Fantasy hockey: Take a closer look between the pipes

This could be a smart week to place your trust in Ukko-Pekka Luukkonen. Sergei Belski-USA TODAY Sports

A "Tuesday/Thursday/Saturday league" indeed. Featuring a pair of games on Wednesday, 14 games on Thursday, and one singular battle between the Devils and Sabres on Friday, this three-day span showcases the NHL in its most extreme "feast or famine" mode.

Only Buffalo plays on both Wednesday (vs. Ottawa) and Friday (vs. New Jersey), when almost everyone else is off. So, if possible, consider streaming an available Sabre or two -- like forward JJ Peterka, defenseman Owen Power, or goalie Ukko-Pekka Luukkonen. Wednesday's only other contest pits the Bruins against the Lightning in Tampa.

Of course, the hefty test on Thursday is deciding who to start and who to sit -- particularly (but not exclusively) between the pipes. There's a lot more to comfortably like from the net out with the Penguins against a badly banged-up Columbus team, than between two heavyweights in Colorado, at least on paper. The Rangers are the first team to 100 points and are 9-3-1 since Feb. 28. The Avalanche are 10-2-0 over that same time. In their last meeting (Feb. 5), the Rangers edged Colorado 2-1 in overtime.

A sizzling Jamie Benn and the rest of the Stars could also present a tough challenge for the Pacific-leading Canucks, while matchups between the Knights/Jets and Kings/Oilers -- however delectable as matchups outside the fantasy sphere -- could be headache-inducing for fantasy managers still in contention. Meanwhile, other goalies are playing teams like the Ducks, Flames, Blue Jackets and Sharks. I'm just sayin'.

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Stock Up

Philipp Kurashev, F, Chicago Blackhawks (available in 91.1% of ESPN.com leagues): Connor Bedard's linemate has six goals and nine assists in a dozen games this March, including six points on the power play. The Blackhawks visit the Senators on Thursday before touching down in Philadelphia for Saturday.

Kaiden Guhle, D, Montreal Canadiens (58.8%): Since the young defender is always good for a useful number of blocked shots, consider the pair of goals and three helpers over his last four contests as a fantasy bonus. Now that the task of making the playoffs is fully off the table, this 22-year-old can wrap up his first full NHL season with very little pressure.

Charlie Lindgren, G, Washington Capitals (72.2%): Sure, why not? Winner of six of his last seven, the Capitals' current No. 1 is doing his best to keep his squad square in the playoff mix. While I wouldn't necessarily play him against Toronto on Thursday -- that tete-a-tete didn't unfold well for Lindgren last week -- there are plenty of palatable matchups ahead.

Jordan Binnington, G, St. Louis Blues (43.5%): Six points out of a playoff spot, the Blues face the floundering Flames and struggling Sharks in the next four days. Next week's four-game schedule features another matchup with San Jose, plus a visit to Anaheim. There's fantasy value to mine from the club's No. 1 (who has been completely solid of late) as long as he doesn't lose too many starts to competent backup Joel Hofer.

Frederik Andersen, G, Carolina Hurricanes (37.1%): Another fixture in this space for most of March, Andersen is a perfect 6-0-0 since returning to action. Toss in his .951 SV% and 1.34 GAA over that stretch and it all comes out to an average of 7.0 fantasy points/contest in ESPN.com standard leagues. Only Juuse Saros and Cam Talbot have more total points this past month, having played nearly twice as many games.

Stock Down

Alexandar Georgiev, G, Colorado Avalanche (96.6%): He's down, if only for this week. As mentioned, the Avalanche face the Rangers on Thursday and the seemingly unbeatable Predators on Saturday. It doesn't get much tougher than that.

Jacob Markstrom, G, Calgary Flames (61.7%): While not mathematically eliminated from playoff contention, the Flames (and their recent string of four losses) are competing like they're well out of it. Calgary has 11 games remaining. Dustin Wolf is likely to earn at least half of those starts.

Streamer Specials

Filip Gustavsson, G, Minnesota Wild (44.5%): There's nothing like a date with the worst team in the league to get fully back on track -- and San Jose is 2-15-4 since January 31st. After earning his third shutout of the season against the Ducks last week, Gustavsson has a great chance to garner another much-needed victory against the Sharks on Thursday. The Wild's ultra-slim playoff hopes depend on it. It also doesn't hurt that both Joel Eriksson Ek and Jonas Brodin could be back in action for that home contest.

Alex Nedeljkovic, G, Pittsburgh Penguins (96.6%): The Penguins netminder was extra impressive in Tuesday's 4-1 win over the playoff-bound Hurricanes. Pittsburgh hosts the very-not-playoff-bound (not to mention injury-riddled) Blue Jackets on Thursday.

Joey Daccord/Philipp Grubauer, G, Seattle Kraken: Go with whoever gets the nod against the Ducks on Thursday. Anaheim managed all of 12(!) shots against the Kraken on Tuesday, and Daccord stopped every single one of them.