Mike Finewax

The Week Ahead

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The Final Week of the Season

Friday, April 01, 2011



DETROIT

Games this week
@ Carolina, vs. Chicago, @ Chicago

Notes
The Red Wings play a home-and-home series against the Blackhawks to end their season. Look for Justin Abdelkader and Todd Bertuzzi to handle any rough stuff if need be. The Red Wings are struggling at home as they are 10-12-4 of late after starting the season with a 10-1-2 record. Jimmy Howard was not seriously injured and is expected to return to the Detroit lineup on April 2. Pavel Datsyuk also hopes to return from a six game absence on April 2.

EDMONTON

Games this week
vs. Vancouver, @ Calgary, vs. Minnesota, @ Colorado

Notes
The Oilers play four times this week including three games in four nights as they end their season. Look for Nikolai Khabibulin and Devan Dubnyk to share the net this week. They are a tired team on Wednesday when they face a rested Calgary team, but are rested on Friday when they face Minnesota who play the Canucks in Vancouver the previous night. Gilbert Brule is ready to return from a concussion.

FLORIDA

Games this week
@ Washington, @ Tampa Bay, vs. Washington

Notes
The Panthers play three games in four nights so look for Scott Clemmensen to play once in place of Tomas Vokoun. Vokoun could be playing his last games in a Florida uniform as he is scheduled to become an unrestricted free agent on July 1. The Panthers are rested on Wednesday when they play Washington as the Capitals play in Toronto on Tuesday. The tables are turned on Saturday when Florida is the tired team as they face a rested Washington squad. The Panthers and Capitals square off twice this week so expect to see
Darcy Hordichuk fight if needed. David Booth looks like he will play a full season after missing most of last season with a concussion.

LOS ANGELES

Games this week
@ San Jose, vs. Phoenix, @ Anaheim, vs. Anaheim

Notes
The Kings play three games in four nights and four overall so Jonathan Bernier should play once in place of Jon Quick. The Kings also play a home-and-home series against the Ducks to end the season so Kyle Clifford and Kevin Westgarth could add to their penalty minute totals. Ryan Smyth moved up to the top power play unit, replacing the injured Anze Kopitar who is out for the season with a broken ankle. Michal Handzus is now centering the top line with Trevor Lewis centering the second unit.

MINNESOTA

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

Notes
The Wild play three games in four nights so expect to see Jose Theodore play once in place of Niklas Backstrom. They will be a tired team on Friday when they play the Oilers in Edmonton after traveling from Vancouver where they play the Canucks on Thursday. John Madden is leaning towards retiring if he can't re-sign with the Wild. Martin Havlat's ice time was reduced severely in the last couple of weeks.

MONTREAL

Games this week
vs. Chicago, @ Ottawa, @ Toronto

Notes
Michael Cammalleri is having a tough offensive season but has been injured most of the season. Do not forget about him next season. Benoit Pouliot has been a bit of a pleasant surprise as he has 13 goals, 30 points and 83 penalty minutes this season. His plus-four rating will not hurt either. James Wisniewski has 29 points on the power play this season. Carey Price has had a stellar season, proving to Hab fans that the team traded the right netminder in Jaroslav Halak. Price has 35 wins this season with a .921 save percentage.

NASHVILLE

Games this week
vs. Atlanta, vs. Columbus, @ St. Louis

Notes
The Predators will be tired on Saturday when they face the rested Blues as Nashville play Columbus the previous night. The Predators have had great goaltending from Pekka Rinne who has played in 38 of the last 42 games. Martin Erat leads the Predators with 48 points this season including six goals and 15 points in 15 games in March. Jordin Tootoo had three points in his last four games before getting hit into the end boards on Thursday. Mike Fisher has three goals and an assist in his last three games after going 12 games without a point.

NEW JERSEY

Games this week
@ Pittsburgh, vs. Toronto, @ New York Rangers, vs. Boston

Notes
The Devils made a valiant comeback this season after being dead last in the NHL for the first four months of the season. They finish the season with four games this week. Zach Parise is scheduled to return to the lineup on April 2 after missing the last 64 games. Ilya Kovalchuk is closing in on the 30 goal mark, a great achievement considering his awful start to the season. He currently at 28 with 26 assists, but his minus-22 rating really hurt his fantasy value this season.

NEW YORK ISLANDERS

Games this week
@ Boston, vs. Pittsburgh, @ Philadelphia

Notes
The Islanders play three games in four nights so expect to see Rick DiPietro and Al Montoya share the net. Montoya has been a pleasant surprise this season as he is 9-4-4 with a .923 save percentage and a 2.33 goals-against average. Frans Nielsen will be a nice sleeper candidate next season. Doug Weight (back) is seriously considering retirement as the veteran only managed to play in 18 games this season.

NEW YORK RANGERS

Games this week
vs. Boston, vs. Atlanta, vs. New Jersey

Notes
The Rangers are tired on Monday as they face a rested Bruins team. Mats Zuccarello-Aasen returned to the Rangers lineup on Thursday after being a healthy scratch the previous two games as Wojtek Wolski sat out. Sean Avery has played in the last three games after being a healthy scratch in five of the previous six. He has had two fights in the last week. Marian Gaborik is slumping as he has only one assist in his last five games.

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Michael Finewax has been covering hockey since 2005 and is the Hockey Editor for Rotoworld. You can follow him on Twitter.
Email :Mike Finewax



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