Week 25 (April 5-11)
Teams playing four games: Anaheim, Boston, Buffalo, Chicago, Colorado, Edmonton, Florida, Los Angeles, New Jersey, N.Y. Islanders, N.Y. Rangers, Pittsburgh, St. Louis, Tampa Bay, Washington
Teams playing three games: Atlanta, Calgary, Carolina, Columbus, Dallas, Detroit, Minnesota, Montreal, Ottawa, Philadelphia, Phoenix, San Jose, Toronto, Vancouver
Teams playing two games: Nashville
New Jersey Devils: Devils coach Jacques Lemaire plans to rest some of his veterans in the final week as New Jersey gears up for the playoffs. He rested Jamie Langenbrunner and Paul Martin on Saturday against the Hurricanes. It was the first game Langenbrunner missed since Oct. 25, 2008. We doubt Lemaire will rest superstars Zach Parise and Ilya Kovalchuk in Week 25, but it does appear there is some risk to starting New Jersey skaters.
N.Y. Islanders: Blake Comeau has finally found the consistency that eluded him early in his NHL career. He had his third straight multi-point game on Saturday against the Senators. Comeau has been playing well since right before the Olympic break. He has 10 goals and 19 points in his last 17 games. ... Martin Biron is 6-1-2 in his last nine starts, while counterpart Dwayne Roloson is 4-5-1 with a 3.18 GAA in his last 10 appearances. ... Rookie John Tavares has one goal, five assists and a plus-7 rating during a four-game point streak. ... Sean Bergenheim has three goals, five points and a plus-7 rating during a four-game streak of his own.
N.Y. Rangers: Marian Gaborik, who has been slowed by a groin injury since the Olympics, said he is finally feeling well. It is showing up in his numbers, as the Czech forward has four goals and seven points in his last six games. ... Defenseman Marc Staal has scored in three straight games following a 25-game goal drought. ... Sean Avery (knee) and Ryan Callahan (leg) remain on the day-to-day watch, keeping them as injury-risk starts for Week 25.
Philadelphia Flyers: The signing of goalie Sebastien Caron doesn't bode well for the status of Johan Backlund, who continues to be sidelined by a groin injury. Philadelphia would love to have the Swede goalie back in net, but since he figures into the Flyers' long-term plans, they don't want to rush him back. Brian Boucher will continue to do most of the heavy lifting in net. ... Jeff Carter (foot) is scheduled to undergo a MRI on Wednesday to determine if he can return before the end of the regular season. Still, he is far too risky of a start for Week 25.
Pittsburgh Penguins: The Penguins' lineup received a huge boost on Saturday against the Thrashers with the return of Evgeni Malkin (foot) and Sergei Gonchar (illness). Both players contributed a goal and an assist. Get them active for Week 25. ... Kris Letang has scored only three times on 171 shots this season, which comes out to be a 1.75 shooting percentage. ... Bill Guerin has scored only three times in his last 22 games.
Favorable matchup: Pittsburgh (WAS, NYI, @ATL, @NYI). The Penguins are averaging 3.33 or more goals against each of their Week 25 opponents.
Unfavorable matchup: N.Y. Islanders (MON, @PIT, @NJ, PIT). The Islanders have scored 10 times during their first two March wins and have scored at least three goals in each of their last five games. However, the good times might come to a halt in Week 25. New York is not averaging more than 2.75 goals against any of its Week 25 opponents.
Boston Bruins: Defenseman Dennis Seidenberg, who has been outstanding since arriving at the trade deadline, cut his wrist on Saturday against the Maple Leafs. However, coach Claude Julien said Seidenberg will travel with the team for Monday's game against Washington, so he is a low-risk start for Week 25. ... Michael Ryder's demotion to the fourth line hasn't sparked the struggling forward. He hasn't scored in nine games and has lit the lamp just once in his last 19 appearances. ... Tuukka Rask has started the last three games for Boston and might finish out the regular-season slate in net over Tim Thomas, since Boston is fighting for its playoff life. Rask has allowed only two goals during his last three games.
Buffalo Sabres: Coach Lindy Ruff has a message for struggling forward Drew Stafford: "He needs to produce." Ruff isn't kidding. Stafford has one goal in his last 25 games and hasn't scored in 16 contests. ... Thomas Vanek (lower body) is not close to practicing, so he remains an injury-risk start for Week 25. The prognosis for Tim Connolly (foot) isn't any better.
Montreal Canadiens: Goalie Jaroslav Halak continues to maintain his presence as the Canadiens' top goalie. He posted back-to-back shutouts over the weekend and has won three of his last four games. Don't be surprised if he starts the Habs' final three regular-season games.
Ottawa Senators: Defenseman Filip Kuba (back) might miss the remainder of the season, so it's not recommended you start him in Week 25. ... While Brian Elliott is struggling, the Senators' coaching staff still doesn't have enough confidence in Pascal Leclaire, who was expected to be the team's top goalie in 2009-10 but injury issues once again derailed his progress. The team has said Leclaire will start one of its final three games, but Ottawa desperately needs to get Elliott back on track with the playoffs looming. ... Milan Michalek (knee) might return as early as Tuesday against the Panthers, but there is no need to activate him in Fantasy.
Toronto Maple Leafs: Tyler Bozak continues to have a strong finish to the season with five goals and 15 points in his last 18 games.
Favorable matchup: Montreal (@NYI, @CAR, TOR). The Canadiens face three of the worst defenses in the NHL. All three of their opponents are allowing 3.01 or more goals per game.
Unfavorable matchup: Buffalo (NYR, @BOS, @OTT, @NJ). The Sabres aren't as fortunate as the Canadiens, as they face the top two defenses in the NHL -- New Jersey (2.32 GAA) and Boston (2.33). Buffalo also isn't averaging more than 2.00 goals against any of its Week 25 opponents.
|1.||Jaroslav Halak, G, Canadiens||44|
|2.||Alexander Steen, C, Blues||28|
|3.||Jack Johnson, D, Kings||39|
|4.||Jose Theodore, G, Capitals||55|
|5.||Erik Karlsson, D, Senators||18|
|6.||Antti Niemi, G, Blackhawks||37|
|7.||Teemu Selanne, RW, Ducks||62|
|8.||Scott Gomez, C, Canadiens||49|
|9.||Alexei Ponikarovsky, LW, Penguins||48|
|10.||Kris Versteeg, RW, Blackhawks||37|
Atlanta Thrashers: Atlanta has a long list of wounded players heading into the final week. Pavel Kubina (upper body), Todd White (upper body) and Slava Kozlov (head) were all on the day-to-day watch heading into Saturday's game against the Penguins and did not return. They are now joined by Bryan Little, who suffered a left knee injury against Pittsburgh.
Carolina Hurricanes: Goalie Cam Ward has won two of his first three games since returning from a back injury. He has allowed only five goals in that span. It seems his back is just fine and Carolina will continue to play him down the stretch.
Florida Panthers: Defenseman Keith Ballard has scored in three of his last four games and has tied his career-high with eight goals.
Tampa Bay Lightning: Steve Downie survived a scary moment on Friday against the Rangers to remain in the active lineup. The butt end of Daniel Girardi's stick rammed into Downie's chest as the two went slamming into the end boards. The force was so great that Girardi's stick snapped in half. Downie was on the ice for several minutes and a stretcher had to be wheeled out. He left under his own power, and after getting checked out at the hospital, Downie return for the third period. Apparently, it's safe to keep Downie active in Fantasy. ... Defenseman Victor Hedman is day to day with a lower-body injury, but there is no timetable for his return. Keep him reserved for Week 25.
Washington Capitals: Defenseman Mike Green has scored in two of his last three games and has five goals and 14 points in 16 games since the Olympic break. ... Rookie blueliner John Carlson remains day to day with an upper-body injury.
Favorable matchup: Washington (BOS, @PIT, ATL, BOS). Even with Washington scheduled to face the second-best defense in the NHL -- Boston -- twice in Week 25, it doesn't faze the league's best offense (3.81). The Capitals are averaging 4.00 or more goals against each of its Week 25 opponents.
Unfavorable matchup: Atlanta (NJ, @WAS, PIT). The Thrashers face the league's best defense -- New Jersey -- and are averaging 2.33 or fewer goals against Pittsburgh and Washington.
Chicago Blackhawks: Kyle Beach, who was taken 11th overall in the 2008 draft, has been assigned to Rockford of the AHL. This definitely could be a step in the right direction toward Beach positioning himself to make the Chicago roster in 2010-11. ... Defenseman Kim Johnsson (concussion) hasn't resumed skating and looks doubtful for the final week of the season.
Columbus Blue Jackets: Goalie Steve Mason is 3-2-0 in his last five starts and hasn't allowed more than three goals in any of those outings. While it might not look like an impressive stat line, we are encouraged since Mason can use this stretch as a confidence booster heading into 2010-11. He is definitely going to fall down the Fantasy rankings because of his bad season, but that means Mason could end up a mid-round steal.
Detroit Red Wings: Coach Mike Babcock said Chris Osgood will start two of the team's final four games to get him ready for the playoffs, in case Jimmy Howard can't handle the pressure. Osgood started Sunday against Philadelphia, so he will make one start during Week 25, with Howard getting the other two. ... Tomas Holmstrom has produced two goals and seven assists in his last five games. Pavel Datsyuk is also on a roll, with three goals and five assists in his last five games.
Nashville Predators: Jason Arnott has missed the last nine games with a head injury, but there is talk he might return Wednesday against the Coyotes. Still, there is a lot of risk to starting the veteran center. ... The news is not as encouraging for defenseman Denis Grebeshkov, who will miss the rest of the regular season with a groin injury.
St. Louis Blues: Goalie Chris Mason set a career high with his 28th win on Saturday against the Stars. He has won four of his last five games.
Favorable matchup: Chicago (@DAL, STL, @COL, DET). The Blackhawks' schedule might appear to be a daunting task, but Chicago has scored well against its Week 25 opponents. The only team the Blackhawks aren't averaging 3.00 or more goals against is the Avalanche.
Unfavorable matchup: Nashville (@PHO, STL). The only team with two games in Week 25, Nashville is averaging 2.80 or fewer goals against Phoenix and St. Louis.
Calgary Flames: Coach Brent Sutter has found a line formation that is working. The trio of Mikael Backlund, Rene Bourque and Ales Kotalik has produced 11 points and a plus-15 rating in the team's last three games. ... Goalie Miikka Kiprusoff has held opponents to one or zero goals 25 times this season. ... Jarome Iginla has gone seven games without a goal and has just one score in his last 12 appearances.
Colorado Avalanche: Brandon Yip is back in the lineup after missing 14 games with a shoulder injury. ... Fellow rookie Matt Duchene hasn't scored in 11 games and is hurting his chances to win the Calder Trophy, with Buffalo defenseman Tyler Myers and Detroit goalie Jimmy Howard still playing strong.
Edmonton Oilers: Center Shawn Horcoff is beginning to look like the All-Star player from two years ago after what has been a rocky campaign. After failing to unload Horcoff at the trade deadline, he has responded with three goals and 10 points in his last 17 games. He is also plus-1 in that span after being a minus-29 player in his first 56 contests.
Minnesota Wild: Defenseman Cam Barker has returned to the lineup after missing three games with an ankle injury. ... Backup goalie Josh Harding is done for the season because of a torn hip labrum.
Vancouver Canucks: Mikael Samuelsson is back in action after missing seven games with a shoulder injury. ... Michael Grabner recorded his first career hat trick on Friday against the Ducks. He has five points during a three-game point streak. Although, the return of Samuelsson and Pavol Demitra (personal) could steal scoring chances from the rookie forward.
Favorable matchup: Vancouver (COL, @SJ, CGY). The Canucks are set to face three of the best defenses in the NHL, but they have scored very well against Colorado (4.40 GFG) and Calgary (3.20).
Unfavorable matchup: Calgary (SJ, MIN, @VAN). The Flames continue to have scoring woes. They have managed to score more than two goals just once in their last six games. Calgary might continue its offensive slide in Week 25 since it isn't averaging more than 2.80 goals against any of its opponents.
Anaheim Ducks: Curtis McElhinney continues to thrive in the place of injured goalie Jonas Hiller (back, hip). McElhinney has won four of his last five games and is 5-0-1 with the Ducks with a 1.91 goals-against average and a .939 save percentage since arriving at the trade deadline. ... As for Hiller, there is no word on his status, so he remains a risky start for Week 25. ... Center Ryan Getzlaf has missed the last five games with a nagging ankle injury and he is also a risky option. ... Saku Koivu has benefited from the absence of Getzlaf with goals in three straight games for the first time this season. He has eight points and a plus-5 rating in that span. ... Defenseman James Wisniewski has returned from an eight-game suspension for a questionable hit on Chicago's Brent Seabrook.
Dallas Stars: Goalie Kari Lehtonen has started eight of the team's last 11 games. He has four wins in his last six outings. ... Brad Richards has hit 90 points for the second time in his career. If Richards gets to 92 points, he will set a new career high. He has three goals and five assists during a five-game point streak.
Los Angeles Kings: Even though Jonathan Bernier won twice during Week 24 (March 29-April 4), he was sent back to Manchester of the AHL since he was up on an emergency recall in place of backup netminder Erik Ersberg (back). ... Defenseman Jack Johnson has one goal and three assists in his last four games. ... Ryan Smyth has two goals and six assists in his last eight games.
Phoenix Coyotes: Keith Yandle had his second two-assist game in his last five outings on Saturday against the Oilers. He already has career highs across the board in goals, assists, points and plus-minus. But with one more tally, he achieves his first 40-point season.
San Jose Sharks: Center Joe Thornton returned to the lineup on Sunday against the Avalanche after missing three games with a lower-body injury. Get him active for Week 25. ... Ryane Clowe is back in the lineup after getting hit in throat by a puck on Wednesday against Dallas.
Favorable matchup: Los Angeles (@ANA, PHO, EDM, @COL). The Kings have surprisingly scored well against the Ducks, Coyotes and Avalanche in 2009-10. They are averaging 3.33 or more goals against each opponent. To add the icing to the cake: Los Angeles also gets to play the league's worst defense -- Edmonton (3.37 GAA).
Unfavorable matchup: Phoenix (NSH, @LA, @SJ). The Coyotes are averaging 2.33 or fewer goals against Nashville and San Jose. They are also second to last in road scoring (2.18 GFG).
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