The Net Effect

03/31/2010 12:52 AM -  David Satriano

Jonas Hiller might be rested for the balance of the season, now that the Ducks are out of the playoff hunt.

Jonas Hiller

Anaheim Ducks 
Jonas Hiller started 19 games in a row before Curtis McElhinney got the start last Friday. McElhinney played very well, stopping 34 of 36 shots in a 3-2 win over the Oilers. He got his second straight start Monday and was also impressive, with 30 saves in a 3-1 win over Dallas.  Hiller was supposed to start that game, but had back spasms. At this point in the season, with the Ducks out of the playoff picture, there is no need to start him, and he shouldn’t see too much time down the stretch. If you need a goalie in these final weeks of the fantasy season, stay away from Hiller, and McElhinney might be worth a pickup. Hiller did not join the Ducks on their trip to Colorado for Wednesday’s game, so McElhinney should make his third consecutive start.

Boston Bruins
The Bruins are clinging to the eighth spot in the Eastern Conference, so every game is of utmost importance. Tuukka Rask has by far been the better of the two goalies, with a 2.08 GAA (first in NHL) and a .928 SV%(second). But after starting five in a row, the Bruins turned it over to Tim Thomas for two games. After shutting out the Flames 5-0 on Saturday, he did not play as sharp Monday in a 3-2 loss at home against the Sabres.  Thomas was pulled in the second period after allowing three goals on 14 shots. He is just 3-10 in his past 13 games, and Monday night’s performance could have been the last chance for Thomas to make his case.  Rask stated Tuesday night against the Devils and pitched a 21-save shutout.  Rask was not tested too much, but when he was, Rask was up to the task.  Rask should get most of the starts these next two weeks and in the playoffs, should the Bruins make it there.

Carolina Hurricanes
Cam Ward, who had been out since February 3 with a back injury, made his return on Monday night.  He got the win 4-1 over the Thrashers, stopping 26 shots.  With six games to go for the Hurricanes, Ward could start them all, or he could start half, with Manny Legace starting the other half. Legace had been getting most of the starts in Ward’s absence but has lost four of five.  We should get a better idea of what the plans are for the Hurricanes when we see who they start Wednesday against Montreal.

Minnesota Wild
While the Wild are out of the playoff picture, they do have a goalie that could be useful to fantasy teams. Josh Harding had started eight of the Wild’s past 11 games, but is out for the remainder of the season with a hip injury. This means Niklas Backstrom should get almost all the starts down the stretch for the Wild.  He missed some time recently with back problems, but was pretty good in a 3-2 win over Los Angeles on Monday night (29 saves). However, Minnesota’s schedule is not so kind this week (vs. Chicago, vs. San Jose, at Vancouver).

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