When it comes to the final weeks of the NHL schedule there are several things to take into consideration when deciding who to dress.
First look at the standings. During the past week or so teams like Vancouver, Detroit and even Philadelphia who are locks for a playoff spot saw their level of play drop because they have less to play for. On the other hand there are several teams fighting for a playoff spot so their level of play has increased. This is important to know when deciding who to dress because you should be dressing the player with something to play for.
Secondly look at players battling for individual awards like the Art Ross or Rocket Richard. Even though a team like the Vancouver is a lock for playoffs its top players are right in the heat of the battle for the Art Ross, Rocket Richard and Jennings. Keep this in mind when picking your weekly players, especially as we get closer to the end of the season.
Finally look at the bottom of the standings. These are the teams that could make or break your finish. Teams like Edmonton, Ottawa or the NY Islanders have nothing to play for and therefore have no pressure on them. The players are just out there playing hockey and having fun. Look at the Islanders, they have won four of the last five games and in all of those wins they have scored four or more goals.
Games to be played in week 24:
FOUR GAMES: Columbus, Minnesota, Montreal, Nashville, New Jersey, Phoenix, San Jose and Toronto
THREE GAMES: Anaheim, Atlanta, Boston, Buffalo, Calgary, Carolina, Chicago, Colorado, Dallas, Detroit, Florida, Los Angeles, NY Islanders, NY Rangers, Ottawa, Philadelphia, St. Louis, Tampa Bay, Vancouver and Washington
TWO GAMES: Edmonton and Pittsburgh
When it comes to dressing your players for the upcoming week, especially your goalies, it is important to know which team is on a long road trip and which team is enjoying an extended period at home. Listed below are the teams that play at least three home/away games this week or play all their games at home or on the road (home/road records up to March 12, 2011):
HOME: Buffalo (14-15-3), Columbus (16-14-3), Dallas (19-9-6), Edmonton (12-19-4), Florida (13-14-7), Nashville (16-7-7), Ottawa (11-18-5) and Vancouver (23-7-5)
AWAY: Boston (22-9-4), Colorado (12-16-4), NY Rangers (20-14-1), Philadelphia (21-9-3), Phoenix (18-12-5), St. Louis (11-17-5), Tampa Bay (16-13-3) and Washington (18-12-3)
If you participate in any type of head-to-head hockey pool then you are likely dressing a lineup for each scoring period, which usually ends on Sunday. As the week comes to an end and you find yourself in a close battle for those wins you want as many players as possible playing for you. Here are the teams that play on Sunday:
Anaheim, Buffalo, Calgary, Chicago, Columbus, Minnesota, Montreal, NY Rangers, Nashville, New Jersey, Phoenix and Pittsburgh
When you are deciding which goalie to dress you need to look at the NHL schedule to see if your goalie’s team will play in a back-to-back game that week. Most coaches will not dress the same goalie in back-to-back games so that is something to consider when you are thinking about which goalie to dress for the week. Here are the teams that play in back-to-back games this week:
Anaheim, Buffalo, Carolina, Chicago, Colorado, Columbus, Detroit, Minnesota, Montreal, NY Islanders, Nashville, New Jersey, Phoenix, San Jose, St. Louis, Toronto and Washington
Knowing which team is on a hot streak or cold streak will help in making your lineup decisions, for example you definitely want to dress a goalie from teams that are on a hot streak. Here are the top five and bottom five teams up to March 12, 2011:
TOP FIVE: Washington (9-1-0), San Jose (8-1-1), Chicago (8-1-1), New Jersey (8-2-0) and Vancouver (7-3-0)
BOTTOM FIVE: Colorado (1-7-2), Florida (2-6-2), Atlanta (3-5-2), Nashville (3-5-2) and Columbus (3-4-3)
Most elite stars are consistent scorers, but there are several players who are very streaky so keep an eye on their stats so that you can dress them while they are on a hot streak. Here are the top five scorers up to March 12, 2011 for the past 7 and 14 days…
SKATER PAST 7: Andy McDonald-STL (GP-4 G-4 A-3), Daniel Sedin-VAN (GP-4 G-3 A-4), Justin Williams-LA (GP-4 G-2 A-5), Henrik Sedin-VAN (GP-4 G-1 A-6), Anze Kopitar-LA (GP-four G-four A-two)
SKATER PAST 14: Jonathan Toews-CHI (GP-7 G-8 A-4), Kopitar (GP-7 G-5 A-6), Alex Ovechkin-WAS (GP-7 G-4 A-7), Milan Lucic-BOSTON (GP-8 G-3 A-7), Andrej Sekera-BUF (GP-7 G-2 A-8)
Here are the top five goaltenders and bottom five goaltenders up to March 12, 2011 for the past 14 days…
HOT GOALTENDERS PAST 14: Braden Holtby-WAS (GS-2 W-3 GAA-0.36), Miikka Kiprusoff-CAL (GS-6 W-5 SO-2 GAA-2.09), Martin Brodeur-NJ (GS-6 W-5 GAA-1.45), Carey Price-MONTREAL (GS-5 W-4 SO-1 GAA-1.40), Henrik Lundqvist-NYR (GS-7 W-5 SO-1 GAA-2.37)
COLD GOALTENDERS PAST 14: Steve Mason-CBJ (GS-5 W-0 GAA-3.58), Brian Elliott-COL (GS-4 W-0 GAA-4.23), James Reimer-TOR (GS-7 W-2 GAA-3.27). Tomas Vokoun-FLA (GS-5 W-1 GAA-2.93), Niklas Backstrom-MIN (GS-4 W-1 GAA-3.92)
For more fantasy hockey analysis, check out FantasyHockeyCoach.com.