fan and didn’t know, since Philadelphia’s angst seems to be directed toward Ilya Bryzgalov and whether he can be trusted in the playoffs.
Nicklas Backstrom, C, WAS – drop
Should it be that surprising that the Capitals are hanging on for dear life in the playoff race? Point-per-game scorer Backstrom has shown no signs of returning from his concussion, which has gotten so bad that he might not return this season. If you are in your own playoff fight and need more immediate scoring help, it might be time to cut your losses and more on.
Semyon Varlamov, G, COL – start
Varlamov is the goaltender du jour in the Mile High City, and he has been confirmed to start Thursday’s matchup against the hapless Blue Jackets. Varly deserves the starter’s chair, at least for the moment, with three consecutive wins and only two goals allowed during that span. Roll with him while he’s hot, but it wouldn’t hurt to handcuff J.S. Giguere to your team.
Brian Elliott, G, STL – start
Jaroslav Halak has made four consecutive starts for the Blues, but it will finally be Elliott’s turn with the second of back-to-backs on Thursday in Vancouver. The Canucks are usually a matchup to avoid, especially for what could be a tired Blues team, but Elliott’s numbers this season are still unreal (1.65 GAA, .937 SV%, 6 SO). Elliott has lost his last two starts, but had won five in a row before that.
Tim Thomas, G, Boston Bruins — Did we see the real Thomas the other night against Ottawa or will he cower under the back seat of a psycho cabbie like he did throughout most of February? In 10 of his last 15 starts, Thomas had given up three or more goals and it will be interesting to see if he can turn this around in March. In many fantasy circles, Thomas is ranked well outside Vezina consideration and outside of the top 5 fantasy goalies in the NHL. He faces a ticked off Devils team tonight which could play to his advantage actually.
Landeskog-O’Reilly-Downie (Colorado) — Yes folks this is one of the hottest lines in fantasy hockey that people still seem to not acknowledge. The points do not lie and it will be interesting to see what they can do against a Columbus team tonight that has pretty well quit. It may be a test because teams like these can derail a top line a bit. Stay tuned and watch.
Good luck tonight with your fantasy hockey leagues and of course thanks for reading. As always there is more to come and Welcome To March from us here at The Program.