NHL

Matchup 18 – Ashes and Fire

February 12, 2018

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Vacations are good. I don’t know that I realized quite home much I needed one until I went to Mexico over the New Years break.

But vacations can be bad. Case in point: all that relaxing completely derailed my posting schedule, and I got so far behind that it became impossible to catch up.

So we’re starting fresh this week, and with four matchups remaining before the playoffs start, we’re in for a wild finish.

Matchup Recap

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Best Forward: Connor McDavid 26.0 (Brett D)
Best Defenseman: Shayne Gostisbehere 17.6 (Davin)
Best Goalie: Devan Dubnyk 17.5 (Cal)
Best Individual Performance: Connor McDavid 17.3 (Brett D)
Best Team Performance: Sabretooth Chickens 216.6

It doesn’t get any closer than this. Chris defeated Brett D by 0.1 fantasy points to win their head to head matchup this week, with a save by Jonathan Bernier at 19:36 of the third period of the last game on Sunday making the difference. Unbelievably tough loss for Brett D, as he comes out with a loss to go with the second most fantasy points scored this week.

Jace, Frank and Davin pretty convincingly dispatched of Sohayl, Rhys and Brett R respectively, and the battle of the tanking all-stars saw Cal lose (win?) to Brennan. In the only other close match this week, Brock and Steve went back and forth all week before a big day on Saturday put Steve over the top.

The playoff picture is still pretty murky though, with nine teams still very much in the race.

Projected Playoff Bracket

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If the Playoffs Were Today
We still only have three teams clearly out of the playoff picture, and the rest of the bracket is very much up for grabs.

#1 Sabretooth Chickens (15-3) – bye
#2 Jean Claude Van Damphousse (12-6) – bye

#3 Phantom of the Pacific (11-7) vs #6 Fists of Fuhry (10-8)
#4 Frank the Tank (11-7) vs #5 Bo Knows Hockey (10-8)

In the Hunt

#7 Connor’s Cup (9-9)
#8 Blades of Glory (9-9)
#9 Going for the Calder (9-9)

At this point in the season, the strength of schedule remaining starts to come into play. For example, Rhys plays matchups against both Davin and Brennan who are long out of the playoff hunt and into draft position territory. Funny enough, the hardest schedule going forward is probably Chris, with matchups against Steve, Sohayl and Frank to finish off the regular season.

At this point we also know that Chris will lock up the West first round bye with just one more win, but all of a sudden Sohayl looks vulnerable in the East as Frank has pulled within one. It’s also not impossible for Brett R or Steve to rattle off four straight wins and squeak into that first place slot.

Matchup Precap

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Two hugely significant playoff matchups this week with Sohayl (12-6) vs Brock (10-8). Brock needs to keep adding points in a stacked West division, and Sohayl needs to fend off a surging Frank to keep the playoff bye. Frank (11-7) of course is trying to bridge that gap, and he faces Jace (11-7) this week who made significant moves to load up at the deadline.

Chris (15-3) needs just one more win to lock up the bye, and he could do it this week against Brennan (4-14). Also looking to add points in that tight West division during lopsided matchups are Rhys (10-8) versus Davin (4-14) and Brett D (9-9) vs Brett R (4-14). Lastly, Steve (9-9) takes on Cal (9-9) and while this looks like a close matchup, Cal is firmly in tank mode.

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