A total of 12 games are on the schedule for Saturday, meaning that all but six teams (Detroit, Colorado, Minnesota, Anaheim, Columbus, and Vancouver – all from the Western Conference) are in action. All of those teams except for the Blue Jackets play on Sunday, while Calgary is the only team that plays both Saturday and Sunday. So it should go without saying that you should load up on Flames if you need to make up ground in offense this week in head-to-head leagues. Aside from the Flames, here are my weekend recommendations.
Brian Elliott, G, STL – start
No one in his/her right mind would have thought that Senators/Avalanche castoff Elliott would be leading the league with a 1.31 GAA and a .951 SV% two months into the season. Does that make him a Vezina Trophy candidate? Don’t expect him to be one of the three finalists, but at least expect him to timeshare with Jaroslav Halak for the rest of the season. Elliott is confirmed to start against Chicago on Saturday, so make sure he’s in there.
Tyler Bozak, C, TOR – add/start
Bozak has had a nice run recently with six goals and 11 points over his past ten games. It doesn’t hurt his situation at all that he is playing on the Leafs’ top line with the white-hot Joffrey Lupul and Phil Kessel. The Leafs get another crack at the Bruins on Saturday after falling 6-3, so goals may not come easy again. But Bozak is yet another example of why line combinations are so important in fantasy hockey.
Eric Nystrom, LW, DAL – add/start
Guess what? A player who was put on waivers earlier this season now has more goals than Alex Ovechkin. That’s right, Nystrom has nine goals with the Stars, including four goals in his last four games. Of course, he has only two assists, but it’s nice to see the son of former Islander great Bob Nystrom fit in so well with the Stars. Nystrom has never scored more than 11 goals in a season, so he don’t expect anything more than short-term offense here.
Nikolai Kulemin, LW, TOR – bench
As some above-mentioned Leafs are hot, some other high-scoring Leafs from last season are cold. Kulemin is one of those, with just two goals and 11 points in 25 games while averaging only 15 minutes of icetime. Hopefully you weren’t a Leafs fan who was projecting a repeat of last season’s 30-goal output. Bench him until he shows signs of life.
Patrik Berglund, C, STL – bench
So far my prediction of Berglund taking the next step is not looking good. The Blues’ center has only nine points (5g, 4a) this season with only two points in his last eight games. David Perron’s return on Saturday could spark some offense, but I’ve left him on the bench in leagues in which I have more active players than active slots.
Roberto Luongo, G, VAN – start
Luongo could not shake off the rust in his return from injury/Cory Schneider dominance, allowing three goals on 15 shots in relief of Schneider on Thursday against Nashville. So why should fantasy owners feel confident starting him on Sunday? He has traditionally been strong against Calgary, with a 4-0-1, 2.17 GAA, .925 SV% last season and one goal allowed in his one start against the Flames this season. However, Lu will be on a short leash if he struggles on Sunday, as Alain Vigneault has now demonstrated that he will give the nod to Schneider for longer than a game even if Lu is healthy.
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