Game of the night: San Jose (40-8-9) at Dallas (29-22-7) — Thornton, Cheechoo, Lehtinen

Sharks center Joe Thornton has no ordinary five-game point streak: two goals, eight assists.

Sharks center Joe Thornton has no ordinary five-game point streak: two goals, eight assists.

Okay, it’s the only game of the night.

We must point out Sharks center Joe Thornton has two goals and eight assists in his last five games. There’s no great action you can take as a fantasy owner, now that you know this, other than marveling at how, sometimes, name-brand players are worth their high prices on draft day.

But some brand names fall off the wagon after a few seasons of statistical glory. It can be tempting to believe — after a hot streak — that these brand names have revived their games. Alas, it’s not always the case. There are two examples in tonight’s game:

1. Don’t be seduced by Jonathan Cheechoo’s hot streak. It’s always enticing to wonder if a Cheechoo streak (two goals and one assist in his last four games) augurs a return to his 2005-06 ways (56 goals and 37 assists). I’m here to tell you: it doesn’t. Here are Cheechoo’s ice times for the last four games, going backwards: 11:16, 13:36, 13:59, 17:13.

That’s right: his ice time has actually shrunk for four straight games. He just doesn’t play enough (or score enough, obviously) to warrant fantasy consideration. His season totals (nine goals, 12 assists, +1 in 45 games) tell you all you need to know. Just think to yourself: how is any right wing only +1 on the Sharks?

2. Dallas right wing Jere Lehtinen is also not about to enter the way-back machine. In 12 games between January 12 and February 8, Lehtinen amassed five goals, 10 assists, +7. It was tempting to believe The Fine Fin had rediscovered his 2001-03 heyday. Don’t get me wrong: in real-life terms, Lehtinen can still play. But I don’t want him on my fantasy team. The stats are seldom there anymore. In his last six games, Lehtinen has one goal, no assists, -3. For the season, he has seven goals, 14 assists, and +3 in 30 games. Not bad, but not good enough for fantasy rosters.

photo courtesy Wikimedia Commons

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