Hockey Night In Canada Stanley Cup Playoffs 2011

Star Selector fantasy guide: Round 3

Categories: Boston Bruins, Conference Finals, San Jose Sharks, Tampa Bay Lightning, Vancouver Canucks

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Logan Couture of the San Jose Sharks is 8th overall in the Star Selector Pool, and is currently second on his team in scoring. (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images) Logan Couture of the San Jose Sharks is 8th overall in the Star Selector Pool, and is currently second on his team in scoring. (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)
By Jordan Shifman, CBC Sports

The Crown Royal Star Selector Pool is a live, interactive and in-game fantasy hockey pool that lets you manage your own team while watching the game on CBC's Hockey Night in Canada. During every Hockey Night in Canada match, you get to be the coach, pick your players and make changes to your roster every period. The real-time scoring system puts emphasis on every play and not just scoring plays. You can even play on your phone! Select your players and win great HNIC prizes!
The following are some tips from regular season play that may help you make your Star Selector picks during round three of the playoffs on Hockey Night in Canada.

East Final: (3) Boston vs. (5) Tampa Bay

Just like in their second round series against the Washington Capitals, the Tampa Bay Lightning will have the top goalie in the NHL playoffs between the pipes. Dwayne Roloson is first in the league in save percentage (.941), goals against average (2.01), shots against (389), saves (366) and is tied for first with a record of 8-3. With stats like that, it should be no surprise that Roloson is first among goalies and second overall in the Star Selector pool with 1400 points. In addition, he's No. 1 in the first period, No. 2 in the second period and No. 4 in the third period. But what makes this series so interesting is the fact that Roloson's round three counterpart has almost identical numbers. Tim Thomas also sports a record of 8-3 and is second in save percentage (.937), goals against average (2.03) and saves (354). In the Star Selector pool, Thomas is third overall with 1382 points, No. 6 in the second period and No. 3 in the third period.

Just like in the Nashville vs. Vancouver series, you would be foolish not to ride these two hot goalies and have one of them serve as your captain until one has a meltdown. They are likely to match each other save for save and could easily steal a game or two for their clubs (and for yours). As for the offence, both teams have a handful of players that have performed well, but neither the Bruins or Bolts have all their weapons firing as of yet. And with such a long delay between rounds, the likes of Simon Gagne, Pavel Kubina, Patrice Bergeron and Adam McQuaid may have a better chance to nurse their wounds, while those slumping may take even longer to wake up.

At this point, in terms of playoff scoring, Tampa Bay is led by veteran Martin St. Louis. With six goals and seven assists, St. Louis is tied for third in the league with 13 total points. Vincent Lecavalier is next with five goals, seven assists and three game-winners, while Steve Downie (12 points, plus-nine), Teddy Purcell (11 points) and Sean Bergenheim (seven goals) aren't far behind. Of the group, Lecavalier leads his team and is 11th overall in the Star Selector with 853 points, St. Louis is 19th overall with 771 points and Bergenheim has 718 points. Other notables include Dominic Moore (eight points, 534 SS points), Gagne (seven points, 398 SS points), Steven Stamkos (six points, 595 SS points) and Eric Brewer (six points, 699 SS points). Realistically, if the Lightning are to make it to the Cup, Stamkos and Gagne will have to step up, figure out Thomas and show off their ability to dominate.

For Boston, their Stanley Cup final aspirations could depend on the health of Bergeron. Bergeron follows the likes of only Ryan Kesler, Roloson, Thomas and Pavel Datsyuk in Star Selector scoring with 1169 points. He is also ranked No. 4 in first period scoring (402), No. 5 in second period scoring (429) and No. 14 in third period scoring (262). This is largely because not only does he have more than a point-per-game (12 points in 11 games), but he also contributes in multiple facets of the game. Bergeron is tied for 16th with 30 hits, tied 15th with 35 shots on goal and is tied for eighth with a plus-seven rating. As of now, the Bruins' centre is slated to sit out at least Game 1 of the East final with a mild concussion and will be replaced by rookie Tyler Seguin. Looking beyond their wounded leader, Boston is led by Brad Marchand (five goals, six assists and 744 SS points), David Krejci (five goals, five assists and 721 SS points), Nathan Horton (five goals, five assists and 666 SS points), Chris Kelly (seven points), Mark Recchi (seven points), Rich Peverley (six points) and Dennis Seidenberg (six points and 611 SS points). The players to watch on the B's have to be Milan Lucic and Zdeno Chara. After a lackluster start, Lucic had a strong end to his team's sweep of the Flyers and has a respectable 490 Star Selector points. As for the Bruins' captain, he battled dehydration and likely the flu for the first two playoff rounds, but now that he's had an extended period of time to rest, I expect more production than the Slovakian giant's current average of two points per series.

West Final: (1) Vancouver vs. (2) San Jose

In my round one and two previews, you may have gotten the impression that I was a fan of Ryan Kesler. It's not as much that I'm a fan of his talents as it is that you simply must have this player in your Star Selector line-up when the Canucks are in action. It's no fluke that Kesler was the Star Selector regular season MVP and that he, once again, finds himself at the pinnacle of the league. He's just that versatile and productive. His Star Selector stats: No. 1 in SS scoring (1518 points), No. 2 in first period scoring (472), No. 4 in second period scoring (443) and No. 1 in third period scoring (500). His NHL stats: tied-first in points (15), tied-third in assists (10), tied-third in power-play goals (three), tied-third in game-winners (three), tied-fourth in shots (47), tied-fifth in hits (42) and tied-13th in plus/minus (plus-six). With the way Kesler has been racking up the points - including 11 points over his current five-game point-streak - if Vancouver makes it to the Stanley Cup final, we should really get him some new Crown Royal Black to drink out of Lord Stanley's Mug.

Now that we've established that Kesler is an automatic roster selection, let's fill those remaining spots for this series. 

With four players in the top-20 in Star Selector scoring and seven different players in the top-20 in scoring by period, it's clear that San Jose has been more productive and balanced in the live pool than Vancouver. The Sharks are led by rookie Logan Couture, who has quickly emerged as a playoff scorer and is easily the hottest forward outside of Kesler. He's tied for the team lead with six goals and he's second on his team in scoring (tied-6th in the NHL) with 12 points. He's also riding a four-game point-streak in which he has four goals and an assist. In the Star Selector pool, Couture is currently 8th overall and first on his team with 893 points and he's also ranked No. 6 in third period scoring. After Couture, captain Joe Thornton is 13th overall with 832 SS points, goalie Antti Niemi is 16th with 815 points and Joe Pavelski is 17th with 797 points. From there, the balanced attack kicks in. Devin Setoguchi, who scored five goals against the Wings, is fifth on San Jose in SS scoring with 752 points, Ryane Clowe (tied for third in NHL scoring with 13 points) is sixth with 736 SS points, Dan Boyle is seventh with 706 SS points, Dany Healtey is eighth with 592 SS points and the much-criticized Patrick Marleau is ninth with 504 SS points.

For the Canucks, no one got more attention than Kesler in round two and perhaps that's just what their goaltender needed. Roberto Luongo went from having a borderline catastrophic first round to having a quietly stellar second round. Against the Preds, Luongo sported a 1.67 goals against average, a .930 save percentage and one shutout. The Canucks goalie is second on his team in Star Selector points with 1000 and will have to be sharp again against all that California firepower. What was most certainly noticed, however, was the fact that the Sedin twins were playing some mediocre hockey, much like Marleau, even with their team playing well. Through 13 games so far, the Sedins have combined for 19 points and a minus-16 rating. To put it into perspective, though the team didn't make it past round two in 2010, at this time a year ago after 12 games, Daniel and Henrik combined for 28 points and a plus-seven rating. In the Star Selector pool, Daniel finds himself in 4th on his team with 747 points and Henrik is 7th with 565 points. While the brothers, along with the now injured Mikael Samuelsson, slumped against the Predators, Alex Edler (751 SS points), Alex Burrows (626 SS points), Christian Ehrhoff (567 SS points), Chris Higgins (560 SS points), Max Lapierre (507 SS points) and Kevin Bieksa (479 SS points) picked up some of the slack. Besides Kesler, Ehrhoff and Higgins were the two hottest Canucks last round. In the six-game series, Ehrhoff tallied five of his nine points and Higgins racked up three of his four points against Nashville. With the offence that San Jose boasts, the Sedins simply must get back to the way they played during the regular season if the Canucks have any hope of moving on to the Stanley Cup final.

So where do we stand with this match-up? We have some goalies that struggled in round one, but rebounded in round two. We have some clutch goal-scorers, some Conn Smythe Trophy candidates that one can't ignore, some blue-collar workers and some sleeping giants. Luckily, in the Star Selector live pool, you don't have to pick the series winner. You just have to go with the hot hands period by period.