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NHL Skinny: Dubie-ous days

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GOALIE HOT SEAT
EDMONTON OILERS RED HOT
1st Chair: Dwayne Roloson
2nd Chair: Mathieu Garon
Skinny: What a difference one game can make in these battles. Garon entered his March 13 start with seven wins in eight starts, but lasted only 25 minutes in a 5-1 loss to the Avs. Enter Roloson, who quickly rattled off three straight wins, including a 48-save, streak-snapping win over the Sharks. Things can turn just as quickly the other way, but for now go Rollie.
TAMPA BAY LIGHTNING RED HOT
1st Chair: Mike Smith
2nd Chair: Karri Ramo
Skinny: The Lightning insider reports that Ramo will start Wednesday, a mild surprise considering Smith blanked the Rangers Saturday. Best guess is Smith gets the nod Thursday against the Penguins. Based on earlier comments from coach John Tortorella, Smith and Ramo will basically split the remaining games.
BOSTON BRUINS RED HOT
1st Chair: Alex Auld
2nd Chair: Tim Thomas, Manny Fernandez
Skinny: Fernandez has declared himself ready and has been medically cleared to return after knee surgery. Trouble is every point matters right now for Boston and Auld and Thomas have both been solid. Auld has started four of six and is enjoying his best month of the season (1.99 GAA, .931 save pct.).
WASHINGTON CAPITALS RED HOT
1st Chair: Cristobal Huet
2nd Chair: Olaf Kolzig, Brent Johnson
Skinny: The Washington Post expects to see Kolzig in goal Wednesday on the second night of back-to-back road games. He's the winner of three straight, allowing only four total goals along the way. Nothing wrong with the play of Huet, either. The new arrival has a 1.74 goals-against average in six starts for the Caps. Every game is must-win for Washington, but they seem perfectly willing to juggle goalies during this playoff chase.
CHICAGO BLACKHAWKS HOT
1st Chair: Nikolai Khabibulin
2nd Chair:
Patrick Lalime, Corey Crawford
Skinny: Khabibulin is set to make his first start since Feb. 20 on Wednesday. After that may be anyone's guess. ''He'll play [tonight], then we'll evaluate everything," coach Denis Savard told the Chicago Sun-Times. That comment leaves open the possibility that we could see more of Crawford, who has been solid in three starts and is looked at as the team's goalie of the future.
PHILADELPHIA FLYERS WARM
1st Chair: Martin Biron
2nd Chair: Antero Niittymaki
Skinny: Big win Tuesday for Niittymaki, who faced only 19 shots but made a win-preserving save on Ilya Kovalchuk in the final moments of a 3-2 triumph over the Thrashers. Biron had been lifted early from his previous start, though his overall March figures are still first-chair worthy: points earned in six of nine, 2.76 GAA, .914 save pct.
NASHVILLE PREDATORS WARM
1st Chair: Dan Ellis
2nd Chair: Chris Mason
Skinny: A bad clearing pass ended Ellis' night early Tuesday when a turnover led to a third goal allowed on just eight shots. Mason took over and stopped all 12 shots he faced in a 4-2 loss. Mason has been limited to one March start, so despite the recent setback, it still appears the playoff push is in Ellis' hands.
OTTAWA SENATORS WARM
1st Chair: Martin Gerber
2nd Chair:
Ray Emery
Skinny: Gerber made his eighth straight start Sunday and the Senators are talking publicly about how much it will cost the team to buy out Emery. That tells you almost everything you need to know about this battle. Gerber has enjoyed an outstanding March but is prone to slumps and is coming off a 5-1 loss to Carolina.
PITTSBURGH PENGUINS WARM
1st Chair: Marc-Andre Fleury
2nd Chair: Ty Conklin, Dany Sabourin
Skinny: Conklin got a rare start Tuesday and fell to 2-3-2 in his last seven tries. His goals-against is an acceptable .902 over that span, but it was his .942 January save percentage that turned this into a battle in the first place. Fleury has gone a long way toward settling this debate by winning four of five March starts with a .947 save pct.
DETROIT RED WINGS LUKEWARM
1st Chair: Dominik Hasek
2nd Chair: Chris Osgood
Skinny: Mlive.com reports that Osgood will start Wednesday while Hasek will get the call Thursday in Nashville. Hasek has seen his season save percentage slip below .900 and has been bothered by a sore back lately. Coach Mike Babcock has to balance allowing his back to heal with giving him enough time in net to regain his playoff form.

Chris Pronger gets banned for essentially the rest of the season and Rick DiPietro picks this time of year to go under the knife. What, you thought the stretch run was going to be easy? Never mind those guys, how about making your push without Sidney Crosby, Mats Sundin or Zdeno Chara? These last few days are starting to look like Week 17 of a fantasy football league. Erik Ersberg, anyone? All I can do is wish everyone luck (and health, I suppose). Here's the latest weekly update …

MID-WEEK UPDATE: Need-to-know info from the past few days
Things to do ASAP: If you're in an active league, New York Islanders backup goalie Wade Dubielewicz has probably already been claimed. That's how it goes in active leagues. But if things are a bit more recreational in your pool, news that Rick DiPietro is having season-ending surgery may not have filtered down yet. Dubielewicz has been sound in four March starts, posting a 2.23 GAA and a .920 save percentage. And this is, in theory, when he does his best work. Who will ever forget his four-game winning streak to finish the 2006-07 season that ended in a playoff-clinching, heart-stopping shootout win over the Devils? This season won't end in a playoff berth. In fact the Islanders have their hands full with two each against the Flyers, Pens, Devils and Rangers. Dubie is still a solid option for owners well behind the goalie games pace in roto leagues.

Missing that boat, there's also Blue Jackets backup Fredrik Norrena, who followed up a 43-save win over Detroit with a shutout of Calgary Tuesday. He's shown the ability to produce over stretches and it's unclear exactly how much time starter Pascal Leclaire will miss after having his bell rung during warmups on Sunday. Columbus has three against the Red Wings remaining, but the rest of the schedule is loaded with non-playoff foes. The Jackets aren't likely to take chances with Leclaire.

One-timers: Right wing Kyle Okposo, the top prospect in the Islanders organization, made his NHL debut Tuesday. He was held pointless in 14:45 of ice time. … Kings defenseman Jack Johnson is out for the season with a broken foot suffered Tuesday against San Jose. … Manny Malhotra has four goals in two games, likely thanks in large part to playing on a line with Rick Nash. …

BARGAIN BIN: Top player available in 50 percent of Yahoo! leagues
Michel Ouellet, RW, TB – Whether you're in a roto or head-to-head league, you need consistency this time of year. So why then roll the dice on a yo-yo like Ouellet? Well, there's something to be said for gambling, too. Since the Lightning shipped Brad Richards out of town at the trade deadline, Ouellet has 11 points in 10 games and has been held off the scoresheet only twice. At plus-11, he's one of four plus players on the Tampa Bay roster. That's no easy feat in itself.

MARKET MOVERS: Charting player values

Marc-Andre Bergeron, D, Ana – The suspension of Chris Pronger puts Bergeron back in the power-play picture for the Ducks. He logged 3:04 of man-advantage time Saturday against St. Louis, but registered only one shot and no points. Hey, beats getting scratched.

Alexander Steen, LW, Tor – With the Leafs dealing with some injuries up front, Steen has responded with nine assist in his last six games, four coming on the power play.

Brett McLean, C, Fla – Charging toward a career-high in points, this former 10th-round draft pick has four goals and six assists during a five-game point streak. Linemate Rostislav Olesz gets an upgrade with three goals and five points in five games.

Pascal Dupuis, LW, Pit – While Sidney Crosby is out, Pittsburgh is going with Dupuis on a line with Marian Hossa and Jordan Staal. The pairing agrees with Dupuis, who has six assists in the Pens' last three games.

Johan Franzen, LW, Det – Franzen scored twice Sunday to run his point streak to seven games. He has eight goals in that span to reach the 20-goal mark for the first time in his three-year career.

Brooks Laich, C, Was – Like Franzen, Laich is on the verge of becoming a surprise 20-goal scorer. Since the NHL trade deadline, he has eight goals and 12 points in 11 games.

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.

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The Rotoboys remain atop the standings, as Maingot holds a two-point lead over McLarney. Of note, Maingot was the second-to-last manager to draft a goalie, holding off until the 6th round to draft Vesa Toskala. Of course, McLarney is right there and he went goalies 1-2, so there's more than one way to build a winner. This week's transactions include Wade Dubielewicz, Sami Salo, Joni Pitkanen and Francois Beauchemin, among others.

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