Michael Finewax

The Week Ahead

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The Final Week

Friday, April 04, 2014


 

PHILADELPHIA

 

Games this week

@ Florida, @ Tampa Bay, @ Pittsburgh, vs. Carolina

 

Rested team: None

Tired Team: vs. Carolina (Sunday)

 

Notes

The Flyers play four times this week so look for Ray Emery to play once for Steve Mason. Claude Giroux was the NHL's third star of the month as he had six goals and 21 points in 14 games in March. Scott Hartnell is having a good all-round fantasy season with 20 goals and 49 points to go with a plus-11 rating and 87 penalty minutes. Wayne Simmonds has been just as good with 25 goals and 55 points and 106 penalty minutes although his minus-four rating certainly doesn't help. Steve Mason has had a bounce back season as he is 31-17-7 this season with a 2.53 GAA and a .916 save percentage.

 

PHOENIX

 

Games this week

@ Columbus, @ Nashville, vs. San Jose, vs. Dallas

 

Rested team: vs. San Jose (Saturday)

Tired Team: vs. Dallas (Sunday)        

 

Notes

The Coyotes play three games in four nights as part of a four game week and they are hoping that Mike Smith is ready to return from injury. If so, he could play all four games but if he cannot suit up then look for Thomas Greiss to play with Mark Visentin backing him up. Greiss has lost his last three starts and the Coyotes are now in danger of missing the post-season. The Coyotes need to get off to a good start as they are only 7-16-8 when the opposition gets off to a 1-0 lead. Defenseman Keith Yandle leads the Coyotes in points with 51, two ahead of Radim Vrbata and three ahead of Mikkel Boedker.

 

PITTSBURGH

 

Games this week

vs. Detroit, vs. Philadelphia, vs. Ottawa

 

Rested team: vs. Detroit (Wednesday)

Tired Team: None

 

Notes

Sidney Crosby became the first player to hit the 100 point mark this season and will be the only one as Ryan Getzlaf will be hard pressed to get to 90 points. Evgeni Malkin would have likely finished second in scoring if not for his injuries as he has 72 points in only 60 games. Paul Martin finally returned to action on Thursday for the first time in almost two months and he had an assist. Kris Letang did some penalty killing work in Thursday's practice as he tries to come back after suffering a stroke in January. Lee Stempniak had an assist on Thursday and now has three goals and 10 points in 16 games since his trade from Calgary.

 

ST. LOUIS

 

Games this week

vs. Washington, @ Minnesota, @ Dallas, vs. Detroit

 

Rested team: None

Tired Team: @ Dallas (Friday)

 

Notes

The Blues play three games in four nights including a three game in four night stretch, so expect to see Brian Elliott play once in place of Ryan Miller. Alexander Steen missed Thursday's game with an upper body injury. Vladimir Tarasenko is still recovering from surgery to repair of a broken hand but has begun skating to at least keep in shape. T.J. Oshie was the third star of the week as he had four goals and six points in three games. Vladimir Sobotka is having a nice season with eight goals and 30 points in 56 games with a plus-17 and 66 penalty minutes. Try to grab him next year in deep pools.

 

SAN JOSE

 

Games this week

@ Anaheim, vs. Colorado, @ Phoenix

 

Rested team: None

Tired Team: @ Phoenix (Saturday)

 

Notes

The Sharks play three games in four nights to end their regular season so look for Alex Stalock to play once and give Antti Niemi a rest before the playoffs. Tomas Hertl practiced on Wednesday for the first time since his knee injury on December 19 and subsequent surgery. He could return at some point in the playoffs if the Sharks go deep. Dan Boyle has goals in three straight games and points in his last five to give him 11 goals and 32 points including 16 on the power play. This is good for prospective Boyle owners in the playoffs. Joe Pavelski continued his fine play this season and now has 38 goals and 75 points in 77 games.

 

TAMPA BAY

 

Games this week

vs. Toronto, vs. Philadelphia, vs. Columbus, @ Washington

 

Rested team: None

Tired Team: vs. Columbus (Friday)

 

Notes

The Lightning play three games in four nights to end their season so look for Anders Lindback to play once for Ben Bishop. It was quite an accomplishment for Tyler Johnson as he became just the second rookie to get five shorthanded goals and five power play goals in one season. The only other rookie to do so was Dennis Maruk of the California Golden Seals who did it in the 1975-76 season. Another rookie, Ondrej Palat has 20 goals and 54 points with a plus-28 rating and has to garner some Calder consideration at the end of the season. Steve Stamkos has 23 goals and 36 points in 32 games this season.

 

TORONTO

 

Games this week

@ Tampa Bay, @ Florida, @ Ottawa

 

Rested team: None

Tired Team: None

 

Notes

The Maple Leafs have won two in a row but their playoff chances may have taken another hit when Jonathan Bernier seemed to re-injure his groin on Thursday. He had an MRI on Friday but the details were not released at the time of this writing. James van Riemsdyk hit the 30 goal mark for the first time in his career on Thursday. So many people keep saying that the Leafs need a number one center, but Tyler Bozak fulfills that spot. Phil Kessel loves to handle the puck and any number one center that Toronto brings in would also be a puck handler. It would greatly limit Kessel’s effectiveness and thusly the Leafs should look elsewhere to improve their talent level as Bozak and Kessel have chemistry on the ice.

 

VANCOUVER

 

Games this week

vs. Anaheim, vs. Colorado, @ Edmonton, vs. Calgary

 

Rested team: vs. Anaheim (Monday)

Tired Team: vs. Calgary (Sunday)

 

Notes

The Canucks will finish the season by playing four games including three games in four nights so look for Jacob Markstrom to play at least once if the Canucks are out of the playoff picture, in place of Eddie Lack. Alexander Edler is having a horrible fantasy season with six goals and 19 points in 58 games to go with a minus-33 rating. He is one of many Canucks going through a career worst season as the Sedin twins and Alex Burrows are doing the same. Jannik Hansen has scored only once in his last 15 games. Shawn Matthias is getting some time on the second line in Vancouver after being a fourth liner for the lowly Florida Panthers.

 

WASHINGTON

 

Games this week

@ St. Louis, @ Carolina, vs. Chicago, vs. Tampa Bay

 

Rested team: None

Tired Team: vs. Chicago (Friday)

 

Notes

The Capitals play three games in four nights as part of a four game week, so Braden Holtby could see some action, especially if the Capitals are eventually eliminated from playoff contention as they could rest Jaroslav Halak. The Capitals have been switching up their line combinations and Mikhail Grabovski is now on the top line with Jay Beagle and Alex Ovechkin. Ovechkin has gone 16 games without an even strength goal but still leads the NHL with 48 goals. He has an NHL worst minus-36 rating. Nicklas Backstrom has 42 power play points including 37 assists. Only Sidney Crosby has as many as 37 power play points this season.

 

WINNIPEG

 

Games this week

vs. Minnesota, vs. Boston, @ Calgary

 

Rested team: None

Tired Team:  @ Calgary (Friday)

 

Notes

Heading down the stretch, the Jets have been struggling as they are 4-8-4 in their last 16 to put them out of playoff contention. Mark Scheifele could start skating in the next few days after spraining his MCL a month ago. He likely will not return this season. Devin Setoguchi was a healthy scratch on Thursday for the fourth time in the last five games. The Jets continue to play Ondrej Pavelec over Al Montoya in net despite Montoya’s stats being much better than Pavelec’s. Montoya has been hurt the last few days but that does not excuse the team from not playing him more the rest of the season.  



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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