Week 15 is officially in the books and the Detroit Red Wings get the honors of being week 15’s team of the week. The Wings completed a perfect 4-0 record in week 15 with a come-from-behind victory against the Sabres to close the week. The Wings, who were down by thrre at the end of the first period, stormed back, scoring five unanswered goals. Their success in week 15 was inspired by their blend of young and veteran talent. Zetterberg, the veteran, stole the show against the Sabres picking up a hat-trick, the sixth of his career. Henrik finished the week with five points and his fellow “euro twin” Pavel Datsyuk faired pretty well, also picking up five points on the week as well. The young guard also aided the Wings immensely, Gus Nyquist picked up 3 goals and 5 points on the week. Most impressive out of all the Wings was young stud Tomas Tatar, who we will have more on a little later.
Around the league there were some notable performances worth discussing. The Jets are one of the team’s which shined in week 15, as they also went 4-0. Mathieu Perreault was tremendous against the Panthers, picking up his first career four goal game. Dustin Byfuglien also continued his strong play, as Big Buff not only lead the way defensively but also contributed offensively, picking up three goals and three assists on the week. The converted defenseman is looking great back at his old position.
Switching over to the East, a couple of players deserve some recognition. Ryan Johansen set a Blue Jacket record for most consecutive games with a point at 13 games, which is truly remarkable. Over in Montreal, Tomas Plekanec had himself a nice week, picking up six points on the week. It's nice to see Montreal’s two-way forward finally get rewarded with some points.
Finally, a trio of underrated goalies may intrigue your fantasy hockey team. First, Joni Ortio has been an absolute stud since debuting for the Flames. Ortio is a perfect 3-0 with a miniscule 1.33 GAA. Coach Bob Hartley made it very clear, as long as Ortio’s winning, the Flames have no problem carrying around three goalies. Joni can be an interesting option for your fantasy team. Second, Devan Dubnyk is picking up some serious heat since being dealt to the Wild. Dubnyk picked up a shutout in his debut and allowed only one goal the very next night against the team that traded him, the Arizona Coyotes. With the Wild desperate for a playoff spot, look for them to ride Devan big time and he can be a major steal down the stretch for your fantasy team. Finally, Michael Hutchinson has been a really nice story for the Jets this season, picking up 13 wins in 19 starts. The undrafted goaltender has picked up victories in seven out of his last nine starts. If you need some wins, Hutch maybe a good backup option for your team.
Those are your honorable mentions for the week, let’s now begin to see who your 5 duds and 5 studs are for week 15.
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10 DUD: Marc-Andre Fleury (1W, 2L, 5.52 GAA)
After a brilliant start to the season, the Pens number one goaltender has finally hit a bit of a rough patch as of late. Fleury struggled in week 15, as he allowed 5 goals on 34 shots against the Pens division rivals the New York Islanders. Fleury was lit up in the third period, allowing three goals and an empty netter to seal the Islanders' comeback victory. Sunday afternoon, Fleury’s struggles continued. He was yanked early in the second after giving up four goals on just 17 shots, for yet another loss against a division rival, this time the New York Rangers. Fleury’s numbers are noticeably down as of late, as he's picked up only three victories in his last 10 starts. Look for Fleury to try and bounce back with a couple of games before the All-Star break kicks in.
9 STUD: Corey Perry (4G, 1A, +6)
As expected, Corey Perry went from dud to stud in a hurry. It was expected, after coming back from injury, that it would take a bit of time for Perry to get going again. Perry kicked off week 15 in style, picking up his third hat-trick of the season against the lowly Leafs and to make things even more impressive, Perry picked up a natural hat-trick. All is well in Duck land once again, with Perry leading the way offensively this week, the Ducks went an impressive 3-0. The Ducks are looking like strong contenders for the cup mid-way through the season.
8 DUD: Alexander Semin (0G, 0A, -1)
What a disastrous season it's been for Alex Semin, putting up zeroes across the board once again. Carolina’s $7 million dollar man has registered one goal in 26 games so far this season, pretty far off his career high of 40. Semin has been a total bust this season, finding himself in the press box often on a team desperate for any type of offense. If you hung on to Semin, well, you’re probably not doing so well in your pool. With such a hefty price tag, Semin will be very difficult to deal away this season, but maybe a team desperate to add some offense will take a chance on Semin at the deadline.
7 STUD: Sidney Crosby (3G, 4A, -1)
Since the beginning of the New Year, Sid Crosby appears to be back in fine form, registering 13 points in seven games. Sid is slowly climbing back to the top of the NHL leader boards, as Crosby is now tied with Voracek for the league lead in assists with 36. Crosby also ranks third behind Seguin and Voracek in the points race with 51 points, only three behind the league leader Voracek. It may be just a matter of time before Sid passes Voracek for the league lead. Crosby is enjoying tremendous success with his new line mate David Perron, as the two players linked quite well in week 15, combining for 13 points. With a gifted player like Perron on his wing expect Crosby’s numbers to continue to rise as the weeks pass, you may finally get your money’s worth with Sid during the second half of the season.
6 DUD: Roberto Luongo (0W, 3L, 4.64 GAA)
Yet another goalie who started strong and is hitting a rough patch as of late. It’s safe to say Roberto endured his worst week as a Panther in week 15. Luongo was absolutely lit up against the Jets, forcing the Panthers coaching staff to pull Roberto after giving up four goals on just 20 shots. Luongo went on to lose his next two starts against below average teams, the Colorado Avalanche and Edmonton Oilers. With the playoffs being an actual possibility for the Panthers, look for Luongo to step up his game big time before the All-Star break. No better time to start then on Monday with a date against his former team, the Vancouver Canucks.
5 STUD Line of the Week: Josh Bailey, John Tavares & Kyle Okposo (6G, 10A, +6)
Another line for the New York Islanders reaches the honors for stud line of the week. The Islanders are the perfect example of how to rebuild a team, as their strategy is quite simple. They built through the draft. This line features three top Islanders draft picks, Kyle Okposo, their former seventh overall pick, Josh Bailey,former ninth overall pick and of course John Tavares, the former first overall pick. All this young drafted talent is exploding this season for the Islanders, and this week it was the big line studs lead by Kyle Okposo and John Tavares. Okposo was ridiculously good in a divisional matchup against the Pens in week 15, as Kyle registered three of his four goals in the third period, propelling him to his first career hat-trick. Tavares and Bailey cashed in nicely as well, picking up three assists a piece in the victory. The very next night, despite a losing effort, the line was brilliant once again, combining for six points at the Bell Center against the Habs. What a story the Islanders have been so far this season.
4 DUD: Filip Forsberg (1G, 0A, +1)
After an outstanding start to the season, Filip Forsberg has finally slowed down his torrid pace. Forsberg still leads rookies in almost every statistical column despite his slow week. Forsberg has scored only once in his last 10 games and in addition, Filip has only picked up one point in his last 5 games. It looks like Forsberg is finding out how hard of a grind an 82 game schedule is. A well deserved break during the All-Star weekend will give Forsberg some much needed rest to freshen up and continue his great play throughout the second half of the season.
3 STUD: Ryan Miller (2W, 0L, 0.00 GAA)
After missing a couple of game due to an illness, Ryan Miller returned to the lineup in style, posting back-to-back shutout victories against the Flyers and Hurricanes. Miller stopped a combined 58 out of 58 shots in both victories. What made the victories even more impressive was the fact that both wins came on the road. Miller has been a pleasant surprise to many this season, winning 22 out of his 30 starts. The question remains if Miller can stay consistent in the second half of the season and lead the Canucks back into the playoffs.
2 DUD: Phil Kessel (0G, 0A, -4)
The wheels just keep falling off in Leaf land, as the Maple Leafs are returning home after a horrendous road trip on the West Coast which saw them drop all four games. New coach Peter Horachek wants his team to play a more defensive system, and in doing so, he forgot to tell the team they still need to score goals. Not only did Leafs go 0-4 on the trip, they also picked up one goal in four games, getting outscored 12-1 on the trip. The Leafs top line of Kessel, Bozak and JVR went head-to-head against the oppositions best in the West Coast, and the line failed to generate a single point and combined for a -14 rating in the four games, ouch. Talk about a rough week for the Leafs.
1 STUD: Tomas Tatar (5G, 2A, +5)
The Wings just have a knack for finding special players. This one was picked 60th overall in the 2009 NHL entry draft and what a stud Tomas Tatar is becoming. The new wave of Red Wings is beginning to take shape in Motown, as Detroit’s second line, featuring young studs Tomas Tatar, Gus Nyquist and Riley Sheahan, were absolutely electric Saturday night, aiding the Wings to a 5-2 victory against the league’s best team, the Nashville Predators. Tatar was sensational picking up two goals and an assist, with his first goal being the game-winner. The very next night, Tomas contributed again, picking up a goal and an assist propelling the Wings to comeback victory against the Sabres. Tatar leads the Wings with 21 goals on the season, tying him in the goal column with the likes of Max Pacioretty and Patrick Kane. It’s looking like Detroit will have multiple 30 goal scorers for the first time in a very long time. The future is looking bright in Motown.
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