Crashing the Net takes you around the league touching on hot and cold players, battles for ice-time and what's going on in net.
Paul Stastny, Avalanche
After suiting up for a successful USA squad in the Olympics, Stastny has kept the good feelings flowing in Colorado as he had upped his point-scoring streak to nine games (16 points) before losing it in his last trip to the ice. As a result of the run of points, he now has 70 points in 71 contests, leaving him just short of the point-per-game pace that he has flashed during his four-year career (255 points in 264 games). Stastny hasn't just been dishing the puck off, either; he has scored five goals in his last five games, and is now three goals short of a third season of 20 goals (he scored 11 times last season in 45 games). Continue to ride Stastny as your No. 2 center because the points are a coming fast and furious for the former second round draft selection.
Vincent Lecavalier, Lightning
Here are the up and down point totals for Lecavalier the past six years: 66, 75, 108, 92, 67 and 64. That's a roller coaster ride that could make you spill your lunch, if you know what I mean. Barring a frantic final push, he'll end the year with his worst goals total since 2001 (he has 22 goals after scoring at least 29 goals in each of the past six years). On the plus side, Lecavalier has really been on point of late with points in six of seven games and a total of seven goals and nine points in his 10 games. He is a (-6) in that time, so he hasn't been exactly playing responsible hockey, but after a season-long lull in his production, his owners are likely counting their lucky stars that at least he is lighting the lamp with frequency.
Lubomir Visnovsky, Ducks
The Ducks made the move to add this expensive ($14 million the next three years) yet effective offensive force at the trade deadline in exchange for Ryan Whitney. The move has paid off in spades early on. Visnovsky has recorded seven points in eight games, with an impressive five goals, playing in warm weather California instead of often frigid Edmonton. Visnovsky can score, knows how to run a power-play with the best of them, and is clearly in a place where he has a chance to be a difference maker in fantasy pools down the stretch. "We talked about him being able to run a power play from up top and be an offensive threat when he had the puck," Ducks coach Randy Carlyle said. "He's been able to do that."
David Legwand, Predators
Thirty. No, that isn't Legwand's age (he is 29), and it isn't the amount of drinks I downed while I was at Las Vegas this past weekend for the National Fantasy Baseball Championship (that number was probably closer to 40 -- I mean I was there for four days). He has been an "even" skater in those 30 games, so he hasn't been killing you there, and he does have 10 assists, but that isn't nearly enough to wash away the stain of what has been a pretty awful couple of months for Legwand on the offensive side of the puck (he has been skating on a checking line with Jerred Smithson and Joel Ward). Overall, Legwand has 10 goals and 36 points in 73 games, this after a season of 20 goals and 42 points in 73 games last year, clearly leaving his owners wanting more.
Jamie McBain, Hurricanes
Jamie who? You had better learn the name of this 2006 second round draft pick. After growing up as a forward, McBain moved to the blue line in 8th grade and since that time has flashed plenty of offensive potential from the back end. "I'm a guy who likes to get in the offense," McBain said. "I like to shoot." McBain starred in college as he was a Hobey Baker finalist during his junior season and was named the WCHA Player of the Year, and now he is trying to do the same thing in the bigs. In his first four NHL games, those skills have been at the fore with four assists and a +2 rating. With two of the points coming with the man advantage, you don't need any further proof to see that he is a must add if you need some scoring from the blue line for the stretch run.
James van Riemsdyk, Flyers
The rookie winger has 14 goals and 19 assists on the year, certainly a fine first year effort. Unfortunately, his production has dried up like my wallet at the poker table in Vegas (yes, I'm still having nightmares about that tough beat on that full house). Here is how bad it has been of late. JVR has just one goal in his last 15 games, and he has actually gone 11 games without a goal. Moreover, he doesn't have an assist since Jan. 28, that's a stretch of 20 flippin' games. At this point JVR is about as useful as that poker chip I found in my pocket when I got off the airplane at home (for some reason, the guy at the grocery store told me they don't consider Bellagio chips to be legal tender).
Todd Bertuzzi, Red Wings
Dan Cleary is out with a groin injury, and Patrick Eaves is out with a possible head injury. Neither is expected to miss an extended period of time, but the upshot is that Bertuzzi will now skate on the second line with Henrik Zetterberg and Valtteri Filppula. Big Bert scored his 16th goal in his last game, his first marker since Jan. 23, so it's not like you should expect Bertuzzi to blow up. At the same time, skating with Big "Z" is a huge boon to anyone, and it figures to give Bertuzzi his best chance to return to fantasy relevance.
Cory Stillman, Panthers
Coach Peter DeBoer switched up his lines, taking David Booth off the top line and replacing him the grizzled veteran that is Stillman. In their first game together on Sunday, Stillman, Stephen Weiss and Nathan Horton combined for six points. That's coaching for you folks. "We're just trying to get something going,'' DeBoer said. "Booth, we wanted to get some speed with [Steven] Reinprecht, so we moved him down." Stillman isn't likely to blow up, but he does have 15 goals in 51 games this season and clearly is skating with some very talented line mates at the moment so don't let him languish on waivers if you need some help on the wing.
Alex Tanguay, Lightning
Martin St. Louis has piled up the points, 83 in 72 games, but he has been held goal-less in his last seven games. To hopefully jump start his goal scoring, the Bolts shook up the lines with the upshot being that Tanguay was placed in a line with Steve Downie and Steve Stamkos. Tanguay has been a big disappointment with a mere 34 points 70 games, and his total of nine goals on the year is pitiful. Perhaps he'll be able to go on a nice run to end the year with these new line mates? After all, Stamkos leads the team in goals (43), Downie in penalty minutes (200), so Tanguay is in a pretty good spot to return to the scorer he has been virtually his whole career (0.84 points per game) -- that is if he can stay in the lineup (he was a healthy scratch on Saturday).
Brian Boucher, Flyers
Ray Emery is done for the year. Michael Leighton stepped up and performed exceedingly well going 16-5-2 with a .918 save percentage. Alas, he injured his ankle and will likely miss eight weeks of game action. This mess will force the Flyers to turn to veteran Boucher in net. Boucher has been terrible this season going 5-14-2 with a poor .897 save percentage. He hasn't been any better since the NHL game got back underway after the Olympics, going 1-3-1 with a .901 save percentage. Boucher was terrific with the Sharks last season, going 12-6-3 with a .917 save percentage, and the Flyers will need that level of play if they hope to make any noise in the playoffs. If you need starts in net, and somehow Boucher is still available, well, at least he'll be making the starts.
Johan Hedberg, Thrashers
This 36-year-old netminder has been a poor option in net the past three years, and in fact he hasn't posted a save percentage of .900 since way back in 2003. For those that took a gamble early on when the since departed Kari Lehtonen was hurt, the return has been surprisingly strong. Hedberg is 19-13-5 this year, and his current save percentage of .914 would not only be a career best (previous .905), it's actually the same mark as Martin Brodeur. Hedberg hasn't been great of late with a 3.03 GAA and a 5-4 mark in March, but he has won 3-straight games, and there is certainly some value in that.
Pekka Rinne, Predators
Dan Ellis better find his favorite cap and learn to enjoy his time on the bench because he doesn't figure to get into much game action moving forward. The Blues have won six straight games, and Pekka Rinne has been a huge part of that run as he recently lost a 149:04 stretch of scoreless work in net that helped to lead to a personal 8-1 record since the Olympic break. That's a stupendous .889 winning percentage. Rinne hasn't been sneaking by either; he has been fantabulistic with a 1.75 GAA, a .935 save percentage and three shutouts. He may be tending the best net in the game at the moment.
Jose Theodore, Capitals
Thought to be nothing more than a backup this season after Semyon Varlamov played so well last year in the playoffs, all Theodore has done this year is win. He hasn't just done well either, he has excelled with a 26-7-6 record. In fact, he is the only keeper in the league with more than 19 victories this year who has lost less than 10 games in regulation. This year his ratios aren't great (a 2.76 GAA and a .911 save percentage), but since the Olympic Games he has been en fuego, with a 6-0 record, 1.81 GAA and a .939 save percentage. Moreover, Theodore is 16-0-2 since mid January. With play like that, who cares if the guy uses Rogaine?
* Twelve teams play four games this week: Calgary, Colorado, Columbus, Detroit, Los Angeles, Montreal, New Jersey, Ottawa, Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, San Jose and Toronto.
* No teams play two games this week.