Eeli Tolvanen Matty Beniers [1296x729]
Eeli Tolvanen Matty Beniers [1296x729] (Credit: Oliver McKenna/Icon Sportswire)

Travis d Arnaud homers again and Bryce Elder shuts down Marlins in Braves 3-0 win

We are now in the heat of the second to last "week" of the fantasy hockey season. Week gets quotes here because the final "week" is actually a scoring period that extends for 11 days from April 8 to April 18.

That is when the championship you've been working toward all season will be decided. Whatever your league format, be it head-to-head, points or rotisserie, those final 11 days will determine the winner.

I had a friendly reminder in Monday's preview about games-played limits, so be sure to review that information before getting too excited about some of the tidbits being shared here.

We are going to take a deep dive into the final scoring period's schedule to attempt to find that edge you might need to earn the title as fantasy hockey champion.

Using fantasy points against per game (FPAPG) as a schedule-measuring device, let's have a look by position at which teams have the most fantasy-friendly final scoring periods of the season. This does not cover the remainder of this week, so you'll need to power through the current scoring period before taking full advantage of the recommendations below.

FPAPG is a measure of how many fantasy points a team allows to opponents. We can break this down by position as well. An example: The San Jose Sharks allow 9.88 fantasy points against per game (FPAPG) to opposing defense this season, which is the most by any team and gives them the No. 1 ranking for being fantasy-friendly to opposition defense. We can do this by certain periods of time as well, such as the Toronto Maple Leafs allowing -0.36 FPAPG to opposing goaltenders since Feb. 1, making them the worst possible opponent for a fantasy goaltender to face lately.

Remember that you need to dovetail your roster decisions between both schedule potential and remaining games.

In the ESPN Fantasy Hockey game, when you hit your games-played limits at a position, you will still get the box scores from that day for your team, but the roster position will lock and not count games for the remaining schedule once your limit has been met. Read that again closely. Yes, that means if you manage to get within one-game remaining against your limit, you will get all the box scores from the following day. So, in an extreme example, if you have a league with nine forward positions, your games-played limit is likely 738 for that position (9 * 82); and if you finish Wednesday, April 17, with 737 games started at forward, you can technically have as many as 746 games played if you manage to fill out your lineup on Wednesday, April 18.

This strategy is obviously much easier in daily roster leagues, but you can do some rough counting and attempt something similar in weekly roster leagues if you really are in a tight race. Just be aware that locking your rosters on April 8 with the intention of having perfect attendance by your forwards by April 18 is probably not going to work out in your favor.

With all that in mind, let's take a look at some of the teams that have the most and the least fantasy points on the table for the final scoring period. Remember, both quality and quantity count here. So a team that may have a good schedule based on FPAPG but only has four games might not have as much potential as a team with a poor schedule and six games.

Forwards with good schedules

Calgary Flames: 6 games in final week Opponents: @SJS, @LAK, @ANA, ARI, @VAN, SJS FPAPG total for forwards: 100.98 (ranked No. 1)

Yegor Sharangovich, C, Calgary Flames (68.9% available): The Flames offer both quantity and quality for forwards. The Sharks, Ducks and Coyotes are all top five in FPAPG allowed to forwards since Feb. 1 and they comprise four of the six games for Calgary. Sharangovich is a go-to option with his role on the advantage, but don't sleep on others. Martin Pospisil is playing top-six minutes and a great option to boost your hits totals in roto.

Edmonton Oilers: 6 games in final week Opponents: VGK, ARI, VAN, SJS, @ARI, @COL FPAPG total for forwards: 98.83 (ranked No. 2)

Adam Henrique, C, Edmonton Oilers (67.2% available): If you are looking to add an Oilers forward, you need to go to what's available. Henrique has been getting time with Leon Draisaitl pretty consistently in the past few games. If he's not though, it likely means Warren Foegele or Evander Kane are.

Seattle Kraken: 6 games in final week Opponents: ARI, SJS, @DAL, @STL, @WPG, @MIN FPAPG total for forwards: 97.51 (ranked No. 5)

Eeli Tolvanen and Matty Beniers, F, Seattle Kraken (24.0% and 54.3% available): A little more quantity than quality doing the heavy lifting for the projections here, as the matchups for the Kraken forwards get progressively worse as the final scoring period progresses. This Tolvanen-Beniers connection has been growing and could be a thing going into next season.

Forwards with bad schedules

Anaheim Ducks: 4 games in final week Opponents: LAK, CGY, @LAK, @VGK FPAPG total for forwards: 62.18 (ranked No. 31)

Frank Vatrano, W, Anaheim Ducks (6.7% available): With two of four matchups coming against the Kings, there isn't much hope for a strong finish here. Vatrano has been pretty cold since the trade deadline, too.

Colorado Avalanche: 4 games in final week Opponents: MIN, WPG, @VGK, EDM FPAPG total for forwards: 62.51 (ranked No. 30)

Jonathan Drouin, W, Colorado Avalanche (87.6% available): Drouin has been a lineup lock of late, but this final schedule doesn't make him one for the final scoring period. It's not bad enough to reconsider the superstars, but definitely the fringes.

Buffalo Sabres: 4 games in final week Opponents: @DAL, WSH, @FLA, @TBL FPAPG total for forwards: 63.87 (ranked No. 28)

Tage Thompson, C, Buffalo Sabres (5.0% available): He's been coming on a bit of late, with 2.84 FPPG across his past 10 games spiked by his recent four-goal outing. This won't be a great final week for the Sabres though, with one favorable matchup at home and three unfavorable macthups on the road.

Defense with good schedules

Toronto Maple Leafs: 6 games in final week Opponents: PIT, @NJD, NJD, DET, @FLA, @TBL FPAPG total for defense: 55.78 (ranked No. 1)

Jake McCabe, D, Toronto Maple Leafs (50.1% available): With the Panthers and Lightning both actually plus matchups for fantasy defense, this Leafs schedule is not too shabby. Morgan Rielly should be back but, if he's not, Conor Timmins will still be a consideration. McCabe is the next best option and comes with no qualifiers.

Edmonton Oilers: 6 games in final week Opponents: VGK, ARI, VAN, SJS, @ARI, @COL FPAPG total for defense: 53.95 (ranked No. 3)

Mattias Ekholm, D, Edmonton Oilers (67.5% available): Saying he's "on fire" doesn't feel like a strong enough description. The Coyotes are the No. 1 opponent for FPAPG for defense since Feb. 1 and the Oilers get them twice to close out the schedule -- with a Sharks matchup in between.

Vegas Golden Knights: 6 games in final week Opponents: @VAN, @EDM, MIN, COL, CHI, ANA FPAPG total for defense: 53.02 (ranked No. 5)

Brayden McNabb, D, Vegas Golden Knights (19.0% available): This good schedule is more a product of quantity than quality, as only one of the Knights opponents are top 10 for FPAPG to defense. But with six games on the docket, McNabb could be an available source of fantasy points on the blue line.

Tampa Bay Lightning: 5 games in final week Opponents: CBJ, OTT, @WSH, BUF, TOR FPAPG total for defense: 46.22 (ranked No. 6)

Darren Raddysh, D, Tampa Bay Lightning (98.2% available): Although the matchups get worse as the week goes along, it's a couple of strong ones for Victor Hedman's steady defense partner. He's posted 22.8 fantasy points across his past 10 games.

Defense with bad schedules

Dallas Stars: 4 games in final week Opponents: BUF, WPG, SEA, STL FPAPG total for defense: 34.48 (ranked No. 32)

Thomas Harley, D, Dallas Stars (34.4% available): Mostly by virtue of minimal matchups and none of them great, the Stars have the worst potential schedule for defense. It makes Harley and Miro Hesikanen a little less atrractive for this final week, but they still may be your best option as they btoh hover near 2.0 FPPG for the season.

Carolina Hurricanes: 4 games in final week Opponents: @BOS, @STL, @CHI, @CBJ FPAPG total for defense: 34.52 (ranked No. 31)

Brent Burns, D, Carolina Hurricanes (21.6% available): It's a bit surprising, but it's a fact that the Blackhawks are actually a bad matchup for fantasy defense (26th in FPAPG to D since Feb. 1). That means the Canes have three poor matchups before they close the season against the Blue Jackets. Burns, Brady Skjei, Jaccob Slavin, Dmitry Orlov; they could all be in for a slow finish.

Philadelphia Flyers: 4 games in final week Opponents: @MTL, @NYR, NJD, WSH FPAPG total for defense: 34.56 (ranked No. 30)

Cam York, D, Philadelphia Flyers (63.7% available): The Habs, like the Hawks, are actually a tough opponent for fantasy D, so that game and the Rangers matchup really sinks the Flyers outlook. Plus, after a month or so of averaging an unsustainable FPPG, York is slowing down a tad. All that said, I'm probably still starting him this final scoring period; I'm just not expecting the March version of York when I do.

Goalies with good schedules

Los Angeles Kings: 5 games in final week Opponents: @ANA, CGY, ANA, MIN, CHI FPAPG total for goalies: 15.25 (ranked No. 1)

There is potential packed into this schedule, which conveniently has no back-to-back sets built in across the five games. Cam Talbot (24.1% available) should be a good start in weekly roster leagues and David Rittich (96.1% available) should be a great one to stream in for daily leagues.

Calgary Flames: 6 games in final week Opponents: @SJS, @LAK, @ANA, ARI, @VAN, SJS FPAPG total for goalies: 14.79 (ranked No. 2)

Once again, the Flames have a nice combo of quantity and quality for goaltending, highlighted by facing the Sharks twice and Ducks once. Jacob Markstrom should carry the load as Calgary plays out the string, but maybe they'll try to boost Dustin Wolf's confidence with some of the easier starts, so it's tough to be too committed to either of them here.

Nashville Predators: 4 games in final week Opponents: WPG, @CHI, CBJ, @PIT FPAPG total for goalies: 12.16 (ranked No. 3)

All four of the teams the Predators face are ranked No. 11 or better for FPAPG to opposing goaltenders since Feb. 1, with the final three matchups all top five. This is particularly of interest if the Predators find themselves too far back to catch third in the Central Division, but also far enough ahead to have the first wild-card berth locked down. If that's the case, we could see Kevin Lankinen (99.5% available) in more than one of these sweetheart matchups down the stretch.

Seattle Kraken: 6 games in final week Opponents: ARI, SJS, @DAL, @STL, @WPG, @MIN FPAPG total for goalies: 11.83 (ranked No. 4)

The current rotation would see Joey Daccord (53.1% available) get the Coyotes, Stars and Jets, while Philipp Grubauer (93.1% available) would see the Sharks, Blues and Wild. It's a slight edge to Grubauer for matchups. But it's too bad one goalie couldn't be handling this schedule for fantasy teams.

Goalies with bad schedules

Buffalo Sabres: 4 games in final week Opponents: @DAL, WSH, @FLA, @TBL FPAPG total for goalies: 5.12 (ranked No. 32)

We pointed out a few weeks back that the schedule for what was a red-hot Ukko-Pekka Luukkonen was going to get rough down the stretch, and that has certainly played out as expected with negative fantasy points in four of his past six. These final matchups, three of them on the road, don't look to improve the situation.

Winnipeg Jets: 5 games in final week Opponents: @NSH, @DAL, @COL, SEA, VAN FPAPG total for goalies: 5.36 (ranked No. 31)

Just off a stretch of five games in which Connor Hellebuyck never scored more than 0.6 fantasy points in a contest and totaled -8.6 to subtract from your team, it's tough to feel confident about the best fantasy goaltender this season heading into the final week. There are no back-to-back sets here and the Jets could still be jostling for their playoff seeding, so Hellebuyck could indeed be tasked to run most of this difficult table. The Predators, Stars and Avalanche to start the final scoring period are a particularly tough gauntlet with the teams ranked No. 30, No. 26 and No. 24 in FPAPG to opposing goaltenders since Feb. 1.

New Jersey Devils: 4 games in final week Opponents: TOR, @TOR, @PHI, NYI FPAPG total for goalies: 6.69 (ranked No. 28)

There could be some merit in the Devils goaltenders for the final two games of the season against the Flyers and Islanders, but to get there in the final scoring period they have to get through a gauntlet of double Maple Leafs. No team has hurt opposing fantasy goaltenders more since Feb. 1.