Forward Update: Briere, Malone, Bailey, Steen, Upshall
(3/30/12) With the season wrapping up in just over a week's time, there were some encouraging performances on Thursday that fantasy GMs should take note of. First, in Toronto, the Maple Leafs decided to take the night off and apparently allowed a bunch of fans to dress up as the team, but the Flyers refused to join them at the bar and instead proceeded to dish out a 7-1 shellacking. Danny Briere had 4 assists, Wayne Simmonds with 2G and 1A, Jagr with 3A, and rookie Brayden Schenn with 2G and 1A. Sure it was just the Leafs, but the offensive outburst is a good sign in regards to the level at which the Flyers can perform. We like Philly's chances for the second round.
In NJ, the Bolts and the Devils combined for 10 goals. The big fantasy headline is Ryan Malone's hat trick. He has not had a big season (just 18 goals in 63 GP), so if you had him in your starting lineup: congratulations. Otherwise it was one of those nights where the offense was spread out. Stamkos had 1A, St. Louis and Lecavalier with nothing, while Kovalchuk, Clarkson, and Ponikarovsky all had 1G, 1A - Elias and Henrique each with 2A.
Other forward notes: Alex Ovechkin had 2A, and now has 4 goals and 7 points in his last 5 games, as the Caps won a very important shootout victory in Boston. Another goal for Pascal Dupuis in PIT's loss to NYI. Dupuis is now up to 24G, 28A and 52 points - all career highs. Check out what we have to say about him in the FREE 2012 Playoff Draft Guide. Josh Bailey had a 5 point night (2G, 3A) and Okposo also had 2G. With 7 games to go, Bailey is approaching career highs in all three major offensive categories.
Scotty Upshall scored just his second goal of the year in FLA's loss to MIN. Upshall has missed lengthy stints this season due to injury, but when healthy gets to play the PP; Thursday's game was just his 21st of the season. With just 4 points on the year, Upshall has the making of a Round 1 playoff sleeper before the Swamp Cats make for the golf greens.
Alex Steen scored his first goal since returning from concussion in the Blues' loss to Chicago. Perron, Arnott, Sharp and Brunette were the other goal scorers. And finally, in Phoenix, Radim Vrbata scored twice and now has 32 on the year, in the Coyotes' 2-0 blanking of the Sharks - an important loss for SJ, a team that is barely hanging on to its playoff spot.