Star Selector fantasy guide

The following is some tips from regular season play that may help you score in Star Selector on Hockey Night in Canada!

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 score in Star Selector on Hockey Night in Canada!

Chicago @ Vancouver

The President's Trophy winners are riding high heading into the playoffs against their rivals from Chicago for a third-striaght year. Vancouver finished the season atop the NHL in wins, points, power-play goals, power-play percentage, goals for, goals against, as well as with the best home and away records.

The Canucks had one of the league's most potent offensive units all season. Hart Trophy candidate Daniel Sedin tallied 5123 Star Selector points, while brother Henrik wasn't far behind. Despite the fact that the Sedin twins were both top-5 in points-per-game, neither led the Canucks in the live pool.

The Star Selector MVP was Ryan Kesler. Kesler finished the year with 15 points in his last 15 games, but, more importantly, he was the leader in Star Selector points on the season with 6943. He also led the live pool in second period scoring (2408) and third period scoring (2436).

Between the pipes, Roberto Luongo was second on his team (14th overall) with 5224 Star Selector points with a record of 38-15-7, a 2.11 goals against average and a .928 save percentage. If you're going with the Canucks, depth could be the difference in your lineup. Before their injuries, Alex Edler had seven points, 10 hits and five blocks in his final six games, while Mikael Samuelsson had seven points and nine hits in his final seven games. And let's not forget that in 12 games during last year's playoffs, Samuelsson had eight goals and 15 points.

If you're banking on Chicago's recent success over Vancouver and the fact that they are the defending champs, your roster should begin and end with Jonathan Toews. The 2010 Conn Smythe Trophy winner finished fifth in both second period scoring (2023) and in overall Star Selector points (6055) and was No. 1 in first period scoring (2336). Toews led his team with 76 points this year. Teammate Patrick Sharp, who was first on the Hawks in goals (34) and power-play goals (12), finished his season strong with 22 points in his final 18 games.

Phoenix @ Detroit

Hockey Night in Canada's other Western series features a rematch from 2010. The Wings knocked off the Coyotes in seven games in the first round a year ago. Despite the fact that Detroit was second in the NHL in goals for with 257, not a single Red Wings player wound up in the top-20 overall or in any period in the Star Selector pool. What the Wings do have is a balanced attack. Henrik Zetterberg, Jimmy Howard, Johan Franzen, Pavel Datsyuk, Nicklas Lidstrom, Darren Helm and Brian Rafalski were all consistently very productive in the Star Selector pool.

Datsyuk finished the season tied for 11th in points-per-game (1.05), while Zetterberg was tied for 13th (1.00). In 12 games along their run to the Stanley Cup last year, Datsyuk chipped in with 14 points, Zetterberg led the team with seven goals and Franzen had a team-high 12 assists and 18 points, which was good for 10th in the playoffs. With Zetterberg out nursing an ankle injury for at least a game or two, I'll be looking at Todd Bertuzzi and Danny Cleary to fill out my roster. Each player has had excellent years, but Cleary's career-high 46 points makes me believe he's ready to break out in this year's playoffs.

The main factor that will determine if Detroit advances or gets eliminated can be found in the Coyotes net. Goalie Ilya Bryzgalov was eighth in the Star Selector pool with 5732 points and top-20 in all three periods, in part because he had to make an enormous amount of saves this season (third with 1957 saves). In front of him, the trio of Shane Doan, Keith Yandle and Ray Whitney had superb seasons and will have to continue their offensive production if they are to get past the perennial Stanley Cup contenders.

Tampa Bay @ Pittsburgh

Under normal circumstances, I would be pointing out what great seasons Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin had for the Penguins. But the injury bug hit Pittsburgh hard as Malkin is out long-term with a knee injury and Crosby hasn't resumed full-contact practice yet after his well-documented concussion. The Pens have had a respectable 19-13-5 record without Crosby, in large part due to the play of Marc-Andre Fleury. Fleury finished with a 36-20-5 record, a 2.32 GAA and a .918 save percentage, which was good for 15th overall in Star Selector scoring (5210). In the absence of Pittsburgh's two superstars, those that put points on the board were Kris Letang (50), Chris Kunitz (48), Jordan Staal (30) and recently acquired James Neal (45).

The real superstars in this series will be playing for the Lightning. Making his first playoff appearance, Steven Stamkos was second in the league in goals with 45 and fifth in points with 91. Teammate Martin St. Louis was second in both assists (68) and points (99) and was also third in points-per-game (1.21), but it was Stamkos that was infinitely more valuable in the Star Selector pool. He was 12th in scoring with 5442 points and top-20 in each period during the regular season. Two other Bolts to watch are Vincent Lecavalier and Simon Gagne. Lecavalier tallied 17 points in his final 14 games, while Gagne had 18 points in his last 13 games. But the most crucial stats for Gagne are from the 2010 playoffs. With the Flyers, he was seventh in goals with nine and also tied for the league-lead in power-play goals with five.

Montreal @ Boston

Perhaps the most anticipated series of round one will be between the Canadiens and Bruins, as the teams meet for a record 33rd time in the playoffs. Montreal may have won the hard-fought season series 4-2, but in their last two visits to Boston, the Habs allowed a total of 15 goals. If the Habs are to advance past the hated B's and turn around a mediocre 14-12-3 record since Feb. 6, Carey Price will have to make us forget the name Jaroslav Halak.

This season, Price, who was tied for the league-lead in wins with 38, posted a 2.35 GAA and a .923 save percentage. Price also finished fourth in Star Selector points with 6103 and third among second period performers with 2281. Montreal's scoring leaders Tomas Plekanec (57), James Wisniewski (51), Mike Cammalleri (47) and Brian Gionta (46) will naturally need to score more goals than they have recently if the Habs are to have any success against Boston. With eight points in 14 playoff games last year, don't be surprised if rookie PK Subban leaves his mark on this year's playoffs, especially on his team's seventh-ranked power-play and penalty kill.

Though Price was great this season, Tim Thomas was better. The Hart Trophy candidate sported a league-low 2.00 GAA to go along with a .938 save percentage, which is the highest in NHL history. Thomas (35-11-9, nine shutouts) ranked seventh in the Star Selector live pool with 5993 points and was top-5 in both the first and third periods. He was the main reason the Bruins were second in the NHL in goals against. On offence, Boston is led by 30-goal winger Milan Lucic, newcomer Nathan Horton and centres David Krejci and Patrice Bergeron. Of the group, Bergeron was the most consistent SS point-producer as he was top-15 in the first and third periods. If you're looking for a sleeper, veteran Mark Recchi had 48 points this year and led his team in goals in the post-season last year.