Looking Ahead: Week 25

04/02/2011 7:20 PM -  Garrett Rees

Well, this is it: The final weekend of the regular season in the NHL and very last week of fantasy hockey.  If you are still reading this, it must mean that you made it to your league’s championship round, so congrats and good luck to all that made it! 

If you are in a rotisserie or points league, it’s time to max out those games limits if you haven’t already.  If you’re projected games are under the requirement, don’t be afraid to freely pluck players off of the waiver wire.  If you’re games played are almost maxed out, be careful and only put in your best players.  This is a week that can make or break teams.  

One last time for my regular spiel. As has been the case during the playoffs, don’t be afraid to drop someone if you feel that adding one that plays will help your overall chances of winning. If you have any questions or need any help at all, just Ask the Fantasy Nation and we will try to provide as much help as possible about who to add, drop, bench, or start.  Also, be sure to check out the daily Pick Six posts, where Ian Gooding and occasionally others (including myself) will pick six players each day and let you know whether to sit or start them. In the meantime, I’ll be here helping prepare you for the very last week of the season. 

The Sidney Crosby injury watch:  Sorry folks, but Sid the Kid won’t be able to help you out for the last week either and his 61 points are all he will be able to provide for you this season.  While there were definitely some positive signs, the words straight from the mouth of Crosby himself are “Still a long ways to go.”  If for whatever reason he isn’t on your IR or you need that IR slot for another player in single season leagues, he should be safe to drop.

WEEKLY BREAKDOWN

Here is the breakdown for this upcoming week, March 28 – April 3:

4 GAMES: Atlanta, Boston, Chicago, Colorado, Dallas, Edmonton, Los Angeles, New Jersey, San Jose

3 GAMES: Anaheim, Buffalo, Carolina, Columbus, Detroit, Florida, Minnesota, Montreal, Nashville, New York Islanders, New York Rangers, Ottawa, Philadelphia, Phoenix, Pittsburgh, St. Louis, Tampa Bay, Toronto, Vancouver, Washington

2 GAMES: Calgary

Looks like it’s a bad week to be the owner of Calgary players, as they might not help you out too much this week.  Other than that, it’s going to be another crazy week.  Of course you have to suffer through Monday yet again with only two games, then it jumps to nine on Tuesday, eight games on Wednesday, down to an unusually low four games on Thursday, up to an unusually high ten games on Friday, then there’s a week high eleven games on Saturday, and finally five games on the final day of the regular season.  So all of the days excluding Monday and Thursday should have a nice amount of games to get you as many stats as possible during this final week. 

On The Road Again

These teams are playing all of their games on the road so be aware that fatigue may play a factor in their play this week: none

Home Cooking

These teams are playing all of their games at home this week so they should be rested and practicing: Calgary, NY Rangers

Staying Well Rested

Teams that are not scheduled to play in any back-to-back games in Week 17 while also minimizing travel:  Calgary, NY Rangers, Ottawa

Not a lot of options this week.  As you can see, no one team is going to be playing all of their games on the road, and only two teams are playing all of their games at home with one of those teams being the only team that plays two games. It’s going to be a hectic schedule with most teams doing a lot of traveling between games during this least week of the regular season.  That means that it should be pretty fair game in who you choose to start in regards to any sort of fatigue or rest.  Just pay attention to those teams that may start resting their top players after the position in the standings becomes secured.

Backups to See Action?

All of these teams are schedule to play in back-to-back games this upcoming week, so there are good chances that these teams respective backup goaltenders could see some action: Anaheim, Atlanta, Boston, Buffalo, Carolina, Chicago, Colorado, Columbus, Dallas, Edmonton, Florida, LA, Minnesota, Nashville, New Jersey, NY Islanders, NY Rangers (Monday is the second game of a B2B), Philadelphia, Phoenix, San Jose, St. Louis, Tampa Bay, Toronto, Washington. 

Most teams have been scheduled with back-to-back games during the final week, which means there are going to be plenty of options when it comes to backups starting.  Also, again since teams may be resting their players with a lock in the standings, there is going to be extra opportunities for backups to play.  This can be a good thing or a bad thing for fantasy owners.  Backups like Cory Schneider may see extra time while starters may be getting extra rest to be ready for the playoffs. When it comes to starters on teams that are making the playoffs, be prepared!  A good place to find this important starting goalie information is in the fantasyhockey.com forums.

Going Streaking

Teams that have the best win streaks currently in the NHL as of Saturday morning:

Vancouver – 5 wins

Tampa Bay – 3 wins

Anaheim – 3 wins

Carolina – 2 wins

Toronto – 2 wins

New Jersey – 2 wins

San Jose – 2 wins

Minnesota – 2 wins

The league’s best team and this years President’s Trophy winner keeps on extending its lead over all other teams and their players are currently a must play in all formats, but beware of any decisions to rest their players this week.  Tampa Bay is trying to make a final last push up the standings since their recent fall and their players could make for a good option during the final week.  The same goes for Anaheim, as they have gone from being out of the playoffs to being in seventh and looking to climb even higher.  Carolina and Toronto have been playing some good hockey lately as well. 

Spiraling

Teams that have the longest current streaks in the NHL without collecting a point as of Saturday morning:

Philadelphia – 2 losses

Pittsburgh – 2 losses

NY Rangers – 2 losses

Edmonton – 2 losses

Philadelphia is still in a relative spiral and have only won four of their past ten games.  Dallas is successfully playing themselves out of the playoffs and are only 2-4-4 over their past 10 games.  It’s safe to say now that it would be best to stay away from players on Florida, Colorado, and Edmonton, as they are all last in the league and are continually falling.  They are 2-5-3, 3-7-0,and 0-7-3 respectively.

Strong Schedules

Now let’s take a look at what should be the most favorable matchups of the week:

Boston – Opponents: @NYR, NYI, OTT, @NJ – It should be a good week to own Boston players during your run for league championship.  Three of the four teams they are facing they have solid winning records against while the also have the advantage of playing on both Monday and Sunday.  Monday’s matchup will be against the one team they don’t have a winning record against, whom they are 1-2-0 against in the three games they have played against them so far while being a battle of the goalies.  The scoring is 5-6, in favor of New York and should be a good day to start either Tim Thomas or Tuukka Rask.  It gets easier for them after that, starting with the other New York squad on Wednesday.  They have a 2-1-0 record against them while outscoring them 13-9.  Next up is a team they have had great success against on Saturday, going 4-1-0 while outscoring them a whopping 15-4.  Sunday they face another team they have had plenty of success against, winning all three matchups while outscoring the Devils a full 11-2.  Plenty of scoring and two teams with less goals against than games against, so it should be a great week to send your Bruins out there.

Dallas – Opponents: CBJ, COL, @COL, @MIN – Time for a last-ditch effort for the Stars if they want to make it into the playoffs.  The final week doesn’t actually look so bad for them, either, as every team they play is lower than them in the standings.  First up are the Blue Jackets, who they are 1-1-1 against.  The games have been a goalie show with a 5-6 advantage going for Columbus.  They then play Colorado back-to-back on Thursday and Friday.  They are only 0-1-1 against them while being outscored 9-3, but both of those games were in November when Colorado was a different team.  They should be a much easier foe this time around.  Last they play Minnesota on Sunday, who they have beat in all three matches so far this year, outscoring them 12-3.  They could definitely be a good option for you during the final week, especially on the last day of the regular season.

Vancouver – Opponents: @EDM, MIN, @CAL – This should be an obvious choice, but they are on here for a different reason.  Since they have already locked in the top spot in the league, they may be resting some of their top players to prepare for the playoffs.  That means some lesser-knowns may make for some great waiver-wire pickups this next week.  They play their three opponents on Tuesday, Thursday, and Saturday and are 4-0-0 against the Oil, 3-2-0 against the Wild, and 4-0-1 against the Flames, outscoring each 15-7, 15-14, and 21-12 respectively.  As mentioned above, Cory Schneider could make for a good play, as well as Alex Burrows (5g-6a-11pts in 12 games), Ryan Kesler (10g-6a-16 pts in 14 games), Raffi Torres (5g-5a-10pts in 14 games), Mason Raymond (3g-6a-9pts in 12 games), Christian Ehrhoff (9 assists in 13 games), and Alexander Edler (3g-5a-8pts in 10 games). 

Washington – Opponents: @TOR, FLA, @FLA – The Caps should be able to provide you some points seeing their schedule.  They get to play a team they have a 2-0-1 record against and then face the last place team in the East twice.  Make sure to get your Caps out there.

Weak Schedules

…And the least favorable matchups of the week:

Phoenix – Opponents: @LA, SJ, @SJ – The Coyotes first opponent they have had success against but the second team they face not so much.  They are 3-2-0 against LA outscoring them 15-10, and it may be a bit easier this time around since Anze Kopitar and Justin Williams are both out; however, it should be a tough game regardless since both teams are in playoff mindsets.  They have had a lot tougher time against the Sharks.  They have lost all four games they have played them so far while being outscored 7-17.  They also play on three busy nights: Wednesday, Friday, and Saturday.  For those in weekly leagues, it may be wise to find some other options to insert into your lineup.

Ottawa – Opponents: PHI, MON, @BOS – It’s going to be a rough week for the Senators.  First up is Philadelphia on Tuesday, whom they are 1-2-0 against while being outscored 7-12.  Next up is Montreal on Thursday, whom they are 1-4-0 while being outscored 8-20 and then the Bruins on Saturday, whom they are also 1-4-0 against while being outscored 4-15.  It’s safe to say show your Senators the bench.

Calgary – Opponents: EDM, VAN – I had to put these guys here.  One game shouldn’t be a problem while the other is going to be very tough.  They are 4-1-0 against the Oilers so far this year but the scoring has been pretty even, taking the advantage 17-16 while they barely squeaked by them their last matchup.  The next game will be against a Canucks team they are only 1-4-0 against while being outscored 12-21.  Miikka Kiprusoff might not be much help winning you that championship.  

That’s it for this year!  As always post any comments or questions below.  I’d love to hear from you.  Also, please feel free to post about any teams/players that you feel needs to be mentioned on here.  Thanks everyone.  It’s been a pleasure writing for you this year.  Good luck in the final week!

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