Friday's Fantasy Forwards: Kovalchuk Tops
(3/9/12) Ilya Kovalchuk is playing like he's 20 years old again. Now in his second full season in New Jersey, and surrounded by the team's complete cast of talent, Kovalchuk is playing like the superstar the Devils thought they were getting at the trade deadline two seasons ago. Thursday, Kovalchuk recorded the hat trick in the Devils' 5-1 win over the Islanders. He is now one goal away from 30 and the Devils appear to be firing on all cylinders as they head for the playoffs once again. Remember, this team had 12 straight playoff appearances before missing the post-season last year. Of note, David Clarkson scored his 27th, and Zach Parise and rookie Adam Henrique had 2 assists each playing alongside Kovie on the the Devils' top line.
In Boston, Buffalo failed to muster a winning effort, but Jason Pominville scored his 25th, with Thomas Vanek getting his 27th assist. The pair is perhaps the lone bright spot for the Sabres this season. Had Derek Roy not imploded, fantasy owners can only imagine what might have happened this year for the Sabres. For the Bruins, Krejci, Lucic and Seguin combined for the only significant fantasy goal of the game. Sophomore Seguin continues to lead the Bruins in scoring.
In Philly, Scott Hartnell notched his 32nd goal of the year, while Jaromir Jagr was back in the line-up to help round out the Flyers' roster. Jagr had a goal, and Giroux and Briere each had 2 assists as the trio worked on the same PP unit. If the Flyers can stay healthy, they are an opponent that most teams won't want to face in the first round.
In the Southeast Division showdown between Washington and Tampa Bay, Steven Stamkos failed to reach the 50 goal mark, and Alex Ovechkin managed to steal the show by scoring his 27th of the year in overtime. But the true story here continues to be Teddy Purcell, who had another 2 points and now has his scoring streak up to 11 games (7G, 15A, 22 points).
Other significant forward notes: Anze Kopitar notched his 20th in the Kings' 3-1 loss to CLB. Ryan Callahan continued his march to 30 by scoring his 26th in the Rangers' loss to Ottawa. Kyle Turris scored for the second straight game after getting just 1 goal in his previous 14, while Spezza scored his 29th. David Backes (2 goals) and David Perron (2A) teamed up to down the Ducks; Corey Perry collected his 34th. Mike Fisher (NSH) hit the 20 goal plateau faster than he has in any year of his career and currently looks good to set a career high in that category. Despite Joe Thornton's 3A, Michael Ryder scored his 29th and the Stars defeated the Sharks 4-3. Rookie Thomas Vincour (DAL - C) had the tying goal and the shootout clincher in the game, Marleau and Pavelski both scored for SJ. Max Pacioretty hit the 30 goal plateau for the first time in his young career in a 5-3 win over the Oilers. Hall got his 24th in the loss, and MTL forward Desharnais left the game with an injury. Finally, in Vancouver the Sedins were silent once again, but Ryan Kesler scored his 20th, Phalsson notched the difference maker - his first as a Canuck - while Wheeler and Kyle Wellwood counted for the Jets.