I’m giving Ian the weekend off so to speak and will be providing the next couple of entries. Tomorrow 10 of the 30 teams will be playing, so there won’t be as much to choose from as there has been the previous few days, but it definitely could be worse. Sunday is always a big day, as it can be a crucial one for those in head-to-head leagues. There are going to be some big games with big playoff implications, especially involving Pacific Division foes.
Mike Ribeiro, DAL – start
Ribs has been on quite the tear lately, collecting 5g-7a-12 pts over his 11 games with points in all but two of those. He’s heated up even more lately with 3g-3a-6pts with a +5 rating just over his past three games. Now that Brad Richards is back, some may think that Ribeiro’s production will decline a bit since he isn’t the number one center anymore, but I disagree with that notion. Ribeiro will be pretty much playing with the same linemates he has been playing with for a while, as he and Brenden Morrow always play together. Richards coming back also means that the Kings are now going to have to put a lot of focus on him and Loui Eriksson, which could allow for Ribs to get some good chances. His last three-point outing was versus LA as well, so I’d get him out there. Another Dallas Star playing extremely well lately is…
Jamie Benn, DAL – start
Benn has been playing some great hockey lately and is currently on a six-game goal streak. Coach Marc Crawford has also liked what he’s seen and has been double shifting Benn a lot, putting him up against all combinations of opponents. If your league counts shorthanded points, Benn has also been amazing in that category recently as well. He collected shorthanded goals in two straight games and one of those was conveniently against the Kings. LA is only one point behind the Stars in the standings so this is going to be an important game, and should be a very entertaining game to watch.
Shane Doan, PHO – start
Doan has been playing some very consistent hockey lately, collecting points regularly with at least a point in 11 of his last 13 games. Doan has also played very well against the Ducks this season, collecting two goals and five assists with three power play points in the five games that he has faced them. He has also averaged 5.8 shots on goal in his matches versus the Ducks, so he should help out that category as well. Phoenix is only two points ahead of Anaheim in the standings but are a game ahead of them, so it’s going to be imperative that the Coyotes pull out a win, so they are going to be relying on Doan heavily to produce. Put him into your lineup.
Tomas Kopecky, CHI – sit
Kopecky has been a very streaky player this year. At some points he’s been a must start while he will also go on long pointless stretches. He recently had a four game point streak but has fallen back into a points slump and only has one assist in his past five games with only three shots on goal in his past four games. Not only that, but he has been dropped down to the fourth line with Viktor Stalberg and Ryan Johnson, neither of whom are known for scoring. I would definitely show Kopecky the bench against the red hot…
Braden Holtby, WAS – start
It appears that Michal Neuvirth is back to normal following his recent eye injury, however since Holtby is hot right now coach Bruce Boudreau is going with him again for the third consecutive time according to the Washington Post. And how could Boudreau not go with him? In the last three games he has played – two of those starts and the other where he took over for Neuvirth for two periods – they have all been wins and even more impressively he has allowed only a single goal on a combined 84 shots. In fact, his last win against the Hurricanes he stopped 40 of 41 shots and almost singlehandedly stole the win for the Caps. If he is still on the waiver-wire and you are in need of any goalie help on the final day of the week, definitely grab him.
Nikolai Khabibulin, EDM – sit
According to the Edmonton Journal, the Bulin Wall is going to get the start on Sunday. That does not, however, mean that you should also be starting him. After a quick two wins following a 14 game losing streak, Khabi got back to his losing ways and allowed a combined nine goals on 59 shots in two all-out beatings. Although Pittsburgh is going through plenty of injuries, the Oilers are dealing with their fair share and will be without some of their best players in Taylor Hall and Ales Hemsky, not to mention recently departed Dustin Penner. I expect this to be an easy win for the Penguins, so show Khabibulin the bench.
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