H2H Faceoff: The Fantasy Hockey Playoffs

Updated: March 15, 2011 at 4:45 pm by Mollie Krupp

Head-to-Head Faceoff is a weekly column by Mollie Krupp which will run every Sunday and continue into Monday. Here you’ll find a breakdown of each team’s schedule for the week as well as which goalies you can expect to see in net so you can make sure to set your fantasy rosters accordingly.

If you’ve made it to playoffs chances are your team is either pretty good or pretty lucky, but how’s your goalie sitch? If you’re hanging onto a goalie you are unsure about, now might be the time explore your other options. Check out the free agents in your league and look at their recent stats, several teams are fighting for their playoff spots right now which may mean a surge in the performance of goalies that may have been less than worthy of a spot on your roster before.

Four Games

Habs (Was, TB, @NYR, @Min) Carey Price has won five of his last six games, including shutting out both the Penguins and Panthers. The Habs have back-to-back games this week, which may give Price a break if he needs it, giving Alex Auld a start, but the obvious choice for the Habs for all you lucky fantasy owners is Price. Play him with confidence.

Devils (Atl, @Ott, Was, @Cls) Since returning to the lineup Martin Brodeur has won the majority of his games. Both Brodeur and Johan Hedberg have been solid for the Devils in the past few weeks. The Devils face back-to-back games this week. Brodeur will get the majority but Hedberg should get one start and if he’s free in your league, he may be worth a pickup for the night.

Leafs (TB, @Car, @Fla, Bos) James Reimer has been the number-one goalie for the Leafs for the past month and should continue in this heavy week for the Leafs. With back-to-back games, Jean-Sebastien Giguere should also see a start, but Reimer has been strong for the Leafs despite losing his last four.

Blue Jackets (Bos, Det, @Min, NJ) With back-to-back games this week the Blue Jackets will start both Mathieu Garon and Steve Mason in net. Mason has the majority of starts for his team recently. The Blue Jackets face a heavy week in which they’ll be looking to end their losing streak.

Wild (@Van, @SJ, Cls, Mon) Jose Theodore gave up four goals to Dallas on Friday and has won only one of his last four starts. Niklas Backstrom allowed four goals against Nashville while his team was shutout last Thursday. With a heavy week, both goalies will start this week, if one of them can hit a hot streak, he’ll get himself the majority of starts.

Preds (LA, Bos, Det, @Buf) The Preds have a busy week with back-to-back games but Rinne has been strong for the Preds with two shutouts in his past five games. He’ll be net for the majority of the week, if not all of it.

Coyotes (@Cgy, @Edm, @Van, Chi) Ilya Bryzgalov stopped 39 shots on Thursday shutting out the Flames. The Coyotes have only won two of their last seven games, but that doesn’t take away from Bryzgalov’s fantasy value to his owners. They’ve got a busy week, so keep an eye on the starting goalie page on game days, to see if Jason LaBarbera gets a start to give Bryz a break.

Sharks (@Chi, @Dal, Min, StL) Antti Niemi has earned his spot as number-one goalie for the Sharks. He had eight consecutive wins for his team before losing to Dallas on the March 5th. Looking back to the beginning of the season when the Sharks juggled Niemi and Antero Niittymaki hoping one would step up, Niemi’s come a long way. Niitty will be giving Niemi a rest soon, this week would be ideal for his come back, Niemi is ready for a break and the team has a heavy week.

Three Games

Ducks (StL, @LA, Cgy) There isn’t any word on the return of Jonas Hiller and it is yet to be decided if he will return this season at all. Dan Ellis has won five of his last six games. He’s taken over as number-one goalie in Hiller’s absence. If he keeps his hot hand he could see all three starts this week. The Ducks do have back-to-back games, so Emery may step in if necessary.

Thrashers (@NJ, Phi, @Buf) Ondrej Pavelec has had three consecutive starts since returning to the lineup. Check back game days to set your lineups, it’s possible both Chris Mason and Pavelec will see starts this week.

Bruins (@Cls, @Nsh, @Tor) Tim Thomas has let in at least three goals in each of the last three games he started. Tuukka Rask has won two of his last three starts including a shutout against Ottawa at the beginning of the month. He’s been seeing a few more starts, so he may be in again this week for the Bruins as they look to end their losing streak.

Sabres (Car, Atl, Nsh) The Sabres face back-to-back games this week, which may lead to another start for Jhonas Enroth. Patrick Lalime is DTD and won’t be much help this week, but hasn’t seen a start since January. Enroth allowed two goals against the Wild on March 6th to beat the Wild. Ryan Miller is the obvious and likely choice for the week, but if you’ve got him, check back to be sure he’ll be in all week.

Hurricanes (@Buf, Tor, NYI) Cam Ward has lost his last three but that doesn’t change his status as number-one goalie. The team has back-to-back games, so if Ward needs a break Peters will step in, but Ward has done the back-to-back business before and he probably starts the rest of the way.

Panthers (Phi, Tor, NYI) Scott Clemmensen lost his last four starts before playing Tampa Bay on Saturday. Clemmensen made 35 saves and allowed 3 goals to take the win against the Lightning 4-3. Look for Tomas Vokoun to take most of the remaining games.

Islanders (@NYR, @Car, @Fla) Rick DiPietro practiced this week with his team this week, although there is no word yet about his return. Al Montoya continues to be the starting goalie in his absence winning four of his last six starts for the Islanders.

Rangers (NYI, Mon, @Pit) Henrik Lundqvist will carry the load for his team for the last few weeks before playoffs. He’s a safe bet to put in your lineups whenever the Rangers have a game.

Senators (Pit, NJ, TB) Curtis McElhinney started for the first time for the Sens against the Tampa Bay on Friday. It was a good start for McElhinney, he allowed only one goal on 35 shots getting his first win for the team. Although he had a strong performance, Craig Anderson will continue to be the starting goalie this week, but it’s good to know McElhinney can hold up his end if Anderson needs a break.

Flyers (@Fla, @Atl, @Dal) Bobrovsky has seen the majority of starts lately but let his team down when he faced the Thrashers on Saturday, allowing five goals. Boucher won for his team against the Leafs allowing only two goals. Bob has only won one of his last five starts, if he doesn’t step it up, Boucher could see a few more starts. Check back game days, as usual, to see what the Flyers decide to do.

Lightning (@Tor, @Mon, @Ott) Roloson has only one win in five starts but has been strong for the Lightning since the trade and will continue to start as the Bolts hit the road this week.

Caps (@Mon, @Det, @NJ) With Semyon Varlamov out with a lower body injury and Michal Neuvirth listed as DTD, Braden Holtby will man the net. Holtby stepped in for Neuvirth when he left the game on Monday. He has three consecutive win since taking over in net for the Caps, including a shutout against the Oilers. If you are looking for some extra points this week, Holtby could be the way to go.

Flames (Pho, Col, @Anh) Miikka Kiprusoff allowed four goals against the Canucks on Saturday making the two losses in a row for the Flames. Kip is still a strong fantasy option, before his Vancouver loss he had three consecutive wins for the Flames. He’ll be in net this week.

Blackhawks (SJ, @Dal, @Pho) Corey Crawford has lost his last two games but before that had an 8-game winning streak. He’s getting the job done for the Blackhawks and seems to have secured his spot as number-one goalie. He’ll start this week, make sure you set him in your lineup this week.

Avs (@Van, @Cgy, @Edm) Colorado hits the road this week as they continue to fight to break their losing streak. They haven’t seen a win since Feb. 22nd. It’s best to avoid Peter Budaj and Brian Elliott right now, if you’ve got other options use them. This could be a good time to rotate a stronger backup goalie, like Holtby or Montoya into the mix.

Stars (SJ, Chi, Phi) The Stars have won three of their last four games. Kari Lehtonen got an easy shutout against the Wild on Friday stopping 14 shots on goal. Lehtonen will continue to start this week for the Stars.

Wings (Was, @Cls, @Nsh) Chris Osgood will be looking to return this week for the Red Wings. He’s likely to get a start against the Blue Jackets on Thursday. Jimmy Howard is healthy and will continue to be the number-one goalie for the Wings but Ozzie fans will be glad to see him back in the lineup this week.

Kings (@Nsh, StL, Anh) Jonathan Quick should see all three starts this week but Jonathan Bernier has proven himself as a stable backup goalie for the Kings making 32 saves on 34 shots and getting a win for his team on Friday.

Blues (@Anh, @LA, @SJ) Jaroslav Halak returned on March 9th and has two wins and a loss under his belt since. He starts strong but fell to Detroit on Saturday allowing five goals. The Blues have back-to-back games so check back to see if Ty Conklin gets a start.

Canucks (Min, Col, Pho) The Canucks have five wins in a row now, three wins for Roberto Luongo and two for Cory Schneider. Luongo will be in net this week, keep him active.

Two Games

Penguins (@Ott, NYR) With a light week for the Penguins Marc-Andre Fleury will start for his team, considering Johnson hasn’t seen a win in awhile. Fleury is clearly the team’s number-one goalie.

Oilers (Pho, Col) Devan Dubnyk was strong against Detroit making 42 saves but it wasn’t enough to beat Datsyuk and his team. Nikolai Khabibulin returned to play Washington on the 9th but gave up five goals to the team. The Oilers are missing some key players which puts even more pressure on these goalies to be solid. Dubnyk may be the likely choice this week for the Oilers.

Home Sweet Home: Oilers, Stars, Senators, Panthers and Sabres
Pack Their Bags: Blues, Avs, Caps, Lightning, Flyers, Islanders and Bruins

March 21-27
4 Games: Penguins, Bruins, Flyers, Senators, Panthers
3 Games: Ducks, Flames, Avs, Blue Jackets, Wings, Oilers, Kings, Preds, Coyotes, Sharks, Blues, Canucks, Thrashers, Sabres, Hurricanes, Habs, Devils, Islanders, Rangers, Lightning, Leafs, Caps
2 Games: Blackhawks, Stars, Wild

We hope you enjoyed our latest as much as we enjoyed writing it. If there are glaring omissions let your voice be heard in the comments. Regardless, make sure to take all of the advice in and continue to check our renowned starting goalies section, which is updated all day until game time and follow us on Twitter @DailyFaceoff

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