Fantasy Hockey Playoff ONE (4/21)

 

It is time to get into the fantasy landscape on a BIG Saturday edition of the Fantasy Hockey Playoff ONE.  With the schedule being the way it is, this is the make or break day for most poolies in Round 1.  Also, the five games are somewhat spread out to a point so you can follow all the action.  One team staved off elimination last night but another one did not.  Let’s see what happeened and what it means for you.

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ELIMINATED:

The Detroit Red Wings

This was one very few saw coming.  The Wings were the first team eliminated from the playoffs last night behind a strong effort from a Nashville team that just wanted it more.  The end result was a 2-1 win where Alex Radulov tallied a goal and assist and Pekka Rinne stopped all but one shot.  One of the main critiques in the end for Detroit was their inability to get pucks high on Rinne to set up potential rebounds.  It notably worked a few times in the series but the mix in shot selection just was not quite there.  Val Filppula was not the difference maker many thought he could be and Pavel Datsyuk as well as Henrik Zetterberg were effectively neutralized by Shea Weber and Ryan Suter.  The reality was that Rinne was the last line of defense at one point stopping 89 of 92 shots in this series.

The goal differential was +4 and all in the third period (7 goals to 3).  That was the endgame in this series and now all your Detroit Red Wing players are gone and off the board.

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THREE STARS OF THE SERIES:

1. Pekka Rinne (NSH)

2. Alex Radulov (NSH)

3. Gabriel Bourque (NSH)

A special honorable mention goes out to Kevin Klein for playing amazing defense in this series.  He kept Detroit off the board several times with blocked shots and even contributed offensively as well.

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FANTASY POTN:

Marc-Andre Fleury, G, Pittsburgh Penguins

Granted he only stopped 24 of 26 shots but for the first time in this entire series, there was goaltending in all its glorious splendor.  In a 4:00 stretch that would have wilted many souls, Fleury stopped 12 shots including seven on a 2:00 man advantage that had a whopping five scoring chances.  On a night where everyone expeccted a 5-3 or 6-4 score, it was goaltending that ultimately preserved the win in Pittsburgh.  Maybe some order will be restored after all and over the last five periods, Fleury has finally looked like Fleury.  It could not have come at a better time for his owners.

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SCHEDULE TIME:

Saturday, April 21, 2012

Teams Notes
Washington at Boston 3:00 PM | Gameday
New Jersey at Florida 6:30 PM | Gameday
Ottawa at NY Rangers 7:00 PM | Gameday
San Jose at St. Louis 7:30 PM | Gameday
Chicago at Phoenix 10:00 PM | Gameday

This is one of those days and nights that almost describes itself.  You have three pivotal Game 5’s with two potential elimination games.  There really is not too much more left to say either at this point.  Either your team is going to push most of its players into Round 2 or it is not.  Can Braden Holtby keep it up against Tim Thomas?  Will St. Louis be able to put San Jose out of its misery?  Does the Senators-Rangers game go to overtime?  Can Chicago mount a comeback in a series where all four games have gone into extra time?  There are a lot of questions and at this point there are few answers.

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KEEP AN EYE ON:

The Florida Panthers?

How does this team respond after getting physically and mentally manhandled on Thursday Night?  Do they ultimately throw in the towel after a pretty decent fight or do they gets like cats and scratch and claw?  No one knows it seems.  However, if Jason Garrison does not go tonight that could be too big a loss to overcome.  Florida is a different team without their bomber on the blueline.  The first line, especially on the power play, greatly benefitted from the fear of that shot throughout the season and in Round 1.  Scott Clemmensen was gouged for three third period goals in Game 4 also.  So who does Kevin Dineen go to in a crucial Game 5 that may just be the series?  When looking at this one, the VFW line has to step up…it has to be their night.

Mike Smith, G, Phoenix Coyotes

Smith has been amazing for most of this series and has won three of the four overtime games obviously.  More importantly, he has found a way to keep an even keel whereas Corey Crawford has not.  Phoenix is just holding Chicago’s offense at bay and the main reason is Smith.  Do the Coyotes suffer a bit of prosperity now in tonight’s Game 5?  Again, the Blackhawks are not going to go down meekly and Patrick Sharp, Patrick Kane, and Jonathan Toews (no Marian Hossa) are going to make this tough on Phoenix.  They will have to earn this one.

Henrik Lundqvist, G, New York Rangers

Simply this may be the playoffs for Lundqvist.  If this game goes to OT, who knows what will happen.  People will shine the light on #30 for his 1-7 overtime record but it is more the fact that this Rangers team just does not get top line scoring when it counts most of the time.  This is the last game of the infamous Carl Hagelin suspension and Hagelin’s loss has been felt.  Just ask Marian Gaborik and Brad Richards.  In the end, this will still come down to Lundqvist stopping a pesky Senators team that plays a lot like the Rangers do.  This has to be his finest hour or the Rangers may be on the golf course in a few days.

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We will be following all of the activity and games all day and night.  Good luck everyone and thanks again for reading.  This is going to be some Saturday!


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!

Fantasy Hockey Playoff ONE (4/21)

 

Marian Gaborik probably wants to get away for awhile.  His gaffe along with Henrik Lundqvist’s error cost the Rangers possibly their season as they lost 4-3 in double OT to the Washington Capitals. Gaborik actually scored a goal in this game and looked the best he has in weeks.  Then the play above happeened.  There are often certain players that are just fantasy duds between the moon and New York City, and Gaborik may just be one of them.  

Then there is Pekka Rinne, who has completely collapsed in the heat that is the Anaheim Ducks offense. Rinne was torched for six goals last night, including three early in the third period of last night’s 6-3 home loss to the Ducks.  Yes Nashville did him no favors by tossing up a paltry three shots on net in the third but at the same time, Rinne has looked very ordinary against a team that contained Anaheim for the most part all season.  Game 1 seems like forever for the Nashville goalie, who has given up 4, 3, and 6 goals in Games 2-4.   At some point Nashville has to consider using Anders Lindback in net.  This sounds drastic but at this rate, Rinne is looking as shelled as Ilya Bryzgalov (17 GA in 4 games vs. Detroit).  Now talk about trumping a self professed “fantasy goat”.

Here is a special hat tip on what kind of went wrong for Rinne and company from Buddy Oakes last night. This is pretty telling information to be honest. 

We nearly forgot.  This just in….. Alex Semin is still shooting from every possible angle and possibly from Times Square now as well.  That is all.

A special congrats to the Detroit Red Wings who dispatched the Phoenix Coyotes 6-3 last night at the Jobing.com Area in Glendale.  Phoenix threw everything at them but in the end Detroit was just too balanced and just kept coming in waves all night even without the services of Johan Franzen, who was a late scratch with an injury.  

One of the bigger fantasy keys going forward will be Washington’s Marcus Johansson.  It was nice to see him not only play well but tally two goals in keying the Caps comeback against the Rangers last night.  His size, speed, and unnoticed grit are an absolute asset to Washington in these playoffs.  Expect big things from this guy going forward as the games get even tighter.  It nearly makes Caps fans ask aloud, Mike Knuble who?

The next question is to ascertain whether Henrik Lundqvist is hurt or not.  Clearly at some juncture in the first overtime, Lundqvist winced and did it again in the second overtime as well.  Whether it was cramping or something else, it was clear that he was not quite 100%.  Talking to what felt like dozens of people (media, former players, etc.), it seemed apparent that something was off.  What does this mean for Game 5?  On the surface, it probably means not very much.  However, keep an eye on it fantasy poolies and do not be surprised if Lundqvist was battling something all the way back from the end of the regular season.

Enough about the keys and some oddities from last night, let’s take a quick look back and ahead for our fantasy playoff poolies out there.

A LOOK BACK:

1.  Ryan Miller (BUF) — I am Miller, here me roar!  Okay it did not go quite like that but Miller did post his second shutout of the series against the Flyers to knot the series at 2.  Both shutouts were of the 1-0 variety by the way.  It is just very clear according to our friends at The Goalie Guild that when Miller plays more aggressively in net, good things happen.  The 32 save effort clearly was one that was above all the other great efforts last night and is the key to Buffalo success in this postseason.

2. Corey Perry (ANA) — All Perry did was have a goal and two assists in the 6-3 win over Nashville.  It is clear that Perry and company will have to score their way into a series win here and that is just how they have to play it.  Fast, faster, and fastest.  When they do that, good things occur.  Perry was an agitator and cleary got Pekka Rinne and Nashville off their game last night.

3. Dwayne Roloson (TBL) — Yes I know the goal he gave up in the second OT was brutal but the man made 50 saves, some of the spectacular variety and has given Tampa a chance to win pretty much every game in this series.  Tampa really has not helped this guy out, especially Steven Stamkos, who may have milk cartons posted once again.  Simply the latter will be a way bigger goat than the former when Tampa is eliminated.  Go easy on the old man Tampa fans.

SCHEDULE TIME:

THURSDAY, APRIL 21, 2011

Teams Notes
Boston at Montreal 7:00 PM 
Chicago at Vancouver 10:00 PM 
San Jose at Los Angeles 10:30 PM 

Three games are on the schedule tonight and all have intrigue for different reasons.  Will someone win a home game in this Montreal-Boston series?  Can Chicago force a Game 6 against insurmountable odds? Is there any way Los Angeles reverses what happened in Game 3 against San Jose?  These are the three biggest questions facing the playoff poolies at this point in a way.

Jonathan Quick has to have confidence in his teammates because that was lacking in stages of Game 3 and Quick did give up a couple not so good goals as well.  In a way, what we have seen from Quick in the first three games is a microcosm of the season.  You get some very good, very bad, and very ugly, and it can all happen in the same game.

Speaking of good, bad, and ugly there is Tim Thomas and Carey Price, who oppose each other tonight. The scary thing is Tim Thomas is likely to take home a second Vezina but has looked uneven at home. Now the same declaration could be made toward Carey Price, who looked kind of ordinary at times in Game 3 against Boston.  Oh wait, Thomas did too for about a five minute stretch.  Oh god!  These two goalies, for as good as they can be, will give fantasy poolies a headache the size of Alaska.  Just think we have not seen the wild high scoring affair that is normal at least once a series meeting between these two. Maybe that happens tonight.  Who knows.  Either way, it is going to be a game not about goalie technique but about which one can survive the butterflies the best.  Believe me, both of these goaltenders have them.

Speaking of butterflies, can Vancouver and more specifically Roberto Luongo close out the defending champs at home tonight?  Luongo’s GAA ballooned all the way up to a 2.95 while his save percentage pitfalled to a .907.  All it took was six Chicago goals in a 44:03 time span and the return of Dave Bolland. Clearly Chicago finally found a way to get physical around Luongo but Vancouver has the ability to bounce back here.  They have the depth and talent and really all it will take is one or two big Luongo saves early. However if he lets in a soft one, oh boy.  All bets could be off.  Honestly, the outlook here is that in a close struggle, Luongo and the Canucks take the next step tonight with a 4-2 victory over the Chicago Blackhawks.  Expect Ryan Kesler to have a big night for Vancouver while Jonathan Toews does the same for Chicago.

There you have it.  It should be a fun night of hockey and especially the two late games.  Good luck fantasy poolies and let us have it whenever possible.  Thanks 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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