Let’s talk about Head-to-Head Fantasy Hockey league playoffs once again, especially those H2H leagues that allow daily transactions. There are only a couple of days left in round one. You need to check your matchups, figure out what categories you’re a lock to win, which you’re going to lose, and the ones that are up for grabs. If the race is close, don’t be afraid to start making roster moves to try and win those close categories. Once again, I’m not preaching that you release superstar players, but borderline to good players can go if it will ensure you a playoff victory. What good is it to hold onto a player if you don’t win your playoff matchup? If you need to win the “hits” category, then check your waiver wire and find out who is out there that can help your team. Same with the “faceoffs won” category. I pick these two because they are usually the categories for which you can find players that can still help you. Check the schedule; there are 10 teams that play two games in the next three days. Focus on players from those teams; more games will give you more opportunities for success.
Now, finding a goaltender to help you at this point in the season is not easy. Sure, you might be able to grab the Oilers’ Ben Scrivens or the Sabres’ Anders Lindback; but does that really help you? It would be a huge gamble to say the least. How about looking for a backup that might play this week? The Bruins play back to back games versus the Rangers and Hurricanes, Niklas Svedberg could be an option. Boston however has lost five straight and is in a tailspin at the moment. Winnipeg also has back to back games, which could leave Ondrej Pavelec with a game against the Oilers? As always though, make sure to check the starters, at this point in the season teams don’t automatically go to the backup just because they play back to back games. One last note; make sure that the Ducks’ John Gibson is still not available. Although Anaheim hasn’t announced anything, Gibson has started the last four of the last six games over a healthy Frederik Andersen. It seems Anaheim has made a choice, and Andersen getting lit up by the Rangers Sunday night didn’t help his cause any.
Henrik Lundqvist owners are eventually going to be faced with an interesting decision. He’s not coming back this week but could play as soon as the next week. Do you automatically put him back in your lineup? We’re talking Henrik Lundqvist here? There is a reason his nickname is “The King.” However, can you risk automatically putting him back in your lineup? First off, the Rangers are unlikely to just start Lundqvist game in and game out. They may stagger Lundqvist’s starts so that he can build up his endurance. What if he takes a game, two, or three before he is back to his top-notch self? He could cost you a championship. The best case scenario for Fantasy Hockey owners is that he returns in the middle of, or late in the week, so we can watch him for a game or two before having to make a decision.
At this point in the season, injuries can make or break your chances at a championship. The Penguins’ Evgeni Malkin was lost for this past week and most likely next week due to a lower body injury. The Pens are also without the services of Patric Hornqvist. This has put a bit of a crimp in the team’s goal scoring of late, as not even Sidney Crosby has been able to light the lamp on a consistent basis. Not only have the Penguins lost four of their last five, but they have only score five goals while doing so. As a matter of fact, they have only scored more than one goal twice in their last eight games. This is killing anyone who has bulked up on Pittsburgh players.
The Islanders are another team that is having trouble hitting the back of the net of late. They only have seven goals in their last five games (one an empty netter). Perhaps these two teams peaked too soon.
Those counting on Ryan Miller to return in net for the Canucks can just about forget it. Although the team backtracked a bit from a report earlier this week, it seems unlikely that Miller will be able to return before the playoffs begin; good luck relying on Eddie Lack.
If you need goal scoring you might want to check you waiver wire to see if the Oilers’ Taylor Hall is available. He returned Saturday, and perhaps an impatient owner, or one who didn’t have enough IR slots, released him.
The Wild are testing the endurance and stamina of goaltender Devan Dubnyk. He has now started 30 straight games with no end in sight. There are some who cover the team who believe Dubnyk won’t be rested until the Wild clinch a playoff spot. This is good news for Fantasy Hockey owners but maybe not for Wild fans, as Dubnyk may not have anything left once the NHL playoffs begin.
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