Well, if you are in a head-to-head league and still reading this hopefully it means that you are in the championships, or close to it. The first day of the week is going to be a painful one, too. There are only two matchups that are going to be on the schedule – the Blackhawks versus the Red Wings and the Avalanche versus the Ducks. Because of the limited amount of teams playing, you are definitely going to want to be starting the top players from each of these four teams without questions. I’m only going to list players to start, because frankly there isn’t really a reason to bench anyone. Unless it’s…
Brian Elliott/Peter Budaj, G, COL – bench
The Avalanche have been pounded by the Ducks so far this year, being outscored 12-4 and going 0-8 on the power play while allowing three power-play goals against them. Not good news for whichever Avs goalie ends up getting the start. If you still own either of these goalies, you are probably hoping that Budaj gets the start, because Elliott was torched for six goals in his only start against the Ducks this year. While Budaj has only allowed five goals in his two starts against them. With the way the Avs have been losing lately while at the same time the Ducks have been stringing together wins, definitely bench the Avs goalies while definitely starting…
Ducks’ players – start
Yep, I did it. I’m going to say it’s free range to deploy any of your Ducks on Monday. Corey Perry, the NHL’s new goals leader, has 4g-2a-6pts, +3, 2 PIM, 2 PPP, 2 GWG, and 16 SOG in three games against them, Ryan Getzlaf has not only 11 points and 5 PPP in his past four games but also 2g-2a-4pts, a PPG, and 5 SOG in two games against them, Bobby Ryan has 1g-3a-4pts, +2, and a PPP in three games, Saku Koivu has 1g-2a-3pts in three games, and Teemu Selanne has three assists in three games. Heck, even Brandon McMillan has 1g-2a-3pts, a +1, 2 PIM, and a PPG in three games against the Avs. I think you get the idea by now. Send your Ducks out there on Monday.
Tomas Kopecky, LW/RW, CHI – start
The Blackhawks have been successful against the Red Wings, winning two of their three matchups so far against them. Kopecky has led the way for the Hawks against them, collecting four goals, a +3, and a PPG in the three games he has played the Wings, collecting a pair in each of his last two against them. If you own Kopecky or he is available on the waiver-wire, he could definitely make for a good play.
David Jones, RW, COL – start
If you are going to start any Avalanche on Monday, Jones may be your best bet. He has as many goals as the rest of his team against the Ducks with two of them in his three games played against them this year. Now Jones has not been playing the best hockey lately, going without a point in his past five games. However, since Monday is so slow, it’s definitely worth a shot to start him.
Valtteri Filppula, C, DET – start
Filppula has played well against the Blackhawks so far this year, netting two goals against them in two games, with a PPG and a GWG on three shots, although both goals came in the second game of the year. If Pavel Datsyuk isn’t back by Monday, Detroit is going to need players like Filppula to step it up so he could make for a decent play.
Troy Brouwer, RW, CHI – start
Another Blackhawk that has played well against the Red Wings has been Brouwer. In three games against them, Troy has collected 1g-2a-3pts, +2, 2 PPP, and 7 SOG. They’ll be needing a good performance from him again in a game that could play big in the Western Conference playoff race. Other Blackhawks to look out for are Brent Seabrook (1g -2a-3pts, +1, 2 PPP, 2 PIM, 8 SOG in 3 games) and Bryan Bickell (2 goals, a GWG, and 7 SOG in 3 games).
You can follow Garrett on Twitter.