Friday night fantasy feast: Tampa Bay at Washington

March 10, 2010

Don't overlook the fantasy potency of Lightning C Steven Stamkos and his teammates at Washington on Friday night.

The Capitals need no introduction to the fantasy hockey world. They average 3.82 goals per game, tops in the NHL.

On Friday they host the Lightning, who yield 2.93 goals per game (ranking 22nd). The Lightning also rank second in the NHL in penalty minutes, with 1,099 on the season. More on that later.

The last time these two teams faced off in Washington on March 4, the Caps prevailed 5-4.

Right wings Mike Knuble and Scott Walker each scored twice for the Caps, and RW Eric Fehr registered the other Washington goal.

It would seem like an obvious time to snag any Caps right wings from your free agent pool. While that is true, we’re here to tell you: Don’t overlook the Lightning side of the fantasy equation.

Yes, they have lost three of their last four contests. But Tampa Bay has also scored a whopping 13 goals in those four games (including the 5-4 loss at Washington).

In the March 4 game, Lightning RW Steve Downie scored once, C Vincent Lecavalier scored twice and C Steven Stamkos also scored.

Among this trio, perhaps only Downie is available in your league. That brings us back to the penalty minutes. The Lightning find the penalty box against everybody, and Downie (186 PIM) is a big reason why.

Against Washington on March 4, Downie did not log a single penalty minute. But four of his teammates did: Stamkos, RW Mark Parrish, D Kurtis Foster and D Victor Hedman all logged two-minute minors.

On the Washington side, D-men Mike Green, Tom Poti and Jeff Schultz all sat for two-minute minors, as did Knuble, C Nicklas Backstrom and LW Brooks Laich.

All told: This game featured nine goals and 10 penalties (on 10 different players).

In other words, it was a fantasy feast. And the record shows, it wasn’t just the big-name hockey stars dining at the table.

So grab as many Caps and Lightning as you can for Friday night’s match-up.  Then sit tight and watch the numbers roll in.

photo courtesy Wikimedia Commons

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With Ovechkin out, who scores? Survey says, Morrison and Fleischmann

December 2, 2009

Caps D Mike Green is money in the fantasy bank...when Ovechkin is on the ice.

Since Capitals LW Alex Ovechkin (knee, behavior) missed six games between Nov. 1-17 with an upper body strain, we actually have a track record of who scores for the Caps in his absence.

Better still: Two of those games came against Florida, a home-and-home Nov. 6 and 7.

Guess who the Caps face Thursday night at 7pm EST?

Before we get to the totals, let’s dispense with preliminaries:

The Caps won both games and did a ton of scoring. They prevailed 4-1 at Florida on Nov. 6 and 7-4 vs. Florida the next day.

D Mike Green missed much of the first game and all of the second game with, yes, an upper body ailment. So if you’re wondering why he does not show up in the totals below, that’s why.

Green’s absence also explains why Caps D Brian Pothier (5 percent owned in Yahoo!, 4 percent in ESPN) posted terrific numbers (one goal, three assists) in these two games. In addition, D Tyler Sloan scored a goal and D Tom Poti and D Shaone Morrisonn each notched an assist.

The best available fantasy beneficiaries of Ovechkin’s absence are Caps C Brendan Morrison (29 percent owned in Yahoo!, 31.3 percent in ESPN) and Caps winger Tomas Fleischmann (23 percent owned in Yahoo!, 15.3 percent in ESPN). Both Morrison and Fleischmann had two goals and one assist in the two games. Caps RW Mike Knuble (two goals, three assists) was more prolific than both, but he will not be available for Thursday night’s game, still nursing a broken finger. Plus, he’s not available in most fantasy formats anyway.

The sneakiest play here is Panthers D Dmitry Kulikov (1 percent owned in Yahoo!, 0.4 percent in ESPN). In the two Ovechkin-free games, he was Florida’s leading scorer (one goal, two assists).

Anyway, here are the Washington totals:

Goals (11)

Morrison – 2

Knuble – 2

LW/RW Tomas Fleischmann – 2

One goal apiece for Pothier, Sloan, C/LW Brooks Laich, C Mathieu Perreault and LW Quintin Laing.

Assists (19)

Pothier – 3

Knuble -3

C Nicklas Backstrom – 3

RW Chris Clark – 2

Laich – 2

One assist apiece for Morrison, Morrisonn, Fleischmann, Poti, RW Eric Fehr and RW Matt Bradley.

photo courtesy Wikimedia Commons


About last night (Peverley, Mitchell, Penner) and next week (time to bench Datsyuk, Lidstrom, Lecavalier)

October 17, 2009
Canucks D Willie Mitchell is a +/- diva deserving of fantasy attention.

Canucks D Willie Mitchell is a +/- diva deserving of fantasy attention.

Thrashers C Rich Peverley logged two power play goals as Atlanta won 4-2 in New Jersey. It was the second time this season he scored two goals in one game.

Peverley was not ultra-productive last year (15 goals and 29 helpers in 66 contests) though he did register a +13. Also, he plays center, making him a questionable add in rotisserie formats given his paucity of penalty minutes and unremarkable career PP stats. However, if he keeps up the PP work this season, he is someone to consider in weekly leagues when Atlanta plays four times. He is only eight percent owned in Yahoo! and 11.6 percent owned in ESPN.

Meanwhile, on the other side of the continent: This box score explains why we love Canucks D Willie Mitchell: In a game Vancouver lost 5-3 in Calgary, he was the only Nuck to log a +1. All his teammates ended up in the negative.

This is no small feat when you consider Mitchell played 21:00 minutes, trailing only fellow blueliner Alexander Edler (25:05, -1) for ice time.

Mitchell was a +29 last season. While the +/- stat has its detractors, Mitchell is proof that it is useful. He is 15.1 percent owned in ESPN and 15 percent owned in Yahoo! leagues. That means he’s yours for the taking if you need +/- help without sacrificing the scoring or PIMs that your forwards bring.

Also: The mighty Nucks are one of six teams playing four games next week (thank you, Sean Allen). Those of you in head-to-head leagues forced to fix your lineup Monday should consider Canucks. The other five teams playing four times are the Sharks, Kings, Oilers, Stars and Blue Jackets.

Aside from Mitchell, the man to add in weekly leagues is Oilers LW Dustin Penner, who scored twice in the Oilers 5-2 home win vs. the Wild last night. He now has nine points in seven games. Penner is 23 percent owned in Yahoo! and only 4.6 percent owned in ESPN.

On the flip side, the Maple Leafs play only once next week. The Capitals, Lightning, Coyotes, Senators, Devils, Red Wings, Blackhawks, Sabres, Flames and Ducks play only twice. From these teams, the only guys I would play are your key Caps (Ovechkin-Backstrom-Semin and Green), your white Lightning (Stamkos, St. Louis), your bona fide Stars (Richards, Neal), your hot Hawks (Sharp, Kane) and your old reliables (Iginla, Phaneuf, Zetterberg).

In other words: Pavel Datsyuk (upper body), Nicklas Lidstrom (only three effing points so far) and Vincent Lecavalier (-5) do not make the cut.

photo courtesy Wikimedia Commons