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NHL Skinny: This is it

Matt Romig
Yahoo Sports

GOALIE HOT SEAT
EDMONTON OILERS RED HOT
1st Chair: Dwayne Roloson
2nd Chair: Mathieu Garon
Skinny: The good news: Roloson has won five of six starts. The bad: 16 goals allowed in his last four, all at home. Coach Craig MacTavish told the Edmonton Sun that Garon may be ready to test his injured ankle in game action Friday. Even if he does go there, you have to figure Roloson gets the call Saturday in Calgary.
TAMPA BAY LIGHTNING RED HOT
1st Chair: Mike Smith
2nd Chair: Karri Ramo
Skinny: Smith injured his knee in practice Monday, shattering his stick in frustration upon leaving the ice. Ramo filled in nicely Tuesday by making 34 saves in a 3-1 win over Florida. Smith is considered day-to-day with a strained knee, according to the Tampa Tribune. If you're chasing your goalie games limit, giving Ramo a spot start Thursday in Washington is a useful option.
BOSTON BRUINS RED HOT
1st Chair: Tim Thomas
2nd Chair: Alex Auld, Manny Fernandez
Skinny: Doesn't look like we'll see any of Fernandez this season. GM Peter Chiarelli told the Boston Herald that Fernandez would likely play only if Boston clinches or is eliminated from the playoffs early, or in the event of "dire straits." Thomas was solid Tuesday in a key 6-2 win in Toronto.
WASHINGTON CAPITALS RED HOT
1st Chair: Cristobal Huet
2nd Chair: Olaf Kolzig, Brent Johnson
Skinny: Huet backstopped Tuesday's 3-2 shootout win in Carolina. It was his fourth straight win and third in a row away from home. A Thursday starter hadn't been named before the puck dropped Tuesday, but considering the must-win nature of every Caps effort from here on, the smart money is on another Huet start.
NASHVILLE PREDATORS HOT
1st Chair: Dan Ellis
2nd Chair: Chris Mason, Pekka Rinne
Skinny: Ellis seems to have secured his job and it looks like he has travel delays to thank for the opportunity. Rinne, the AHL's leader in wins, was recalled over the weekend and would have started Saturday if he had arrived on time. Instead Ellis got the call and he responded with back-to-back wins, including his fifth shutout. Nashville has four very winnable games remaining against St. Louis (twice), Columbus and Chicago.
PHILADELPHIA FLYERS WARM
1st Chair: Martin Biron
2nd Chair: Antero Niittymaki
Skinny: Biron turned away 86 of 91 shots in winning three straight over the Islanders and Rangers (twice). Looks like Niittymaki was unable to parlay a solid win on March 18 into more work.
CHICAGO BLACKHAWKS LUKEWARM
1st Chair: Nikolai Khabibulin
2nd Chair:
Patrick Lalime, Corey Crawford
Skinny: Crawford may be Chicago's goalie of the future, but if coach Denis Savard has his way Khabibulin will be the only Blackhawks goalie between the pipes the rest of the way. He told the Chicago Sun-Times he plans to stick with one guy the rest of the way, and so far he's been true to his word. Khabibulin has stopped 89 of 93 shots in starting three straight.
OTTAWA SENATORS LUKEWARM
1st Chair: Martin Gerber
2nd Chair:
Ray Emery
Skinny: Not even a miserable Gerber start (3 goals allowed on 14 shots in 20 minutes) could buy Emery a start for the Senators. Coach Bryan Murray went right back to Gerber the next day and Marty was solid enough in a 6-3 win over Buffalo. It was Gerber's 12th straight start and there's no end in sight despite the fact that only six of those games have landed in the win column.

This will do it for the Skinny for the 2007-08 season. Thanks for sticking it out. For those of you who remain in contention for league championships, congratulations and good luck. As always, keep an eye on those games-played paces in rotisserie leagues. No sense having Chris Drury use one of your remaining games at the center position when you've got a perfectly healthy Joe Thornton in your lineup and only three center games remaining. And if you're lagging at any positions, now's the time to start churning players to catch up. Let's take a quick look around the league …

MID-WEEK UPDATE: Need-to-know info from the past few days
Things to do ASAP: Marc Savard owners need to brace for a couple games without their playmaker, and possibly more. What the Bruins are willing to concede is that Savard is injured and that he'll miss two games. One of those games is in the books, so there's a chance the NHL's No. 2 assists producer could return Saturday against Ottawa. That said, the Boston Herald is reporting that Savard has a broken bone in his back. The report says the pivot broke his transverse process, which apparently is the bone to break if you're going to crack one in that region. Until the Bruins disclose more information, consider Savard day-to-day. Some widely available options for center depth: Johan Franzen (11 goals in 11 games), Jeremy Roenick (5 points in 3 games) and Jeff Halpern (more than point-per-game since joining Lightning).

David Krejci wasn't half bad filling in for Savard Tuesday for Boston. He centered the top line and picked up two points in a key win.

One-timers: Jean-Sebastien Giguere missed Anaheim's last two games with back spasms. He's targeting a Wednesday return, but look for some possible Jonas Hiller starts if the Ducks' games become meaningless. … Glen Murray snapped an 11-game pointless drought Tuesday with a power-play goal. … Peter Forsberg picked up an assist Monday in his return to the Colorado lineup. … Stars defenseman Sergei Zubov is with the team on its West Coast road trip and hopes to play in one of the next three games. … Get ready to plug Sidney Crosby back into your lineup. He's targeting a Thursday return.

BARGAIN BIN: Top player available in 50 percent of Yahoo! leagues
Jeff Halpern, C, TB – This one isn't the easiest in the world to explain, as Halpern's high-water mark fantasy-wise came in 2000-01 when he had 42 points and was a plus-13 in 80 games with the Caps. Now with Tampa Bay – and not skating with Martin St. Louis or Vincent Lecavalier, Halpern has 15 points in 13 games and is coming off a goal, two-assist effort against Florida Tuesday. Long-term you'd have to expect he'll fall back into a point every-other game pattern, but until then you've got a decent injury fill-in or extra centerman if you are for whatever reason behind the games-played pace there.

MARKET MOVERS: Charting player values

Kyle Okposo, RW, NYI – The top prospect in the Islanders system has a goal and two assists in his last three games. He picked up an assist in Monday's 4-1 win over the Penguins.

Matt Lashoff, D, Bos – He notched a pair of assists Tuesday and now has power-play helpers in each of his last two games. It took a hole in the lineup to get him on the ice, but when he's out there the PP potential is intriguing.

Jeremy Roenick, C, SJ – Jonathan Cheechoo is day-to-day, but until he returns to the lineup is looks like Roenick will get his share of shifts on San Jose's No. 1 line. He had two assists there Tuesday and now has three goals and three assists in his last five.

Johan Franzen, LW, Det – The tally is now up to 11 goals in 11 March games. Only Henrik Zetterberg logged more minutes among Detroit forwards Tuesday.

Wade Dubielewicz , G, NYI – Still available in about 75-percent of Yahoo! leagues, Dubielewicz has won two straight subbing for the injured Rick DiPietro. He's stopped 62 of the last 64 shots he's faced.

Brian Boucher, G, SJ – The Sharks figure to clinch the Pacific Division shortly and have almost no shot at catching Detroit atop the conference. Translation: There are meaningless games ahead. Boucher has been pretty much mistake-free in net for the Sharks and San Jose has a three-games-in-four-nights stretch just around the corner. Could be a good time for a spot start.

Sam Gagner, C, Edm – Not budging from his spot here last week, Gagner now has multi-point games in half of his last six efforts. He ranks as a top 20 fantasy center over the last month.

Radim Vrbata, RW, Pho – The Coyotes managed five goals against the normally stingy Sharks, but Vrbata succeeded only in extending his goalless drought to 17 games.

Kristian Huselius, LW, Cal – The lack of production probably scared a lot of fantasy owners off, so consider the flat-out benching by coach Mike Keenan Tuesday the knockout punch.

Yahoo! Friends and Family League
Can't get much closer than this, with the Rotowire entries of Maingot and McLarney tied atop the standings with 85 points, followed closely by team Romig and Tony from the Fantasy Hockey Caf. I may wind up paying a price for leaving some goalie and defensemen games on the table. I'm chasing, but I might not catch up.