The most significant aspect of the Flyers 3-2 win in Atlanta was goalie Antero Niittymaki getting the start and win, stopping 29 of 31.
Faithful readers of the Genius will recall our report of Flyers coach John Stevens refusing to endorse Martin Biron as the No. 1 goalie after Niittymaki (13-4-4, .921, 2.48 GAA) saved the day in Saturday’s 4-3 OT win in Boston. Though Stevens has stopped short of outright naming Niitty the No. 1 starter, his actions speak volumes.
More importantly, for fantasy purposes, it is undeniable that Niitty is now getting more than half of the starts. Of the Flyers last nine games, Nitty has started five. He’s also won five, going 4-1 in his starts and picking up the fifth win in relief of Biron (15-11-5, .904, 2.96) in Boston.
So why is Biron, 2.96 GAA and all, still owned in 74 percent of Yahoo! leagues and 69.2 percent of ESPN leagues, while Niitty (17 percent Yahoo!, 34 percent ESPN) remains underwhelmingly under-owned?
Just asking. Three more bullet points from Sunday’s action:
- Oilers defenseman Sheldon Souray (14 goals, 20 assists, -5, 66 PIMs, 17 PPP, 173 shots) notched his first power play point since January 16, breaking an eight-game drought. The only flaw in Souray’s fantasy resume is his -5. In fact, Souray has not posted a positive +/- since the 2003-04 season. This is something to keep in mind if you’re looking to trade for a No. 1 defenseman for the stretch run. As awesome as Souray is, he might hurt your team in a key category. Bruins defenseman Dennis Wideman (12 goals, 25 assists, +31, 18 PIMs, 21 PPP, 113 shots) and Sharks defenseman Dan Boyle (13 goals, 26 assists, +10, 32 PIMS, 19 PPP, 135 shots) would cost less to acquire and be easier on your +/-.
- Flyers defenseman Randy Jones is healthy. On Saturday I saw him limping after the win in Boston. I speculated he would not play Sunday in Atlanta and I was wrong. He recovered and played 19:57, recording one shot on goal and nothing else.
- It might be time to drop Penguins defenseman Ryan Whitney, who recorded a -2 in the Penguins 3-0 home loss to Detroit. Despite leading all skaters (both Wings and Penguins) with 25:19 of ice time, Whitney did not record one single shot on goal.