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The Daily Puck: It's Crunch Time

John Toperzer

John Toperzer

John Toperzer writes about fantasy sports for RotoWire.


Around the Rink

More than ever, fantasy poolies want to take advantage of who's hot at this time of the season. It's not unreasonable to expect someone like Tyler Ennis to outproduce Pavel Datsyuk the rest of the way. The Sabres are going to need everything they can get from Ennis just to secure a playoff spot, while the Wings can afford to rest Datsyuk. Don't bank on stars with nagging injuries on playoff teams that can afford to rest them.

Tampa Bay has two wins in its last 12 games (2-6-4). Seems like a team that opponents might want to match up against in the postseason. Questions will arise about 41-year-old goalie, Dwayne Roloson, and his stamina. Despite a 2-5-3 mark in March, Roloson's peripherals a 2.64 GAA and .908 GAA for the month aren't all that different than his overall numbers (2.65 GAA, .912 save percentage).

Penguins goalie Marc-Andre Fleury on Friday recorded his fourth shutout in the last five years on the date of March 25. The year he failed to record a shutout on that date, the Pens didn't play -- March 25, 2010.

Go to the Penguins' home page and click on the links to watch Sidney Crosby's amazing stickhandling and shooting drill work. You won't be disappointed. I haven't seen Sid roof a back-handed shot like he did in the video since he used a nearly flat blade during the first few years of his career. Remember the one in Phoenix a few years back?

The Devils and Penguins combined for four shots, total, in the first period of Friday's game.

Excuse me, but aren't the Senators supposed to be a walkover team? Ottawa is not playing nice and wreaking havoc on fantasy teams. The Sens are 8-5 in March and haven't scored more than three goals in any of their eight victories.

Remember when some were clamoring for the heads of Roberto Luongo and Marc-Andre Fleury?

With one goal in 12 games with Pittsburgh, James Neal can't hit the side of a barn. He has, however, tallied two game-deciding shootout goals in the last three contests.

Who's Hot
(Feel free to add other players in the comments)

Drew Stafford Two goals and an assist Friday gives him 28 goals and 45 points for the season.

Erik Cole Two goals Friday. Cole was left for dead after last year but has found new life in Carolina (again).

Craig Anderson Allowed one total goal against Capitals and Rangers last two games.

Who's Not

Steven Stamkos He's got 43 goals for the season, but just five since January.

Recommended Pickup

Mike Comrie Comrie is available in the vast majority of fantasy leagues. He could pick up some power-play points down the stretch with the Penguins searching for answers on the man advantage.

Probable Starting Goalies

Rangers (Henrik Lundqvist) at Boston (Tom Thomas), 1 p.m.
Colorado (Peter Budaj) at Los Angeles (Jonathan Quick), 4 p.m.
Philadelphia (Sergei Bobrovsky) at Islanders (Al Montoya), 7 p.m.
New Jersey (Martin Brodeur) at Buffalo (Ryan Miller), 7 p.m.
Tampa Bay (Dwayne Roloson) at Carolina (Cam Ward), 7 p.m.
Toronto (James Reimer) at Detroit (Jimmy Howard), 7 p.m.
Washington (Michal Neuvirth) at Montreal (Carey Price), 7 p.m.
Dallas (Kari Lehtonen) at Nashville (Pekka Rinne), 8 p.m.
St. Louis (Jaroslav Halak) at Minnesota (Nicklas Backstrom), 8 p.m.
Anaheim (Ray Emery) at Chicago (Corey Crawford), 8:30 p.m.
San Jose (Antti Niemi) at Phoenix (Ilya Byrzgalov), 9 p.m.
Calgary (Miikka Kiprusoff) at Edmonton (Devan Dubnyk), 10 p.m.

Rotowire Goalie Grid


Injury Roll Call

Rangers
None

Boston
Shane Hnidy Questionable, eligible to come off IR from shoulder when ready.

Colorado
Mark Olver Questionable, left Thursday's with head injury, likely out Saturday.
Ryan Wilson Questionable, day-to-day with knee injury, also likely out Saturday.

Los Angeles
Justin Williams Out, will miss remainder of season with shoulder injury.

Philadelphia
Chris Pronger Questionable, missed last seven with wrist injury, back practicing.

Islanders
Andrew MacDonald Out, will miss rest of seven with hip injury.
Mark Streit Out, will not return in 2010-11.

New Jersey
Anton Volchenkov Out, suffered a lower-body injury Friday in Pittsburgh.
Colin White Out, also suffered lower-body injury against Penguins.
Zach Parise Out, targeting a Wednesday return from season-long knee.

Buffalo
Jochen Hecht Questionable, cusp of returning from upper-body injury.
Steve Montador Questionable, missed Friday with lower body, game-time Sat.
Tyler Myers Probable, chalk terrible turnover Friday to illness.
Patrick Kaleta Out, not close to returning from knee injury.

Tampa Bay
Steve Downie Probable, returned from ankle injury Friday with 12 PIMs.
Mattias Ritola Questionable, missed Friday night with lower body.
Ryan Malone Out, targeting return for Thursday against Pittsburgh.
Randy Jones Out, still weeks away with ankle injury.

Carolina
Jamie McBain Probable, expected to return to action against Lightning.

Toronto
None

Detroit
Pavel Datsyuk Out, Wings expected to rest Datsyuk again Saturday.
Jonathan Ericsson Questionable, left Friday's practice due to illness.
Johan Franzen Out, will miss Saturday with groin but practiced Friday.
Chris Osgood Out, placed on long-term IR, eligible to return April 8.

Washington
Alexander Ovechkin Out, missing week with undisclosed injury.
Mike Green Out, no recent updates but is eligible to come off IR when ready.
Jason Arnott Out, skating but no specific return date given.

Montreal
Andrei Markov Out, back skating with eye on returning in 2011-12.

Dallas
Karlis Skrastins Questionable, missed Wednesday with thigh injury.
Brian Sutherby Questionable, missed four of five with back.
Adam Burish Out, won't play Saturday against Nashville.
Nicklas Grossman Out, will miss indefinite period with knee injury.

Nashville
Francis Boullion Out, not expected back in 2010-11.
Cal O'Reilly Out, nearing return from broken fibula.
Steve Sullivan Out, still out with groin injury.

St. Louis
Patrik Berglund Questionable, likely out Saturday with lower body.

Minnesota
Cal Clutterbuck Questionable, missed Friday practice and likely out.
Marek Zidlicky Questionable, hamstring likely to keep him out Saturday.

Anaheim
None

Chicago
Dave Bolland Out, no timetable for return from concussion.
Patrick Sharp Out, still missing weeks with knee injury.

San Jose
Marc-Edouard Vlasic Questionable, dealing with lower body, day-to-day.

Phoenix
Martin Hanzal Out, lower body expected to keep him sidelined.
Lauri Korpikoski Questionable, day-to-day with upper body.

Calgary
None

Edmonton
Kurtis Foster Out, will miss Saturday with undisclosed injury.

Transactions

Ottawa -- Recalled goalie Mike Brodeur from AHL Binghamton.
Anaheim Recalled Matt Beleskey from AHL Syracuse.