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Sunday Daily Puck: Fantasy Play-offs are Here (for some)

Dan Waldner

Dan Waldner

Dan Waldner covers hockey for RotoWire, and has been involved in fantasy hockey pools for 15 years. He's a lifetime Toronto Maple Leafs fan, a passion his wife puts up with and his daughter is starting to emulate.

Around the Rink

With Head-to-Head playoffs starting up this week in some leagues, the air of sudden elimination has returned. I don’t know about the rest of you, but this is the best time of year. The snow is clearing, the temperatures are rising, and you know that following fantasy playoffs, we get the start of the real thing come April.

It’s important at this time of year to remember to maximize the number of games your roster has every week to force though those cumulative categories.

With that being said, it’s important to do your research on which teams will play how many games from here on out – or, you can just have a subscription to RotoWire where we do that for you.

From Monday onward, here’s a table of all teams and their associated games played per week:

Team

Mar 17-23

Mar 24-30

Mar 31-Apr 6

Apr 7-Apr 14

Total

Boston Bruins

4

4

3

4

15

Detroit Red Wings

4

4

3

4

15

Minnesota Wild

5

3

3

4

15

Ottawa Senators

3

4

4

4

15

Philadelphia Flyers

3

4

4

4

15

Pittsburgh Penguins

4

4

4

3

15

St. Louis Blues

4

3

4

4

15

Tampa Bay Lightning

4

4

3

4

15

Anaheim Ducks

3

3

4

4

14

Buffalo Sabres

3

3

4

4

14

Calgary Flames

3

4

3

4

14

Carolina Hurricanes

3

3

4

4

14

Chicago Blackhawks

4

4

3

3

14

Colorado Avalanche

3

3

4

4

14

Columbus Blue Jackets

4

3

4

3

14

Dallas Stars

3

4

4

3

14

Florida Panthers

4

3

4

3

14

Los Angeles Kings

3

4

4

3

14

Nashville Predators

4

4

2

4

14

New Jersey Devils

4

2

4

4

14

Phoenix Coyotes

3

4

3

4

14

Edmonton Oilers

3

3

4

3

13

Montreal Canadiens

3

4

3

3

13

New York Islanders

2

3

4

4

13

New York Rangers

3

4

3

3

13

San Jose Sharks

3

4

3

3

13

Toronto Maple Leafs

4

3

3

3

13

Washington Capitals

3

3

3

4

13

Winnipeg Jets

3

3

4

3

13

Vancouver Canucks

3

3

2

4

12



Some very important pieces to note from that table:

1. Minnesota plays five games March 17 – 23; it’s advisable to pump your roster full of Wild during that time.
2. New York Islanders, New Jersey Devils, Vancouver Canucks and Nashville Predators all play 2 games during one of those weeks. That could be very dangerous and you’ll want to avoid that.
3. Pittsburgh plays 4 games for each of the first three weeks, which is the most by any team during that period.

Management of your roster is so critical at this time of year. Be sure to do all your due diligence, and refer to this table to figure out numerical advantages where appropriate.

NOTE: Because Dallas and Columbus had their game postponed due to the Rich Peverley incident, we’re not sure how this will affect their future schedule. Keep an eye out to see where that game lands.

Projected Goalie Starters (all times Eastern)

For updates on the projected goalies later in the day, check our Projected Goalies Grid
Philadelphia Flyers (Steve Mason) at Pittsburgh Penguins (Marc-Andre Fleury), 12:30 PM
Vancouver Canucks (Eddie Lack) at Florida Panthers (Roberto Luongo), 3:00 PM
Toronto Maple Leafs (James Reimer) at Washington Capitals (Jaroslav Halak), 3:00 PM
Edmonton Oilers (Ben Scrivens) at Carolina Hurricanes (Anton Khudobin), 3:00 PM
San Jose Sharks (Antti Niemi) at New York Rangers (Henrik Lundqvist), 4:00 PM
Colorado Avalanche (Semyon Varlamov) at Ottawa Senators (Craig Anderson), 5:00 PM
Montreal Canadiens (Carey Price) at Buffalo Sabres (Jhonas Enroth), 7:00 PM
Detroit Red Wings (Jimmy Howard) at Chicago Blackhawks (Corey Crawford), 7:30 PM
Dallas Stars (Tim Thomas) at Winnipeg Jets (Ondrej Pavelec), 8:00 PM

Injury News For Teams Playing Sunday

Philadelphia Flyers
Chris Pronger, D - Flyers GM Paul Holmgren openly acknowledged Tuesday that Pronger's career is over due to his concussion issues, the Philadelphia Inquirer reports. "I'll say it; Chris is never going to play again," Holmgren said. "I have no problems saying it." (10/15/2013)
Ray Emery, G - Coach Craig Berube said it was "possible" that Emery (groin) could play in one of this weekend's games, reports Tim Panaccio of CSNPhilly.com. (3/14/2014)
Marc-Andre Bourdon, D - Bourdon has suffered a setback in his recovery from concussion issues and is out indefinitely for AHL Adirondack, Sam Carchidi of the Philadelphia Inquirer reports. (2/22/2014)
Pittsburgh Penguins
Beau Bennett, RW - Bennett will have his wrist examined Sunday before he gets back into game action. (3/15/2014)
Zach Sill, RW - Sill sustained an undisclosed injury with AHL Wilkes-Barre/Scranton over the weekend, Josh Yohe of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review reports. (1/27/2014)
Chris Kunitz, LW - Penguins coach Dan Bylsma said Saturday that Kunitz (leg) has not been ruled out for Sunday's game against the Philadelphia Flyers, Dave Molinari of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reports. (3/15/2014)
Paul Martin, D - The Penguins still have no target date for Martin (hand) returning to practice, according to the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. (3/15/2014)
James Neal, RW - Neal has missed the Penguins' last two practices due to a concussion and is considered out indefinitely, Josh Yohe of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review reports. (3/14/2014)
Kris Letang, D - Letang (illness) has began to skate again. (3/11/2014)
Chris Conner, RW - Conner (wrist) suffered a broken foot during Sunday's practice and will be out for four-to-six weeks. (3/10/2014)
Brian Dumoulin, D - Dumoulin is considered week-to-week with a leg injury for AHL Wilkes-Barre/Scranton, the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review reports. (2/10/2014)
Tomas Vokoun, G - Vokoun (pelvis) skated with the team Wednesday morning, Marc Antoine Godin of La Presse reports. (2/26/2014)
Pascal Dupuis, RW - The Penguins confirmed Tuesday that Dupuis (knee) will miss the next six-to-eight months, according to the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review. (2/25/2014)
Vancouver Canucks
Ryan Kesler, C - Coach John Tortorella said Friday that Kesler has a sprained knee and is "out at least a couple of weeks." (3/14/2014)
Andrew Alberts, D - Coach John Tortorella said Alberts (concussion) has been slow to recover and shouldn't be expected to return anytime soon, Elliott Pap of the Vancouver Sun reports. (2/24/2014)
Brad Richardson, C - Richardson missed Monday's game against the Islanders with an undisclosed injury. (3/11/2014)
Daniel Sedin, LW - Sedin (hamstring) skated on Friday, and GM Mike Gillis doesn't think he is done for the season, Team 1040's Blake Price reports. (3/14/2014)
Mike Santorelli, C - Santorelli (shoulder) has undergone season-ending surgery to repair a torn labrum, Brad Ziemer of the Vancouver Sun reports. (1/30/2014)
Hunter Shinkaruk, C - Shinkaruk will require major hip surgery and miss the rest of the WHL season, Elliott Pap of the Vancouver Sun reports. (12/27/2013)
Florida Panthers
Erik Gudbranson, D - Gudbranson (knee) is expected to miss the next two weeks, NHL.com's Alain Poupart reports. (3/11/2014)
Aleksander Barkov, C - Coach Peter Horachek said that while Barkov (knee) won't require season-ending surgery, he will remain out indefinitely, Craig Davis of the South Florida Sun-Sentinel reports. (2/24/2014)
Sean Bergenheim, LW - Bergenheim (lower body) will not travel with the team for Thursday's game against Tampa Bay, Harvey Fialkov of the South Florida Sun Sentinel reports. (3/12/2014)
Tomas Kopecky, RW - Coach Peter Horachek confirmed that Kopecky is out indefinitely with a concussion, Harvey Fialkov of the South Florida Sun-Sentinel reports. (2/22/2014)
Jesse Winchester, LW - Winchester (lower body) will miss at least a week of action, Alain Poupart of NHL.com reports. (3/11/2014)
Toronto Maple Leafs
Dave Bolland, C - Bolland (ankle) will visit with a specialist in the U.S. to discuss his recovery, James Mirtle of the Globe and Mail reports. (3/5/2014)
Jonathan Bernier, G - Bernier will likely undergo an MRI exam for his lower-body injury, TSN's Mark Masters reports. (3/15/2014)
Dion Phaneuf, D - Phaneuf missed Saturday's practice due an illness, Rob Longley of the Toronto Sun reports. (3/15/2014)
Peter Holland, C - Holland (illness) will not play in Thursday's game against the Kings, TSN's Jonas Siegel reports. (3/13/2014)
Washington Capitals
Aaron Volpatti, LW - Volpatti (left shoulder) has not been cleared for practice, Katie Carrera of the Washington Post reports. (2/20/2014)
Brooks Laich, C - Laich (groin) did not participate in the team's Saturday morning skate, Katie Carrera of the Washington Post reports. (3/15/2014)
Mikhail Grabovski, C - Grabovski (ankle) was spotted skating on his own prior to the Capitals' Thursday practice, Chuck Gormley of CSN Washington reports. (3/13/2014)
Tomas Kundratek, D - Kundratek has suffered a torn ACL, which will end his season, Katie Carrera of the Washington Post reports. (11/12/2013)
John Erskine, D - Erskine (head) passed his concussion protocol testing but is still expected to sit out Saturday against Phoenix, Katie Carrera of the Washington Post reports. (3/8/2014)
Edmonton Oilers
Jesse Joensuu, RW - Joensuu left Friday's game with an ankle injury and will not return. (3/14/2014)
Mark Fraser, D - Fraser (groin) will not play Friday. (3/14/2014)
Sam Gagner, C - Gagner (ankle) won't play Friday vs. the Red Wings. (3/14/2014)
Curtis Hamilton, LW - Hamilton will miss 5-6 weeks with a knee injury, Bob Stauffer of 630 CHED reports. (1/13/2014)
Anton Belov, D - Belov (oblique) was placed on injured reserve Tuesday. (3/4/2014)
Carolina Hurricanes
Joni Pitkanen, D - Pitkanen (heel) remains without a return timetable. (3/13/2014)
John-Michael Liles, D - Liles has been diagnosed with a concussion, Chip Alexander of the Raleigh News & Observer reports. (3/12/2014)
San Jose Sharks
Brad Stuart, D - Stuart (upper body) is not close to returning, CSN Bay Area reports. (3/10/2014)
Raffi Torres, LW - Torres (general soreness) will not play Friday vs. the Islanders, David Pollak of the San Jose Mercury News reports. (3/14/2014)
Tomas Hertl, C - Hertl (knee) was on the ice during Thursday's morning skate, reports Kevin Kurz of CSN Bay Area. (2/27/2014)
Colorado Avalanche
Alex Tanguay, LW - Tanguay -- who has been dealing with a knee issue -- will undergo season-ending hip surgery on Friday, Adrian Dater of the Denver Post reports. (2/20/2014)
P.A. Parenteau, RW - Parenteau, who sustained a right MCL injury Monday, is likely to miss the rest of the regular season, NHL.com reports. "We'll see for playoffs, but he will be out for four-to-six weeks," according to Avalanche coach Patrick Roy. (3/11/2014)
Paul Stastny, C - Stastny (back) is doubtful for Sunday's game in Ottawa but is traveling on the Avs' upcoming three-game road trip, Adrian Dater of the Denver Post reports. (3/15/2014)
Ottawa Senators
Cody Ceci, D - Ceci suffered a deep cut on his ear Monday night against the Predators, Bruce Garrioch of the Ottawa Sun reports. (3/10/2014)
Clarke MacArthur, LW - MacArthur (hand) is expected back in the lineup Saturday against the Canadiens, Wayne Scanlan of the Ottawa Citizen reports. (3/10/2014)
Craig Anderson, G - Friday's recall of Nathan Lawson suggests the Senators don't feel Anderson will be available for Saturday's game vs. the Canadiens. (3/14/2014)
Montreal Canadiens
Josh Gorges, D - Gorges underwent surgery on his fractured left hand Monday and is expected to miss four weeks. (3/10/2014)
Mac Bennett, D - Bennett suffered an upper-body injury in a game against Penn State last week and is listed as week-to-week for Michigan, the Montreal Gazette reports. (3/1/2014)
Michael Bournival, C - Bournival (concussion) was wearing a full-contact jersey at Friday's practice, Renaud Lavoie of TVA Sports reports. (3/14/2014)
Tim Bozon, LW - Bozon is in a medically-induced coma in a Saskatoon hospital and fighting for his life after being diagnosed with bacterial meningitis on March 1, reports the Calgary Sun. (3/8/2014)
Buffalo Sabres
Zemgus Girgensons, C - Girgensons (lower body) will be out for at least a week, according to interim coach Ted Nolan. (3/9/2014)
Rostislav Klesla, D - Klesla, acquired by the Sabres in a deadline-day deal, has been suspended by the team for failing to report to AHL Rochester, the Associated Press reports. (3/9/2014)
Chris Stewart, RW - Stewart (ankle) could be done for the season, The Buffalo News reports. "Stewart doesn't look good right now," interim coach Ted Nolan said. "There are only five weeks left in the year and his injury is four-to-five weeks." (3/11/2014)
Patrick Kaleta, RW - Kaleta skated at the First Niagara Center for the first time since tearing his ACL back in November. (3/9/2014)
Torrey Mitchell, C - Mitchell (foot) will be out for at least another week, according to interim coach Ted Nolan. (3/9/2014)
Tyler Myers, D - Myers (elbow), who has already been ruled out for Saturday, is unlikely to play in Sunday's game against the Canadiens, the Sabres' official website reports. (3/15/2014)
Alexander Sulzer, D - Sulzer, who left Thursday's game against the Hurricanes with a a head injury, will miss at least a week, The Buffalo News reports. (3/14/2014)
Detroit Red Wings
Todd Bertuzzi, RW - Bertuzzi will not play in Sunday's game against the Blackhawks due to a lower-body injury, Chuck Pleiness of the Macomb Daily reports. (3/15/2014)
Dan Cleary, RW - Cleary (knee) is still not skating and has no timetable for return, Ansar Khan of MLive reports. (3/13/2014)
Stephen Weiss, C - Weiss (sports hernia) is expected to remain out for at least the next 7-10 days, MLive.com's Ansar Khan reports. (3/12/2014)
Pavel Datsyuk, C - Datsyuk (knee) will be out for the next three weeks, Ted Kulfan of the Detroit News reports. (3/5/2014)
Henrik Zetterberg, LW - Zetterberg underwent surgery Friday to remove part of a disc in his back, and the Red Wings are optimistic that he will be able to play again this season, MLive.com reports. (2/21/2014)
Mikael Samuelsson, RW - Samuelsson (shoulder) skated with fellow injured forwards Stephen Weiss and Darren Helm before Thursday's practice, MLive.com's Ansar Khan reports. (3/13/2014)
Joakim Andersson, C - Andersson has a broken left foot and will be out for at least the next couple of weeks, Helene St. James of the Detroit Free Press reports. (3/10/2014)
Darren Helm, C - Detroit coach Mike Babcock said after Friday's win he hopes to have Helm (concussion) back for Tuesday's home game against Toronto. (3/15/2014)
Jonas Gustavsson, G - Gustavsson (groin) left the ice early during Thursday's practice, suggesting he won't be available Friday vs. the Oilers, Chuck Pleiness of the Macomb Daily reports. (3/13/2014)
Tomas Jurco, RW - Jurco confirmed Thursday that he is suffering from a broken rib, Chuck Pleiness of the Macomb Daily reports. (3/13/2014)
Alexey Marchenko, D - Marchenko is expected to miss the rest of the season with a severe high-ankle sprain, MLive.com's Peter J. Wallner reports. (2/26/2014)
Chicago Blackhawks
Marian Hossa, RW - Hossa (upper body) will likely play in Sunday's game against the Red Wings, CSN's Tracey Myers reports. (3/15/2014)
Nikolai Khabibulin, G - Khabibulin had successful surgery to repair a torn rotator cuff in his right shoulder and will miss four-to-five months, Chris Kuc of the Chicago Tribune reports. (1/7/2014)
Dallas Stars
Shawn Horcoff, C - Horcoff (upper body) did not travel with the Stars to Winnipeg for Sunday's game, and it's unclear whether he will be able to play during his team's upcoming three-game road trip, the Dallas Morning News reports. (3/15/2014)
Kari Lehtonen, G - Lehtonen took to the ice with the team on Saturday morning, according to NHL.com's Mark Stepneski. (3/15/2014)
Alex Goligoski, D - Goligoski suffered a minor injury Friday but is expected to play in Sunday's game against Winnipeg, the Dallas Morning News reports. (3/15/2014)
Rich Peverley, RW - Peverley (chest) has been released from the hospital, NHL.com's Mark Stepneski reports. (3/13/2014)
Cody Eakin, C - Stars coach Lindy Ruff said Saturday that he expects Eakin (lower body) to play in Sunday's game against Winnipeg, the Stars' official website reports. "Eakin, I would anticipate him being ready to play," Ruff said. "We got him out there, he felt pretty good and as a precaution I told him to go off and get an off-ice workout." (3/15/2014)
Winnipeg Jets
Mark Scheifele, C - Coach Paul Maurice said Scheifele (knee) has recovered as anticipated thus far. (3/14/2014)
John Albert, C - Albert (upper body) won’t play Wednesday against the Canucks, Ken Wiebe of the Winnipeg Sun reports. (3/12/2014)
James Wright, C - Coach Paul Maurice said that Wright is dealing with an ankle sprain and will be out indefinitely. (3/3/2014)
Grant Clitsome, D - Clitsome has undergone season-ending back surgery, Ken Wiebe of the Winnipeg Sun reports. (1/17/2014)
Ondrej Pavelec, G - Pavelec left Friday's game against the Rangers with a lower-body injury, TSN's Sara Orlesky reports. (3/14/2014)
Chris Thorburn, RW - Thorburn left Friday's game early in the first period with an undisclosed injury. (3/15/2014)

Hot
Phil Kessel W, TOR – Nobody in the NHL has been as hot as the Toronto sniper in 2014. In the New Year, Kessel has 14 goals and 22 assists for 36 points in 27 games; that same hot streak extended over to the Olympics where he and line mate James van Riemsdyk were equally as hot. When Toronto takes the ice on Sunday against Washington, it will be a battle of snipers, and right now Kessel is the best there is.
James van Riemsdyk W, TOR – One might be mistaken for assuming that JVR is simply the beneficiary of Phil Kessel’s fantastic play; in 2014, he has 12 goals and 14 assists for 26 points, which when combined with Kessel’s own 36 points, makes up the hottest duo in the league. One cannot talk about how hot Kessel has been without also mentioning JVR.
Bryan Little C, WPG – With 54 points in 68 games, Little has already eclipsed his career best year of 2008-2009 where he had 51 points in 79 games. In the last week, Little has recorded one goal and four assists in three games, including 2 power play points and a +1. That’s hot by anybody’s definition.

Cold
Henrik Sedin C, VAN – With one point since the middle of January, no elite star in the league has been colder than Henrik. Granted, his brother/line mate has been out due to injury, but he’s a fantastic talent in his own right.
Bobby Ryan W, OTT – Since the beginning of February, Ryan has been ice cold by his standards. His two goals and two assists in 12 games has been far below the expected output for him, and even worse, his -5 play in that span has actually cost his team.
Ryan Nugent-Hopkins C, EDM – Just like Bobby Ryan, since the beginning of February, this young gun has fallen off the map with just awful play. In the 12 games since, he has just two assists and is a -5, also not unlike Ryan. This is unlikely just to be a cold snap – this is more likely a cold season for Hopkins and his entire line (and team).

Recommended Pickup
Scott Hartnell LW, PHI – Sunday’s game against Pittsburgh is almost certain to turn ugly, and you know that in the middle of that ugliness will be Scott Hartnell. During the amazing playoff series a few years ago with Pittsburgh, Hartnell was the sparkplug that helped the Flyers overturn the Penguins in possibly the best hockey series of all time. I expect that the same will hold true on Sunday, and Hartnell will be the player to have at the end of the day – possibly a “Gordie Howe hat trick”.

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