Michael Finewax

The Week Ahead

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The Final Two Weeks

Friday, March 25, 2011



DETROIT

Games this week
vs. Chicago, vs. St. Louis, @ Nashville, vs. Minnesota

Notes
The Red Wings finish a five game home stand this week. They are a rested team on Wednesday when they face the Blues. Detroit plays three games in four nights so look for Joey MacDonald to play once in place of Jimmy Howard. Chris Osgood suffered a setback from his sports hernia surgery and was put on long-term injured reserve. He is eligible to return on April 8. The Red Wings are hurting up front with injuries to Pavel Datsyuk, Todd Bertuzzi and Johan Franzen. Jiri Hudler finally returned to the lineup after injuring his neck/shoulder and getting the flu.

EDMONTON

Games this week
vs. Los Angeles, @ Minnesota, @ Vancouver

Notes
The Oilers have numerous injuries up front but have been pleased with Magnus Paajarvi as he is meshing nicely with fellow countryman Linus Omark as the schedule winds down. Kurtis Foster suffered a possible head injury when forced into the boards on Tuesday. He has had a terrible offensive season with only six goals and 18 points in 69 games after getting 42 points in 71 games with Tampa Bay last season. The Oilers are struggling with many injuries up front including Taylor Hall, Sam Gagner, Shawn Horcoff and Ales Hemsky.

FLORIDA

Games this week
@ Columbus, vs. Ottawa, vs. Pittsburgh

Notes
The Panthers are hoping for a quick return to action for Stephen Weiss as he has missed the last two games with a leg injury. The Panthers have gone scoreless this week without their top center. Sergei Samsonov had six points in three games before Weiss was hurt. Jack Skille has returned to the lineup after injuring his ankle a month ago. He is minus-three in his last two games. Evgeni Dadonov scored twice in his first game back from a broken finger after missing over six weeks of action.

LOS ANGELES

Games this week
@ Edmonton, @ Vancouver, vs. Dallas

Notes
Justin Williams is out with a shoulder injury and will likely miss the rest of the regular season. Oscar Moller was recalled from the minors and will replace Williams on the top line with Anze Kopitar and Dustin Penner. Jon Quick has been splitting the goaltending job with Jonathan Bernier but has played the last three games, giving up seven goals in 92 shots. Kopitar leads the Kings in goals with 25 and assists with 47 in addition to a plus-24.

MINNESOTA

Games this week
@ St. Louis, vs. Edmonton, vs. Tampa Bay, @ Detroit

Notes
The Wild are playing out the season as their playoff hopes have ended. They play three games in four nights so expect to see Jose Theodore play once in place of Niklas Backstrom. Marek Zidlicky has missed the last four games with a hamstring injury and there is still no timetable for his return. Martin Havlat has only one assist in his last seven games. Marco Scandella is expected to miss three weeks because of a broken finger.

MONTREAL

Games this week
vs. Atlanta, @ Carolina, @ New Jersey

Notes
The Canadiens are rested on Saturday when they are in New Jersey as the Devils play the Flyers on Friday. Tomas Plekanec missed two games with a back injury but returned to action on Thursday. Ryan White scored the first goal of his NHL career on Sunday and managed to get the Gordie Howe hat trick. P.K. Subban picked up his first career hat trick in the same game. Michael Cammalleri has only 16 goals in 50 games this season.

NASHVILLE

Games this week
vs. Vancouver, @ Colorado, vs. Detroit

Notes
Patrick Hornqvist has only 19 goals and 39 points this season after a 30 goal effort last year. Look for Pekka Rinne to play in the remaining games for the Predators who are in the hunt for a playoff spot in the West. Blake Geoffrion had his first career hat trick and was the NHLPA's player of the week. Steve Sullivan (groin) could return to action before the end of the season.

NEW JERSEY

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

Notes
The Devils play three games at home this week and all are in four nights so Johan Hedberg could see the net once in relief of Martin Brodeur. The Devils are rested on Friday when they play the Flyers but the tables are turned on Saturday when they face the Canadiens. Zach Parise practiced on Thursday for the first time since undergoing arthroscopic surgery on November 2nd to repair a torn meniscus in his right knee. He could play this week. David Steckel played this past week after missing one game with an upper body injury.

NEW YORK ISLANDERS

Games this week
@ New Jersey, vs. New York Rangers, vs. Carolina

Notes
The Islanders play three games in four nights so expect to see Rick DiPietro and Al Montoya share the net. Mark Streit will not play this season. He injured his shoulder in training camp and was unable to return. Do not forget about him next season. Frans Nielsen leads the NHL in shorthanded goals with six. Rookie Michael Grabner hit the 30 goal mark this past week.

NEW YORK RANGERS

Games this week
@ Buffalo, @ New York Islanders, @ Philadelphia

Notes
The Rangers are rested on Wednesday when they are in Buffalo as the Sabres play in Toronto on Tuesday. Ryan McDonagh was able to play on Tuesday after colliding with the elbow of the Penguins Matt Cooke on Sunday. He has eight points and a plus-17 rating in 32 games this season. Ryan Callahan leads the Rangers in goals with 23, while Brandon Dubinsky leads in assists with 29 and points with 51.

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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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