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Saturday, February 16, 2008
Updated: February 17, 6:46 PM ET
Fantasy Forecaster: Hotlanta!

By Tristan H. Cockcroft
ESPN.com

All statistics are through the games of Friday, Feb. 15.

On tap

Stacked! -- Teams with four-plus games, regardless of locale

Calgary Flames (@PHO -- Tue, @DAL -- Wed, DET -- Fri, @MIN -- Sun)
Carolina Hurricanes (@NJ -- Mon, BOS -- Tue, ATL -- Thu, WAS -- Sat)
Chicago Blackhawks (@STL -- Tue, MIN -- Wed, @LA -- Sat, @ANA -- Sun)
Colorado Avalanche (DET -- Mon, @ANA -- Wed, @PHO -- Fri, @EDM -- Sun)
Florida Panthers (@PIT -- Tue, BOS -- Thu, @PHI -- Sat, @NYR -- Sun)
New Jersey Devils (CAR -- Mon, SJ -- Wed, NYI -- Sat, @WAS -- Sun)
New York Islanders (SJ -- Mon, @WAS -- Wed, TB -- Thu, @NJ -- Sat)
Phoenix Coyotes (@LA -- Mon, CGY -- Tue, COL -- Fri, STL -- Sun)
Pittsburgh Penguins (FLA -- Tue, @MON -- Thu, OTT -- Sat, SJ -- Sun)
St. Louis Blues (CHI -- Tue, @LA -- Thu, @ANA -- Fri, @PHO -- Sun)
San Jose Sharks (@NYI -- Mon, @NJ -- Wed, @PHI -- Thu, @PIT -- Sun)

Home cookin' -- Teams with three-plus home games

Anaheim Ducks (COL -- Wed, STL -- Fri, CHI -- Sun)
Carolina Hurricanes (@NJ -- Mon, BOS -- Tue, ATL -- Thu, WAS -- Sat)
Los Angeles Kings (PHO -- Mon, STL -- Thu, CHI -- Sat)
Montreal Canadiens (NYR -- Tue, PIT -- Thu, CLM -- Sat)
Nashville Predators (EDM -- Tue, VAN -- Thu, DAL -- Sat)
New Jersey Devils (CAR -- Mon, SJ -- Wed, NYI -- Sat, @WAS -- Sun)
Phoenix Coyotes (@LA -- Mon, CGY -- Tue, COL -- Fri, STL -- Sun)
Pittsburgh Penguins (FLA -- Tue, @MON -- Thu, OTT -- Sat, SJ -- Sun)
Toronto Maple Leafs (CLM -- Tue, BUF -- Thu, ATL -- Sat)

Short stick -- Teams with two games, one-plus road

Atlanta Thrashers (@CAR -- Thu, @TOR -- Sat)

The long haul -- Teams with three-plus games, all road

Boston Bruins (@CAR -- Tue, @FLA -- Thu, @TB -- Sat)
Columbus Blue Jackets (@TOR -- Tue, @OTT -- Thu, @MON -- Sat)
Detroit Red Wings (@COL -- Mon, @CGY -- Fri, @VAN -- Sat)
San Jose Sharks (@NYI -- Mon, @NJ -- Wed, @PHI -- Thu, @PIT -- Sun)

The matchups

Lightin' the lamp -- Good scorers matchups

Tobias Enstrom
Despite the light schedule, Enstrom could be valuable.

Atlanta Thrashers (@CAR -- Thu, @TOR -- Sat): The Thrashers sport the league's only two-game schedule, which detracts a decent bit from their appeal, but because it is a friendly schedule, you shouldn't be scared off their more elite scorers. The Hurricanes (27th, 3.13 goals allowed per game) and Maple Leafs (28th, 3.17) rank among the league's bottom four defenses, so stick with not only Marian Hossa and Ilya Kovalchuk, but also Tobias Enstrom (one goal and nine assists in his past 15 games). … Boston Bruins (@CAR -- Tue, @FLA -- Thu, @TB -- Sat): As always, any team that faces the Lightning, the league's most defensively inept team (30th, 3.26 goals allowed per game), stands to benefit offensively, and all three of those opponents rank no better than 18th in the category (Panthers, 2.78). Take a look at red-hot Chuck Kobasew (2 G, 3 A in 7 games since the All-Star break) and Glen Metropolit (3 G, 4 A in 8). … New Jersey Devils (CAR -- Mon, SJ -- Wed, NYI -- Sat, @WAS -- Sun): One of the league's better offenses the past month, the Devils have totaled 38 goals in their past 11 contests and have four wins in their past six games at home. Among the hot hands to exploit in a four-game week: Patrik Elias (2 G, 8 A in 9) and Jamie Langenbrunner (2 G, 6 A in 8).

No, it's a trap! -- Bad scorers matchups

Tobias Enstrom
Despite the light schedule, Enstrom could be valuable.
Calgary Flames (@PHO -- Tue, @DAL -- Wed, DET -- Fri, @MIN -- Sun): Sure, it's a four-game week for the Flames, a top-10 offense, but when three of those games come on the road against teams ranked in the upper half defensively, that's not a fantasy-friendly schedule. Exercise caution with less-notable names like Daymond Langkow (3 G, 1 A in his past 9 games) and Matthew Lombardi (1 A in 8). … Colorado Avalanche (DET -- Mon, @ANA -- Wed, @PHO -- Fri, @EDM -- Sun): Again, here is a case of three road contests, and two of those come against a pair of the league's hottest goaltenders, the Ducks' Jean-Sebastien Giguere and Oilers' Mathieu Garon. The Avalanche are not an especially sound road team, especially as it pertains to Milan Hejduk (7 G, 5 A, minus-3 in 25 road games) and Wojtek Wolski (4 G, 10 A in 28). … Vancouver Canucks (@MIN -- Tue, @NAS -- Thu, DET -- Sat): All three of the Canucks' opponents rank among the league's top 13 in terms of goals allowed per game, and Vancouver is a bottom-10 offense for the year. It's fine to use the Sedin twins (Henrik Sedin and Daniel Sedin) and Markus Naslund in any given week, regardless of matchups, but beyond that, don't get creative looking at this roster.

Stone 'em cold -- Good goalie matchups

Buffalo Sabres (TB -- Wed, @TOR -- Thu, NYR -- Sat): Simply put, you can't get much hotter than Ryan Miller right now; he is 8-0-1 with a 1.53 goals-against average and .947 save percentage in his past 10 starts. Included in that span, incidentally, was a road victory against the top-10 Lightning offense, so don't fret at all about that assignment. … Montreal Canadiens (NYR -- Tue, PIT -- Thu, CLM -- Sat): It's getting a little tougher to tell whether Cristobal Huet or Carey Price is going to get the bulk of the starts in any given week, but that's a fairly favorable schedule for both goalies. I look at it this way: Huet is 10-6-2 with a 2.15 GAA in 18 starts at home this season, so he is the one I want as a No. 2 fantasy option this week. … Nashville Predators (EDM -- Tue, VAN -- Thu, DAL -- Sat): This is another case of pick 'em, this time between Chris Mason and Dan Ellis, although right now it appears Mason is getting two starts for every one Ellis gets. Ellis actually is the stellar home performer, though, with a 6-2-2 record and 2.25 GAA in 12 games, so those of you seeking a spot-start candidate should keep an eye on his assignments.

The sieve -- Bad goalie matchups

Pascal Leclaire
The Blue Jackets' goalies are struggling.

Columbus Blue Jackets (@TOR -- Tue, @OTT -- Thu, @MON -- Sat): You might not be aware of this, but the way the Blue Jackets have been breaking things down, it seems like they trust Pascal Leclaire with the bulk of the starts at home and Fredrik Norrena with the road assignments. Case in point: Norrena has 15 road starts to Leclaire's 14, but only six home starts to Leclaire's 25. That tells you a lot about this schedule, which really isn't a good one, with two of three games against teams ranked in the top four in the league in goals per game (Senators, 1st, 3.40; Canadiens, 4th, 3.05). … New York Rangers (@MON -- Tue, @BUF -- Sat, FLA -- Sun): The problem isn't that Henrik Lundqvist hasn't been performing well enough for his fantasy owners, it's that his team hasn't been performing well enough to help him in the win category. With the team on the road for tough matchups at Montreal and Buffalo, he will be hard pressed to net you many W's in Week 21. Not that you should outright sit him, but he is more a No. 2 fantasy goalie than a No. 1. … Pittsburgh Penguins (FLA -- Tue, @MON -- Thu, OTT -- Sat, SJ -- Sun): Ty Conklin did an admirable job in Marc-Andre Fleury's absence, but in perhaps his final week as the clear-cut starter, he will battle four teams that by all rights should challenge him. Fleury has an outside chance at returning by the weekend, too, so don't assume Conklin gets three-plus starts.

Lineup tidbits

Pascal Leclaire
The Blue Jackets' goalies are struggling.
Rod Brind'Amour (knee surgery): He is out for the season, and his absence should mean increased ice time for Trevor Letowski. Take a look at the latter in deeper leagues.

Marc-Andre Fleury (ankle): He is in the midst of a conditioning assignment in the AHL and might be ready to return by late in the week. With Ty Conklin performing so well, though, expect the Penguins to ease Fleury back into the lineup slowly.

Dominik Hasek (hip): He resumed off-ice workouts this past Friday but is unlikely to be back in the early part of the week. His return doesn't sound imminent, so despite Chris Osgood's struggles, expect the latter to get the bulk of the starts in Week 21.

Nikolai Khabibulin (knee): Initially expected to miss a week or two, Khabibulin might be available to serve as Patrick Lalime's backup Sunday. He is not productive enough to use if there is any chance he will sit this week, though, so check his status.

Niklas Kronwall (shoulder): He has missed eight games and isn't expected back in the near future. Keep him reserved for the week, barring miraculous news Sunday.

Patrick Marleau (groin): He is day-to-day, but a player with a paltry 28 points and a minus-21 in 55 games isn't the kind of guy on whom you take chances. Reserve him.

Brian Rafalski (groin): He missed this past Friday's game but is day-to-day and might be available for Sunday's contest. Check his status following that game, as he is too productive to reserve if there is any chance he will play a full Week 21.

Paul Stastny (appendectomy): He suffered a setback during practice this past week but was scheduled to resume skating over the weekend. Still, that puts Stastny's Week 21 status in the "iffy" category, so it's probably better to play it safe and keep him reserved.

Sergei Zubov (foot, groin): The latest on Zubov has him returning around the end of the month, and even that might be stretching it. Be patient; keep him reserved.

Tristan H. Cockcroft covers fantasy sports for ESPN.com. You can e-mail him here.