Michael Finewax

The Week Ahead

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Chara and Pacioretty

Friday, March 11, 2011




DETROIT

Games this week
vs. Washington, @ Columbus, @ Nashville

Notes
The Red Wings play three games in four nights so look for Chris Osgood, if he finally returns to action, to play once in place of Jimmy Howard. The Red Wings will be tired on Thursday when they play a rested Columbus team as Detroit take on Washington the previous night. The Red Wings are rested against the Capitals on Wednesday as Washington are in Montreal on Tuesday. Brian Rafalski has missed six straight games with back spasms. Johan Franzen finally broke his 14 game goalless drought on Saturday. The Red Wings are struggling at home as they are 7-10-2 in their last 19 games at the Joe Louis.

EDMONTON

Games this week
vs. Phoenix, vs. Colorado

Notes
The Oilers play only twice so we recommend benching all your Edmonton players. Nikolai Khabibulin is back but expect to see Devan Dubnyk in net more often. Sam Gagner suffered a severed tendon in his hand and is gone for the season. The Oilers look to be on track to grab the first overall pick again and it is just a matter of time before they become an elite team in the NHL with all their young talent. Taylor Hall and Ales Hemsky are also gone for the remainder of the season.

FLORIDA

Games this week
vs. Philadelphia, vs. Toronto, vs. New York Islanders

Notes
The Panthers are rested when they take on the tired Maple Leafs on Thursday as Toronto are visiting Carolina Wednesday. They are also rested on Saturday when they face a tired Islanders squad. The Panthers play all three at home this week. David Booth has three goals and four points in his last three games. Look for Niclas Bergfors to get a big chance to perform with the Panthers after being a healthy scratch in Atlanta for 11 games this season.

LOS ANGELES

Games this week
@ Nashville, vs. St. Louis, vs. Anaheim

Notes
The Kings are rested on Thursday when they take on the Blues as St. Louis play on Wednesday in Anaheim. Jon Quick has stopped 79 of 80 Detroit shots at the Joe Louis Arena this season in winning both games. Dustin Penner has been getting first line minutes alongside Anze Kopitar. Andrei Loktionov underwent season ending surgery to repair his injured left shoulder.

MINNESOTA

Games this week
@ Vancouver, @ San Jose, vs. Columbus, vs. Montreal

Notes
Minnesota play three games in four nights so look for Jose Theodore and Niklas Backstrom to share the net. The Wild are tired on Sunday when they face Montreal after playing Columbus the previous night. Cal Clutterbuck has started skating again after he took a hit to the head from Trevor Gillies of the Islanders, who found himself suspended for 10 games. Guillaume Latendresse finally returned to action this past week.

MONTREAL

Games this week
vs. Washington, vs. Tampa Bay, @ New York Rangers, @ Minnesota

Notes
The Canadiens play four times this week including three games in four nights so look for Alexander Auld to play once in place of Carey Price. The Habs are tired on Friday when they play the Rangers in New York and are rested on Sunday when they are in Minnesota as the Wild play Columbus the previous night. Max Pacioretty suffered a broken vertebrae and a severe concussion when rammed into the boards by Zdeno Chara and will be out of action for a long time. Carey Price was the third star of the week, winning all three games with a .974 save percentage and a GAA of 1.00.

NASHVILLE

Games this week
vs. Los Angeles, vs. Boston, vs. Detroit, @ Buffalo

Notes
The Predators play four games this week including three in four nights but coach Barry Trotz has said that Pekka Rinne will play the rest of the way. Steve Sullivan had a procedure for an abductor release last week and will be out of the Nashville lineup for the next four-six weeks. Rinne is 3-1-2 in his last six games and has given up only nine goals on 170 shots.

NEW JERSEY

Games this week
vs. Atlanta, @ Ottawa, vs. Washington, @ Columbus

Notes
The Devils play three games in four nights as well as four times this week so expect to see Johan Hedberg once in place of Martin Brodeur. The Devils are tired on Friday when they play a rested Washington team as New Jersey play the Senators in Ottawa the night before, but will be rested on Sunday when they play a tired Columbus team. Zach Parise (knee) took some shots on goal Wednesday and is making positive strides in his skating as well. Ilya Kovalchuk has six game winning goals over the last month.

NEW YORK ISLANDERS

Games this week
@ New York Rangers, @ Carolina, @ Florida

Notes
The Islanders are tired on Saturday when they play in Florida after having to travel 674 miles from Carolina the night before. Al Montoya is 6-2-2 this season for the Islanders as New York made a great acquisition in picking him up from the Coyotes. John Tavares has 24 goals and 55 points this season. His minus-17 rating will hurt you, but expect a lot better next season. Matt Moulson leads the team with 28 goals.

NEW YORK RANGERS

Games this week
vs. New York Islanders, vs. Montreal, @ Pittsburgh

Notes
The Rangers are rested and waiting for the Canadiens on Friday as Montreal will take on Tampa Bay the night before. Marc Staal, who missed three games in February, will likely battle with lingering knee pain for the remainder of the season. Look for Henrik Lundqvist to play in net for the remainder of the season as the Rangers are in a battle for the playoffs. Bryan McCabe is playing on the third unit with Matt Gilroy and will have to adjust as his playing minutes are lower than they have been in a long time. Ryan Callahan had a four goal game this past week.

OTTAWA

Games this week
vs. Pittsburgh, vs. New Jersey, vs. Tampa Bay

Notes
The Senators play all three games at home this week. Matt Carkner had arthroscopic surgery on his knee this past week and he may not be able to return before the end of the season. Ryan Shannon will get a chance to be a top-six forward the rest of the way and has a goal and six points in his last eight games with a plus-three rating. Craig Anderson has been great for the Senators since his trade from Colorado as he is 6-3-0 and has given up only 13 goals in 295 shots. His GAA in that span is 1.44 while his save percentage is an outstanding .956.

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Michael Finewax is entering his 10th season as the Senior Hockey Writer and Editor for Rotoworld. You can follow him on Twitter @mfinewaxhockey.
Email :Michael Finewax



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