Week 26 Fantasy Hockey Planner
Only a handful of games left in most Fantasy Hockey seasons, meaning you must still be playing for something. Our Michael Hurcomb looks at the upcoming slate for all 30 NHL teams and addresses the latest injury information in his latest Fantasy Hockey Planner.
The Fantasy Hockey Planner is the essential guide to setting your lineup for the upcoming week. Every week, we provide you with top matchups, the latest news and give you the scoop on injured players.
Fantasy Week 26 (March 30-April 5)
Teams with four games: Anaheim, Chicago, Dallas, New Jersey,
Phoenix, San Jose, Vancouver
Teams with three games: Atlanta, Boston, Buffalo, Calgary, Columbus, Edmonton, Florida, Los Angeles, Minnesota, Montreal, Nashville, N.Y. Islanders, N.Y. Rangers, Ottawa, Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, St. Louis, Tampa Bay, Toronto, Washington
Teams with two games: Carolina, Colorado, Detroit
Editors Note: Projections are for March 30-April 5 games and all stats are through Thursday
This week's news and notes for each team:
Anaheim Ducks: James Wisniewski , Erik Christensen and Petteri Nokelainen , the three players acquired at the March 4 deadline, combined for two goals and five assists in Wednesday's 7-2 victory against the Avalanche. Christensen and Nokelainen each scored an unassisted goal and added an assist, while Wisniewski chipped in three assists ... Andrew Ebbett had a goal and two assists Wednesday for the third time this season. He has been on a roll lately with three goals and three assists in five games ... Coach Randy Carlyle appears to be favoring Jonas Hiller over Jean-Sebastien Giguere in net. Hiller has started five of the last seven games for Anaheim, winning four. While Giguere's time has been reduced, he has won the two games Hiller hasn't played ... Anaheim has four games Week 26 with three on the road, where they are averaging 2.59 goals (18th). They play Vancouver, Edmonton and San Jose (twice). They are averaging 2.00 or fewer goals against the Oilers and Sharks, so consider benching your Anaheim skaters.
Atlanta Thrashers: Starting goalie Kari Lehtonen had to leave Thursday's game against the Rangers after sustaining an upper-body injury in a collision with Sean Avery . If he is not active Saturday against the Senators, then Lehtonen is an injury-risk start Week 26 ... Center Jim Slater was back in action Thursday after missing five games with a head injury, so Atlanta sent Joey Crabb down to Chicago of the AHL ... The Thrashers have a three-game slate against the Panthers, Sabres and Capitals Week 26. Surprisingly, they are averaging 3.33 or more goals against each team, so consider starting your Atlanta skaters.
Boston Bruins: Boston is home for three games against Tampa Bay, Ottawa and N.Y. Rangers. They still rank second in home GFA, averaging 3.84 goals. They are averaging 3.67 or more goals against the Lightning and Senators, but just 2.00 goals against the Rangers.
Buffalo Sabres: The Sabres received a huge boost Friday when goalie Ryan Miller returned from an ankle injury that kept him out 13 games. It appears safe to insert Miller into all Fantasy lineups Week 26 as he is expected to see the bulk of work down the stretch ... Jason Pominville has two goals and five assists during a four-game point streak ... Center Tim Connolly has just three goals in his last 20 games and four points in his last eight outings ... The Sabres play the Devils, Thrashers and Capitals Week 26. They are averaging 3.00 goals against each team, so consider starting your Buffalo skaters.
Calgary Flames: Todd Bertuzzi returned to the lineup Thursday against the Blue Jackets after missing 11 games due to knee surgery ... Andre Roy is an injury-risk start heading into Week 26 because of an upper body injury. The same goes for Rene Bourque , who has been out since Feb. 19 with a sprained ankle ... The Flames play the Stars, Sharks and Wild Week 26. They average 3.00 goals against the Sharks and Wild, but just 1.33 against the Stars.
Carolina Hurricanes: Matt Cullen remains on the day-to-day watch with a foot injury ... Ray Whitney notched the 500th assist of his career Wednesday against the Senators. The 36-year-old forward remains red hot in March with six goals, 18 pints and a plus-10 rating ... Carolina has home games against the Rangers and Penguins Week 26. The Hurricanes still struggle to score at home, averaging 2.65 goals (25th). They are also averaging 2.33 or fewer goals against each opponent, so consider benching your Carolina skaters.
|1.||Marian Gaborik , RW, MIN||25|
|2.||Patrick Sharp , C, CHI||16|
|2.||Ryan Miller , G, BUF||7|
|4.||Sam Gagner , C, EDM||7|
|5.||Steven Stamkos , C, TB||6|
|6.||Tobias Enstrom , D, ATL||6|
|7.||Jonas Hiller , G, ANA||6|
|8.||Anton Babchuk , D, CAR||6|
|9.||Daniel Briere , C, PHI||4|
|10.||Alex Burrows , C, VAN||4|
Chicago Blackhawks: Defenseman Cam Barker has been battling a few minor injuries the past few weeks, the latest being a lower-body ailment that kept him out one game. But he returned to the lineup Wednesday against the Sharks with two assists to extend his point streak to nine games (two goals, eight assists). "I wouldn't say it was a lingering thing," Barker told The Sports Xchange. "But I'm back in the lineup, that's the main thing. It's crunch time, and you want to help your team." Keep Barker active heading into Week 26 ... Martin Havlat has four goals and three assists during a four-game point streak. He is also at plus-6 in that span ... Dave Bolland has two goals and four assists in his last four games.
Colorado Avalanche: The Avalanche has a substantial amount of players injured. Eleven guys are either on injured reserve or are day-to-day with various ailments. The biggest name recently added to the mix was Paul Stastny , who already missed several weeks with a fractured forearm. He is now expected to miss the remained of the season with a foot fracture. Other notables recently added to the walking wounded were Ruslan Salei (knee), Darcy Tucker (back) and Adam Foote (head) ... Cody McLeod , who has three scores in his last four games, is third on the team with 16 goals. He trails Milan Hejduk and Ryan Smyth , whom both have 26 scores ... The Avalanche have games against the Coyotes and Canucks Week 26. They average 2.33 goals against each team, so consider benching your Colorado skaters.
Columbus Blue Jackets: Rick Nash tallied four assists Thursday against the Flames and set a new career best with 71 points. His previous high was 69, which he set last season ... Kristian Huselius also had four assists Thursday and is up to 54 points in his first season with the Jackets ... Columbus has a home-and-home with Nashville next week and finish up with Chicago. They average 2.75 goals against the Predators, and 3.25 against the Blackhawks.
Dallas Stars: Defenseman Trevor Daley had to exit Thursday's game against the Kings after he was elbowed in the back of the head by Raitis Ivanans and went head-first into the boards. He is day-to-day and looks to be an injury-risk start Week 26 ... Center Mike Ribeiro has no goals and one assist in his last four games after seeing an eight-game point streak end ... The Stars might have four games Week 26, but they are looking at an intimidating lineup against Phoenix, Los Angeles, Calgary and St. Louis. They are averaging 2.33 or fewer goals against each team, so you might consider benching your Stars skaters.
Detroit Red Wings: Defenseman Brian Rafalski has one goal and three assists during a three-game point streak after getting just two points in his previous 10 games. With his two assists Tuesday against the Oilers, he set a new career high with 57 points. He had managed 55 points the previous two seasons ... Johan Franzen is starting to heat up again down the stretch. He has four goals and eight assists during a six-game point streak. He has just three multi-assist games in his career, with two coming during his latest streak. Franzen had a strong finish to his 2007-08 season with 20 points (15 goals) in his last 16 regular-season games ... Detroit welcomes in St. Louis and Minnesota Week 26. The Red Wings lead the NHL in home GFA (4.03). They average 4.20 goals against the Blues and 2.67 against the Wild.
Edmonton Oilers: Coach Craig MacTavish said he'll be starting Dwayne Roloson for all of the remaining eight games. That will make it 38 in a row for the 39-year-old. "We have to use him, there's no choice," MacTavish told The Sports Xchange. "That's not discounting (rookie goalie) Jeff (Drouin-Deslaurie), but based on the way Dwayne has played and the situation we're in, there's no choice." It appears safe to trust Roloson as a No. 2 Fantasy goalie down the stretch ... The Oilers signed 2008 first-round pick Jordan Eberle to an entry-level deal Monday and they already have him playing for Springfield of the AHL. Eberle, who totaled 35 goals and 39 assists in 61 games for Regina of the WHL (juniors), is likely going to be in Oilers' camp next fall and have a great shot to make the roster. He is worth a look in Fantasy long-term keeper leagues ... Edmonton has a three-game home set Week 26 against the Ducks, Sharks and Canucks. Edmonton has struggled at home in 2008-09, averaging just 2.60 goals (28th). They are also averaging 2.60 or fewer goals against each opponent, so consider benching your Edmonton skaters.
|1.||Canucks||@MIN, ANA, @EDM, COL|
|2.||Capitals||NYI, BUF, ATL|
|3.||Thrashers||BUF, @FLA, @WAS|
|4.||Canadiens||CHI, @NYI, @TOR|
|5.||Flyers||@TOR, TOR, @OTT|
Florida Panthers: A goalie controversy is rearing its ugly head again in Florida. Tomas Vokoun was expected to start the remainder of the games for Florida, but with just one win in his last eight appearances and blowing a two-goal lead in a loss to Buffalo Wednesday, coach Peter DeBoer turned to Craig Andersson Thursday. He responded with 40 saves in a 4-2 win against the Flyers. It appears from DeBoer's quotes after Thursday's win that he might use both goalies down the stretch as Florida fights for a playoff berth. That definitely takes Vokoun down to a No. 2 Fantasy goalie ... Rostislav Olesz , who retuned March 14 after missing 43 games with a sports hernia, spent some time on the top line Thursday against the Flyers. Olesz had one goal in 14 games prior to the injury, but had already scored once since returning. Florida feels he is a potential 20-goal scorer in the future ... Cory Stillman has two goals in his past three games ... Radek Dvorak had his first goal in nine games and David Booth had his first in six games Thursday ... Brett McLean has two goals and two assists in his last four games for his most productive stretch of the season ... Florida is home for three games Week 26 against Ottawa, Atlanta and Pittsburgh. The Panthers are 29th in home GFA (2.59).
Los Angeles Kings: Alexander Frolov is expected to miss another week with a lower-body injury, putting him as a risky start Week 26. Coach Terry Murray, who has been dissatisfied with Frolov's overall play this season, recently demoted the winger to fourth-line duty before getting injured ... Jarret Stoll left Thursday's game against the Stars with a lower-body injury and is day-to-day ... The Kings plays Dallas and Phoenix (twice) Week 26. They don't average more than 2.50 goals against either team, so consider benching your Los Angeles skaters.
Minnesota Wild: Cal Clutterbuck was credited with seven hits Wednesday against the Islanders and has set a NHL new-single season record with 317 ... Defenseman Brent Burns (concussion) and center Mikko Koivu are still questionable to play again this season. General manager Doug Risebrough said Wednesday the team will have to "measure" whether it's worth playing them at less than 100 percent. Consider both players injury-risk starts Week 26 ... Derek Boogaard remains day-to-day with upper-body soreness ... Minnesota plays Vancouver, Calgary and Detroit Week 26. While they average 3.00 goals against the Red Wings, they average 1.80 or fewer goals against the Canucks and Flames.
Montreal Canadiens: Alex Kovalev has three goals and one assist in his last two games after having two goals and no assists in his previous eight games. The line of Kovalev, Saku Koivu and Alex Tanguay is clicking in all cylinders. Over the last two games, all three players have totaled 13 points ... Andrei Markov has one goal and seven assists in his last five games. He leads Montreal with a career-high 60 points ... Montreal has games against Chicago, N.Y. Islanders and Toronto Week 26. While they haven't faced the Blackhawks, they are averaging 3.33 or more goals against the Maple Leafs and Islanders -- two of the worst defenses in the NHL. Consider starting your Montreal skaters.
Nashville Predators: Goalie Pekka Rinne has started 21-of-26 games since Feb. 1. He has held opponents to two goals or fewer 14 times and is 14-3-4 in that span. Rinne has emerged as no worse than a No. 2 Fantasy goalie ... Martin Erat had a goal and an assist Thursday against the Sharks to give him 300 career points. He has 11 points (three goals) in his last 12 games ... The Predators are down two of their top centers -- Jason Arnott (concussion) and David Legwand (face). Arnott, who has missed seven games, has been riding a stationary bike, but is still an injury-risk start heading into Week 26 if he can’t play by Sunday against the Red Wings ... The Predators play Columbus (twice) and Chicago Week 26. Surprisingly, they are averaging 3.00 or more goals against both teams, so consider starting your Nashville skaters.
New Jersey Devils: Patrik Elias was back in the lineup Friday against the Blackhawks after missing one game with lower-body soreness. It appears safe to keep him active heading into Week 26 ... Zach Parise had an eight-game point streak snapped Monday against the Flyers. He has three goals and eight assists in that span ... New Jersey has four games Week 26 with three on the road, where they average 2.67 goals (17th).
N.Y. Islanders: Defenseman Mark Streit has three goals and five assists in his last six games. He has 54 points on the season, eight shy of his career-high, and threatening to finish above even for the first time in his career (plus-6) despite the fact he plays for a bottom feeder ... Defenseman Andy Sutton , who has been out since Dec. 19 with a broken foot, has been shut down for the rest of the season. He has played in 58 and 23 games, respectively, in the first two seasons of a three-year $9 million contract ... Joey MacDonald has returned from a knee injury that kept him sidelined five games ... Dean McAmmond had two assists Wednesday against the Wild to give him nine points in 15 games for the Islanders after he'd totaled just seven points in 44 games for Ottawa.
N.Y. Rangers: Chris Drury had one goal and two assists Thursday against the Thrashers to reach 50 points for a sixth straight season and eighth time in 10 seasons ... Defenseman Derek Morris had two assist Thursday, marking his first multi-point game in 11 appearances since he was obtained from Phoenix at the trade deadline. He has no goals and four assists in that span ... Nik Antropov scored his fifth goal in 11 games Thursday since the Rangers acquired him March 4 from Toronto ... Defenseman Michal Rozsival is nursing a knee injury and is questionable heading into Week 26.
Ottawa Senators: Right wing Ryan Shannon has scored in back-to-back games and has four points in his last five appearances. Shannon, who is auditioning for a full-time spot next season, has 14 points (six goals) in 24 games since his recall from Binghamton in February and appears to have found a home on the team's second line with Mike Fisher and Nick Foligno ... After combining for 36 points in nine games before being held off the scoresheet by the Rangers Sunday, Ottawa's top line of Jason Spezza , Dany Heatley and Daniel Alfredsson was shut out for the second consecutive game Wednesday against the Hurricanes.
Philadelphia Flyers: Jeff Carter has three goals and three assists during a five-game point streak ... Scott Hartnell has three goals and three assists in his last five games ... Daniel Briere finally seems back to his old self after a groin injury robbed him of 50-plus games in 2008-09. He has three goals and three assists during a four-game point streak ... The Flyers play the Maple Leafs (twice) and Ottawa Week 26. They average 3.00 goals against each team, so consider starting your Philadelphia skaters.
|3.||Stars||@PHO, @LA, CGY, STL|
|4.||Oilers||ANA, SJ, VAN|
|5.||Kings||DAL, @PHO, PHO|
Phoenix Coyotes: Goalie Al Montoya , the sixth overall pick in 2004 by the Rangers, has been recalled from San Antonio of the AHL. He has had a disappointing pro career and will primarily act as a backup to Ilya Bryzgalov the remainder of the season ... The Coyotes play Dallas, Colorado and Los Angeles (twice) Week 26. While they average just 1.80 goals against the Stars, the Coyotes are averaging 3.00 goals against the Avalanche and Kings.
Pittsburgh Penguins: Marc-Andre Fleury is 20-10-4 with three shutouts dating to New Year's Day. He has allowed two or fewer goals in 17 of those games. Fleury is one of the NHL's best goalies down the stretch. He has 29 wins in March and April dating back to the 2006-07 season ... Ruslan Fedotenko and Petr Sykora have combined for two goals in 15 games. Coach Dan Bylsma has recently challenged both plays to step up their game ... Evgeni Malkin has nine goals and 25 points in the last 18 games, and fellow center Sidney Crosby has seven goals and 24 points in that span.
San Jose Sharks: Coach Todd McLellan has left it up to Evgeni Nabokov to tell him how much he wants to play down the stretch. San Jose has secured a spot in the playoffs and now they are just fighting for positioning. Nabokov might choose to rest up for the playoffs and McLellan will let him choose when he wants a night off. McLellan added that backup Brian Boucher will start at least once in the last seven games, but it could be more depending on Nabokov ... Struggling forward Jonathan Cheechoo was not in the lineup Thursday against the Predators because of a lower-body injury and is day-to-day ... Defenseman Rob Blake remains day-to-day with a hip injury. If he can’t play Saturday against the Coyotes, he remains an injury-risk start Week 26 ... Ryane Clowe (lower body) also remains an injury-risk start heading into Week 26 ... Devin Setoguchi has found his scoring touch again. He has five goals and three points during a five-game point streak. He had no goals and one assist in his previous 12 games ... Joe Pavelski has two goals and four assists during a four-game point streak. He has no goals and one assist in his previous seven games ... San Jose has four games Week 26 with three on the road, where they average 2.81 goals (10th). San Jose plays Calgary, Edmonton and Anaheim (twice). They average 3.33 goals against Calgary and Edmonton, while averaging 1.75 against Anaheim.
St. Louis Blues: Rookie forward T.J. Oshie was feeling ill Thursday morning, but still managed to dress against the Canucks. He added a goal and assist to run his total to 28 points in the last 37 games ... David Backes tallied his 25th goal and second short-handed score Thursday. Backes has been on fire in March with a season-high seven goals and 12 points ... St. Louis has road games against Chicago, Detroit and Dallas Week 26. They are averaging 2.49 goals (22nd) on the road.
Tampa Bay Lightning: Vincent Lecavalier needs one goal in the final seven games to record a sixth consecutive 30-goal season, but he has just one goal in his past nine games ... Martin St. Louis has been outstanding in March with a season-high eight goals and 15 points. He has 10 or more points in five straight months ... The Lightning hit the road to face Boston, New Jersey and N.Y. Islanders Week 26. They are averaging 2.56 goals on the road (20th) and 2.67 or fewer goals against each opponent. Consider benching your Lightning skaters.
Toronto Maple Leafs: Starting goalie Martin Gerber has been suspended three games for abusing a referee during a Tuesday loss to the Capitals. He is eligible to return April 3. Justin Pogge has been recalled from the AHL to backup Curtis Joseph ... Defenseman Tomas Kaberle is targeting Wednesday against the Flyers as his return from a broken hand. He still remains an injury-risk start Week 26 ... Niklas Hagman (concussion) has rejoined the team for practice, but there is still no guarantee he will play again this season.
Vancouver Canucks: The Sedin brothers have been on a roll lately for the Canucks. Henrik Sedin has totaled 10 goals and 29 points in his last 27 games, while brother Daniel Sedin has five goals and 23 points in his last 23 games ... Alex Burrows tallied his 25th goal Thursday against the Blues. He has been one of the NHL's top scorers in March with 10 goals ... Ryan Kesler played Thursday despite a four-inch cut to the back of his head suffered Tuesday against the Stars. While he didn't record a point, Kesler still has five goals and nine assists in 12 March games. He has 26 points in his last 23 games ... The Canucks play the Wild, Ducks, Oilers and Avalanche Week 26. They average 2.80 or more goals against each opponent, so consider starting your Canucks skaters.
Washington Capitals: Washington has home games against the Islanders, Sabres and Thrashers Week 26. They rank eighth in home GFA, averaging 3.30 goals. The Capitals are averaging 3.50 or more goals against Atlanta and New York -- two of the worst defenses in the NHL. Consider starting your Washington skaters.
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