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The Final Three Weeks

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Dose: Malkin's Monster Month
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Tuesday's Hockey Dose studies Evgeni Malkin's outstanding November and unearths some fantasy …

As the NHL heads into the final three weeks, there are still plenty of battles going on in the race for the playoffs with only three teams truly out of contention at this time, Florida, Colorado and Calgary.

In the East, the Rangers are holding onto the eighth and final playoff spot, even with New Jersey but having played one game less, and one point ahead of Winnipeg, albeit with three games in hand on the Jets. The Flyers are only two points out but are red hot, having won four in a row. The Sabres are on the fringe of contention with 34 points but Tampa Bay and Carolina, who also have 34, are only four points behind Washington for first place in their division and a third seed in the East.

In the West, St. Louis has 40 points and are in eighth place but have played only 35 games and have games in hand on everyone below them. Edmonton and Columbus are one point out with Nashville and Phoenix two back and Dallas still on the fringe at five points out.

Now to The Week Ahead.

WEEK OF APRIL 8-14

4 Games–Boston, Buffalo, Calgary, Carolina, Colorado, St. Louis, Tampa Bay

3 Games – Anaheim, Chicago, Columbus, , Dallas, Detroit, Edmonton, Los Angeles, Minnesota, Montreal, Nashville, New York Islanders, New York Rangers, Ottawa, Philadelphia, Phoenix, Pittsburgh, San Jose, Toronto, Vancouver, Washington

2 Games - Florida, New Jersey, Winnipeg

Ottawa, Phoenix, Pittsburgh, St. Louis and San Jose play three games on the road this week.

Buffalo, Minnesota and Nashville play three games at home.

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INJURIES

Sidney Crosby suffered a broken jaw and should miss the remainder of the regular season. (Click here to see the rest of the injury list.)

ANAHEIM

Games this week

vs. Edmonton, vs. Colorado, @  Los Angeles

Notes

Anaheim will be the tired team on Monday against Edmonton after hosting Los Angeles Sunday. They added some depth at the deadline with the acquisitions of Matthew Lombardi and Harry Zolnierczyk at forward. Emerson Etem is seeing time on the second line with Teemu Selanne and Andrew Cogliano. Saku Koivu is slumping with only a goal and four points in his last 17 games. Do not be surprised if Francois Beauchemin receives some Norris Trophy consideration as he has 21 points with a plus-22 rating at this time and has been one of the NHL's best blueliners.

BOSTON

Games this week

vs. Carolina, @ New Jersey, vs. New York Islanders, @ Carolina

Notes

The Bruins play three games in four nights as part of a four game week so expect to see Anton Khudobin in net at least once in place of Tuukka Rask. Boston will be a tired team Thursday when hosting the Islanders after playing in New Jersey Wednesday. They play the Hurricanes twice this week and I expect Milan Lucic, Shawn Thornton and possibly Zdeno Chara to add to their penalty minute totals. The Bruins made a great move in picking up Jaromir Jagr from Dallas as the Czech is great on the power play, the only weakness of the Bruins. He had the lone goal in a 1-0 win Thursday as he played alongside Tyler Seguin and Brad Marchand. Patrice Bergeron is out with a concussion.

BUFFALO

Games this week

@ Winnipeg, vs. Montreal, vs. Philadelphia, vs. Tampa Bay

Notes

The Sabres will play three games in four nights so look for Ryan Miller to play three times while Jhonas Enroth will play once. The Sabres traded for Matthew Hackett on Wednesday and there is always the chance he will be called up to replace Enroth. Johan Larsson also came over from Minnesota in the trade for Jason Pominville and he has a chance to be a future captain of the Sabres. Thomas Vanek is out with an upper body injury. Coach Ron Rolston was not happy with the defensive play of Cody Hodgson and dropped him to the fourth line.

CALGARY

Games this week

@ Colorado, vs. Vancouver, vs. Phoenix, @ Edmonton

Notes

The Flames play three games in four nights so expect to see Joey MacDonald play at least once in place of Miikka Kiprusoff. The Flames will be tired on Saturday when they take on Edmonton after playing the Coyotes Friday.  They were busy at the deadline as they dealt Jay Bouwmeester to the Blues for Reto Berra, Mark Cundari and a first round draft pick while also dealing Jarome Iginla last week. Miikka Kiprusoff was almost dealt but decided to stay in Calgary to be with his wife and new-born baby and it appears that he will retire at the end of the season and return to Finland.

CAROLINA

Games this week

@ Boston, vs. Pittsburgh, @ Washington, vs. Boston

Notes

The Hurricanes play three games in four nights  so look for Dan Ellis to split the net with Justin Peters. The Hurricanes will be tired Tuesday when they host Pittsburgh after playing in Boston Monday. They play the Bruins twice this week and expect to see Jay Harrison and Tim Gleason spend time in the penalty box.  Jeff Skinner has not picked up a point in his last six games and has only 19 points in 31 games. Joni Pitkanen is out 10-12 weeks with a broken heel. The Hurricanes stood pat at the deadline. Jiri Tlusty was slumping despite playing with Eric Staal and Alexander Semin as he had a hat trick on Tuesday. He had  only one goal in his previous nine games.

CHICAGO

Games this week

@ Minnesota, vs. Detroit, @ St. Louis

Notes
The Blackhawks just tweaked their lineup, adding bottom-six forward Michal Handzus from the Sharks for a draft pick. Brandon Saad has thrown himself into the Calder race with 15 points in 14 March games. Marian Hossa returned to action on Thursday after being out for over two weeks, and Patrick Sharp is very close to returning as he has been out 12 games with a shoulder injury. Expect him back this week. If you are looking for penalty minutes then the recently recalled Brandon Bollig could be your man as he had 157 penalty minutes in 35 AHL games this season.

COLORADO

Games this week

vs. Calgary, @ Anaheim, @ Los Angeles, vs. Vancouver

Notes

The Avs play four games this week including three in four nights and look for Jean-Sebastien Giguere to play once this week with Semyon Varlamov playing the rest of the week. Colorado made only one minor deal as they picked up Tomas Vincour from Dallas in exchange for Cameron Gaunce. Matt Duchene continues to leave his injury-plagued season of 2011-12 behind him as he has 35 points in 35 games. Last year's 28 point effort was just an aberration and look for him to average a point a game or better for the next few seasons. Milan Hejduk is on injured reserve with a shoulder injury and his season could be finished.

COLUMBUS

Games this week

vs. San Jose, vs. St. Louis, @ Minnesota

Notes

The Blue Jackets are rested Friday when hosting St. Louis who are in Minnesota Thursday. The tables are turned Saturday when they are in Minnesota who will be rested and waiting for the tired Columbus team. The Blue Jackets were one of the most active team's in the trade market, doing very well to pick up Marian Gaborik from the Rangers for Derek Dorsett, Derick Brassard and defenseman John Moore, and then managed to trade Steve Mason to the Flyers for Michael Leighton. They also picked up Blake Comeau. Gaborik will feel at home as the Blue Jackets already had Artem Anisimov, Brandon Dubinsky and Tim Erixon who they picked up from New York in the Rick Nash deal over the summer.

DALLAS

Games this week

vs. Los Angeles, @ Nashville, vs. San Jose

Notes

The Stars are tired when they host the rested Sharks after Dallas play in Nashville Friday. Dallas made a couple of big trades as they unloaded Jaromir Jagr to the Bruins for Lane McDermid, Cody Payne and a conditional second round pick and then dealt Derek Roy to Vancouver for Kevin Connauton and a second-round pick. The Stars also picked up Cameron Gaunce from the Avs for Tomas Vincour. Antoine Roussel has been a fantasy surprise with five goals and 10 points in 27 games with 73 penalty minutes while Loui Eriksson has been a disappointment with only 23 points in 36 games. Stephane Robidas has had some nice fantasy seasons of late but his value could be done as he has only 10 assists with nary a goal in 36 games.

DETROIT

Games this week

vs. San Jose, @ Chicago, @ Nashville

Notes

The Red Wings play three games in four nights so expect to see Jonas Gustavsson play once with Jimmy Howard playing between the pipes twice. The Red Wings were trying to get Jay Bouwmeester but were outbid by the Blues and Detroit ended up sitting on their hands. They are in trouble as they could miss the playoffs for the first time in 22 seasons. Todd Bertuzzi (back) is getting close to returning after missing almost two months of action. Henrik Zetterberg played on Thursday after missing a couple of games with a groin injury. Damien Brunner has an undisclosed injury. Valtteri Filppula is closing in on a new deal with Detroit.

EDMONTON

Games this week

@ Anaheim, vs. Phoenix, vs. Calgary

Notes

The Oilers are the rested team twice this week, first against the Ducks Monday who play the Kings on Sunday and then again on Saturday as they host the Flames who entertain the Coyotes Friday. The Oilers made a couple of minor deals, picking up Garrett Stafford and Jerred Smithson. Before getting stopped on Thursday, Taylor Hall had seven goals and 15 points in his previous six games. He is turning into one of the NHL's elite offensive players as he has 13 goals and 41 points this season. Hall was drafted first overall in 2010 is now seventh in NHL scoring. Coach Ralph Krueger is impressed with the progress of first pick Nail Yakupov, especially on the defensive end.

 FLORIDA

Games this week

@ Winnipeg, vs. Pittsburgh

Notes

The Panthers were fairly quiet on Wednesday, dealing Jerred Smithson to the Oilers for a draft pick but they did sign former first round pick Nick Bjugstad to a contract and the former college star is expect to be in the Florida lineup on April 6. Jonathan Huberdeau leads all rookies with 25 points. Once again, I will give kudos to goaltender Jacob Markstrom who gives the Panthers their goalie of the future for the next 10 years.    That of course is assuming that they can keep him under contract. It's nice to see that Tomas Fleischmann has not had any injury concerns since signing with Florida after the 2010-11 season. He has been everything the Panthers had hoped for and has 23 points thus far this season.

LOS ANGELES

Games this week

@ Dallas, vs. Colorado, vs. Anaheim

Notes

The Kings added a solid defensive defenseman in Robyn Regehr and sent Davis Drewiske to Montreal for a draft pick. Jeff Carter has 21 goals this season, good for third overall in the NHL. The Kings are worried that the career of Willie Mitchell is over as he will not play this season and could be out for all of next year as well. Justin Williams is red hot of late as he is on a five game goal scoring streak in which he has scored six times. He is also plus-six in the five games. Jacob Muzzin was the NHL's rookie for the month of March in which he had four goals and 11 points in 17 games. Not too shabby for a defenseman.

MINNESOTA

Games this week

vs. Chicago, vs. St. Louis, vs. Columbus

Notes

The Wild are rested on Saturday when they face the Blue Jackets who play a home game against the Blues Friday. The Wild went all in for this season as they picked up Jason Pominville from the Sabres, giving up prospect Johan Larsson and goaltender Matthew Hackett plus a first and second round pick. They recalled Mikael Granlund from the minors. Pominville will line up on the top line with Mikko Koivu and Zach Parise. Bad news for Dany Heatley who was injured Wednesday and could be out a lengthy period of time. Matt Cullen is also out of action but could return this week from a lower body injury.

MONTREAL

Games this week

vs. Washington, @ Buffalo, @ Toronto

Notes

Montreal just tweaked at the trade deadline, picking up some blueline depth in Davis Drewiske from the Kings for a 2013 fifth round pick. They did acquire Michael Ryder earlier in the season and he potted a couple of goals in a 4-1 win Thursday. Tomas Plekanec is day-to-day with a groin injury. The Canadiens signed Danny Kristo, their second round pick in the 2008 Draft and he will report to the AHL Hamilton Bulldogs.  P.K. Subban has 30 points including 10 goals this season and has to be in the hunt for the Norris Trophy. He was the NHL's second star for the month of March. Ryan White returned to action on Thursday after missing six games with a lower body injury.

NASHVILLE

Games this week

vs. St. Louis, vs. Dallas, vs. Detroit

Notes

The Predators did great on Wednesday, giving up veteran Martin Erat and minor leaguer Michael Latta and getting possible future superstar Filip Forsberg from the Capitals. Forsberg has been described as a player similar to Corey Perry without Perry's feistiness, not a bad player to be compared to. Mike Fisher returned to action on Thursday after missing three games with a hand injury on the same night his wife Carrie Underwood sang on American Idol. Wonder if he sang backup for her while he recovered. The Predators recalled Ryan Ellis from the minors and he could be up for good. David Legwand leads the Preds in points with 22, one ahead of Shea Weber.

NEW JERSEY

Games this week

vs. Boston, vs. Ottawa

Notes

The Devils only play twice this week so I suggest putting all your New Jersey players on reserve in weekly transaction pools if you can. The Devils made one move on Wednesday when they acquired Steve Sullivan from the Coyotes for a seventh round pick. Ilya Kovalchuk is out with a shoulder injury and while he should make it back before the end of the season, it still might not be until the last week of the season. Dainius Zubrus returned to action on Monday after missing almost two months. He had surgery to repair his wrist. It looked bad for Tom Kostopoulos on Monday when he was knocked out in a fight with the Islanders Matt Martin but the good news is that he's okay.

NEW YORK ISLANDERS

Games this week

vs. Philadelphia, @ Boston, vs. New York Rangers

Notes

The Islanders are rested on Thursday when they are in Boston who play in New Jersey Wednesday. Although the rumor mill was working overtime, the Islanders stood pat at the trade deadline, actually signing Lubomir Visnovsky to a two-year extension. Jesse Joensuu was activated from injured reserve and the suspended list as he has now recovered from a sports hernia injury suffered during the lockout. Matt Moulson stopped a 13 game goalless streak on Tuesday. John Tavares has 22 goals and trails only Steve Stamkos in the Rocket Richard Trophy race.

NEW YORK RANGERS

Games this week

@ Toronto, vs. Toronto, @ New York Rangers

Notes

The Rangers play the Maple Leafs in a home-and-home series. Derek Dorsett is injured so they will have to rely on the Stu Bickel and the recently acquired Ryane Clowe to handle the rough stuff. The Rangers were the busiest team in the NHL as they picked up the aforementioned Clowe from the Sharks for a couple of second round picks although one is conditional and then made the biggest trade of the day when they dealt Marian Gaborik, who was not fitting in with the John Tortorella style of hockey, for Derick Brassard, Derek Dorsett and puck moving defenseman John Moore. Marc Staal had an off-ice workout this past week as he attempts to return from a puck to the eye area.

OTTAWA     

Games this week

@  Tampa Bay, @ Philadelphia, @ New Jersey

Notes

The Senators are in the midst of a seven game road trip and play three games in four nights. Craig Anderson is expected to be back and he should split the net in some fashion with Robin Lehner. With Anderson returning, the Senators felt it was time to deal Ben Bishop, and they did to Tampa Bay, picking up rookie Cory Conacher and a fourth rounder. Bishop cost the Senators a second round pick last season so they did quite well in the flip. Conacher will be a top-six forward and has a chance to become the Calder Trophy winner as he has 24 points in 35 games. Matt Kassian showed his toughness in the game against the Maple Leafs with a couple of fights and 20 penalty minutes, giving Chris Neil an extra two hands in the fisticuff department.

PHILADELPHIA

Games this week

@ New York Islanders, vs. Ottawa, @ Buffalo

Notes

The Flyers made a couple of moves with the acquisition of goaltender Steve Mason and tough guy Jay Rosehill, giving up Michael Leighton and Harry Zolnierczyk in return. The sophomore slump really hit Sean Couturier offensively this season but he finally broke a 27 game goalless streak by finding the back of the net Wednesday. Brayden Schenn also broke a long drought by scoring Thursday, his first goal in 18 games. A nice move by the Flyers in claiming Adam Hall off waivers this week. While he has no fantasy value, he is a useful bottom-six forward. Ilya Bryzgalov has played in 21 straight games.

PHOENIX

Games this week

@ Vancouver, @ Edmonton, @ Calgary

Notes

The Coyotes are in Western Canada for all three games this week. Phoenix gave up some of their veterans as Raffi Torres, Steve Sullivan and Matthew Lombardi found new homes with the Coyotes getting a third, a seventh and a couple of minor leaguers back along with Brandon McMillan. Mike Smith has been out since March 21but could return as early as April 6 from an upper body injury. Chad Johnson played well on Thursday and could see some action down the stretch. Mikkel Boedker and Keith Yandle lead the Coyotes with 23 points, one ahead of Shane Doan. Chris Conner was recalled on Wednesday and scored Thursday.

PITTSBURGH

Games this week

@ Carolina, @ Tampa Bay, @ Florida

Notes

The Penguins are rested on Tuesday when they travel to Carolina who play the Bruins in Boston on Monday. Oh were the Penguins busy in the days leading up to the deadline as they picked up Jarome Iginla, Brenden Morrow and Doug Murray and then managed to pick up Jussi Jokinen on deadline day. The bad news was that Sidney Crosby suffered a broken jaw when he took a shot off his face Saturday and he is likely out for the rest of the regular season although the Penguins are hoping he can return for the playoffs. Same for Paul Martin who is now out with a broken hand. Kris Letang (broken toe) is hoping to return this week. Jokinen will likely take over at center for Crosby, between Pascal Dupuis and Chris Kunitz.

ST. LOUIS

Games this week

@ Nashville, @ Minnesota, @ Columbus, vs. Chicago

Notes

The Blues play three games in four nights so it is expected that Jake Allen and Brian Elliott will likely split the net this week with Jaroslav Halak out of action with a lower body injury. The Blues will be tired on Friday when they play in Columbus after playing in Minnesota Thursday. It was a great move picking up Jay Bouwmeester from Calgary  for Mark Cundari, Reta Berra, and a conditional draft pick. Bouwmeester, who will be paired with Alex Pietrangelo, has never played in an NHL playoff game and if the Blues fail to make the post-season, you have to wonder if he is a jinx. Jaroslav Halak is out again so Jake Allen and Brian Elliott will share the crease.

SAN JOSE

Games this week

@ Columbus, @ Detroit, @ Dallas

Notes

The Sharks are rested Saturday in Dallas as the Stars are in Nashville Friday night. The Sharks were sellers as they dealt Doug Murray for a couple of second rounders and as well as Ryane Clowe but gave up a third rounder for Raffi Torres. They also traded Michal Handzus while picking up Scott Hannan in two separate deals. Martin Havlat has two goals and seven points in nine games since returning from a lower body injury. Unfortunately he only had six points in his first 20 games so his seasonal stats do not look good. Defenseman Matt Irwin was given a two-year extension after his very good start in which he has five goals and nine points in 27 games including three goals on the power play.

TAMPA BAY

Games this week

vs. Ottawa, vs. Pittsburgh, @ Washington, @ Buffalo

Notes

Tampa Bay plays three games in four nights. Look for newly acquired Ben Bishop to see the bulk of the action with Anders Lindback on the shelf. The Lightning were forced to give up rookie Cory Conacher to get the tall netminder. The Lightning recalled Brett Connolly from the minors. He had 27 goals and 57 points in 68 games in Syracuse and could have seen the last of the minors as he was the sixth overall pick in the 2010 Draft. Alex Killorn continues to impress as he has 16 points in 26 games including four in his last three. Vincent Lecavalier returned to action on Thursday after a foot injury kept him out of action the previous nine games. Get him back in your lineup.

TORONTO

Games this week

vs. New York  Rangers, @ New York Rangers, vs. Montreal

Notes

The Maple Leafs did not bite and take Roberto Luongo off the hands of the Vancouver Canucks. They tinkered by adding a depth defensive defenseman as they picked up Ryan O'Byrne from the Colorado Avalanche for a fourth round pick. Toronto plays a home-and-home series against the Rangers this week and it could get rough so expect to see Colton Orr, Frazer McLaren and/or Mark Fraser spend a lot of time in the penalty box. Joffrey Lupul looks like he could be out for a bit as he suffered a head injury against the Flyers Thursday. Stay tuned to Rotoworld for further updates. Leo Komarov and Clarke MacArthur are both out with upper body injuries but are practicing with the Leafs and are close to returning to action.

VANCOUVER

Games this week

vs. Phoenix, @ Calgary, @ Colorado

Notes

The Canucks did everything they could to try and trade Roberto Luongo, but couldn't, so it looks like he could be spending a lot of time on the bench with Cory Schneider seemingly entrenched as the number one goalie in Vancouver. They traded for Derek Roy, giving the Stars a second round pick as well as Kevin Connauton. Roy will slot in nicely as the second line center while Ryan Kesler is still out of action and the Canucks had been severely lacking at the pivot spot with Henrik Sedin the only center producing. As a result of the Roy trade, Jordan Schroeder was sent to the minors.

WASHINGTON

Games this week

@ Montreal, vs. Carolina, vs. Tampa Bay

Notes

The Capitals picked up Martin Erat and Michael Latta from Nashville at the deadline but gave up a prized prospect in Filip Forsberg. Erat will start his Washington career on the third line with Mathieu Perreault and Joel Ward but will also see plenty of power play time. Don't look now but Mike Green is becoming a fantasy stud again. He has five goals and an assist in his last four games and is on a four game goal scoring streak. Alex Ovechkin had his nine game scoring streak come to an end on Thursday but was also extremely hot as he had 10 goals and 15 points in that time span with 51 shots on net.

WINNIPEG

Games this week

vs. Buffalo, vs. Florida

Notes

The Jets play only twice this week so bench all your Jets if you are able to in weekly transaction pools. They were quiet at the trade deadline but did manage to claim Mike Santorelli off waivers from Florida. Nik Antropov is out two weeks with a lower body injury. The Jets have been struggling of late and are no longer in a playoff spot as they are 10th heading into action Friday. The big news in Winnipeg is their signing of Jacob Trouba to an entry-level contract. He was selected ninth overall in the 2012 Draft and starred for the United States in the World Juniors as the Americans won gold and he was named to the WJC all-star team.

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