The Goods on Fantasy Hockey
by Ian Gooding on 04/27/12 at 03:16 AM ET
There will be a new Stanley Cup winner in 2012, since the Bruins will not be back in the final to defend their title. However, a pair of Game 7’s on Thursday allowed two first-round favorites in the Rangers and Devils to avoid the upset virus that has inflicted damage on top-seeded teams and many playoff hockey pools.
With all seven games decided by one goal in their first-round series with Washington, the Bruins could have just as well advanced to the second round. It was the Bruins’ power play that did them in, scoring just twice in 23 chances in the first-round series. Tyler Seguin, the first overall pick in a playoff fantasy draft that I participated in recently, didn’t provide the kind of returns that playoff poolies expected with just two goals and an assist over the seven games. The Bruins’ scoring star happened to be Rich Peverley, who led the B’s with five points. Perhaps the Bruins could have used Nathan Horton after all.
If you chose Alex Ovechkin in your hockey pool, congratulations on a great sleeper pick. I can’t say that I did, considering that my team mainly consisted of Canucks, Red Wings, Sharks, Blackhawks, Penguins, and Bruins. Ovie hasn’t lit the world on fire in this year’s playoffs (five points in seven games), but he is the must-own player in pools if the Capitals advance beyond the second round. Last year’s playoff hero and free agent zero Joel Ward picked a great time to resurface after recording a measly 18 points during the regular season, scoring the overtime winner in Game 7. But the biggest story for the Caps has to be Braden Holtby, who is battling for the number one job at the same time that he is leading the Caps into the second round. Holtby’s first playoffs have been exceptional, as the rookie has posted a 2.00 GAA and .940 SV%.
So… we are left with the Rangers to provide some sanity to our playoff pools after they escaped with a first-round win over Ottawa. As he has been paid to do, Brad Richards led the Rangers in scoring with five points over seven games, while late-season addition Anton Stralman has been a top blueline sleeper with four points. The Blueshirts haven’t posted spectacular offensive numbers by any means, but they might not need to because their playoff success begins and ends at the feet of Henrik Lundqvist. The Vezina Trophy finalist finishes the first round with a 1.70 GAA and .945 SV%. Despite finishing with a 1-4 record in last season’s playoff series with the Capitals, he still managed a very solid 2.25 GAA in that series, which should make him the strongest of the remaining Eastern Conference starting goalies. Say, would anyone be looking forward to a 24/7 Winter Classic reunion between the Rangers and Flyers in the Eastern Conference Final? That series might be a LOT of fun.
Last and certainly not least, perhaps the series that was projected to be the most boring in the first round turned into perhaps the most exciting series of all. A double-overtime Game 7 probably isn’t something that a lot of folks in Florida were familiar with, but a possible Cinderella story for the Panthers ended before they could reach the second round. After allowing two goals in the third period, Martin Brodeur just hung in enough to prove to doubting Devils fans that he will attempt one last playoff run. Adam Henrique picked the right time to score his first two playoff goals, particularly his second goal past Jose Theodore, who was taking his turn in the Panthers’ goalie rotation. Don’t expect the Devils to have a particularly easy time against the Flyers, although Zach Parise (4 points), Ilya Kovalchuk (5 points), and Devils playoff scoring leader Travis Zajac (6 points) could rack up some points against the erratic Ilya Bryzgalov.
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Tags: boston+bruins, fantasy+hockey, florida+panthers, new+jersey+devils, new+york+rangers, ottawa+senators, playoff+pools, washington+capitals
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About The Goods on Fantasy Hockey
My name is Ian Gooding, and this is The Goods on Fantasy Hockey. Given my ability to understand numbers, write sentences, and follow hockey, it’s not a surprise to those who know me that I became a fantasy hockey writer. I started writing about fantasy hockey in 2006 for fantasyhockey.com and became the site’s content editor in 2007. Looking to expand my audience, I joined Kukla’s Korner in the summer of 2011 to create the site’s first fantasy hockey blog.
A few times each week, I’ll provide an article called “Pick Six” where I will write about six players that should either be in your fantasy team’s starting lineup or bench for the upcoming game. As well, I’ll provide the fantasy takes on important hockey developments. You can also email me your questions or comments to firstname.lastname@example.org, or follow me on Twitter.