The Penultimate Week

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Michael Finewax
·26 min read
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The NHL schedule was supposed to be done this week but due to COVID and a Texas storm, there will still be 24 games played over the following 10 days.

The good news for teams the following week is that seven teams do not play. Of those seven teams, only Pittsburgh looks to be going to the playoffs as Anaheim, Arizona, Buffalo, Columbus, Detroit and the New York Rangers not likely to see post-season action.

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WEEK OF MAY 3-9

4 Games Anaheim, Arizona, Boston, Buffalo, Carolina, Chicago, Colorado, Columbus, Dallas, Edmonton, Los Angeles, Minnesota, Montreal, New Jersey, New York Islanders, New York Rangers, Ottawa, Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, San Jose, St. Louis, Vancouver, Vegas, Washington

3 Games –Nashville, Tampa Bay, Toronto, Winnipeg

2 Games – Calgary, Detroit, Florida

Columbus, Minnesota and San Jose play four games on the road.

Anaheim, Colorado and Dallas play four games at home.

Chicago, Edmonton and Montreal play three games on the road.

Carolina and Vancouver play three games at home.

Any crossed off games have been postponed due to the coronavirus and are expected to be replayed at a later date.

INJURIES

John Carlson is day-to-day with a lower-body injury. (Click here to see the rest of the injury list.)

ANAHEIM

Games this week

@ St. Louis, @ St. Louis, @ Minnesota, @ Minnesota

Tired: None

Rested: None

Notes

The Ducks play four games this week including three games in four nights...Look for John Gibson to play at least two games with Anthony Stolarz playing the remainder of the games...Ryan Miller announced his retirement on Thursday, effective at the end of the season...Miller retires at the age of 40 and is the all-time winningest American goalie at 390 wins...Trevor Zegras has been recalled by the Ducks after picking up 12 points in his last nine games with San Diego of the AHL...Zegras and Jamie Drysdale are two huge pieces in the rebuild as they were taken with top-ten picks in each of the last two seasons...Drysdale scored his third of the season Monday and the just-turned 19-year-old defenseman has not looked out of place in 19 NHL contests.

ARIZONA

Games this week

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

Tired: None

Rested: None

Notes

The Coyotes play three games in four nights as part of their four-game week...Darcy Kuemper and Adin Hill should share the net as Antti Raanta is day-to-day with an upper-body injury...Jakob Chychrun is becoming one of the better offensive defensemen in the NHL as the 23-year-old has a league-leading 16 goals, including a pair on Monday in a loss to San Jose...He has 36 points, two back of Phil Kessel who leads the Coyotes in goals with 18 as well...Michael Bunting continues to impress as he has eight goals and 10 points in 15 games...Christian Dvorak leads the Coyotes with six power play goals while Oliver Ekman-Larsson has 13 power play points.

BOSTON

Games this week

@ New Jersey, @ New Jersey, vs. New York Rangers, vs. New York Rangers

Tired: None

Rested: vs. New York Rangers (Thursday)

Notes

The Bruins play four games this week including three games in four nights...Tuukka Rask should get two or three starts with rookie netminder Jeremy Swayman picking up the rest of the starts, leaving Jaroslav Halak on the sidelines...Boston is sitting in fourth spot heading into action on Friday, but just one point behind the Islanders with a game in hand while the Rangers trail by six with Boston holding two games in hand...Taylor Hall has five goals and eight points in 10 games since his trade from Buffalo...Jake DeBrusk has been a healthy scratch the last two games...The Bruins hope to have Brandon Carlo (upper body) back in the lineup this week as he has been out a month...Charlie Coyle snapped a 28-game goalless drought Thursday.

BUFFALO

Games this week

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

Tired: None

Rested: None

Notes

The Sabres play four games this week including three in four nights so expect to see Dustin Tokarski and Finnish netminder Ukko-Pekka Luukkonen share the net...Sam Reinhart is really showing why he was selected second overall in 2014...The winger has a four-game goal scoring streak (scoring six times) and has 23 goals in 49 games, only two shy of his career best set in 82 games in the 2017-18 campaign...Since his move to center 17 games ago, Reinhart has 11 goals and 16 points...It’s hard to believe that Jeff Skinner has only six goals in 48 games after the Sabres gave him an eight-year/$72 million deal before the start of the 2019-20 season...Mattias Samuelsson picked up a pair of assists on April 23 for his first two points in his NHL career.

CALGARY

Games this week

vs. Winnipeg, vs. Ottawa

Tired: None

Rested: vs. Ottawa (Sunday)

Notes

The Flames are in tough to make the playoffs as they are four in arrears of Montreal with the Canadiens holding a game in hand...Calgary only plays twice this week and have only seven games left in their season...Elias Lindholm had a pair of goals and is tied for the team lead in goals with 17 and leads with 43 points, five better than Johnny Gaudreau...Sean Monahan is having the worst season of his NHL career as he has only 10 goals and 28 points...Noah Hanifin suffered a shoulder injury Saturday that required surgery so his season is over...Hanifin was the Flames best defenseman before the injury and was playing his best hockey since he was drafted fifth overall in 2015 by Carolina...Coach Darryl Sutter wants defenseman Rasmus Andersson to shoot more.

CAROLINA

Games this week

vs. Chicago, vs. Chicago, vs. Chicago, @ Nashville

Tired: None

Rested: None

Notes

The Hurricanes play three games in four nights as part of their four-game week so expect to see Petr Mrazek (if healthy) share the net with Alex Nedeljkovic as James Reimer seems to be the odd-man out...At this time, Mrazek is out with a lower-body injury but coach Rod Brind’Amour is hopeful that Mrazek, who has been out for a week, returns to action soon...Teuvo Teravainen finally returned to action on Tuesday after missing all but one game since February 19 with a concussion...He had a goal and an assist Thursday and has three goals and 11 points in 15 games...Do not forget about him in your playoff pool, especially if you think the Hurricanes are going deep into the playoffs.

CHICAGO

Games this week

@ Carolina, @ Carolina, @ Carolina, vs. Dallas

Tired: None

Rested: None

Notes

The Blackhawks play Carolina three times in four nights as part of their four-game week...Kevin Lankinen has struggled of late and will likely share the net with Malcolm Subban...Adam Boqvist is out for the season after suffering a broken right wrist Tuesday...He should be good to go for the start of training camp and it will give him plenty of time to make sure there are no ill effects from a concussion suffered earlier in the month that caused him to miss three games...Dylan Strome returned to the lineup this week after missing over a week as a healthy scratch...He has only eight goals and 14 points in 36 games this season...Andrew Shaw announced his retirement at the age of 29 as he took his doctors advice due to all the concussions he had during his hockey career...We wish him the best in retirement.

COLORADO

Games this week

@ San Jose, @ San Jose, @ Los Angeles, @ Los Angeles

Tired: None

Rested: None

Notes

The Avalanche play four games this week including three games in four nights on the road...Philipp Grubauer should be healthy enough to return after being on the COVID protocol list and may only play twice with Jonas Johansson and Devan Dubnyk sharing the other two contests...The Avs are trying to hold off Minnesota for second place at this time after their 5-2 loss to Vegas Wednesday...The Golden Knights are six points up on Colorado while the Avalanche are only one point up on the Wild with a game in hand...Mikko Rantanen is ready to return on April 30 after missing over two weeks in COVID protocol. He is still tied for third in the goal-scoring race with 26...Bowen Byram, the Avs first pick in 2019 at fourth overall, is out with an upper-body injury and is now week-to-week. He last played on March 25.

Don’t forget, for everything NHL, check out NBCSportsEdge Player News, and follow @NBCSEdge HK and @mfinewaxhockey on Twitter.

COLUMBUS

Games this week

vs. Nashville, vs. Nashville, vs. Detroit, vs. Detroit

Tired: None

Rested: None

Notes

The Blue Jackets play all four games at home, including three games in four nights...Joonas Korpisalo is out for the season with a lower-body injury so Elvis Merzlikins should get three starts with Matiss Kivleniks getting one start...Merzlikins was outstanding Tuesday as he stopped all 41 shots in a 1-0 shootout win over Detroit, ending a nine-game losing streak...Mikhail Grigorenko scored Sunday to snap a 14-game goalless drought...Mikko Lehtonen picked up his first assist in a Columbus uniform after going his previous 13 games with nary a point...Patrik Laine has 10 goals and 18 points in 41 games with Columbus and thus far, that part of the trade with Winnipeg does not look great.

DALLAS

Games this week

@ Florida, @ Tampa Bay, @ Tampa Bay, @ Chicago

Tired: None

Rested: None

Notes

The Stars play four games this week with three games occurring in four nights...Jake Oettinger and Anton Khudobin should share the net...The Stars are still two points back of Nashville but do have a game in hand with seven to go...Jason Robertson has been on a tear as the rookie is making a late charge in the Calder Trophy race...He has 15 goals and 25 assists in 45 games...The Stars finally got Joel Kiviranta, the hero of Game 7 in the second round of the 2020 playoffs, back in their lineup Thursday...He had been out since March 21 with a lower-body injury and has three goals and seven points in 20 games...Tyler Seguin could be ready to return this week after missing all year recovering from off-season hip surgery.

DETROIT

Games this week

@ Columbus, @ Columbus

Tired: None

Rested: None

Notes

The Red Wings are sitting in seventh, one point ahead of Columbus with only four games left in the season...Jakub Vrana has been a stud offensively since his trade from Washington as he has six goals and seven points in seven games...Adam Erne was added to the NHL’s COVID protocol list Wednesday...Robby Fabbri sat out his 13th straight game with an upper-body injury Thursday...Joe Veleno made his NHL debut Tuesday after spending his season in Sweden this year...Dylan Larkin is done for the season with an upper-body injury...He had only nine goals and 23 points in 44 games and is still tied for the Red Wings scoring lead with defenseman Filip Hronek...That’s pretty bad when 23 points leads your team and the Red Wings definitely need offensive help next season.

Editor’s Note: The Tampa Bay Lightning and Detroit Red Wings face off Sunday on NBC starting at 3:00 pm ET. Livestream all the action here.

EDMONTON

Games this week

@ Vancouver, @ Vancouver, @ Vancouver, vs. Vancouver

Tired: None

Rested: None

Notes

The Oilers play three games in four nights as part of their four-game week with all games being played against the Vancouver Canucks...Mike Smith should get the call in three games with Mikko Koskinen playing once...Connor McDavid is a shoo-in for the Hart, Ted Lindsay and Art Ross Trophy...He has 28 goals and 84 points in 48 games and still has an outside shot at 100 points as he needs 16 points in his last eight games...Going into Thursday’s game (he was held pointless) he had 14 points in his last 14 periods...That’s Gretzky-like...Jesse Puljujarvi has quietly had a nice season with 12 goals and 21 points in 47 games. He has three goals and six points in his last six games with a plus-seven rating...Ryan Nugent-Hopkins has 14 goals and 32 points in 44 games and has four points in four games since his return last week from an upper-body injury.

FLORIDA

Games this week

vs. Dallas, vs. Tampa Bay

Tired: None

Rested: vs. Tampa Bay (Saturday)

Notes

The Panthers have been getting so-so goaltending from Sergei Bobrovsky but there is a star on the horizon as Spencer Knight has been great in his two starts (and one relief appearance)...He is 3-0-0 with a 1.67 GAA and a .943 save percentage...The Panthers have to protect Bobrovsky in the Seattle expansion draft as he has a no movement clause and could now lose Chris Driedger as they have Knight...While Driedger has played quite well, the Panthers have to lose someone and it is better to just take the loss rather than try to keep someone (Alex Petrovic) and give up a lot of extras (Jonathan Marchessault and Reilly Smith to Vegas)...Jonathan Huberdeau is having another great season with 58 points in 52 games...Aleksander Barkov has been even better with 52 points in only 46 contests.

LOS ANGELES

Games this week

@ Arizona, @ Arizona, vs. Colorado, vs. Colorado

Tired: None

Rested: None

Notes

The Kings play three games this week in four nights as part of their four games against Anaheim...Cal Petersen and Jonathan Quick should share the net...The second-overall pick in the 2020 Draft, Quinton Byfield, made his NHL debut Wednesday and played 17:57 including 4:20 on the power play...He is going to be great and just the big center every NHL team covets...The Kings have the top set of prospects in the NHL and some have made it to the NHL level this season including Gabriel Vilardi, Tobias Bjornfot, Arthur Kaliyev and Rasmus Kupari...Blake Lizotte is out of action with an upper-body injury but hopes to return this week...Anze Kopitar has 11 goals and 46 points in 47 games.

MINNESOTA

Games this week

vs. Vegas, vs. Vegas, vs. Anaheim, vs. Anaheim

Tired: None

Rested: None

Notes

The Wild play three games in four nights as part of their four-game week...Cam Talbot has taken over as the starter and should play three times with Kaapo Kahkonen getting one start...Talbot was off on Thursday, giving up five goals on only 21 shots in an overtime loss to St. Louis, but he has been outstanding on the season with a 17-7-4 record to go with a 2.48 GAA and a .920 save percentage...Kevin Fiala is heating up at the end of the season once again as he has four goals and five assists in his last six games. Last season he had 26 points in his final 18 games...Jordan Greenway is having a career year as he has 30 points in 49 games, two better than last season in 18 fewer games.

Editor’s Note: The Vegas Golden Knights are in Minnesota to play the Wild Monday on NBCSN starting at 7:30 pm ET. Livestream all the action here.

MONTREAL

Games this week

vs. Toronto, @ Ottawa, @ Toronto, @ Toronto

Tired: @ Toronto (Thursday)

Rested: None

Notes

The Canadiens play four games this week including three contests in four nights...Carey Price (concussion) is unlikely to return so look for Jake Allen to play three games with Charlie Lindgren or Cayden Primeau picking up one start...Tyler Toffoli has 25 goals, good for fifth in the NHL...It was quite the free-agent signing by Montreal as Toffoli had 31 goals in 2015-16 and has not come close to that ever since...He had a four-game goal scoring streak end Wednesday against Toronto...Brendan Gallagher (fractured thumb) has resumed skating and should be ready for the first round of the playoffs after suffering the injury on April 5...Cole Caufield made his NHL debut on Monday and while he has not put up a point in two games, he does have six shots on goal...Jonathan Drouin is on long-term injured reserve for personal reasons and is taking an indefinite leave of absence. We wish him well.

NASHVILLE

Games this week

@ Columbus, @ Columbus, vs. Carolina

Tired: None

Rested: None

Notes

The Predators are still two points up on Dallas with the Stars holding a game in hand but Nashville holds the tie-breaker as they have 22 wins in regulation to the Stars 19...Ryan Ellis picked up a pair of goals Thursday to give him five this season in 31 games...The Predators are hoping to get Filip Forsberg back this week. He has been out of action since March 25 with an upper-body injury and his offense has been sorely missed...Juuse Saros has started the last nine games in a row, leaving Pekka Rinne to languish on the bench...Rinne last played on April 10 but could see some action after Saros gave up six goals Thursday, on 55 shots.

NEW JERSEY

Games this week

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

Tired: None

Rested: None

Notes

The Devils play four games this week including three games in four nights...Mackenzie Blackwood should get at least two starts and possibly three with Aaron Dell and/or Scott Wedgewood picking up the rest of the action...After losing 10 straight games, the Devils have won two in a row, beating the Flyers both times...Yegor Sharangovich has 14 goals this season as the rookie has made a contribution to the Devils offense...Kevin Bahl made his NHL debut Thursday as the second-round pick in the 2018 Draft was a plus-one in 15:01 on the blueline...Ty Smith returned to action Tuesday after missing four games with an upper-body. He celebrated with a pair of assists, giving him 23 points in 46 games...Pavel Zacha leads New Jersey with 30 points.

NEW YORK ISLANDERS

Games this week

@ Buffalo, @ Buffalo vs. New Jersey, vs. New Jersey

Tired: None

Rested: None

Notes

The Islanders play three games in four nights as part of their four-game week...Semyon Varlamov should get at least two starts with rookie Ilya Sorokin getting the remainder of the starts, be it one or two...The Islanders have nine shutouts this season with Varlamov leading the NHL at six and Sorokin tied for fifth with three...The Islanders are third but only one point up on Boston with the Bruins holding a game in hand...The good news is that the Islanders are seven points up on the Rangers with a game in hand and only six games remaining on the schedule...Mathew Barzal leads the Islanders with 40 points in 50 games while Brock Nelson is tops in goals with 16.

NEW YORK RANGERS

Games this week

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

Tired: @ Boston (Thursday)

Rested: None
Notes

The Rangers play four games this week including three games in four nights...Igor Shesterkin should get three starts with Alexandar Georgiev picking up one...The Rangers suffered a major setback on Thursday, losing 4-0 to the Islanders and put a severe crimp in their playoff aspirations as they really needed to win out...They have been 11-4-2 since March 28 but were too far back at that time to have a realistic shot at the post-season...Still, it bodes well for next season when all teams go back to their pre-COVID divisions...Chris Kreider missed Thursday’s game with an undisclosed injury after falling late in Tuesday’s game...Alexis Lafreniere is heating up and finally is showing the form that the Rangers were hoping for when he was selected first overall in 2020. He has 10 goals and 18 points in 51 games.

OTTAWA

Games this week

vs. Winnipeg, vs. Montreal, @ Winnipeg, @ Calgary

Tired: @ Calgary (Sunday)

Rested: None

Notes

The Senators play four games but do not play three times in four nights...The Senators are hoping that Matt Murray can go once this week but if not, it will be Anton Forsberg or Marcus Hogberg...The Senators signed Roby Jarventie to an entry-level contract and he will see some AHL action the rest of the way to get him used to North America...Austin Watson is out for the season with a hand injury...The Senators have so much youth on their squad that they could use a veteran signing or two in the off-season...They hoped that Derek Stepan would be that player but Stepan wanted to return to the States and be with his family before his season-ending injury...Brady Tkachuk is a 21-year-old star in the making and leads the Sens with 34 points while fellow forward Drake Batherson is tops in goals with 17...Thomas Chabot heads the blueliners with 30 points and don’t sleep on center Josh Norris as the rookie has been very good this season.

PHILADELPHIA

Games this week

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

Tired: None

Rested: None

Notes

The Flyers play a pair of back-to-back games so Brian Elliott and Alex Lyon are expected to share the net...Carter Hart’s season came to an end this week when it was determined the MCL sprain in his left knee was too uncomfortable for him to return to action before the end of the season...It has been a horrible campaign for the Flyers who were thought to be serious Cup contenders...They are in sixth, better than only lowly New Jersey and Buffalo...The Flyers play of late has been so poor that they have lost a pair of games against New Jersey and squeaked out a shootout win over the Devils in the first of a four-game series that ends on May 1...Jakub Voracek has taken over the Flyers scoring lead with 40 points, one better than James van Riemsdyk who had led all season.

PITTSBURGH

Games this week

@ Philadelphia, @ Philadelphia, vs. Buffalo, vs. Buffalo

Tired: None

Rested: None

Notes

The Penguins play four times with three coming in four nights...Tristan Jarry and Casey DeSmith should share the net heading down the stretch...Brian Dumoulin has been an unsung star for the Penguins as they are 21-6-1 since his return...His play on the blueline has really helped defense partner Kris Letang...Kasperi Kapanen had a pair of goals Thursday to give him 10 this season...The Penguins are tied for first with Washington with the Capitals holding a game in hand...Pittsburgh’s top line of Sidney Crosby, Jake Guentzel and Bryan Rust have been great as all three have hit the 20-goal mark, only done by 25 NHLers this season...Evgeni Malkin has been out of action since March 16 but is now day-to-day and a game-time decision.

SAN JOSE

Games this week

vs. Colorado, vs. Colorado, vs. Arizona, vs. Arizona

Tired: None

Rested: None

Notes

The Sharks play four games at home this week including three games in four nights...Martin Jones and Josef Korenar should share the net...Korenar has won his last two starts, his first victories as an NHL goalie, and is 2-3 with a 3.03 GAA and a .893 save percentage as the Sharks see what they have in the 23-year-old...Evander Kane potted his 20th of the season on Wednesday as he continues to lead the Sharks in points with 42...The Sharks are sixth in the West, the best of the California teams but still not making the playoffs as they are seven back of the fourth-place Blues with seven to go and St. Louis holding a game in hand...Alexander Barabanov scored his first NHL goal Monday.

ST. LOUIS

Games this week

vs. Anaheim, vs. Anaheim, @ Vegas, @ Vegas

Tired: None

Rested: None

Notes

The Blues play three times in four nights as part of their four-game week...Jordan Binnington should get three starts with Ville Husso picking up one...St. Louis looks to be comfortably in fourth in the West as they are five points ahead of Arizona with eight to play and a couple of games in hand...Ryan O’Reilly has been hot of late with five goals and eight points in his last four games...While that seems to be a normal four-game stretch for Connor McDavid, it isn’t for anyone else in the league...O’Reilly has 22 goals and 47 points in 48 games...He has 16 penalty minutes this season, the most since his rookie campaign when he had 20...He is one point behind David Perron for the team lead...Vladimir Tarasenko is day-to-day with a lower body injury...Brayden Schenn scored on Monday, the first time in 20 games that he has done that.

TAMPA BAY

Games this week

vs. Dallas, vs. Dallas, @ Florida

Tired: @ Florida (Saturday)

Rested: None

Notes

The Lightning play three games in four nights this week...Andrei Vasilevskiy should start twice with Curtis McElhinney playing once...The Lightning are three points back of the leading Carolina Hurricanes with six games left and it is looking like Tampa Bay will face Florida in the opening round of the Central Division playoffs...That will be the first time the two Florida teams will meet in post-season action, if the Hurricanes can hold onto the top seed...The Lightning are on a four-game winning streak...Brayden Point leads the Lightning in points with 46, one better than Ondrej Palat and two up on Victor Hedman...Defenseman Erik Cernak picked up his second Gordie Howe hat trick of the season...That’s a goal, an assist and a fight in the same game.

TORONTO

Games this week

@ Montreal, vs. Montreal, vs. Montreal

Tired: None

Rested: vs. Montreal (Thursday)

Notes

The Maple Leafs play all three games against Montreal this week...They were the first team in the North to clinch a playoff spot and they have won four in a row...Auston Matthews has 36 goals and looks home and cooled out as far as winning the Rocket Richard Trophy...Still no word on the possible return of Frederik Andersen but he is hoping to play some games before the start of the playoffs...Andersen has been out of action since March 19 with a lower-body injury and has been passed in wins on the Leafs as Jack Campbell has 14, one better than Andersen...Campbell, Morgan Rielly, Nick Foligno and Jake Muzzin got the night off Thursday but the Maple Leafs still won with a 4-1 decision over Vancouver...Foligno has three points in three games as a Maple Leaf.

VANCOUVER

Games this week

vs. Edmonton, vs. Edmonton, vs. Edmonton, @ Edmonton

Tired: None

Rested: None

Notes

The Canucks play four games this week, all against Edmonton, including three contests in four nights...Thatcher Demko and Braden Holtby should share the net...The Canucks are just trying to complete their season after a serious bout with COVID that put most of the roster in bed...The Canucks are in last place in the North, one behind Ottawa with six games in hand...They have lost four of their last five...Elias Pettersson is doubtful to return this season with a wrist injury...He is getting healthier and has started skating again but it is not worth taking a chance as the Canucks are 10 points out of a playoff spot, although they do have four games in hand...Brock Boeser leads the Canucks with 17 goals and 37 points.

VEGAS

Games this week

@ Minnesota, @ Minnesota, vs. St. Louis, vs. St. Louis

Tired: None

Rested: None

Notes

The Golden Knights play three games in four nights as part of a four-game week...Since they have been splitting the net of late, look for Marc-Andre Fleury to share the net with Robin Lehner...Nicolas Roy (undisclosed) is day-to-day and should be ready to go this week as he accompanied the team on their road trip...Shea Theodore continues to be a stud on the blueline with seven goals and 41 points in 45 games...Reilly Smith returned to the Vegas lineup Wednesday after missing 10 days with an undisclosed injury...Vegas is leading the West and are six points up with eight games to play over both Colorado and Minnesota...They hold a game in hand on the Wild and have played once more than the Avs...Lehner has won six straight and is 12-1-2...His only regulation loss came on January 22 when he gave up four goals on 25 shots to Arizona.

WASHINGTON

Games this week

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

Tired: None

Rested: None

Notes

The Capitals play four games this week, including three games in four nights...Ilya Samsonov and Vitek Vanecek should split the goaltending duties...The Capitals are tied with Pittsburgh for first in the East with six games left and one game in hand...Washington is hurting with Alex Ovechkin (lower body) on the sidelines and John Carlson who has a lower-body injury as well...Ovechkin has missed the last three games while Carlson sat out Thursday...Nicklas Backstrom had three assists Thursday and that gives him 51 points in 50 games...Justin Schultz returned to action Thursday after missing three games with a lower-body injury...Daniel Sprong is seeing first line minutes with Backstrom and Tom Wilson with Ovechkin out of action...He has scored in three straight games, including the only goal Tuesday in a 1-0 win over the Islanders and his four goals during the streak give him 11 in 37 games this season.

WINNIPEG

Games this week

@ Ottawa, @ Calgary, vs. Ottawa

Tired: None

Rested: None

Notes

The Jets are reeling as they are losers of five straight...They sit in third place in the North, three in arrears of Edmonton and have played one more game as they have seven left...It looks like both teams will meet each other in the first round of the playoffs...Nikolaj Ehlers is out of action for the remainder of the regular season with an upper-body injury but coach Paul Maurice is confident that he will be back for the start of the playoffs...Adam Lowry is getting close to a return from an upper-body injury as he has missed the last week of action...He has not had a point in seven straight games...It doesn’t appear that Kyle Connor will hit the 30-goal mark as he needs eight with only seven games to go...He is capable but that is a lot to ask.