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Fantasy Hockey Weekend Schedule and Primer

Fantasy hockey heads for the weekend and we spotlight two teams that could hold your fate in their hands.

Joel Ward
Joel Ward

Washington Capitals right wing Joel Ward. Bob DeChiara-USA TODAY Sports

It is that time of year where the weekend is everything. In head to head fantasy hockey playoffs, the weekend almost always determines your fate. Okay, we might be getting a bit over dramatic here but when crunch time arrives you need to be ready. Let’s set up the schedule first.

Weekend NHL Schedule

FRIDAY, MARCH 28, 2014

Teams Notes
Toronto at Philadelphia 7:00 PM 
Pittsburgh at Columbus 7:00 PM 
Chicago at Ottawa 7:30 PM 
Nashville at Dallas 8:30 PM 
NY Rangers at Calgary 9:00 PM 
Anaheim at Edmonton 9:30 PM 

SATURDAY, MARCH 29, 2014

Teams Notes
Boston at Washington 12:30 PM 
San Jose at Colorado 3:00 PM 
Tampa Bay at Buffalo 7:00 PM 
Detroit at Toronto 7:00 PM 
Montreal at Florida 7:00 PM 
New Jersey at NY Islanders 7:00 PM 
Columbus at Carolina 7:00 PM 
Dallas at St. Louis 8:00 PM 
Minnesota at Phoenix 9:00 PM 
Anaheim at Vancouver 10:00 PM 
Winnipeg at Los Angeles 10:00 PM 

SUNDAY, MARCH 30, 2014

Teams Notes
Boston at Philadelphia 12:30 PM 
Calgary at Ottawa 5:00 PM 
Tampa Bay at Detroit 5:00 PM 
Chicago at Pittsburgh 7:30 PM 
Washington at Nashville 8:00 PM 
NY Rangers at Edmonton 8:00 PM 

 

This weekend features a 6-11-6 setup which is a bit more spread out than usual. Typically this time of year, you may see 13 to 15 games on a Saturday with six to eight games on a Sunday. Friday would usually be the lazy day but this one features a half dozen games on the docket. Let’s take a slightly closer look by strategy this time around.

If you are leading, tied, or trailing

Safe is death in some respects. The bottom line is with the overwhelming amount of injuries (and to some big name players), there is no way of knowing what is going to happen from night to night. This has to be played thinking in a cerebral type of strategy. You would like to use a controlled aggressiveness. Either one can take stock of what categories there is a stranglehold on then concentrate on what is close. Some say you should play conservative but all it takes is one day for a comfortable lead to evaporate.

The other thing to do is do not panic. Even if you are being blown out, maybe a bunch of categories are close. There is always a chance. Like I emphasized earlier, there are 23 games to be played over the next three nights. That is just about 42 percent of the games played so all hope is not completely lost.

Anyone can give you this type of advice but the difference is it helps to be a veteran of many fantasy hockey playoffs. Granted, the unexpected can always occur but a little simple advice, a player or two to keep an eye on, and always being interactive on social media never hurts. I think we may just be able to get you through that tough weekend. If not, it really is a case of it just was not meant to be.

Fantasy Pivotal Teams

There are teams that could definitely tip the scales a bit. Here are juts a few.

Detroit Red Wings

Simply Detroit (@TOR, TBL) will drive you crazy. Their offense can still be rather potent as Gustav Nyquist (25 goals) has absolutely torn up the NHL since January 1st. However, injuries and team defense have become an issue as much as the goaltending which has been a bit suspect from time to time. Jimmy Howard has not been able to stay healthy and Detroit’s .888 save percentage is 28th in the NHL since the trade deadline. Henrik Zetterberg and Pavel Datsyuk have been out for most of this crucial stretch. Basically Howard is a guy to stay away from and don’t look at the 5 on 5 save percentage. Woof! If Nyquist regresses at all, that kid line and Detroit suffer. I don’t even trust Johan Franzen for example. Pray Datsyuk can come back soon is all I can say but with the back to back, they are intriguing to watch for fantasy purposes.

Washington Capitals

It is funny that we used two bubble teams as far as being pivotal to your fantasy fates but it is true. This team is one of the worst 5 on 5 that I have seen in the last ten years. Alex Ovechkin has nearly half of his 48 goals on the man advantage (23). The question becomes will Nicklas Backstrom even play this weekend? That answer is not known. If he does, will Backstrom be 100 percent or effective? Again, both of these players 5 on 5 points per 60 minutes are not even in the top 75. That speaks volumes. Washington is going to rely a lot on Jaroslav Halak who is better when facing a lot more rubber unlike what he faced in St. Louis. Washington plays Boston then travels to Nashville. Washington does seem to play well against Boston, especially their second line led by Joel Ward. You may want to play Ward this weekend as he was once a former Predator. It could be a sneaky play.

Good luck this weekend and yes we are going to take all your questions on Twitter @ChrisWasselTHW. Thanks for reading.

 

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