Michael Finewax

The Week Ahead

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The Final Week

Friday, April 04, 2014


 

EDMONTON

 

Games this week

vs. Colorado, vs. Los Angeles, vs. Vancouver

 

Rested team: vs. Los Angeles (Thursday)

Tired Team: None

 

Notes

Ryan Nugent-Hopkins is not having a very good offensive season by the standards that were set for him when he was named the number one pick in the 2011 Draft but he has three goals and nine points in his last eight games to give him 18 goals and 53 points this season, albeit, with a minus-14 rating. Taylor Hall said that the 2013-14 season has been the toughest yet of his NHL career as the Oilers were expected to contend for a playoff spot but instead are contending for the number one overall pick yet again. Hall has 26 goals and 73 points in 70 games to rank as one of the top scorers in the NHL but as with RNH, his plus/minus of minus-17 really hurts his fantasy value.

 

FLORIDA

 

Games this week

vs. Philadelphia, vs. Toronto, vs. Columbus

 

Rested team: vs. Columbus (Saturday)

Tired Team: None

 

Notes

Roberto Luongo is expected to return on April 4 after missing a week of action with a neck injury. The Panthers certainly need help offensively and should be able to get one player in the Draft as they will pick in the top three. Three players lead the team with 35 points including Nick Bjudstad, Scottie Upshall and Brian Campbell with Brad Boyes one behind. Aleksander Barkov is the future of the franchise along with Jonathan Huberdeau but the Panthers will need a lot more than that just to contend. Look for Huberdeau to bounce back next season as he has only eight goals and 27 points after being named the Calder Trophy winner last season.

 

LOS ANGELES

 

Games this week

@ Calgary, @ Edmonton, vs. Anaheim

 

Rested team: None

Tired Team: @ Edmonton (Thursday)

 

Notes

The Kings play three games in four nights so expect to see Martin Jones in net once in place of Jonathan Quick. Everyone knows how good Quick is but Jones has had a surprisingly good season as he is 11-6-0 record with a .932 save percentage and a 1.91 GAA. That's a great handcuff for Quick in pools. Watch out for Marian Gaborik in a playoff pool. If the Kings go far, he will likely be one of their best scorers (if he can remain healthy) and is worth looking at if you think the Kings are going to make a playoff run. Drew Doughty is out with an upper body injury.

 

MINNESOTA

 

Games this week

@ Winnipeg, vs. Boston, vs. St; Louis, @ Nashville

 

Rested Team: @ Nashville (Sunday)

Tired Team: vs. Boston (Tuesday)

 

Notes

The Wild play three games in four nights as part of a four game week so expect to see Darcy Kuemper play at least once with Ilya Bryzgalov getting the remainder of the starts. Bryzgalov has taken over as the Wild's number one netminder. Josh Harding (multiple sclerosis) practiced with the Wild on Wednesday and could be ready at some point in the playoffs if the Wild go fairly deep. Dany Heatley returned to the Minnesota lineup on Thursday after being a healthy scratch for the previous two games. Nino Niederreiter is out with an upper body injury, allowing Heatley to get back in the lineup.

 

MONTREAL

           

Games this week

@ Chicago, vs. New York Islanders, vs. New York Rangers

 

 Rested team: None

Tired Team: vs. New York Islanders (Thursday)

 

Notes

The Canadiens play three games in four nights so look for Petr Budaj to play once in place of Carey Price. Doug Murray was suspended for three games for his illegal check to the head of Tampa Bay's Mike Kostka. Thomas Vanek has six goals and 10 points in his last eight games as he has really settled in with the Habs. P.K. Subban played only 17:48 minutes on Tuesday, only the second time this season that he has been below the 20 minute mark. Hopefully, the reason is that the Canadiens are just giving him more time off as the playoffs near.

 

NASHVILLE

 

Games this week

@ Dallas, vs. Phoenix, vs. Chicago, vs. Minnesota

 

Rested team: vs. Chicago (Saturday)

Tired Team: vs. Minnesota (Sunday)

 

Notes

The Predators play four times this week including three games in four nights. Carter Hutton should see action in one game with Pekka Rinne playing the rest. Rinne is only 3-6-1 since returning from a hip infection that kept him out of action from October 24-March 4. Seth Jones practiced with the Predators this week for the first time since suffering concussion-like symptoms on March 23. He is likely to return to action on April 4 and has a bright future despite some setbacks this season. Shea Weber has to be considered for the Norris Trophy despite the Predators poor record as he has 21 goals and 50 points this season.

 

NEW JERSEY

 

Games this week

vs. Calgary, @ Ottawa, vs. New York Islanders, vs. Boston

 

Rested team: vs. Boston (Sunday)

Tired Team: None

 

Notes

The Devils play four games this week including three games in four nights so look for Cory Schneider and Martin Brodeur to split the net. Schneider has played very well despite his 14-14-11 record as he has a .916 save percentage and a 2.07 GAA. The Devils have lost all 11 shootouts this season and that will cost them a spot in the playoffs. Ryane Clowe is out once again with a possible concussion. He suffered a concussion earlier in the season that forced him to miss over two months. Jaromir Jagr leads the Devils in assists (40), points (64) and plus/minus at plus-13. Adam Henrique has one more goal than Jagr with 25.

 

NEW YORK ISLANDERS

 

Games this week

vs. Ottawa, @ Montreal, @ New Jersey, @ Buffalo

 

Rested team: @ Montreal (Wednesday), @ Buffalo (Sunday)

Tired Team: None

 

Notes

The Islanders play four games this week including three games in four so look for Anders Nilsson to play at least once for Evgeni Nabokov. Good news on the John Tavares front as his recovery from knee surgery is going quite well. While he will not return this season, he should be able to participate in his regular summer workouts and be ready for training camp in September. Ryan Strome is coming into his own as he has a goal and six points in his last five games. The loss of Tavares has been bad for the Islanders but his absence has given Strome and Anders Lee the opportunity to play more and in all situations. 

 

NEW YORK RANGERS

 

Games this week

vs. Carolina, vs. Buffalo, @ Montreal

 

Rested team: None

Tired Team: None

 

Notes

Ryan McDonagh suffered a shoulder injury on Tuesday but is confident he will be able to return for the start of the playoffs. Martin St. Louis finally scored a goal for the Rangers in his 15th contest with the team. He has only a goal and three assists in 16 games with New York after getting 29 goals and 61 points in 63 games with Tampa Bay before the trade. J.T. Miller was sent to the minors. He has only three goals and six points in 30 games this season. Derek Dorsett has been injured for a lot of the season and has four goals and eight points to go with 107 penalty minutes.

 

OTTAWA     

 

Games this week

@ New York Islanders, vs. New Jersey, vs. Toronto, @ Pittsburgh

 

Rested team: None

Tired Team:  None

 

Notes

The Senators play four games this week including three in four nights so expect to see Craig Anderson and Robin Lehner to split the net. Jason Spezza suffered a lower body injury but could return as early as April 5. Mika Zibanejad played in Spezza's spot between Ales Hemsky and Milan Michalek and scored the lone goal on Monday. He has 14 goals and 29 points this season and deserves to be looked at in keeper pools next season. Erik Karlsson is not happy with the way this season has gone as he is not still 100 percent from his Achilles tendon injury suffered last season. He leads all NHL defensemen with 70 points including 20 goals. Ales Hemsky has four assists in his last four games.


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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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