Michael Finewax

The Week Ahead

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The Final Week of the Season

Friday, April 01, 2011


It's the final week of the season and the last column of the year for The Week Ahead. Best of luck to everyone who is still in contention in their pools and good luck in all playoff pools.

On that note, we at Rotoworld are going to do a playoff pool. We are looking for participants to go against our writers. Spots are limited so if you are interested, please e-mail me at the address below and tell me why you deserve a spot in the pool. I look forward to hearing from you.

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Here is The Week Ahead.

WEEK OF MARCH 28-APRIL 3

4 Games - Atlanta, Boston, Chicago, Colorado, Dallas, Edmonton, Los Angeles, New Jersey, San Jose

3 Games - Anaheim, Buffalo, Carolina, Columbus, Detroit, Florida, Minnesota, Montreal, Nashville, New York Islanders, New York Rangers, Ottawa, Philadelphia, Phoenix, Pittsburgh, St. Louis, Tampa Bay, Toronto, Vancouver, Washington

2 Games - Calgary

The New York Rangers play three games at home this week.


INJURIES
Anze Kopitar broke his ankle and is out the rest of the season. Click here to check out all the injured players in the NHL.

ANAHEIM

Games this week
vs. San Jose, vs. Los Angeles, @ Los Angeles

Notes
The Ducks play three games in four nights so expect to see Jonas Hiller and Ray Emery to split the net. They end the season with a home-and-home series against their cross-town rivals in Los Angeles, so look for George Parros and Brad Winchester to add to their penalty minute totals. Corey Perry is one of the hottest players in the NHL with 18 points in his last 10 games and he now leads all scorers with 46 goals. Teemu Selanne is having an amazing season at age 40 with 28 goals and 76 points in 68 games. Jonas Hiller is still experiencing good and bad days as he tries to recover from vertigo.

ATLANTA

Games this week
@ Nashville, @ New York Rangers, vs. Carolina, vs. Pittsburgh

Notes
The Thrashers play four times this week including three games in four nights so look for Chris Mason to share the net with Ondrej Pavelec as coach Craig Ramsay wants to split the goaltending the rest of the way. Atlanta will be a tired team on Friday when they play a rested Carolina team as the Thrashers are in New York to play the Rangers on Thursday. Bryan Little has scored three times in the past six games after going 16 games without finding the back of the net.

BOSTON

Games this week
@ New York Rangers, vs. New York Islanders, vs. Ottawa, @ New Jersey

Notes
The Bruins play four times this week so expect to see Tim Thomas and Tuukka Rask share the net. The Bruins are rested on Monday when they face the Rangers as New York play in Philadelphia Sunday. Shawn Thornton accused the Chicago Blackhawks bench of taunting him after he was injured on Tuesday when he was cut accidentally by the skate of Fernando Pisani. Zdeno Chara has two goals and seven points in his last six games. Mark Recchi said he will retire at the end of the 2010-11 season if Boston wins the Stanley Cup.

BUFFALO

Games this week
vs. Tampa Bay, vs. Philadelphia, @ Columbus

Notes
Derek Roy skated by himself for 25 minutes this past week. Jhonas Enroth started on Wednesday with the injury to Ryan Miller and shutout the Rangers in a big win. Miller should return on the weekend. Thomas Vanek leads the Sabres with 27 power play points while Cody McCormick leads with 142 penalty minutes.

CALGARY

Games this week
vs. Edmonton, vs. Vancouver

Notes
The Flames end the season as the only team to play twice this week. We recommend benching all your Flame players with the exception of Jarome Iginla and Alex Tanguay. The Flames are rested on Wednesday when they face a tired Edmonton team as the Oilers are at home against the Canucks on Tuesday. Iginla needs only three points to hit the 1,000 point mark heading into games on Friday. Mark Giordano has a goal and five assists in his last three games. Daymond Langkow is scheduled to return to action on April 1 for the first time in over a year.

CAROLINA

Games this week
vs. Detroit, @ Atlanta, vs. Tampa Bay

Notes
The Hurricanes play three times in four nights, but unless Carolina has been eliminated from post-season consideration, expect to see only Cam Ward in goal rather than Justin Peters. The Hurricanes are rested on Friday when they play a tired Atlanta team. Do not forget about Jamie McBain next season. The rookie defenseman has seven goals and 28 points and sees lots of ice time on the power play. Jeff Skinner is now up to 29 goals this season, second to Logan Couture amongst rookies.

CHICAGO

Games this week
@ Montreal, vs. St. Louis, @ Detroit, vs. Detroit

Notes
The Blackhawks play three games in four nights so look for Marty Turco to play once, especially if Chicago has already clinched a playoff spot. Chicago ends the season with a home-and-home series against Detroit, a possible first round opponent so expect some fisticuffs, even though Detroit fights less than any other team in the NHL. I do not understand why Corey Crawford is not getting any consideration for the Calder Trophy as his stats are as good or better than any rookie this season. Patrick Sharp could return this week. Marcus Kruger has impressed coach Joel Quenneville despite not scoring in four games. Bryan Bickell has moved up to the top line alongside Jonathan Toews and Patrick Kane.

COLORADO

Games this week
@ St. Louis, @ Dallas, vs. Dallas, vs. Edmonton

Notes
The Avalanche play four times including three games in four nights so expect to see Brian Elliott and Peter Budaj to share the net. The Avs play a home-and-home series against Dallas so look for Cody McLeod to be involved if there is any rough stuff. Matt Duchene wants to hit the 30 goal mark and needs three in his last six games to do so. He has 62 points this season but only 13 on the power play so that bodes well for next season. Paul Stastny has only 57 points this season but 19 with the man-advantage.

COLUMBUS

Games this week
@ Dallas, @ Nashville, vs. Buffalo

Notes
The Blue Jackets are playing out the string this week as they are not making the post-season. They are 0-38 on the power play of late. Rick Nash is out with an undisclosed injury but it could be a groin strain. Blue Jackets prospect Cam Atkinson, who with the club this past week, is one of three finalists for the Hobey Baker Award. Kristian Huselius has started skating again but he may have played his last game for Columbus.

DALLAS

Games this week
vs. Columbus, vs. Colorado, @ Colorado, @ Minnesota

Notes
The Stars play four games this week, including three games in four nights but they could go with Kari Lehtonen down the stretch as they are in the hunt for a playoff spot. They play Colorado in a home-and-home series this week so expect Steve Ott and to add to their penalty minute totals. Jamie Benn had a great March with 16 points in 14 games. Mike Ribeiro has 16 goals and 50 assists and is now second on the Stars in points, trailing only Brad Richards.

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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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