Week 14: The Halfway Mark

Tuesday January 4th marks the midway point of the NHL season. The Pittsburgh Penguins are the top team in the East while the Detroit Red Wings are the top team in the West.

The Edmonton Oilers, Calgary Flames, New York Islanders and Toronto Maple Leafs are all where many predicted they would be, which is in the bottom five teams. However, no one would have predicted though that the New Jersey Devils would be the worst team in the NHL at the halfway mark.

Sidney Crosby leads the NHL in scoring with 65 points and in goals with 32. Steven Stamkos is right on Crosby’s tail for goals with 31. Dustin Byfuglien is leading all defensemen in scoring with 14 goals and 38 points.

The biggest issue — especially for fantasy GMs — at the halfway mark is all the injuries. There have been several injuries to each team and it has affected everyone from star players to grinders. Many of these injuries have been long term of two weeks or longer. The latest to go down are Ryan Getzlaf (facial fractures), Ryan Whitney (ankle) and Jonathan Toews (upper body).

Games to be played in week 14:

Four Games: Carolina, Chicago, Florida, Minnesota, New Jersey, NY Islanders, San Jose, Tampa Bay and Vancouver

Three Games: Anaheim, Atlanta, Boston, Buffalo, Calgary, Colorado, Columbus, Dallas, Detroit, Edmonton, Los Angeles, Nashville, NY Rangers, Phoenix, Pittsburgh and Toronto

Two Games: Montreal, Ottawa, Philadelphia, St. Louis and Washington

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 December 30, 2010):

HOME: Anaheim (11-6-1), Chicago (12-9-0), Colorado (10-6-2), Los Angeles (13-2-1), Montreal (12-5-2), New Jersey (5-11-2), San Jose (10-5-3), Vancouver (13-3-2) and Washington (14-4-4)

AWAY: Buffalo (7-8-3), Columbus (9-6-2), Detroit (11-5-1), Minnesota (8-6-3), Nashville (9-9-1), NY Islanders (3-12-3) and Tampa Bay (11-8-3)

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 (record for Sunday games up to but not including Week 13):

Anaheim (3-4), Atlanta (2-2), Carolina (0-3), Chicago (4-1), Dallas (1-1), Minnesota (1-2), New Jersey (0-2), NY Islanders (1-2), San Jose (0-1) and Tampa Bay (1-2)

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 (record of second game of back-to-back up to but not including Week 13):

Chicago (4-3), Columbus (4-2), Detroit (2-3), Edmonton (2-1), Florida (2-5), Minnesota (1-7), Nashville (2-4), New Jersey (1-6), NY Islanders (2-5), NY Rangers (9-0), Ottawa (2-3), Pittsburgh (6-1), San Jose (2-4), Tampa Bay (5-3), Toronto (0-5) and Vancouver (3-2)

Florida, Tampa Bay and Vancouver all play two sets of back-to-back games this week.

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 December 30, 2010:

TOP FIVE: Vancouver (8-0-2), Philadelphia (7-2-1), Tampa Bay (6-2-2), Colorado (6-2-2) and Detroit (6-3-1)

BOTTOM FIVE: New Jersey (1-9-0), Montreal (3-7-0), Toronto (3-7-0), Edmonton (3-5-2) and Buffalo (4-5-1)

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 December 30, 2010 for the past 7 and 14 days:

SKATER PAST 7: Nicklas Lidstrom-DET (4GP 3G 5A), Henrik Sedin-VAN (3GP 1G 7A), Sidney Crosby-PITT (4GP 4G 3A), Shane Doan-PHO(4GP 3G 3A) and Anze Kopitar-LA (4GP 1G 5A),

SKATER PAST 14: Dustin Brown-LA (8GP 6G 6A), Loui Eriksson-DAL (8GP 4G 8A), Crosby (6GP 6G 5A), Martin St. Louis-TB (6GP 4G 7A) and Henrik Sedin (6GP 3G 8A)

HOT GOALTENDERS PAST 14: Semyon Varlamov-WAS (2GS 2W 1SO 1.00 GAA), Corey Crawford-CHI (3GS 3W 1.33 GAA), Rick DiPetro-NYI (2GS 2W 1.44 GAA), Tomas Vokoun-FLA (4GS 3W 1SO) and Roberto Luongo-VAN (4GS 3W)

COLD GOALTENDERS PAST 14: Martin Brodeur-NJ (6GS 6L 4.34 GAA), Nikolai Khabibulin-EDM (4GS 1W), Kari Lehtonen-DAL (6GS 2W), Jonas Gustavsson-TOR (4GS 1W 3.47 GAA) and Ryan Miller-BUF (6GS 2W 3.61 GAA)

For more fantasy hockey analysis, check out FantasyHockeyCoach.com.

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