ALL GOALIES ARE CONFIRMED UNLESS OTHERWISE NOTED AT TIME OF PRINT
The last weekend of the regular season is upon us; 7 games tonight, 9 tomorrow and 10 for Sunday. Where did the time go? With all the playoff positions basically filled except the final spot in the Western Conference, most teams will rest some of the starting goalies for the long playoff drive.
Corey Crawford gets the call tonight against the Washington Capitals, who will go with Jaroslav Halak (LIKELY). Chicago is resting some players and giving some of the younger players some valuable playing time. The Hawks have won 4 in a row and seem to be peaking heading into the playoffs. The Capitals played last night so a rested, Blackhawks squad should be able to get past the Caps….
Detroit sends out Jimmy Howard as the Red Wings prepare for their 233rd consecutive playoff appearance. The Carolina Hurricanes will go with Anton Khudobin who has made Cam Ward expendable by his play this season. Howard has a personal 4-game winning streak so he is back in form after a season where he struggled to find consistency. The Red Wings should make it 5 in a row for Howard….
Curtis McElhinney gets the call for the Columbus Blue Jackets who, despite a tough schedule to close the season, have clinched just their second playoff berth in their NHL history. The Blue Jackets won’t suffer with McElhinney in net while the Tampa Bay lightning hoe to get Ben Bishop back for the playoffs. Anders Lindback will start until then to get some playing time in and to boost his confidence. Lindback has managed to win two in a row in relief of the injured Bishop, but the Jackets are hot right now. Go with the Jackets….
Tonight could be Martin Brodeur’s (LIKELY) last hurrah with the New Jersey Devils as he takes on Evgeni Nabokov (LIKELY) and the NY Islanders at the Rock. It is difficult to imagine Marty coming back to the Devils especially with the Devils trying to lock down a goalie for the next ten years in Cory Schneider. Unless the Islanders have another target for goalie next season, Nabokov could be re-upping to stay on the Island for one more year. Nabby has gone 4-0-1 in his last five starts, but the Devils will give Brodeur a good sending off…..
A win tonight by Kari Lehtonen and the Dallas Stars will clinch the last open playoff spot but they need to get past the St. Louis Blues to do that, which is no small task. The Blues would love to make the Stars squirm for another day, and with Ryan Miller in net, there’s a good chance of that happening as the Notes try to stop a 4-game losing streak….
Reto Berra gets the nod tonight as the Colorado Avalanche head to San Jose to take on Alex Stalock and the Sharks. The Conference title is still up for grabs so a win tonight will catapult them to the top. Niemi gets the night off. The Avs will continue their winning ways….
Michael Hutchinson (LIKELY) has looked like the goalie the Winnipeg Jets have been looking for. All Hutchinson has done in his two starts against Boston & Minnesota is go 1-1-0 with a 0.98 GAA and a .960 SP. Perhaps he could be the one to solve these feisty Calgary Flames who have won 4 in a row. Karri Ramo (LIKELY) given up only 5 goals in his last 3 starts, so look for him to burst Hutchinson’s bubble….
FANTASY MUST STARTS:
Corey Crawford, Chicago @ Washington
Martin Brodeur, New Jersey vs. NY Islanders
Jimmy Howard, Detroit vs. Carolina
Curtis McElhinney, Columbus @ Tampa Bay
DAILY FANTASY PICKS
Steve: (95-67) Karri Ramo
Ray: (92-69) Jimmy Howard
Mike: (70-51) TBA