This is it everybody, the final week of the season! If you’re still reading this, hopefully that means you’ve made it to the championship during this final week, although I know a lot of head-to-head leagues have ended already. Unfortunately for the remaining head-to-head leagues, there are only six days left in the season with all of the teams in the NHL playing on Saturday for the regular season finale. I’ll discuss this more in the Weekly Breakdown below.
For those of you in Roto and Points leagues, it’s time max out those positions if you haven’t already and good luck to you all in this final week. Hopefully you’ve gotten the best out of your squad up to this point.
So, let’s get right into it in the final Looking Ahead of the season.
DISCLAIMER: All stats are up to Sunday afternoon, 4/1.
Here is the weekly breakdown for this upcoming week, April 2 – April 7:
4 GAMES: TBL
3 GAMES: ANA, BOS, BUF, CAR, CBJ, DAL, DET, EDM, FLA, LAK, MIN, MON, NAS, NJD, NYI, NYR, OTT, PHI, PHX, PIT, SJS, STL, TOR, VAN, WAS, WPG
2 GAMES: CGY, CHI, COL
As discussed above, it’s going to be an unusual week for those of you that are still playing as there is only one team playing four games and three teams playing two games while the week only lasts between Monday and Saturday. As you’ll see below, it will be all about those teams with the big superstars and not a deep bench that will be most effective this week…
MON – 2 games
TUES – 10 games
WED – 2 games
THU – 14 games
FRI – 1 game
SAT – 15 games
Definitely not optimal conditions during this short six-day final week. As you can also see and what I was talking about above, there are going to be three HUGE days and three very slow days. Almost every team in the NHL that plays three games in Week 25 is playing on Tuesday, Thursday, and Saturday, which means that there are going to be tons of sit/start decisions. Not a good week for those of you that relied on a deep bench to earn your success for most of the season.
Players from the Tampa Bay Lightning are going to be your friends in this final week, as they are only one of two teams that play twice on the slow days (and not to mention the only team playing four games). Perhaps look to pick up the 15% owned (in Yahoo) Ryan Malone. Not a lot of great options here, though. The only other team playing twice on the slow days is the St. Louis Blues. Perhaps T.J. Oshie, available in about 40% of leagues, can help you on this very important week.
ON THE ROAD AGAIN
These teams are playing all of their games on the road so be aware that fatigue may play a factor in their play:
These teams are playing all of their games at home this week so they should be rested and practicing:
CGY, COL. As you can see, there is going to be a lot of travel in this final week.
B2B: BACKUPS TO SEE ACTION?
All of these teams are scheduled to play in back-to-back games this upcoming week, so there are good chances that these teams’ respective backup goaltenders could see some action:
DET, MON, PHX, STL, TBL
Not a lot of options here, and beware that DET, PHX, and STL will all still be looking to lock in their position in the playoffs so they will more than likely be riding the hot hand, especially Detroit and Phoenix. Once again, this week is not for the deep teams but for the ones with the best starters.
Teams that have the best win streaks currently in the NHL as of Sunday Afternoon:
VAN – 6 wins
OTT – 4 wins
NJD – 3 wins
CBJ – 3 wins
Vancouver has steamed back into first in the West and is currently tied for first in the league as well with a six-game winning streak While Ottawa has clinched a playoff spot this year with Craig Anderson going 4-1-0 in his five starts since returning from injury. New Jersey has also clinched a playoff spot with their three straight wins resulting from solid play, especially form widely owned Ilya Kovalchuk. Columbus on the other hand has been doing a good job of trying to play spoiler with their three wins in a row against some tough Western Conference foes.
Teams that have the longest current streaks in the NHL without collecting a point as of Sunday afternoon:
DAL – 3-6-0 past 9 games
BUF – 2 losses
CGY – 2-4-4 past 10 games
DET – 3-5-2 past 10 games
Dallas has found themselves currently sitting outside of the playoff picture after being in the Pacific Division lead for much of the past month or two. With their dismal recent play and tough final schedule (SJS, @NAS, STL), it might now be difficult for them to make the playoffs at all. Calgary has done a similar job lately and has played themselves out of the playoffs altogether. Detroit too has been struggling recently and will now be fighting with Nashville for home advantage in the playoffs instead of with St. Louis for the Central lead. Buffalo, like Dallas, will be fighting for their playoff lives these next three games as they sit two points behind Washington for that final 8
Now let’s take a look at a couple of the most favorable matchups of the week:
Tampa Bay Lightning – Opponents: WAS, @MTL+@TOR, @WPG – Although they won’t be playing for a playoff spot, the Tampa Bay lightning have a solid final schedule to try to help Steven Stamkos to hit that 60 goal mark, and that could bode well for fantasy owners. Being the only team that plays four games during the week whilst two of those games are on very slow days definitely doesn’t hurt at all either. First up is Washington on Monday, whom they are 2-1-2 against so far this season with 16 goals scored in those 5 games. Next are back-to-back road games on Wednesday and Thursday against Montreal and Toronto, whom they are 2-1-0 and 0-3-0 against so far this season. However, with the way these two teams have been playing lately, the Lightning’s chances of scoring a good amount of goals should be high. Finally, they face the Jets on Saturday where they are 2-2-1 against them this season. If for no other reason than they are playing twice in the four games on Monday and Wednesday, get your Lightning out there.
St. Louis Blues – Opponents: DET, PHX, @DAL – Like Tampa Bay, the Blues play two of their games during the final week of the season on two of the slow days. They are playing in one of the two games on Wednesday versus Detroit and in the only game being played on Friday versus the Coyotes. They then wrap up the week on Saturday versus Dallas. They are currently 2-3-0 against Detroit and 3-0-0 against Phoenix, scoring 11 goals in those three wins against the Yotes while only allowing three. They are then 2-1-0 against Dallas. Do like you normally do and get your Blues out there.
Vancouver Canucks – Opponents: ANA, @CGY, EDM – Like the Blues, the Canucks are also combatting for not only the top seed in the West but for the top spot in the entire league and become one of the rare teams to win the President's trophy in back-to-back years. They have a nice looking schedule during the final week to help them accomplish that as well as none of their remaining opponents are in the playoff hunt any longer. Unlike the other two teams however, the Canucks are playing all of their games on the busiest nights of the week. First up are the Ducks, whom they are 1-2-0 against so far this season with 10 goals scored against. Then they face the Flames, where they have a 16-10 goals advantage while going 3-1-1 against. Finally, they face the lowly Oilers whom they are 4-1-0 against this season while outscoring them 19-13. Do like you always do and get your Canucks out there. And it’s no sure thing, but there may be a small chance that Daniel Sedin tries to get in a game before the playoffs start.
...And the least favorable matchups of the week:
Calgary Flames – Opponents: VAN, ANA – Although not techincally mathematically out of the playoffs yet, If any one of about five of the current Western Conference playoff teams win one more game this season then they will be out of it, so the Flames really won’t have much to play for in Week 25. To top it off, they are one of the three teams playing only two games while both games are on the two busiest nights of the week, Thursday and Saturday. The Flames are 2-2-1 against Vancouver so far this season with only 10 goals scored against them while they are 1-1-1 against the Ducks while only scoring five goals against them. Since there are 27 and 29 more teams playing on Thursday and Saturday respectively, there should be a plethora of better options available.
Dallas Stars – Opponents: SJS, @NAS, STL – The Dallas Stars have an incredibly tough final schedule that will make or break their playoff chances, and maybe your season as well. They play all of their games on the busiest nights of the week starting with San Jose, whom they are only 1-4-0 against so far this season while being outscored at a whopping 9-20 rate. Then they are traveling to Nashville, where they will be competing against a team that will be trying to earn home advantage in the playoffs. Statistically, this game will be their best chance to win as they are 2-1-0 against them while outscoring them 12-7. However, their last game of the season is against a team that will be fighting with the Canucks and Rangers to be the top team in the league. The Stars are 1-2-0 against the Blues so far this season with only 6 goals scored as well. If you own anyone other than Dallas’ top line of Loui Eriksson, Mike Ribiero, and Michael Ryder, I’d probably look for others to start during this crucial week.
As always, good luck in this final week and feel free to shoot me any questions on twitter @G_Rees or post any questions or comments below. It’s been a pleasure writing for all of you this season. I hope that league championship is yours!