We're now in the middle of the fantasy hockey playoffs and it's time to start that final push.  Just like last week's post, I'm going to break down the schedule for this week and as a compliment to the Playoff Manifesto, help you in terms of streaming.  Let's get right to it!
It was only a matter of time until Vladimir Tarasenko picked up his play.  Tarasenko had four goals over the weekend, including a hat trick on Sunday, in two games against the Predators.  That gives him an eight game point streak to get to 22+19 on the season.  Obviously that's still disappointing, but there's time for him to salvage the season.  Hell, the Blues are even in a playoff spot now because of how bad the Western Conference is.  Look for them to make some additions at the deadline because of all of the moves they made in the summer.  Missing the playoffs would be a major disappointment, and creating depth for the lineup would help things out for Tarasenko.  The buy low window is probably closed but there's a strong chance that he's a top 30 player the rest of the way.  Let's take a look at what else happened over the weekend:
It was quite the weekend for last season's Calder Trophy winner.  Mathew Barzal entered Friday's game against the Senators with five goals on the season, and he matched that in two games.  Barzal scored two goals and an assist against the Senators before scoring a hat trick against the Maple Leafs on Saturday.  That brings Barzal up to 10+25 in 37 games with solid PIM and an improved shot rate.  He's still only 21 years old so clearly the best is to come.  For the rest of this season, I think he's just inside the top 50 now that his shot rate isn't far from average.  If he can eventually get that up towards three a game, it's game over.  Barzal has top 20 player upside down the line; hopefully the Isles get some more talent around him.  Let's take a look at what else happened over the weekend:
When we think about Tom Wilson going wild, it usually refers to him doing something dirty and piling up penalty minutes.  Don't get me wrong, he's still getting penalty minutes, but he's been fabulous offensively since returning from suspension.  Wilson scored two goals and an assist with six shots and two PIM in the 4-1 win over the Islanders on Monday.  In his eight games, Wilson has 6+6 with a +6 rating, 11 PIM and 21 SOG.  He's also averaging over 20 minutes per night.  There's no doubt about it, Wilson should be owned in all formats right now.  He's still available in about 1/3rd of leagues, so if you're lucky enough to be in one of them, pounce immediately.  Obviously he's not going to stay at a point per game, but the offensive will be solid with this workload, and we know the PIM will be glorious.  Let's take a look at what else happened over the last two nights:
Yes, I know Ondrej Kase's name is pronounced like case, but let me be punny, will you!?  I dug back into the Razzball Hockey archives to find what I first wrote about Kase.  And by dug into the archives, I mean I used the simple search bar at the top.  The first time I wrote about him was early last season in 2016.  "I’ve been impressed with his play and while it’s not enough for now, Kase’s an intriguing dynasty option in deep leagues."  And that's me quoting me copying what Grey does!  Go check out the baseball side of Razzball and sign up for an RCL.  Anyways, a month later, I said Kase has shown enough long-term upside that he should be on the radar moving forward.  Well, the seventh round pick is breaking out before our eyes.  Kase scored a goal and two assists with three shots in the 3-2 win over the Blackhawks on Thursday, giving him 16 goals and 14 assists on the season, along with a +17 rating in 43 games.  It's not all great; the PIM are non-existent and the minutes are quite low at the moment (despite the big game, Kase played only 12:13).  Regardless, the 22 year old is already a solid third liner for the Ducks and there could be a bit more here long term.  His minutes keep him from being a hold in 12'ers, but I'm definitely streaming him.  The hits are awful this season which hurts in deep leagues, but they were fine last season so I think it's a bit of an anomaly.  Kase has already exceeded expectations as a 7th round pick, but I think he can turn into a solid 50-60 point player for those of you in dynasties.  Let's take a look at what others did around the NHL the last two nights:
Gretzky, Lemieux, Forsberg, LaFontaine.  That's the list of players in the last 30 seasons to have multiple five assist games in one season.  Add Mathew Barzal to the list after Friday night.  Barzal became the first rookie in 100 years to have three five point games in one season dishing five assists in the 7-6 win over the Red Wings.  That puts Barzal over a point per game on the season and makes him the prohibitive favorite for the Calder (sorry Boeser).  Our second podcast ever, which took place before last season, saw Reid and I hype up Barzal for dynasties.  Regardless, he's blown away my expectations this season.  Now, it's not all rosy for fantasy.  The penalty minutes are low, but more importantly the shot rate is barely over two per game.  On the other hand, he's 20 years old and is over a point per game, so it's hard to complain.  There's a top 20 fantasy player in Barzal's future if he can get that shot rate up.  Regardless, he'll be a borderline top 50 player next year solely for the points, and it's only going to get better from there.  Let's take a look at what else happened over the weekend:
Hey, everyone. After an exciting weekend of football playoffs, it’s time to put our heads down and manage the tar out of the (for many of you) last five weeks of the fantasy hockey regular season. These last few weeks can be make-or-break, so think about making that trade or setting free that underperforming player. Many NHL teams are coming into or coming off their bye weeks, so this week is also one of the weirdest for scheduling. As you might know by now, my managing style and what I discuss in my advice column is maximizing games played and putting more skaters on the ice that your opponent. I use data pulled from my own league as well as the two RCL’s to give this idea some supporting data, so let’s jump in.
Once you get outside of the top 200 overall, you're looking at the last 2-3 picks in a standard 12 man league.  There are a few different ways you can go about making your last few picks.  You can shoot for upside, get a couple safe players if you already have plenty of upside, fill out your last couple defensemen, grab a goalie out of desperation.  I'm going to list a bunch of players in different categories that fall outside of my top 200 that you can target depending on what you're looking for.  I'm not going to go into detail on these guys but I will put them in my order of preference.  Here is my list:
The greatest goal scorer in the history of the NHL has made a massive push down the stretch to push many teams towards a fantasy championship. While his shot rate and goal rate have dropped this year, Alex Ovechkin is still a monster. He had his best game of the season scoring a hat trick and an assist with six shots in the 5-4 OT win over the Wild. That brings his totals to 33+33 on the season with a solid plus-minus and penalty minute contribution. Obviously it's disappointing his shot rate went from five per game to four per game but it's still outstanding. We discussed on the podcast where Ovechkin will rank for next season and while I don't think he's worthy of the top selection anymore, he's still a top five pick without hesitation. Here's to hoping he finally gets over the playoff hump and Ovechkin gets the accolades he deserves. Let's take a look at what else happened on Tuesday night: