There are less than two weeks to go during the regular season and then it's time for the 'real' season. This year's Stanley Cup playoffs should be tremendous, too, as it is wide open in the Western Conference and there isn't a huge disparity between most of the teams in the Eastern Conference behind the Tampa Bay Lightning. This was the penultimate Saturday on the schedule, as next Saturday marks the final day of the season. Hopefully your fantasy season is still going strong into the final seven days. Let's get started!
For NHL news and fantasy advice, find me on Twitter here!
Saturday's Fantasy Five
Artemi Panarin might be entering his final week as a member of the Columbus Blue Jackets if the team is unable to beat out either the Carolina Hurricanes or Montreal Canadiens for a playoff spot. He will be an unrestricted free agent at season's end, and he has already made it known he wishes to test the free-agent waters. He is giving his all down the stretch, however. Panarin posted four assists with a plus-4 rating, and he has two goals and seven points with a plus-8 rating during his current four-game point streak. People in Columbus might be sad if and when he leaves, but they can't say he was dogging it in his final days.Teuvo Teravainen has appeared on this list fairly frequently this season. He posted a power-play goal with an assist on the man advantage, helping the Hurricanes put the final nail in Philadelphia's coffin. He has rolled up three goals with 20 points and a plus-6 rating across his past 18 games. Teravainen has managed 20 goals with 52 assists and a career-best 72 points with a plus-28 rating. He entered the season with a plus-4 through his first five NHL season, and he was never better than plus-8. The Finn also has a career best with eight power-play goals and 23 points on the man advantage.
Rickard Rakell posted a hat trick, and it was of the natural variety with all three of his markers coming in the second period. He finished with a plus-2 rating, and he has seven goals with eight points. The game-winning goal was his first since Nov. 23 against the Edmonton Oilers, too. He and Jakob Silfverberg have really picked up the pace offensively. While it's too little and too late for the Ducks, it's great news for fantasy owners in the final days. Silfverberg has seven goals and a season-best 16 points in the month of March.
Evgenii Dadonov lit the lamp twice with a plus-2 rating, as the Panthers surprised the Boston Bruins and dealt then a loss to snap a 12-game unbeaten streak at home. He also was credited with the game-winning tally, and he has six goals and 19 points with a plus-2 rating in 16 games during the month of March. It's hard to believe a team with the likes of Dadonov, Jonathan Huberdeau and Mike Hoffman will be sitting home for the playoffs, but there are a lot of goaltenders who are breathing easier. Huberdeau had two more helpers with a plus-2 in Boston, giving him nine goals and 23 points with a plus-6 rating in 16 games in the month of March.
Robin Lehner has enjoyed an amazing season, and it will be interesting to see how head coach Barry Trotz handles the goaltending situation in the playoffs. Both Lehner and Thomas Greiss have been tremendously effective. Lehner allowed just one goal with 31 saves in a win, moving to 24-12-5 with a 2.19 GAA and .928 save percentage. Fantasy owners have certainly enjoyed the ride.
Fantasy Game of the Day
The Tampa Bay Lightning host the Washington Capitals, and if you want to be the champs you've got to beat the champs. The Lightning were unable to do that on Saturday. Nicklas Backstrom, T.J. Oshie and Alex Ovechkin each lit the lamp twice as the Capitals doubled up the President's Trophy winners. Backstrom has managed six goals and 13 points in 15 games in the month of March, his best since November. Oshie managed two goals with an assist and a plus-1 rating, and he is good for four goals and 10 points with a plus-2 over the past nine outings. That includes two power-play goals and an apple on the man advantage. Alexander Ovechkin also posted two goals, giving him No. 50 and 51 on the season. He now has eight NHL campaigns with 50-plus goals. Evgeny Kuznetsov also chipped in with two assists, while rearguard Jeff Carlson also managed a pair of helpers. The defenseman has three goals and 12 points with a plus-8 rating in 15 outings in the month of March. Braden Holtby stopped 25 of the 28 shots he faced to improve to 31-19-5 with a 2.85 GAA and .910, as he gets ready for what the team hopes is another deep postseason run.
The Lightning didn't get any production from big guns Victor Hedman, Brayden Point or Steven Stamkos, but they still did well enough as a team. Tyler Johnson managed a goal, Nikita Kucherov had a power-play goal, his 39th marker of the season, and J.T. Miller had lucky No. 13 in the goal department while adding an assist. It wasn't enough, however, as Andrei Vasilevskiy had a rare off night, coughing up six goals on 35 shots.
Quick Hits: Roberto Luongo allowed just one goal with 30 saves to pick up a victory in Boston, improving to 17-16-4 while checking in with a 3.10 GAA and .900 save percentage. … Joel Acciari posted a goal, giving him three markers and an assist with a plus-3 rating over the past six contests. … James van Riemsdyk is heating up down the stretch, as he had a power-play assist and an even-strength helper, giving him nine goals and 14 points in 14 games in the month of March. … Petr Mrazek helped keep the Hurricanes on track for a playoff spot, as he allowed two goals on 32 shots to improve to 21-14-3 with a 2.46 GAA and .911 save percentage. He is also 9-2-0 over his past 11 starts. … Jaccob Slavin posted a shorthanded goal with a plus-2 rating, snapping a 14-game scoreless skid in the month of March. … Auston Matthews got on the board for his 37th goal of the season, and he has seven goals and 12 points in the past 10 outings. … Anthony Duclair posted two goals with an assist and a plus-2 rating, giving him five goals, nine points and a plus-4 rating across the past eight outings. … Jake Allen allowed two goals while making 25 saves, improving to 19-17-7 with a 2.83 GAA and .905 save percentage. He has allowed three or fewer goals in his past five outings. … Tyler Bozak is heating up, posting a goal with five assists and a plus-3 rating over the past six outings. … Anthony Beauvillier lit the lamp twice for his first multi-goal game since he had a hat trick on Nov. 15 against the Rangers. … Jeff Petry notched his 13th goal, setting a new career high in the department, while reaching 45 points. … Brett Kulak had an assist with a plus-1 rating, giving him two goals and five points with a plus-5 rating during his three-game point streak. … Cam Atkinson had two goals and a plus-2, and he now has five goals and a plus-5 rating over the past four outings. … Oliver Bjorkstrand scored for the fourth straight game, giving him a total of five markers during the span. … Sergei Bobrovsky allowed two goals on 25 shots to improve to 35-23-1 with a 2.60 GAA and .912 save percentage. He tied a season high with his fourth straight victory. … Filip Forsberg scored his 27th, and he how has five straight seasons with at least 26 goals. … Malcolm Subban started his eighth straight in place of the injured Marc-Andre Fleury (lower body), losing in OT in San Jose. … William Karlsson had a goal and an assist with a plus-1 rating, giving him six goals and 10 assists with a plus-7 rating across 14 games in March. … Alex DeBrincat scored his 41st goal, tying Patrick Kane for the team lead. … Alexander Radulov scored for the third straight game, and he now has 10 goals and 15 points in 14 March contests. … Drew Doughty registered a game-winning power-play goal, his first game-winning tally since Dec. 30, 2017. … Jack Campbell earned the win. While his record is just 9-13-1, he has a strong 2.30 GAA and .926 save percentage.