If you've been here before you know the routine: live blogging from me and our readers throughout tonight's games, plus our over/under/pick 'em competition, where we invite you to try and pick the winner, over/under and game winning goal scorer from each game.
Big night tonight with 24 teams in action, so approximately 80% of your fantasy team is dressed. If your league has no playoffs, you are in one of three positions:
C. Running away with it.
I'm in four leagues this year: two keepers (both ten team roto leagues with 17 keepers) and two single season leagues (one points-only w/ 11 teams and the other is the FHS Beta H2H league w/ 12 teams).
In the keeper leagues, I'm in 1st and 4th. In the single season leagues, I'm in 1st in the points league and 5th in the FHS league. Only the top six teams make the H2H playoffs, so I'm on the bubble there and at this point am just hoping to hang on to my seed and get lucky in the playoffs.
Pretty damn exciting time of year though, and feel free to share in the comments how well you have (or haven't) done in your leagues this year. Lucky streaks? Bad beats? Easy street? We want to know!
After the jump, we'll look at tonight's games, and soon - very soon - the madness will begin.
Buffalo Sabres @ Boston Bruins
New York Islanders @ New Jersey Devils
Florida Panthers @ Philadelphia Flyers
Tampa Bay Lightning @ Washington Capitals
Los Angeles Kings @ Columbus Blue Jackets
New York Rangers @ Ottawa Senators
Anaheim Ducks @ St. Louis Blues
Colorado Avalanche @ Nashville Predators
San Jose Sharks @ Dallas Stars
Minnesota Wild @ Phoenix Coyotes
Montreal Canadiens @ Edmonton Oilers
Winnipeg Jets @ Vancouver Canucks
We asked you to:
1. Submit your pick for the winning team for each game (1 point for each correct pick)
2. Based on an over/under of 5.5 goals, submit your pick for over or under for each game. (1 point for each correct pick)
3. Submit your pick for the game winning goal scorer in each game. Shootout winners count as a GWG. (1 point for each correct pick)
So the holy grail is the elusive "triple"- getting all three picks right in a single game. Last week we had a surprising six triples, including two from Calvin, our eventual winner. Two triples in one evening is still the record, but with twelve games tonight, that record is ripe to be broken.
Without further delay, here is the link to your good friend and my worst enemy....the Scoreboard!
21 entries tonight, and I noticed a few interesting trends: only Baxpens, AnyoneButVancouver and Michael Benedicks picked the Panthers to beat Philly. In that same game, only Baxpens and team barlie picked the under. MasterOfPuppets, slicktee519 and Jay Meyer have the only over picks for ANA@STL. A surprising seven entries picked Winnipeg to hand Vancouver what would be only their ninth home loss of the year. 11 of 22 entries (including me) picked either Alex Ovechkin or Steven Stamkos for the GWG in the Caps/Bolts game. Go figure.
Speaking of Stamkos, he's at 48 goals now, and with Vokoun making his first appearance in over two weeks, tonight could be the night for Stammer's 50th.
Looks like tonight is backup night for goalies, as Jonathan Bernier, Martin Biron, Ben Bishop, Josh Harding, Jason LaBarbera, Peter Budaj and Cory Schneider are all confirmed to start, and we might also see Jhonas Enroth and Dustin Tokarski too (not confirmed).
I'll be back in about an hour for puck drop in Boston, Jersey, Philly, DC and Columbus. But first...to the Crown Royal distillery for a quick factory tour, extended tasting and souvenir! glass!
Games are underway, and Tampa continues to show their confidence in Roloson by giving Dustin Tokarski his third NHL start tonight.
I'm watching the TAM/WAS game as Stamkos vs. Ovechkin is too much to pass up.
Early goal in Jersey and Kovalchuk has his 27th of the year and second in two games after a bit of a drought.
Brayden Schenn with the PPG to put Philly up 1-0 on Florida. Assists to (who else) Giroux and Carle.
Rangers/Senators about to get underway in Ottawa. With Bishop vs. Birom, this one could go waaay over.
Kopitar has his 20th of the year, shorthanded from Dustin Brown. Brown has been on a big roll lately with 6+6=12 in his last eight games.
Goals are rolling now. Callahan (26) in Ottawa. Pominvile (25) in Boston, Zack Smith (14) in Ottawa, and Jack Johnson (10) has the Jackets up 2-1 over the Kings. I suspect that goal feels pretty good for JJ.
Kovalchuk has his second of the night, as does Mark Letestu. As per Chris Nichols, Letestu is playing on a line with Vinny Propal and Cam Atkinson. Jackets are up 3-1 and are looking for their fourth straight win. Am I dreaming?
Philly is up 3-0 and Mr. Scott Hartnell has his 32nd of the year. 32nd!!!! Love this player. Lean back, relax and travel back in time with me to my Nov. 11 Random Notes column:
"From Dobber's Nov. 15 ramblings: "Scott Hartnell has just one point in his last five games, so the ‘sell high' window has closed. You know what you're getting with this guy, so dreaming that he would get 80 points was just that - a dream." Well, after Scotty's three point performance yesterday, he's on pace for 69 points. That surely won't last, but if he sticks with Giroux all year and continues to see decent PP time, is it that unrealistic to see Hartnell getting 60? He'd need 44 points in his remaining 63 games, a .70 PPG pace. His average over the last four years is just over .60 PPG. If anyone can help make up that deficit, it's Claude Giroux. Hartnell hit 60 points once before, in 08-09, and three times that season he had stretches of five games or more with just a single point. Slumps are normal, even for high achievers. Those who "sold high" on Hartnell that year probably lost championships because of it. My point is this: when Hartnell's upsurge can be so obviously attributed to one factor (Giroux), for me Scotty becomes more "stay high" candidate than "sell high" candidate. Or, put it this way: are you going to win your pool this year because you took Stamkos 4th overall and he got you 90 points? No. But if you took Hartnell in the 9th and he ends up with a career year on Giroux's wing, well, that's the type of surprise that could really make a difference."
Please join me in congratulating Scott Hartnell on his 60th point of the season. With 16 games to spare.
Teddy Purcell is having yet another big game as he's 1+1=2 and has his 20th goal of the year to put the Bolts up 2-1.
FHS golden boy Roman Josi has his 11th assist and he's 2+4=6 in his last seven games. If Nashville fails to re-sign Suter or Weber, look the fuck out for Josi next year. He may in fact be the reason why they can let Suter or Weber go.
Josi's assist has been changed to his 5th goal of the year.
Kovy with the hat trick and all of a sudden he's got 29 goals on the year.
Jagr has Philly up four zip. Always interesting to look at Philly's line combos, again as per Chris Nichols at Sportsnet:
Fell awkwardly into the boards, hasn't come back
by jsuites on Mar 8, 2012 6:08 PM PST reply actions
He's back. This is great:
Corey Perry doesn't get hurt. He just takes extra time contemplating how to decapitate the guilty party. #fact
by jsuites on Mar 8, 2012 6:12 PM PST up reply actions
Clarkson with his 27th(!) and this guy is officially a keeper for me. We also have our first over as Jersey is up 5-1 over the Isles. We were pretty evenly split with 10 unders and 11 overs.
Boston has a couple of late ones - Boychuk and Krejci have the Bs up 3-1 with three minutes left.
Kyle Turris has the Sens up 3-1 in the third and Ottawa continues to amaze. This is why I dropped Biron.
David Backes has his 20th of the year and he's on pace for 23+32=55, plus-23, 111 PIM and 234 SOG.
Five games have wrapped up, and four of them are unders. Spreadsheet time. Please, no.
I've updated the scoreboard through six games, and so far we have a first place tie between AnyoneButVancouver and MasterOfPuppets. ABV called the triple with WAS/under/Ovie while MoP has a triple of his own with NJD/over/Kovie. Nice going guys, six games to go...
Jamie Benn just took over the game. Look out for Dallas in the playoffs. Serious dark horse material.
Josh Harding and Steve Mason are both out with injuries tonight. I believe I may join them on the IR list. Long day.
Last night my wife and I stayed up a little late with some red wine. I should probably start fantasy blogging about her.
14+12=26 in her last twelve games. Perpetual hot streak.
Although he's a self-made asshole, mjm44 was probably right in his gentle critique of my intro today. I really enjoy the writing thing, and sometimes it flows, but today is kind of coming out like that tiny shit you wish were a lot bigger.
Skillz comp in Dallas. HUGE win for Lehtonen and the Stars. Kari stopped all five shootout attempts.
If fantasy hockey blogging had referees, I would seriously be out for the game.
Congratulations to mjm44 and joshhh for winning tonight's comp. Joshhh had the Ovechkin triple, while mjm44 was not skunked in a single game. Well done, see y'all soon.