Week 22 Fantasy Hockey Planner

Week 22 (March 15-21)

Teams playing four games: Atlanta, Boston, Buffalo, Calgary, Carolina, Dallas, Edmonton, Florida, Minnesota, Nashville, New Jersey, Philadelphia, Phoenix, San Jose, St. Louis, Tampa Bay
Teams playing three games: Anaheim, Chicago, Colorado, Columbus, Detroit, N.Y. Islanders, N.Y. Rangers, Ottawa, Pittsburgh, Toronto, Vancouver, Washington
Teams playing two games: Los Angeles, Montreal

Atlantic Division

New Jersey Devils: Defenseman Paul Martin (forearm) is expected to return to practice in Week 22, but he is still too risky of a play in Fantasy ... Coach Jacques Lemiare has switched up his scoring lines. He moved Dainius Zubrus from second-line center to top-line right winger with Zach Parise and Travis Zajac . Lemaire then bumped Jamie Langenbrunner down the second line and shifted Patrik Elias to center. Ilya Kovalchuk remains on the left wing.
N.Y. Islanders:
Goalie Rick DiPietro career took another nasty turn as swelling has occurred in his surgically-repaired right knee. DiPietro has been limited to eight games this season and 13 since the start of the 2008-09 campaign because of his wonky knees and back. He is out indefinitely and is not a recommended start for Week 22. Dwayne Roloson and Martin Biron , who was not dealt at the trade deadline, will pick up the slack in net ... Rob Schremp , who has six goals and 20 points in his last 26 games, will miss the rest of the season due to knee surgery.
N.Y. Rangers:
New York benched Sean Avery on Friday against the Thrashers because coach John Tortorella felt Avery wasn't being enough of an agitator. Could this be the spark that sends Avery back to his turbulent ways?
Philadelphia Flyers:
Scott Hartnell , who has just one goal in his last 20 games, was sent a message during Thursday's 5-1 loss to the Bruins, as he was benched for the final nine minutes. Hartnell admits his confidence is low and he is not taking many shots ... Jeff Carter has scored 10 times in his last 10 games. The last Flyer to reach that plateau was Hartnell, who accomplished the feat in January 2008.
Pittsburgh Penguins:
Evgeni Malkin has recorded a point in 17 of his last 18 games ... Pascal Dupuis has three goals and two assists in five games since the Olympic break ... Tyler Kennedy has been banished to the press box for his lack of scoring. He has not scored in 16 games and has only four goals since producing five in the first nine games.
Favorable matchup: Philadelphia (@NSH, @DAL, @ATL, ATL). Philadelphia might be on the road for most of its Week 22 slate, but it's not necessarily a bad omen. The Flyers are fifth in road GFG (2.88). Also, all three of Philadelphia's opponents are allowing 2.80 or more goals per game.
Unfavorable matchup: N.Y. Islanders (@VAN, @ANA, @LA). Being on the road for the Islanders is a bad forecast. New York is 21st in road scoring, averaging 2.32 goals per game. The Islanders are also averaging only 2.62 goals in 13 games against Western Conference opponents.

Northeast Division

Boston Bruins: Top-line center Marc Savard could be out the remainder of the season after sustaining a concussion due to a questionable hit from Pittsburgh's Matt Cooke . It has been a tough year for Savard, who also missed extensive time with foot and knee ailments. Leading scorer Patrice Bergeron stands to benefit the most from Savard's absence as he moves up to the top line ... Goalie Tuukka Rask is back in net after missing a few games with a knee injury ... Defenseman Zdeno Chara is also back in the lineup after shaking off a lower-body injury.
Buffalo Sabres:
Thomas Vanek is starting to play up to his potential. He has four goals and five points in six games since the Olympic break. He also has 11 goals and 21 points in his last 27 games and is arguably playing his best hockey this season..
Montreal Canadiens: Top forward prospect Ben Maxwell was sent back to the AHL on Friday as he still doesn't have a point in 12 games with Montreal this season ... Montreal is contemplating rushing Mike Cammalleri and Marc-Andre Bergeron back from knee injuries since the team is in the thick of a playoff race. However, while both players are skating on their own, coach Jacques Martin doesn't expect either player to practice until the last week in March. It's safe to keep them reserved for Week 22 ... Defenseman Andrei Markov , who missed two games before the Olympic break with a lower-body injury, has been on a roll since returning to the lineup. He has one goal and six assists during a five-game point streak.
Ottawa Senators: Nick Foligno (leg) and Filip Kuba (lower body) are both expected to practice Monday, but there is still some risk to starting the pair for Week 22 ... Defenseman Anton Volchenkov has 1,001 blocked shots since the NHL started recording the stat in 2005-06. It's the most by any player in that span ... Jason Spezza did not score in the first five games after the Olympic break after scoring 10 goals in his previous 11 games before the break.
Toronto Maple Leafs: Nikolay Kulemin produced two goals and five points in his first six games following the Olympic break ... Luca Caputi has been a great addition for Toronto since coming over in the Alexei Ponikarovsky trade with Pittsburgh. He has one goal and four points in five games with Toronto, as he has been skating on the top line with Tyler Bozak and Phil Kessel . Don't forget that Caputi really developed as a scorer late in his junior career and has done well in the minors. Now, he might finally emerge on the Fantasy scene with regular minutes in the NHL.
Favorable matchup: Buffalo (@ATL, @TB, @FLA, @CAR). The Sabres average 3.50 or more goals against Tampa Bay, Florida and Carolina.
Unfavorable matchup: Montreal (@NYR, @TOR). The Canadiens are averaging just 2.43 goals on the road (20th), and it doesn't help they play only twice during Week 22.

Southeast Division

Hurc's top sleepers for Week 22
Player Start %
1. Derek Roy , C, Sabres 64
2. Michael Leighton , G, Flyers 44
3. Cory Stillman , C, Panthers 12
4. Pekka Rinne , G, Predators 51
5. Kurtis Foster , D, Lightning 64
6. Joe Pavelski , C, Sharks 61
7. Claude Giroux , RW, Flyers 40
8. Martin Erat , RW, Predators 30
9. Mikael Samuelsson , RW, Canucks 58
10. Chris Butler , D, Sabres 4

Atlanta Thrashers: Maxim Afinogenov and Bryan Little were expected to pick up the scoring slack in the absence of Ilya Kovalchuk , but it hasn't happened lately. Both players have combined for no goals, one assist and a minus-5 rating in their last five games ... Slava Kozlov has lost his spot in the lineup since the acquisition of Evgeny Artyukhin ... Evander Kane will miss at least three weeks with a broken bone in his foot ... Nik Antropov has four goals and 13 points in his last 11 games.
Carolina Hurricanes:
Brandon Sutter is day to day with a lower-body injury. However, the injury is not considered serious ... Sergei Samsonov has been banished to the fourth line. The Hurricanes' last line has become a graveyard of former elite scorers as Rod Brind'Amour and Erik Cole have been skating alongside Samsonov ... Justin Peters has won four of his first five appearances in net for Carolina. He is likely to see a decent amount of playing time down the stretch with Cam Ward (back) sidelined.
Florida Panthers:
Nathan Horton could return from a fractured fibula in Week 22, which is on target for his expected return, but he is still far too risky of a start in Fantasy ... Michael Frolik has scored four times in his last four games ... Cory Stillman has two goals and five points in his last five games.
Tampa Bay Lightning:
Center Steven Stamkos had his 17-game point streak end Thursday against the Capitals. He leads Tampa Bay with 42 goals and is second with 80 points ... Ryan Malone is day to day with an undisclosed upper-body injury. It just adds to his recent demise, as Malone has been bumped off the scoring lines and onto a checking line ... Zenon Konopka (back) and defenseman Mattias Ohlund (lower body) are also day to day ... Defenseman Matt Walker has scored twice in his last three games. However, it is nothing to get excited over. He had all of two career goals before scoring on March 9.
Washington Capitals:
Goalie Semyon Varlamov has struggled since returning from knee and groin injuries that kept him out 2 1/2 months. He has won just once in his first four appearances and his timing has been a little off. But the Russian netminder will get plenty of chances to play down the stretch, so don't lose hope just yet.
Favorable matchup: Florida (WAS, PHO, BUF, TB). We haven't had many chances to highlight Florida in 2009-10 since its offense has been very erratic. But Florida gets a four-game homestand in Week 22, which could be favorable. Florida has scored 11 goals in its last two home games. The Panthers are also averaging 3.33 or more goals against Buffalo and Tampa Bay.
Unfavorable matchup: Atlanta (BUF, OTT, PHI, @PHI). The Thrashers don't face a team in Week 22 allowing more than 2.76 goals per game. Atlanta is also averaging 2.67 or less goals against Buffalo and Philadelphia.

Central Division

Chicago Blackhawks: Cristobal Huet and Antti Niemi continue to play the goalie carousel game, as neither player is taking charge and sealing their fate as the team's starting netminder ... Checking-line forward Adam Burish made his season debut Wednesday against the Kings after missing the first 65 contests following ACL surgery ... Patrick Sharp has nine goals and 27 points in his last 26 games. He is also plus-12 in that span ... Patrick Kane had a nine-game point streak end Saturday against the Flyers. He has four goals and 10 assists during his streak.
Columbus Blue Jackets:
Rick Nash (lower body) and Kristian Huselius (upper body) are day to day, but coach Claude Noel is hopeful both skaters will dress Monday against the Oilers. Consider them low-risk starts.
Detroit Red Wings:
Moving Valtteri Filppula to the top line on Thursday against the Wild seemed to spark Henrik Zetterberg , who responded with one goal and two assists. Zetterberg has had a trying season and realizes he needs to step up his game, if Detroit has hopes of making the playoffs. Detroit feels Filppula will be a nice option for Zetterberg because of his speed and playmaking abilities ... Johan Franzen has six goals in nine games since returning from a torn ACL.
Nashville Predators:
Defenseman Denis Grebeshkov , who was picked up at the trade deadline from Edmonton, might return from a lower-body injury in Week 22, but he remains too risky of a start ... Defenseman Shea Weber has a point in each of his last two games after missing two games with an upper-body injury. It appears safe to put him back into active Fantasy lineups ... Colin Wilson , who has been skating on the team's top line as a left winger, has begun to get a feel for the NHL since his latest recall. He totaled three goals and five points in his first seven contests after the Olympic break.
St. Louis Blues: T.J. Oshie has moved up to second on the team with 40 points after recording eight goals and 12 assists in his last 23 games. He has benefitted greatly from the coaching of Davis Payne ... Patrik Berglund seems at home playing on a line with Andy McDonald and David Perron . He has three goals and three assists during a six-game point streak. It's nice to see the Swedish forward show some life down the stretch in what has been an awful sophomore campaign.
Favorable matchup: Nashville (PHI, MIN, CLB, @STL). The Predators are averaging 3.00 or more goals against Minnesota and Columbus. They are also averaging 3.00 goals in 16 games against Eastern Conference opponents.
Unfavorable matchup: Chicago (@ANA, @LA, @PHO). The Blackhawks haven't struggled scoring against many opponents in 2009-10, but Week 22 possesses a bit of a challenge. Chicago is set to face three teams it hasn't had a ton of offensive success against. The Blackhawks average 2.67 or less goals against Anaheim, Los Angeles and Phoenix.

Northwest Division

Calgary Flames: Jarome Iginla and Rene Bourque have been busy since the Olympic break. Iginla has produced four goals and seven points in his first five games since resuming play, and Bourque also has seven points (five assists) in that span ... Matt Stajan has produced three goals and eight points in 12 games since coming to Calgary in a trade with Toronto. He has been centering a line with Bourque and Iginla.
Colorado Avalanche:
Defenseman Kyle Quincey is the latest Avalanche in coach Joe Sacco's doghouse. He has been a healthy scratch in two of his last five games thanks to being a minus-player in four of his last six contests. He also has just one goal in his last 24 games. Sacco calls Quincey an "important player," so it appears as though the coach is trying a little motivational tactic ... Chris Stewart has eight goals and 10 assists in his last 10 games. He has six multi-point games in that span.
Edmonton Oilers:
Defenseman Ryan Whitney didn't miss a game after suffering a right leg injury on Thursday against the Canadiens. However, Whitney hasn't recorded a point since coming to Edmonton at the trade deadline and could be a risky Fantasy option down the stretch since he might not get regular scoring chances with the struggling Oilers ... The Oilers are sending forward Dustin Penner for medical tests to see if a health-related issue is the reason for his second-half slump. Penner has just 30 points in his last 30 games after totaling 38 in his first 33. Coach Pat Quinn says Penner's energy is down, but we blame his struggles on the fact he started to slump as soon as fellow forward Ales Hemsky went down with a season-ending injury in late November.
Minnesota Wild:
Goalie Niklas Backstrom is day to day with a groin injury. There is some risk to starting him in Week 22, if he is not back by Sunday against the Blues. Josh Harding will see most of the work in Backstrom's absence ... Defenseman Brent Burns is also day to day with a hip injury ... Forward Guillaume Latendresse avoided a serious injury after getting hit in the back of the neck with a high stick on Thursday against Detroit. He was able to play Friday against the Sabres and scored his team-high 24th goal. It's safe to keep Latendresse active in Fantasy.
Vancouver Canucks:
Defenseman Kevin Bieksa returned to the Canucks' lineup on Saturday against the Senators after missing 27 games with an ankle laceration. It's safe to insert him back into Fantasy lineups ... Mikael Samuelsson has enjoyed his promotion to the top line with fellow Swedes Daniel Sedin and Henrik Sedin . He had five goals and seven points in first seven periods alongside the twins. Samuelsson has been playing well for the last few weeks with nine goals and 12 points in his last nine games ... Pavol Demitra has been on a roll since leading all Olympic skaters with 10 points. He has five points (one goal) in his first six games since NHL play resumed.
Favorable matchup: Vancouver (NYI, SJ, DET). The Canucks finally get to enjoy a little home cooking after being out on the road for weeks thanks to the Olympics taking over Vancouver. The Canucks will be glad to skate at General Motors Place since they rank second in home scoring (3.55 GFG).
Unfavorable matchup: Calgary (DET, @COL, SJ, @MIN). The Flames face three of the league's top10 defenses in Week 22 -- Detroit (2.61 GAA), Colorado (2.55) and San Jose (2.41). Calgary also isn't scoring more than 2.67 goals per game against any of its four opponents.

Pacific Division

Anaheim Ducks: Defenseman Lubomir Visnovsky has 18 shots and two goals in four games since coming to Anaheim in a deadline deal from Edmonton. Visnovsky should thrive playing for a contender like the Ducks.
Dallas Stars:
Brenden Morrow scored on Friday against the Kings for his first goal in 19 games. He had last scored on Jan. 8 against the Islanders ... Goalie Marty Turco is winless in four of five appearances since the Olympic break.
Los Angeles Kings:
Goalie Jonathan Quick missed Friday's game against the Stars to be with his wife, who was giving birth back in California. Jonathan Bernier started in Quick's absence and pulled out a shootout victory. However, Quick is expected to be available Sunday against the Predators and Bernier is expected to be returned to Manchester of the AHL. Keep Quick active for Week 22 ... Justin Williams is back after missing more than two months (28 games) with a broken leg. He is already back on the top line with Anze Kopitar and Ryan Smyth ... Fredrik Modin, who was added at the trade deadline from Columbus, is enjoying life in Los Angeles. He already has three goals in five games with the Kings.
Phoenix Coyotes:
Trade-deadline acquisitions Wojtek Wolski and Lee Stempniak have provided early returns for their new team. Stempniak scored three times and Wolski twice in their first three games with Phoenix. The two also each had an assist.
San Jose Sharks:
Center Joe Pavelski tied a franchise record with four points (two goals) in one period during the Sharks' six-goal outburst in the third period Thursday against the Predators. It's the fifth time a Shark has scored four points in a period. Joe Thornton was the last to do it in December 2008. Pavelski has four goals and seven points in five games since the All-Star break ... Patrick Marleau achieved his first 40-goal campaign with a score Thursday.
Favorable matchup: San Jose (@DAL, @VAN, @CGY, @EDM). The Sharks are one of the best-scoring teams on the road in 2009-10. San Jose is third in road scoring, averaging 3.03 goals per game. The Sharks are also averaging 4.00 or more goals against Vancouver, Calgary and Edmonton.
Unfavorable matchup: Los Angeles (CHI, NYI). The Kings are just one of two teams in Week 22 to be playing only twice. It doesn't help their cause that they aren't averaging more than 2.00 goals against either opponent.

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