Week Ahead: Mar 29 to Apr 4

Karri Ramo gives Derek Dorsett a piggy back ride - Derek Leung

9 games left in the season

4 games again this week, and not a contender in sight.

Flames at Senators

Game 74, Sunday, March 30th, 5pm
Sportsnet East
Previous game
Rangers, Friday, March 28th
Next game
@Maple Leafs, Tuesday, April 1st
Hot
Karri Ramo - 0.944 SV% in last 5 starts
Cold
Mikael Backlund - 0P in last 3 GP

It's the last afternoon(ish) game of the season!

Yeah, the Flames are still a mess overall and well out of the playoffs, but their L10 record of 6-4-0 is somewhat respectable.

Karri Ramo is closing in on actual starter numbers for the season. Since returning from injury, he's 3-1-0 and has posted a .940 SV% and 2.00 GAA.

Scoring has jumped up lately as well, with the team putting up 3.7 G/G in their last 10 games. Mike Cammalleri was a big part of that, being in on 15 of the 37 goals in that stretch. Mark Giordano has been another big piece, contributing to 10 goals in those games.

The power play is still weak at 24th in the league, but the penalty kill has managed to move up to the middle of the pack. Possession numbers are terrible at both 5 on 5 and 5 on 5 close, and rarely make it above 50% for individual games either.

Hurricanes at Senators

Game 75, Monday, March 31st, 7:30pm
Sportsnet East
Previous game
Blue Jackets, Saturday, March 29th
Next game
@Penguins, Tuesday, April 1st
Hot
Jiri Tlusty - 4P (2G, 2A) in last 3 GP
Cold
Tuomo Ruutu - 0P in last 7 GP

The Hurricanes enter the week with about as much to play for as Ottawa - they're one point back of the Sens with the same number of games remaining. Playoffs? Very much a long shot.

Possession wise, Carolina is sub par. They're below 50% for both Fenwick and Corsi close, and haven't really been close to 50% for FenClose since the start of the season. The power play has been a killer for them too, running at 13.6 it is second last in the league.

Anton Khudobin is really what has kept them afloat as much as they have been. He has vastly outperformed Cam Ward this season, while playing more NHL games this season than he had in every season before combined. He's also currently third on the SV% leader board.

Islanders at Senators

Game 76, Wednesday, March 2nd, 7:00pm
TSN
Previous game
Panthers, Tuesday, April 1st
Next game
Capitals, Saturday, April 5th
Hot
Matt Martin - 3P (2G, 1A) in last 2 GP
Cold
Casey Cizikas - 0P in last 12 GP

For a team who was supposed to be sunk after losing their star player during the Olympics, the Islanders have actually been doing better since the break. They're a point above .500 since then, compared to eight points below .500 before. Of course, that improvement hasn't been nearly enough to dig them out of the hole in the standings they found themselves in, so it ended up costing them their other star player at the trade deadline.

The injury to John Tavares has allowed Kyle Okposo to take the team scoring lead. He's at just below a point per game, with 69 points in 71 games. Naturally, since nice things can't happen for the Islanders, Okposo is currently listed as day to day.

Special teams are bad and worse for the Isles. The power play is bad at 16.4% and 23rd in the league, the penalty kill is worse at 77.6% and 29th. Goaltending has been rough - Evgeni Nabokov is the only one of their tenders with a SV% above .900, and only barely at .903. They're the only team with more GA/G than Ottawa as well. They have actually managed to outshoot their opponents on average - but only barely and their 5 on 5 possession numbers are below 50%.

In addition to Okposo, Michael Grabner, Lubomir Visnovsky and Brian Strait are all dealing with injuries.

Canadiens at Senators

Game 77, Friday, April 4th, 7:00pm
CBC
Previous game
@Lightning, Tuesday, April 1st
Next game
Red Wings, Saturday, April 5th
Hot
Thomas Vanek - 4P (1G, 3A) in last 2 GP
Cold
Lars Eller - 0P in last 6 GP

While it isn't quite official yet, for all practical purposes Montréal is locked into a first round match-up with Tampa Bay, though they are still fighting for home ice advantage for that series.

Despite a record of 5-1-0 since returning from injury, Carey Price just hasn't been playing as well. His .911 SV% in those 6 games isn't exactly terrible, but it's a far cry from his season SV% of .924 and is heavily skewed upwards by one game against Buffalo. A full half of those games, all wins, saw him post a SV% below .900 and he's allowed 3+ goals in all but the game against Buffalo.

The season long possession numbers are still very ugly for Montreal, but it's improved recently. In their last 10 games they've managed to be just below 50% at 5 on 5 for both Fenwick and Corsi, and have actually been above 50% for both at 5 on 5 close. It's still not nearly the numbers they posted last year, but it is a significant improvement over the well below 50% numbers they have overall this season.

P.K. Subban leads the team with 52 points, which is actually pretty good for a defenseman that isn't an elite scorer.

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