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2 years agoWashington Capitals goaltender Philipp Grubauer will get the nod for Game 1 in the first-round playoff matchup against the Columbus Blue Jackets. Grubauer spent most of the year as Braden Holtby's backup but has started 10 of the last 16 games as Holtby has struggled mightily this year. In 28 appearances this season, the German netminder has gone 15-10-3 with a 2.35 goals-against average and a .923 save percentage. In his only game against Columbus, Grubauer stopped all 18 shots he faced in relief of Holtby, who went on to take the loss. The Caps choosing Grubauer over Holtby could be the difference between an appearance in the Finals and another early exit.--Barry MilesSource: NHL
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2 years agoWashington Capitals forward Alex Ovechkin is coming into the postseason with four goals in his last three games. In four games against the Columbus Blue Jackets this season, Ovi has two goals, two assists and 20 shots. Scoring tends to drop in the playoffs and Ovechkin will likely have to rely more on his physicality than usual, but the with the goal-scoring title locked up, the points should keep rolling. Expect even bigger minutes from the Great Eight in both regulation and on the power play and hope that the Caps can finally put their playoff demons behind them with less pressure on them to succeed than in previous years.--Barry MilesSource: NHL
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2 years agoNew York Rangers goalie Henrik Lundqvist ended the season by giving up five goals to the Philadelphia Flyers, which allowed the Flyers to clinch a playoff spot. This game was a microcosm of the Rangers season, poor defensive play, leading to extra scoring chances for the opposing team. He ended with 35 saves on 40 shots, which again, was about average this season. The youth movement the Rangers pushed forward this year shined through, as the inexperience on defense caused many issues which trickled down, and affected the poor play of Lundqvist.--Tom Vecchio - RotoBallerSource: ESPN.com
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2 years agoToronto Maple Leafs center Auston Matthews scored a goal and an assist in Saturday's 4-2 win over the Montreal Canadiens. With two points on the score sheet, Matthews has now collected at least one point in all nine of the games that he has played in since returning from injury on March 22. With 13 points in those nine games, Matthews heads into the playoffs as one of the hottest players in the league and will be a favorable option in daily formats. Building on a strong rookie season last year, Matthews totaled 63 points in 62 games this season and will be looking to break the 70 point mark for the first time in his career next year.--Russ Ivanac - RotoBallerSource: NHL.com
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2 years agoTampa Bay Lightning defenseman Victor Hedman assisted on a Ryan Callahan goal in the second period of an overtime loss to the Carolina Hurricanes on Saturday. The assist was Hedman's third point in three games after scoring a goal in each of the prior two games. Hedman finishes the year with 63 points and 17 goals, which is tied for the most goals by a defenseman this season. In yet another productive season, Hedman set career highs in goals, shots, and hits, further cementing himself as top five defenseman for fantasy hockey going into next year.--Russ Ivanac - RotoBallerSource: NHL.com
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2 years agoBoston Bruins goaltender Tuukka Rask returns to the crease Sunday after sitting out Saturday night's game against the Ottawa Senators. Rask will start in the final game of the regular season against the Florida Panthers, as the Bruins attempt to lock up the top seed in the Eastern Conference. The Bruins have only won two of their last five games, with Rask earning one of those wins, and have lost two of their three matchups against Florida this season. History aside, the Bruins have every incentive to win this game, while the Panthers have already been eliminated from playoff contention.--Russ Ivanac - RotoBallerSource: Amalie Benjamin
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2 years agoThe Stanley Cup Playoffs begin on Wednesday, April 11, but the San Jose Sharks and Anaheim Ducks won't face off until Thursday, April 12. San Jose has declared a #DuckHunt is right around the corner. The Sharks have beaten the Ducks in three of their four meetings this year, giving them a clear edge in this playoff series. The Sharks have been playing some of their best hockey lately with the addition of Evander Kane. There is also a possibility that Joe Thornton will be back at some point during the postseason. They are sitting pretty, and it appears every line has something to offer. Look for San Jose to make a strong playoff run this year.--Anthony VattimoSource: @SanJoseSharks
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2 years agoPhiladelphia Flyers forward Claude Giroux scored three goals on three shots in a 5-0 blanking of the New York Rangers on Saturday afternoon. He finished the season with 34 goals, 68 assists, and 102 points, all three of them career highs. Giroux has certainly thrown his name in the Hart Trophy race, sitting second overall in the scoring race after missing the 60-point mark last season. Whether it's Travis Konecny or Michael Raffl on the right wing, the duo of Giroux and Sean Couturier are likely to keep scoring into the postseason.--Barry MilesSource: TSN
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2 years agoPhiladelphia Flyers goaltender Brian Elliott made 17 saves in a 5-0 shutout of the New York Rangers Saturday afternoon. The win clinched a playoff berth for the Flyers after missing them entirely after the 2016-17 regular season. Elliott now has back-to-back wins since returning from injury and looks ready for the postseason, though their opponent has yet to be determined. He has played Tampa Bay and Boston each once, and both ended with a win and three goals allowed.--Barry MilesSource: TSN
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2 years agoAlthough neither Sedin brother could get on the stat sheet in the final game of their illustrious career, Henrik Sedin fired three pucks on net but wasn’t able to beat Cam Talbot in the shootout portion of the Vancouver Canucks shootout loss at Edmonton on Saturday. Although the days of Henrik Sedin being in the run for the Art Ross Trophy are long gone, the top line Center still managed to produce a respectable 50 points this season (three goals, 47 assists) at the ripe age of 37! One things for sure though, the league is going to miss these dynamic brothers.--Amir SalehniaSource: Nhl.com
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2 years agoAlthough neither Sedin brother could get on the stat sheet in the final game of their illustrious career, Henrik fired three shots while Daniel sent five pucks to the net and managed to score in the shootout portion of a loss to Edmonton on Saturday. Although the days of either Sedin being in the run for the Art Ross Trophy are long gone, Daniel still managed to produce a respectable 55 points this season (23 goals, 32 assists) while Henrik produced 50 points (three goals, 47 assists)  at the ripe age of 37. One thing's for sure though, the league is going to miss these dynamic brothers.--Amir SalehniaSource: nhl.com
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2 years agoSan Jose Sharks right wing Timo Meier got bumped down from a top-six role on Saturday in a 6-3 loss to Minnesota, with Evander Kane (upper body) returning, but he still managed to perform well offensively, netting for the second time in last three games to make it 21 goals for the season. Meier logged 13:01 in what was his fourth game in the last five outings with at least one point. He also had three shots on goal and a couple of hits. Depth scoring will be vital in the playoffs and Meier has proved that he can provide that for the Sharks.--Taavi Pailk - RotoBallerSource: ESPN
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2 years agoSan Jose Sharks defenseman Brent Burns ended the regular season on a high, recording his second multi-point game in the last three outings in Saturday's 6-3 loss to Minnesota. He picked up a pair of helpers to improve his career high in assists to 55. Burns had a torrid time in front of goal this season, but he finished second among defenseman in assists and points, putting up a solid 67 points in his fourth consecutive 82-game season. He has 27 points in 30 games over the last two seasons in the playoffs, so he'll be a safe DFS play, especially as his minutes will go up during postseason play. He already logged nearly 30 minutes against the Wild.--Taavi Pailk - RotoBallerSource: ESPN
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2 years agoLos Angeles Kings defenseman Alec Martinez scored both of the team's goals in Saturday's 4-2 loss to Dallas. Jonathan Quick simply doesn't like playing on Saturdays, taking his sixth straight loss. The Kings found themselves in a tough spot, being down 4-0 after the first, but Martinez gave them a bit of hope with a pair in the second. Martinez, who scored the Stanley Cup Final game-winning goal in 2014, hasn't had a very good year, as he finished the regular season with only 25 points in 77 games, but showed some signs of life in the final games. He's put together a three-game point streak, so he could be a sneaky DFS play when the postseason starts.--Taavi Pailk - RotoBallerSource: ESPN
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2 years agoEdmonton Oilers center Connor McDavid has finished as the NHL's leading scorer for a second consecutive year, picking up two assists in Saturday's 3-2 shootout win against the Canucks to make it 108 points for the season. He joins Wayne Gretzky as the only two players in league history to win the scoring race more than once at 22 years of age or younger. McDavid has 41 goals and 67 assists and finished the year on an unbelievable tear, collecting 54 points since the start of February. He's the no. 1 fantasy player in hockey and will continue to be one for the next 10-plus years.--Taavi Pailk - RotoBallerSource: ESPN

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