Mike Finewax

The Week Ahead

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The Rookies are Here

Friday, October 21, 2011


 

PHILADELPHIA

 

Games this week

vs. Toronto, @ Montreal, vs. Winnipeg, vs. Carolina

 

Notes

The Flyers are tired on Thursday when they face Winnipeg in Philadelphia as they play in Montreal the previous night. The tables are turned on Saturday when they face the tired Hurricanes who are home to Chicago Friday. Philadelphia plays four times this week including three in four nights so look for Sergei Bobrovsky to play at least once in place of Ilya Bryzgalov. Jody Shelley is eligible to return to the lineup after finishing his ten game suspension which included five games in the pre-season and five in the regular season. Rotoworld`s Gus Katsaros wrote in his column Monday about the merits of Matt Read and lo and behold he scored and added three assists on Tuesday. Brayden Schenn was recalled by the Flyers this past week and deserves to be taken in all keeper pools.

 

PHOENIX

 

Games this week

vs. Dallas, vs. New Jersey, vs.  Los Angeles

 

Notes

The Coyotes play all three games at home this week. Mikkel Boedker is making the most of his chance on the Coyotes' second line. Mikkel Boedker is playing and impressing on the second line with Martin Hanzal and Radim Vrbata. Oliver Ekman-Larsson is impressing coach Dave Tippett with his offensive prowess as the defenseman has three games early on. Mike Smith is 1-1-1 in his first three games with a 2.62 GAA and a .916 save percentage.

 

 

PITTSBURGH

 

Games this week

@ New York Islanders, vs. New York Islanders, @ Toronto

 

Notes

The Penguins play a home-and-home series against the Islanders this week so look for Matt Cooke and Steve MacIntyre to pick up some penalty minutes if there are any fights in the two games. Evgeni Malkin has missed the last four games with a knee injury but it is not considered serious. Tyler Kennedy is out with a concussion. Sidney Crosby is getting closer and closer to returning to the lineup. Kris Letang was suspended for two games for his boarding penalty on the Jets Alexander Burmistrov. He has returned to action.

 

ST. LOUIS

 

Games this week

@ Vancouver, @ Calgary, @ Edmonton

 

Notes

The Blues are at the tail-end of an eight game road trip and spend the week in Western Canada. The Blues are rested and waiting in Vancouver on Wednesday while the Canucks have to play in Edmonton on Tuesday. Jaroslav Halak is off to a terrible start with a 1-4-0 record, a 3.47 GAA and a .835 save percentage. Look for Brian Elliott to at least get a shot in goal. David Perron has been out of action for close to a year with a concussion but is getting closer to returning. Andy McDonald was placed on the injured reserve list with a concussion.

 

SAN JOSE

 

Games this week

@ Nashville, @ Detroit, @ New York Islanders

 

Notes

The Sharks continue on the road this week, playing in the East three times. They will be the tired team on Saturday when they travel to New York to face the Islanders after playing in Detroit Saturday. Martin Havlat is scheduled to return to the lineup on October 21 after undergoing off-season shoulder surgery. He should line up on a line with Logan Couture and Ryane CloweAntti Niemi finally returned to the lineup this past week after having doctors surgically remove a cyst before training camp.

 

TAMPA BAY

 

Games this week

@ Buffalo, @ Nashville, vs. Winnipeg

 

Notes

The Lightning play the back half of a home-and-home series with Buffalo so expect Steve Downie to pick up some penalty minutes. Dwayne Roloson is off to a poor start in goal for the Lightning as he 1-2-1 with a horrendous 5.09 GAA and a .858 save percentage. Teddy Purcell was a healthy scratch this past week despite garnering three points in his first four games. Marc-Andre Bergeron is off to a hot start with two goals and nine points in eight games.

 

TORONTO

 

Games this week

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

 

Notes

The Maple Leafs play four times this week including three games in four nights so look for Jonas Gustavsson to get into action in place of James Reimer, despite giving up six goals in his first outing of the season on October 20. Phil Kessel is off to a great start, leading the NHL with 12 points in his first six games. The Maple Leafs are getting little scoring from their second line of Mikhail Grabovski, Nikolai Kulemin and Clarke MacArthur. Tim Connolly could make his Maple Leafs debut as early as October 22. He should center Kessel and Joffrey Lupul. Colby Armstrong was placed on the injured reserve list with a left ankle sprain. Jake Gardiner looks great on the blueline and the rookie was on the ice for 25:09 minutes on Wednesday.   

 

VANCOUVER

 

Games this week

@ Edmonton, vs. St. Louis, vs. Washington

 

Notes

The Canucks will be a tired team on Wednesday when they play the Blues after playing in Edmonton the previous night. Roberto Luongo is off to a mediocre start. Mikael Samuelsson sat out Thursday`s game and it allowed Sami Salo to play the point on the first power play unit. The injury also put Marco Sturm back into the lineup.  Ryan Kesler returned to the lineup for the first time on Tuesday with Cody Hodgson moving to the wing to accommodate Kesler. Kesler scored his first goal of the season on Thursday.

 

WASHINGTON

 

Games this week

@ Edmonton, @ Vancouver

 

Notes

The Capitals play only twice this week with both games in Western Canada. It would be a good idea to bench most of your Washington players if you can, with exceptions being, Alex Ovechkin, Alexander Semin, Nicklas Backstrom and Mike Green. The Capitals are the hottest team in the NHL, reeling off six straight wins to start the season. Tomas Vokoun has won five straight after surprisingly not getting the start on opening night. Troy Brouwer has struggled with only a goal and an assist despite playing on the top line with Alex Ovechkin and Nicklas Backstrom. Jay Beagle is still not practicing after getting knocked out a week ago by Arron Asham.

 

WINNIPEG

Games this week

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

 

Notes

The Jets are rested when they face the Flyers on Thursday as Philadelphia play the Canadiens in Montreal Wednesday.  Dustin Byfuglien has a goal and two helpers in his last two games after going pointless in his first four contests. Rookie Mark Scheifele scored the first goal of his NHL career in Toronto on Wednesday but he would be better served by being returned to the Barrie Colts of the OHL and then playing in the World Junior championships after Christmas. Ron Hainsey is out with an upper body injury.



Michael Finewax has been covering hockey since 2005 and is the Hockey Editor for Rotoworld. You can follow him on Twitter.
Email :Mike Finewax



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