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The Week Ahead

The Final Week

by Michael Finewax
Updated On: March 29, 2019, 12:42 pm ET

This is the last Week Ahead of the season and it’s time for a few thank you’s for the Rotoworld staff.

Thanks to Ryan, Corey, Brian, Joey, Jeff, Daniel, Gus, Julian and Dominic for all your work during the season.

I would also like to thank Ed Williams, Aaron Solomon, Mike Murphy, Mike Miller, Jason Stoll and Steven Howard as well as anyone else I may have missed. Thanks for all your work behind the scenes. It is greatly appreciated!

Finally, congratulations to @RotoPat who made the final of his hockey league but has yet to let me know how his team (minus Mikko Rantanen) is doing.

Don’t forget, for everything NHL, check out Rotoworld's Player News, and follow @Rotoworld_ HK and @mfinewaxhockey on Twitter.

 

WEEK OF APRIL 1-7                                                                             

4 Games - Chicago, Colorado, Edmonton, Los Angeles, New York Rangers, Ottawa, St. Louis, Tampa Bay, Toronto, Winnipeg

3 Games – Arizona, Boston, Buffalo, Calgary, Carolina, Columbus, Dallas, Detroit, Florida, Minnesota, Montreal, Nashville, New Jersey, New York Islanders, Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, San Jose, Vancouver, Vegas, Washington, Winnipeg

2 Games – Anaheim

Tampa Bay and Winnipeg play all four games on the road.  

Chicago, Florida and St. Louis play three games at home.

Edmonton play three games on the road this week.

INJURIES

Mikko Rantanen is day-to-day with an upper body injury. (Click here to see the rest of the injury list.)

Note: A tired team is one that has played the day or night before and is going against a team that did not play the previous day or night. The reverse is true for a rested team.

ANAHEIM

Games this week

vs. Calgary, vs. Los Angeles

Rested Team: None

Tired Team: None

Notes

The Ducks are just playing out the season and only have two games left, the only team in the NHL that doesn’t play at least three times. You should likely bench all your Ducks if you are in a battle in your pool as there really isn’t a lot of Ducks who are having good seasons. Ryan Getzlaf leads the team with 47 points while Adam Henrique, who has a three-game points streak, is second with 41. Ryan Kesler has not played since March 6 with a hip injury and you have to wonder if the veteran has played his last NHL game and will need to pack it in at the end of the season. He has only eight points this season. The Ducks got a glimpse of their future Tuesday when Sam Steel picked up the hat trick.

ARIZONA

Games this week

vs. Los Angeles, @ Vegas, vs. Winnipeg

Rested Team: vs. Los Angeles (Tuesday)

Tired Team: None

Notes

Antti Raanta returned to practice for the first time on Thursday as he has been out of action since November 27 with a knee injury. The Coyotes missed his presence in the lineup even though Darcy Kuemper has been more than adequate as his replacement. The Coyotes are still in a race for the playoffs as they are two points in arrears of the Colorado Avalanche and their 1-0 win over Chicago was a big one. It broke a 0-3-2 losing streak. The Coyotes are another team that has trouble putting the puck in the net as Alex Galchenyuk and Brad Richardson lead the team with 17 goals apiece while Clayton Keller leads in points with 46 and Oliver Ekman-Larsson is second with just 41.

BOSTON

Games this week

@ Columbus, @ Minnesota, vs. Tampa Bay

Rested Team: None

Tired Team: None

Notes

The Bruins are sitting pretty in second place overall in the NHL standings, the problem being they are in the same division as the Tampa Bay Lightning and are 19 points behind the Presidents Trophy leader. Jake DeBrusk has 24 goals this season. Brad Marchand is only three points away from the 100-point mark and is 20 points up on linemates Patrice Bergeron and David Pastrnak who have each missed 17 games this season. The Bruins have one of the best lines in the NHL, if not the best, and whomever they meet in the playoffs, will need to shut the trio down. Charlie Coyle has only two goals and five points in 16 games with Boston but has points in three straight games and could be an offensive factor in the playoffs.

BUFFALO

Games this week

vs. Nashville, vs. Ottawa, @ Detroit

Rested Team: vs. Ottawa (Thursday)

Tired Team: None

Notes

There was so much promise in the Sabres season after they won 10 in a row in December, but those days are long gone and Buffalo is closer to the bottom of the standings with 72 points compared to Ottawa’s 60, than the playoffs where Columbus has 90 as the second wild card. It has been a tough rookie season for Casey Mittelstadt who has 12 goals and 25 points this season but he does have four points in four games. The talented center should not be forgotten in deeper pools next season. Jeff Skinner has 37 goals which ties a career high but the last six weeks have not been kind to him with only one goal in 20 games. Jack Eichel has career highs in everything with 27 goals and 49 points. Rasmus Dahlin is having an outstanding rookie season as the 18-year-old defenseman has 41 points.

CALGARY

Games this week

@ Los Angeles, @ Anaheim, vs. Edmonton

Rested Team: None

Tired Team: None

Notes

The Flames remain in California before returning home to end the season with a battle against the Oilers. Coach Bill Peters split up the Flames big line of Johnny Gaudreau, Sean Monahan and Elias Lindholm and put them on three different lines Wednesday. Gaudreau played alongside Derek Ryan and Michael Frolik, Lindholm played the wing with Matthew Tkachuk and Mikael Backlund, and Monahan centered James Neal and Austin Czarnik. It wasn’t enough to jump-start the offense as they dropped a 2-1 decision to Dallas. Gaudreau seemed like a cinch to get to 100 points early this month but still needs seven points in his last five games to do so. Mark Giordano has 72 points in 75 games this season.

CAROLINA

Games this week

@ Toronto, vs. New Jersey, @ Philadelphia

Rested Team: @ Toronto (Tuesday)

Tired Team: None

Notes

The Hurricanes are in a battle for the final two spots in the East as they are in the first wild card spot but only one point ahead of Montreal who are in ninth overall. Justin Williams hit the 50-point mark for the third time in his last four seasons and the seventh time in his NHL career. The veteran winger has 311 goals and 472 assists in 1239 games and has had his name engraved on the Stanley Cup three times. Nino Niederreiter has 26 points in 31 games with Carolina as the deal for Victor Rask has worked out great for the Hurricanes. Sebastian Aho has 81 points this season but has only four assists in his last nine games. The Hurricanes have been relatively healthy this season as seven of their top eight scorers have yet to miss a game.

CHICAGO

Games this week

vs. Winnipeg, vs. St. Louis, vs. Dallas, @ Nashville

Rested Team: None

Tired Team: None

Notes

The Blackhawks play four games this week including three games in four nights. Look for Corey Crawford to play three games with Cam Ward picking up one start. Ward has yet to play since returning from his knee injury as he was good to go over two weeks ago. Congratulations go out to Alex DeBrincat who potted his 40th of the season Thursday in a win over San Jose. The Blackhawks playoff hopes are dwindling as they are five points back and still have to pass three teams. That is not the best formula for making the post-season. Jonathan Toews had a goal and an assist Thursday and equaled his career-best of 76 points, set in 2010-11. Patrick Kane has 104 points and that is two points off his career high set in 2015-16.

COLORADO

Games this week

@ St. Louis, vs. Edmonton, vs. Winnipeg, @ San Jose

Rested Team: None

Tired Team: None

Notes

The Avalanche play three games in four nights as part of a four-game week to end the season. Look for Philipp Grubauer to play at least three times as the Avs are in a battle for a playoff spot. Semyon Varlamov last played on March 15 and has not won since March 5th while Grubauer is 5-0-1 since March 15 and has given up only nine goals on 214 shots. Grubauer has put the Avalanche back into the playoff picture as they are in the second wild card spot, two up on Arizona. They received good news Thursday as Gabriel Landeskog practiced in a regular jersey and it looks like he could return as early March 29 from an upper-body injury. Mikko Rantanen has missed the last week with an upper-body injury and is day-to-day.

COLUMBUS       

Games this week

vs. Boston, @ New York Rangers, @ Ottawa

Rested Team: None

Tired Team: None

Notes

The Blue Jackets are back in a playoff spot after a huge 6-2 win over Montreal Thursday. Columbus is even with Montreal but have five games left to the Canadiens four. Artemi Panarin had been slumping but has a three-game points streak to give him 27 goals and 79 points. He is three points off his career high. Adam McQuaid suffered a possible concussion Thursday when Andrew Shaw hit him with his forearm, causing coach John Tortorella to go nuts behind the Columbus bench. Sergei Bobrovsky had had a good season as he is 34-23-1 with a 2.61 GAA and a .912 save percentage. With both Panarin and Bobrovsky likely leaving via free agency, the Blue Jackets have a small window in this year’s playoffs to do some damage.

DALLAS

Games this week

vs. Philadelphia, @ Chicago, vs. Minnesota

Rested Team: None

Tired Team: None

Notes

The Stars look to be playoff-bound barring a huge collapse as they are seven points up on Arizona with the Coyotes having five games left while Dallas has four. Everyone has St. Louis as their upset special pick but do not overlook Dallas who have been getting great goaltending from Ben Bishop and Anton Khudobin and have some terrific forwards up front including Tyler Seguin, Alexander Radulov and Jamie Benn. Bishop has a lower-body injury suffered Wednesday and is day-to-day. Miro Heiskanen has been one of the best rookies this season and the 19-year-old defenseman has a three-game points streak in which he has a couple of goals and an assist to give him 12 goals and 33 points this season. He is a must-have in all keeper leagues.              

Michael Finewax

Michael Finewax is entering his 15th season as the Senior Hockey Writer and Editor for Rotoworld. You can follow him on Twitter @mfinewaxhockey.