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Crashing the Net: Singing the Blues

Ray Flowers

Ray Flowers

The co-host of The Drive on SiriusXM Fantasy Sports Radio (Sirius 210, XM 87: M-F at 5-8 PM EDT), Ray Flowers has spent years squirreled away studying the inner workings of the fantasy game to the detriment of his personal life. You can follow Ray on Twitter (@BaseballGuys), he never sleeps, and you can also find more of his musings at BaseballGuys.com.

Forward Focus

Alexander Ovechkin has finally woken from his slumber (perhaps a kiss from a beautiful princess awoke him from his sleep?). Named the NHL's Third Star of the Week, Ovechkin has scored a goal in 5-straight games, seven goals total, an over his last seven contests he has nine makers. His season long numbers are still terrible, he has only 61 points, but if he keeps this up he could, rather remarkably, still reach 40 goals (his recent streak has pushed him up to 36 goals). Better late than never, Alex.

Michael Cammalleri might be three goals short of 20 on the year but he has three goals during his 5-game point streak that has also seen him register four assists for the Flames.

Sidney Crosby or Evgeni Malkin – who is the better player? Crosby has four points in his last two games, and since he returned to action on March 15th he's posted a prodigious total of 13 points while recording a +9 mark in just seven games. Malkin, if you can believe it, has been even hotter (he was named the NHL's First Star last week). Malkin has nine points in his last four games and eight goals in his last seven games. Going back a bit further, Malkin has 19 goals and 38 points in his last 24 games. They are the Gretzky and Messier of their times.

Ryan Jones is one goal off his career best of 18 for the Oilers, and he's scored three in his last four games. He's also recorded seven points in his last six games.

Louis Leblanc has 13 points in 36 games this season, so why mention him? He's been promoted to the Canadiens’ second line to skate with Tomas Plekanec and Rene Bourque, so he could turn up the offensive production the rest of the way.

Ryan Malone has 42 points and a (-9) rating in 61 games this season for the Bolts, but he's been hot for those of you that have astutely added him for a playoff run. Malone has four points in four games, and going back to the start of February he has 15 points in 19 games. Too bad he's still a (-6) performer in that time.

Ben Pouliot is hot as heck right now (how witty was that? Not terribly so. My apologies for not offering a more interesting statement, maybe something like hot as Hades or hot as Sofia Vergara in a bikini on the beach). Pouliot has three goals in four games an over his last eight contests he's been a +9 skater thanks at least in part to three goals and seven assists.

Andrew Shaw has four goals in four games for the Blackhawks. He's also recorded a point in 5-straight games leading to eight points.

Steven Stamkos leads the NHL with 53 goals, a total that has set a Lightning record. He's also scored nine times in 12 games in March and he has 20 goals in his last 25 games.

I'm sure you haven't noticed, and why would you, but Raffi Torres has five goals in 10 games for the Coyotes. Did you even know he was on the Coyotes?

Blue Line Business

Zach Bogosian has yet to really find his offensive game at the NHL level as he has just 23 points this season, and he only has one assist in five games. So why do I mention him? If you're in a league that counts shots on goal he's worth an add. Over his last three games he's fired a whopping 19 shots at opposing keepers.

Christian Ehrhoff has one goal in 23 games for the Sabres. He scored 14 goals each of the last two years with the Canucks.

Alex Goligoski hasn't scored a goal since February 19th (a span of 17 games). He's also dished out just two assists in his last 13 games for the Stars. Surprisingly, he is still a +5 skater in his last four games.

With all the goals the Penguins are scoring some of the skaters are seeing their plus/minus marks trending in the right direction. Paul Martin might only be a +8 skater on the year but over his last 10 games he's a rather amazing +15 performer.

Tyler Myers scored 48 points as a rookie. He recorded 37 points last year. This year he has just 22 points. Still, he has 12 points over his last 25 games and is a +12 skater, so he hasn't been totally useless.

Brent Seabrook has been held off the score sheet the last two games, but he still has points in five of seven games while seeing his plus/minus mark shoot up +7 in that time (it's +18 for the year).

Need a little boost? Ladislav Smid has 15 points with a +6 rating on the year for the Oilers. Big deal right? Well, he's done something of late with four points in five games while recording a +5 rating.

Crease Cops

Brian Elliott continues to lead the NHL in GAA (1.52) and save percentage (.941 – a mark that would set an all-time NHL record). Elliott also is tied for the NHL lead with eight shutouts after pitching one in each of his last two outings. Amazingly though, he's only appeared in 12 games since the All-Star break as Jaroslav Halak has made 16 starts going 11-3-1 with a 1.66 GAA. The Blues have had phenomenal goaltending all year and the shared work in net has robbed both keepers from getting enough game action so that neither is the best keeper in the fantasy game.

Brian Holtby will be in net for the 4th straight game Tuesday for the Capitals as Tomas Vokoun continues to sit on the side trying to get over a groin injury. In his three March outings Holtby is 2-0-1 with a 1.30 GAA and .955 save percentage. He's a solid short-term pickup.

Sensing that he was losing his hold on the starting spot in net for the Canucks to Cory Schneider, Roberto Luongo has 'brought it' the last couple of times he's been on the ice. In his last three games he's allowed a total of four goals, and Monday night he posted his fourth shutout of the season on his way to his 29th victory (he needs one more victory for a 7th straight 30-win season). Only two points behind the Blues for the Western Conference lead, Luongo shouldn't be rested much down the stretch.

Steve Mason is once again playing like... Steve Mason. That means he's letting in shots that 99 percent of NHL goalies stop on a regular basis. Mason won 4-straight games to start March, but over his last four games he is 1-3 while allowing at least five goals three times. You weren't seduced into counting on him were you? Shame on all of us.

Look no further than Ryan Miller's play to explain the Sabres performance this season. Prior to the All-Star break he was 12-15-2 with a 3.07 GAA and .899 save percentage. In 23 games since that point he's not only racked up five shutouts he's gone 15-3-5 with a 1.94 GAA and .935 save percentage. Hopefully you didn't sell low when he was struggling.

Dwayne Roloson has... fill in the blank with any adjective that will explain how putrid his work has been this season. Amazingly, and I admit to thinking I'd never write this again about him, Roloson has tending net with aplomb of late for the Lightning. Roloson has won each of his last three starts and though he's allowed eight goals in those three games he's been facing so many shots that his save percentage has been at least .919 in each game. He's actually playing well enough that you could consider starting him.