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Dose: Leafs Learnings
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Monday's Dose ponders the Leafs' collapse, Alex Ovechkin's weird season and breakthroughs …

It's the final week of the season and it's time to thank a few people for their help at Rotoworld.

As always, thanks to Brett Vandermark for his outstanding leadership at NBC Sports Digital as well as Aaron Solomon and Ed Williams. Thanks as well to Stephen Hildebrand, Steven Howard, Greg Friedman and David Wilburn.

Brian Rosenbaum and I would like to thank our staff for the work done during the season (and beforehand as the lockout forced us to look to Europe, the AHL and junior hockey for blurbs), so a big thanks to Ryan, Corey A., Marty, Kevin, James, Corey G., Marc, Jimmy, Matt, Steven and Mitch.

A special thanks to Antti Makinen who was a great help during the lockout, updating us with European signings, well before anyone else in North America had them.

And of course, we want to thank you, the fantasy fans, who always read our blurbs and columns.

If you are looking for a site for playoff hockey, the best site by far that we have come across is fantasypostseason.com. They have added new features this year including a salary cap option. Click here to enter the site.

Now to The Week Ahead.

WEEK OF APRIL 22-28

4 Games–Boston, Chicago, Detroit, Edmonton, Ottawa, Phoenix 

3 Games – Anaheim, Calgary, Carolina, Colorado, Dallas, Florida, Los Angeles, Minnesota, Montreal,  Nashville, New Jersey, New York Islanders, New York Rangers, Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, St. Louis, San Jose, Tampa Bay, Toronto, Vancouver, Washington, Winnipeg

2 Games - Buffalo, Columbus

** Late Note: The Buffalo/Pittsburgh game originally scheduled for April 20 has been moved to Tuesday April 23. Therefore the Sabres play three games this week while the Penguins play four.**

Detroit, Edmonton, Minnesota, St. Louis and Washington play three games at home this week.

Calgary, Chicago, Colorado, Montreal and the New York Islanders play three games on the road.

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INJURIES

Alex Chiasson of the Dallas Stars is day-to-day with a shoulder injury. (Click here to see the rest of the injury list.)

ANAHEIM

Games this week

@ Edmonton, @ Vancouver, vs. Phoenix

Notes

The Ducks are rested Saturday for their final regular season game against Phoenix as the Coyotes are home to the Avs Saturday. Sami Vatanen scored his first NHL goal Wednesday after a nine goal, 45 point season in 62 games in the AHL. The defenseman will be worth looking at next season in fantasy pools. Viktor Fasth is only 1-2-1 of late and NHL shooters could be finding a couple of holes in the 30-year-old's game. Saku Koivu has gone 16 games without scoring a goal. The Ducks sent Peter Holland, a former first round pick, back to the minors.

BOSTON

Games this week

@ Philadelphia, vs. Tampa Bay, @ Washington, vs. Ottawa

Notes

The Bruins play all four games at home this week including three games in four nights so do not be surprised if Anton Khudobin gets into one game in place of Tuukka Rask. The original schedule had the Bruins only playing twice this week but a pair of postponements, including the tragedy at the Boston Marathon, give the Bruins a four game week. The Bruins are the rested team Thursday when hosting the Lightning as Tampa Bay host the Maple Leafs Wednesday.  With only six goals this season, it looks like Milan Lucic is expected to be a healthy scratch on April 19. The Bruins are getting great goaltending for Khudobin as he is 9-3-1 this season with a .925 save percentage and 2.20 GAA. Patrice Bergeron is back from a concussion.

BUFFALO

Games this week

vs. Winnipeg, vs. New York Islanders

Notes

The Sabres only play twice this week so I suggest resting all your Buffalo players in weekly transaction pools. The Sabres are rested Friday when hosting the Islanders who are in Philadelphia Thursday. Tyler Ennis scored for the first time in 12 games Sunday. After exploding for 11 goals and 23 points in his first 11 games, Thomas Vanek came down to earth with only six goals and 13 points in his next 23 games. Jhonas Enroth is 4-2-1 this season with a 2.40 GAA and a .924 save percentage and actually played back-to-back games with a healthy Ryan Miller on the bench.

CALGARY

Games this week

@ Nashville, @ St. Louis, @ Chicago

Notes

Calgary plays three games in four nights so look for Miikka Kiprusoff and Joey MacDonald to share the net. Flames are tired Friday when in Chicago after travelling from St. Louis Thursday.  Fantasy fans are finally seeing how good Sven Baertschi is as he has two goals and four points in his last three games. Roman Cervenka had a tough go of it in his first year in the NHL as he was a healthy scratch on Wednesday. He likely needed the shortened year to acclimate himself to North American life and is worth a pick in deeper pools next season. Reto Berra inked a one-year deal after being acquired at the trade deadline. He could see action in the NHL next season, especially if Miikka Kiprusoff retires, as has been speculated.

CAROLINA

Games this week

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

Notes

It looks like Jeff Skinner was lucky as it was thought that he suffered a concussion but he could be back as early as this weekend after getting hurt Tuesday. Joni Pitaken's surgery to repair a broken heel looks like it was successful and that's good news for Hurricane fans. Justin Faulk was considered a great sleeper pick heading into the season but has only four goals and 13 points in 32 games. His plus-one and 13 penalty minutes aren't anything to write home about either. That being said, he is worth looking at next season. Carolina was in line for a playoff spot until Cam Ward was injured. Do not forget about Ward in 2013-14.

CHICAGO

Games this week

@ Vancouver, @ Edmonton, vs. Calgary, @ St. Louis

Notes
The Blackhawks play four games this week including three games in four nights so look for Corey Crawford and Ray Emery to split the net heading into the playoffs.  Emery could not play on Friday due to a lower body injury and Chicago recalled Carter Hutton. Look for Emery to be back this week. The Blackhawks are the rested team on Friday when they host the Flames as Calgary take on the Blues in St. Louis Thursday. Chicago is tired Saturday when they are in St. Louis. Patrick Sharp's shoulder continues to be worrisome as the Blackhawks head into the playoffs and hopefully will be able to play this week. Chicago inked Hobey Baker winner Drew LeBlanc to a contract.

COLORADO

Games this week

@ St. Louis, @ Phoenix, @ Minnesota

Notes

The Avalanche finish their season on the road and head into the last week of the season looking for the number one pick in the 2013 Draft. Milan Hejduk will return this week from a shoulder injury and he may be playing in his last NHL games as retirement is definitely on the radar. Semyon Varlamov returned to action from a hip injury as the Avs returned Sami Aittokallio to the minors. You have to feel bad for Joey Hishon who apparently suffered a head injury earlier in the week. Hishon missed almost two years of  hockey with a bad concussion suffered in the 2011 Memorial Cup when hit by Brayden Schenn. The 21-year-old first round pick in the 2010 Draft was injured in an AHL game when hit by Joey Tenute. He had a goal and six points in nine games since his return.

COLUMBUS

Games this week

@ Dallas, vs. Nashville

Notes

It's amazing that the Blue Jackets are in the hunt for a playoff spot as most pundits picked them to finish 30th and last overall. They have only two games this week so I suggest benching all your Columbus players in weekly transaction pools with the exception of goaltender Sergei Bobrovsky, who may be the best player in the NHL right now with Sidney Crosby on the shelf. Marian Gaborik has three goals and seven points in nine games since being acquired from the Rangers. Artem Anisimov suffered a concussion but has been skating and could return this week. Defenseman Dalton Proult has been a good fantasy player since his recall on March 1. He scored his first NHL goal Thursday to go with four helpers and is a plus-15 in 25 games.

DALLAS

Games this week

@ San Jose, vs. Columbus, vs. Detroit

Notes

At 40 years of age, Ray Whitney is still unbelievable, as he has four goals and 10 points during his six game points scoring streak. The Stars gave up a lot at the trade deadline but are currently only two points out of a playoff spot and have two games in hand on the eighth place Blue Jackets. Loui Eriksson has been a fantasy disappointment this season with 10 goals and 27 points in 43 games. He was reunited on the top line Thursday with Jamie Benn and picked up an assist but his lack of scoring has been a puzzle.  Rookie Alex Chiasson has been a pleasant surprise with six goals and seven points in seven games but is currently out of action with a shoulder injury.  He is worth looking at in deeper pools next season.

DETROIT

Games this week

vs. Phoenix, vs. Los Angeles, vs. Nashville, @ Dallas

Notes

The Red Wings play three games in four nights so look for Jonas Gustavsson to possibly get one start in place of Jimmy Howard, especially if the Red Wings are able to clinch a playoff spot earlier in the week. They are rested Wednesday when playing the Kings as Los Angeles play in Minnesota Tuesday. Detroit will be tired Thursday when they host Nashville.  The Red Wings inked Howard to a six-year/$31.8 million extension. Detroit is currently sitting in 10th place and could miss the playoffs for the first time in 21 seasons, currently the longest such streak in North American professional sports. Henrik Zetterberg has only one goal in his last 12 games but does have seven points in that span.

EDMONTON

Games this week

vs. Anaheim, vs. Chicago, @ Minnesota, vs. Vancouver

Notes

The Oilers play three games in four nights as part of their four game week so Nikolai Khabibulin will likely see action in his last game in an Edmonton uniform as his four year contract expires at the end of the season. The Oilers will be the tired team on Saturday at home to the Canucks as they play in Minnesota Friday. The big news in Edmonton was the firing of GM Steve Tambellini and the hiring of Craig MacTavish to the role. The Oilers have a sublime amount of young offensive talent but have not figured out who to mix in with this talent and as a result, they will fail to make the playoffs yet again in 2013. Ryan Nugent-Hopkins had a terrible year finding the back of the net with only three markers. Expect a comeback season in 2013-14 as he is a lot better than that.

FLORIDA

Games this week

vs. New York Rangers, vs. Toronto, @ Tampa Bay

Notes

Jacob Markstrom has had a tough rookie season as the restricted free agent to be is 6-11-1 with a 3.17 GAA and a .903 save percentage. He is still highly regarded and only 23 years-old. Jonathan Huberdeau has been very good in his rookie season and is a definite Calder Trophy candidate with 14 goals and 28 points in 43 games although his minus-15 rating does not help. Dmitry Kulikov could be ready for a breakout season in 2013-14 as the defenseman has been in the NHL for four seasons and is only 22.  The Panthers have a good shot at the first overall pick in the 2013 Draft and as good as defenseman Seth Jones is, the Panthers need help up front and could be better off drafting a forward or moving down if they get the first overall pick.

LOS ANGELES

Games this week

@ Minnesota, @ Detroit, vs. San Jose

Notes

The Kings are the tired team Wednesday when in Detroit after playing the Wild in Minnesota Tuesday. Jonathan Quick may be getting his mojo back after giving up only three goals in his last two games. Quick has not been a fantasy gem considering he was likely taken in the first or second round of most pools this season as he is 16-12-4 with a 2.43 GAA and a .901 save percentage, ordinary numbers at best. Jeff Carter has 24 goals including seven game winners, but only five assists. Matt Greene returned to action on Thursday after being out with a back injury since opening day. His return is good news for the Kings as they head into the playoffs.

MINNESOTA

Games this week

vs. Los Angeles, vs. Edmonton, vs. Colorado

Notes

The Wild finish the season with all three games at home. They are currently sitting in seventh place in the Western Conference. Ryan Suter has been outstanding and should be a finalist in the Norris Trophy race, if not the favorite. Pierre-Marc Bouchard has 11 points in his last 10 games, showing everyone that he is still quite a hockey player when not injured. Jason Pominville has nine points including four goals in eight games since he was dealt from the Sabres. Josh Harding (multiple sclerosis) should play this weekend with the Houston Aeros of the AHL on a conditioning stint and be recalled by the Wild at the start of the week. Mathew Dumba, the Wild's first Draft pick in 2013, finished his junior season with Red Deer and was assigned to the Aeros.

MONTREAL

Games this week

@ New Jersey, @ Winnipeg, @ Toronto

Notes

After an absolutely terrible week of hockey in which he gave up 12 goals on only 53 shots, Carey Price gave up only two goals on 34 shots in a 3-2 win over Tampa Bay Thursday. Habs fans have to be breathing a sigh of relief after this effort as there were huge worries over what was wrong with Price. Michael Ryder has been outstanding with the Canadiens as he has 10 goals and 21 points in 23 games since his trade from Dallas. Nathan Beaulieu was send back down to Hamilton of the AHL after picking up two assists in six games. The defenseman is worth grabbing late in deep pools next season as he has a lot of offensive talent. Alex Galchenyuk is getting better as the season nears its end as he has six goals in his last eight games to go with two assists. He was drafted third overall in the 2012 Draft after missing all but two games in his final junior season and should be a star for many years in Montreal.

NASHVILLE

Games this week

vs. Calgary, @ Detroit, @ Columbus

Notes

The Predators will be the rested team Thursday against the Red Wings as Detroit take on the Kings Wednesday.  The Predators likely traded for a jewel of a hockey player in Filip Forsberg as coach Barry Trotz loves him after seeing him play in only two NHL games. "My first impressions are that I love him," Trotz said. "I've been around a lot of young guys and the ones that turn out to be really good players — top players — have a certain swagger to them. They carry themselves a certain way and I see that in him." Looks like a great trade by the Preds as they only had to give up Martin Erat and minor leaguer Michael Latta. Patric Hornqvist has played in only 24 games in an injury filled season and the Predators need him to score a lot more than his four goals next season if they hope to compete for a playoff spot.

NEW JERSEY

Games this week

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

Notes

The New Jersey Devils have really missed their superstar Ilya Kovalchuk as they finally won their first game since he left the lineup 11 games ago, on Thursday. The Devils are now 1-6-4 without Kovalchuk and are a long shot at best to make the post-season. Johan Hedberg has been bothered by a sore groin but looks to be healthy now. The Devils must give up a first round pick in one of the next two drafts for their efforts in trying to circumvent the rules in the original Kovalchuk deal. It seems strange that they did not give up their 2012 pick as they chose 29th overall, especially with New Jersey most likely being a lottery team this season and very possibly next as well. Defenseman Bryce Salvador (wrist) may miss the last week of the season.

NEW YORK ISLANDERS

Games this week

@ Carolina, @ Philadelphia, @ Buffalo

Notes

The Islanders play three games in four nights so Kevin Poulin could see action in one game for Evgeni Nabokov, if the Islanders have clinched a playoff spot. New York will be tired on Friday in Buffalo after playing in Philadelphia Thursday.  John Tavares has been outstanding this season with 26 goals and 45 points in 44 games as he is trying to lead the Islanders into the playoffs. Evgeni Nabokov has been great in April as he is 6-0-2 giving up only 12 goals on 183 shots. The Islanders are currently in seventh place, three points clear of the ninth place Winnipeg Jets with both teams having four games left to play although the Islanders do have to play their remaining games on the road.

NEW YORK RANGERS

Games this week

@ Florida, @ Carolina, vs. New Jersey

Notes

The Rangers are still in a huge battle for the eighth and final playoff spot in the Eastern Conference as they are tied with the Jets for the spot but get the edge right now as they have a game in hand. The Rangers will lose the tie-breaker should both teams be tied so they need to keep winning with five games remaining. Rick Nash had a goal and two assists Thursday after going pointless in his previous three games. Good news in that Marc Staal partook in his first practice Wednesday since injuring his eye on March 5, but was not allowed to participate in contact or battle drills. Hopefully he is close to returning to action. Derek Dorsett is also practicing but is not allowed to participate in contact drills. He has yet to play with the Rangers since he was acquired at the trade deadline from the Blue Jackets as part of the Marian Gaborik trade.

OTTAWA     

Games this week

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

Notes

The Senators play three games in four nights so look for Craig Anderson and Robin Lehner to split the net. Kyle Turris broke out of a 13 game goalless drought Thursday with a couple of goals. It is amazing, but Erik Karlsson could actually practice this week with his teammates, only two months after his Achilles tendon surgery. He will not participate in a full practice but his return could be a lot quicker than most people thought at the time of the injury. Jared Cowen returned this past week after undergoing hip surgery in November, and made his return to action a memorable one with a couple of fights, four hits and two blocked shots. The Sens first round pick, ninth overall, in the 2009 Draft, will give Ottawa a great presence on the blueline in the playoffs.

PHILADELPHIA

Games this week

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

Notes

The Flyers are just playing out the string as they will not make the post-season in 2013. Simon Gagne has moved to the top line with Claude Giroux and Jakub Voracek. The Flyers inked a couple of their enforcers, Jay Rosehill and Zac Rinaldo, to two-year extensions.  Steve Mason picked up his first win in a Flyers uniform Tuesday, stopping 38 shots in a 4-2 win over the Rangers. Maybe he needed a change of scenery and will start playing like he did when he was the Calder Trophy winner in 2008-09 as well as a second team All-Star. Kent Huskins is out of action after suffering a concussion.

PHOENIX

Games this week

@ Detroit, vs. San Jose, vs. Colorado, @ Anaheim

Notes

The Coyotes play three games in four nights this week so Jason LaBarbera could get at least one start, especially if Mike Smith is unable to go. If that is the case, Chad Johnson will also see some action.  Phoenix will be rested on Wednesday when hosting San Jose as the Sharks host Dallas Tuesday. The Coyotes will be tired Saturday in Anaheim as they host Colorado Friday.  Twenty-six year-old Chad Johnson has been sensational, albeit in only four games as he is 2-0-2 with a 1.21 GAA and a .954 save percentage. He looks like he could take over in the Coyotes cage should Phoenix be unable to sign Mike Smith in the off-season. Radim Vrbata's injury-plagued season could have been a big factor in the Coyotes not making the playoffs as they are five points out of a post-season spot in 11th place, with only five games to play. Vrbata missed 14 games and his goal-scoring prowess may have made a difference in a couple or three games. Of course had Mike Smith played as well as last season, the previous point would be moot.

PITTSBURGH

Games this week

@ Ottawa, @ New Jersey, vs. Carolina

Notes

The Penguins continue to roll along as they head into the post-season as the number one seed in the Eastern Conference. They will be helped by a now healthy Kris Letang who has a goal and five points in his last three games. He has 33 points in 31 games. The Penguins are not going to rush back any of their injured players before the start of the playoffs although Evgeni Malkin could see some action this week. Do not expect to see Sidney Crosby play until the start of the playoffs as there is no need to rush him back from his broken jaw. Brenden Morrow has certainly turned his season around since his trade from Dallas as he has five goals and eight points in his last four games.

ST. LOUIS

Games this week

vs. Colorado, vs. Calgary, vs. Chicago

Notes

The Blues are rested Saturday against the Blackhawks who host Calgary Friday.  David Perron broke his 16 game goalless streak Thursday as he scored the Blues lone goal in regulation. T.J. Oshie is looking to return for the start of the playoffs after undergoing ankle surgery Tuesday. Jay Bouwmeester potted his first goal in a Blues uniform Tuesday. Chris Stewart continues to lead the Blues in goals and points with 16 and 31 respectively, but has only a goal and an assist in his last 13 games. Alex Pietrangelo has not found the back of the net in his last 19 games but has an assist in each of his last two contests.

SAN JOSE

Games this week

vs. Dallas, @ Phoenix, @ Los Angeles

Notes

The Sharks are tired Wednesday when in Phoenix after playing the Stars at home Tuesday.  San Jose is getting hot again at the right time as they are 7-2-1 in their last ten. Logan Couture had a big four point night Thursday and now has 34 points including 19 goals. Antti Niemi is in the Vezina talk as he is 23-10-6 with a 2.10 GAA and a .927 save percentage. Too bad he will have to try and beat out Sergei Bobrovsky and that looks to be impossible at this time. Scott Hannan returned to action for the first time in a San Jose uniform. The Sharks have lost only once before a shootout at home so the battle for fourth place with the Los Angeles Kings in the West, is an important one.

TAMPA BAY

Games this week

vs. Toronto, @ Boston, vs. Florida

Notes

Tampa Bay are the tired team Thursday when playing a makeup game in Boston as they entertain Toronto Wednesday.  Victor Hedman should be worth a look in deeper fantasy pools next season as he has 19 points in 40 games thus far. Alex Killorn is another Lightning player to watch as the rookie has seven goals and 19 points in 34 games. It's hard to believe that Tampa Bay is not a better team with Steve Stamkos and Martin St. Louis are tied for second place in scoring with 53 points, trailing only Sidney Crosby in the race for the Art Ross Trophy. Anders Lindback hopes to return before the end of the season from an ankle injury.

TORONTO

Games this week

@ Tampa Bay, @ Florida, vs. Montreal

Notes

The Maple Leafs have been reeling of late as they have not looked good in their last two losses, but you cannot blame their goaltending as James Reimer has been absolutely outstanding in net. This is the reason you should never panic when taking an NHL star early in a draft and then he gets off to a slow start (See also Alex Ovechkin).  Phil Kessel had only four assists in his first nine games as so many poolies were panicking that he should be traded. Well, Kessel now has 16 goals and 46 points in 44 games and is tied for seventh in NHL scoring. DON'T PANIC early on if your star players are off to slow starts and if you are on the other side, grab these players from irrational owners. No two players have been better offensive players of late than Kessel and Ovechkin and both have probably helped playoff lineups more than any other forward in Yahoo! pools.  Joffrey Lupul returned to action on Tuesday after missing five games with a concussion.

VANCOUVER

Games this week

vs. Chicago, vs. Anaheim, @ Edmonton

Notes

The Canucks are rested Saturday when playing in Edmonton as the Oilers are in Minnesota Friday. Kevin Bieksa is out with a lower body injury. Derek Roy is off to a good start on the second line as he was moved to the wing. He has three points in three games with Ryan Kesler and Jannik Hansen on his line. Henrik Sedin has 11 goals and 42 points this season. His brother Daniel also has 11 goals and that has been a disappointment as he is the goal scorer in the family. Christopher Higgins is still out of action with a knee injury. Hopefully he will be ready for the start of the playoffs.

WASHINGTON

Games this week

vs. Winnipeg, vs. Ottawa, vs. Boston

Notes

The Capitals will be rested on Tuesday when Winnipeg comes to town as the Jets are in Buffalo Monday.  Brooks Laich will not have surgery on his injured groin but will not return to the Washington lineup until he is 100 percent. Laich has played in only nine games this season with one goal and four points. He is worth looking at next season if healthy as most poolies will have forgotten about him in deeper pools. Troy Brouwer is having his best season in the NHL with 17 goals and 30 points in 43 games with half his points coming on the power play. He is one of only four NHLers to be on the ice for over 30 power play goals this season.

WINNIPEG

Games this week

@ Buffalo, @ Washington, vs. Montreal

Notes

The Jets play three games in four nights so it's possible that Al Montoya will get one start in place of Ondrej Pavelec. The Jets will be tired Tuesday against the Capitals as they are in Buffalo Monday. Zach Redmond has been sent to the minors on a conditioning stint after missing almost two months of action when he sustained a serious cut to his femoral artery and lost a lot of blood at practice on February 21. It's great to see him playing again.  Tobias Enstrom is week-to-week with a middle body injury. Andrew Ladd has 44 points in 44 games and has been a great fantasy player this season. Jacob Trouba still has yet to play despite practicing with the team.

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