Michael Finewax

The Week Ahead

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Get ready for fantasy playoffs

Friday, March 18, 2011



OTTAWA

Games this week
@ Carolina, @ New York Rangers, vs. Washington, @ Atlanta

Notes
The Senators play all three games in four nights so look for Curtis McElhinney to play once in place of Craig Anderson (if healthy). The Senators will be tired on Friday when they are home to Washington as Ottawa plays in New York Thursday. Matt Carkner is gone for the season. Roman Wick has been recalled by the Senators. Erik Karlsson leads the Senators with 40 points, one ahead of Jason Spezza.

PHILADELPHIA

Games this week
vs. Washington, vs. Pittsburgh, @ New York Islanders, vs. Boston

Notes
The Flyers play three games in four nights so expect to see Brian Boucher at least once in place of Sergei Bobrovsky. The Flyers switched up their lines on Tuesday and went with Daniel Briere, Claude Giroux and Jeff Carter on one combination, while Mike Richards centered Scott Hartnell and Ville Leino. Kris Versteeg was between James van Riemsdyk and Daniel Carcillo, while Blair Betts, Jody Shelley and Darroll Powe formed the fourth unit. Chris Pronger is out three-four weeks after hand surgery.

PHOENIX

Games this week
vs. St. Louis, vs. Columbus, vs. San Jose

Notes
The Coyotes play all three games at home this week. It appears that the Coyotes will not be in Phoenix next year as the Goldwater Institute has decided to file a legal challenge against the City of Glendale with regards to the pending sale of the Phoenix Coyotes to Matthew Hulsizer. It will make it impossible to sell the bonds so it looks as if the franchise will be headed to Winnipeg. Lee Stempniak scored on Tuesday for the first time in 22 games.

PITTSBURGH

Games this week
@ Detroit, @ Philadelphia, vs. New Jersey, vs. Florida

Notes
The Penguins play three games in four nights so Brent Johnson could play once in place of Marc-Andre Fleury. The Penguins will be a tired team twice this week while playing rested teams. The first time is Monday against the Red Wings with the second game occurring on Friday against the Devils. Sidney Crosby has finally started to skate but is likely still a while away from being game ready after suffering a concussion on January 1. Kris Letang has only one point in his last 13 games.

ST. LOUIS

Games this week
@ Phoenix, vs. Edmonton, @ Minnesota

Notes
The Blues are now up for sale as is their arena. Owner Dave Checketts was trying to buy the remainder of the team from majority shareholder TowerBrook Capital Partners but the two sides could not agree on a price. Andy McDonald has nine goals and 22 points in 21 games since returning from a concussion. David Backes is having a terrific fantasy season with 25 goals, 51 points, 91 penalty minutes and a plus-19 rating.

SAN JOSE

Games this week
vs. Calgary, @ Los Angeles, @ Phoenix

Notes
The Sharks play three games in four nights so look for Antero Niittymaki to play once in place of Antti Niemi. The Sharks are tired on Thursday when they take on a rested Los Angeles team. Dany Heatley was suspended for two games for elbowing the Stars' Steve Ott in the head. Doug Murray hit Loui Eriksson in the head in the same game but was not suspended. Joe Pavelski had four assists on Tuesday to boost his point total to 52.

TAMPA BAY

Games this week
vs. New York Islanders, vs. Carolina, @ Carolina

Notes
The Lightning play a home-and-home series against the Carolina Hurricanes so expect to see Steve Downie (if healthy) add to his penalty minutes total. Downie could return to the lineup by the weekend from ankle/knee problems. Pavel Kubina returned to action on Thursday from a three game suspension for elbowing the Blackhawks Dave Bolland. Steve Stamkos leads the NHL in goals with 43 while Martin St. Louis is second in assists with 59.

TORONTO

Games this week
@ Minnesota, @ Colorado, @ Detroit

Notes
The Maple Leafs play all three games on the road this week. Dion Phaneuf has regained his scoring touch of late as he has 11 points in his last 12 games. It appears that the Maple Leafs playoff hopes are near zero as they lost two out of three this past week. Toronto recalled former first round pick Nazem Kadri and he should remain with the squad until the end of the season. Keith Aulie has been impressive thus far as the Maple Leafs seem to have finally figured out how to develop their talent in the minor leagues. A big reason for this is the coaching of Dallas Eakins with the Marlies.

VANCOUVER

Games this week
@ Detroit, @ Atlanta, @ Columbus

Notes
The Canucks are on the road for all three games this week. They are rested on Friday when they go into Atlanta as the Thrashers are in Long Island the night before. The Canucks were the first team to clinch a playoff spot this season and are the only team over 100 points. Kevin Bieksa could return this week from a broken foot, while Alexander Edler returned to the ice on Wednesday after undergoing back surgery at the end of January. Manny Malhotra has been a great third center for the Canucks but was struck on the eye Wednesday and needed surgery.

WASHINGTON

Games this week
@ Philadelphia, @ Ottawa, @ Montreal

Notes
The Capitals are at the end of a six game road trip. They are a rested team on Friday when they are in Ottawa as the Senators play the Rangers in New York on Thursday but are tired the next night when they face a rested Canadiens team in Montreal. Mike Green is eligible to return to action on March 22 from long term injured reserve. The Capitals have three capable goaltenders in Semyon Varlamov, Michal Neuvirth and Braden Holtby but coach Bruce Boudreau will not commit to a playoff goaltender at this time.

PLAYERS TO LOOK FOR THIS WEEK
Tyler Seguin - Bruins
Niclas Bergfors - Panthers
Chris Neil - Senators
Ville Leino - Flames
Dustin Jeffrey - Penguins

LAST WEEK'S PLAYERS
This is how the players performed through Thursday
G A PPP +/- PIMS
Matt Calvert - Blue Jackets 0 0 0 0 0
Guillaume Latendresse - Wild Did not play
Jeff Halpern - Canadiens 0 0 0 -1 0
Brian Rolston - Devils 1 1 1 0 0
Mikkel Boedker - Coyotes 0 0 0 0 2
Tyler Bozak - Maple Leafs 1 0 0 -3 0


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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