Mike Finewax

The Week Ahead

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Take advantage of the fours

Friday, October 28, 2011


 

OTTAWA

 

Games this week

@ Boston, vs. Montreal, vs. Buffalo

 

Notes

The Senators returned Mika Zibanejad to Sweden so they would not have to burn a year of his entry level contract. Daniel Alfredsson is off to a good start after an injury-plagued horrible season last year. He has seven points in his first nine games including four goals. Jason Spezza is off to an incredibly hot start with five goals and 13 points in his first eight games. He is coming off back-to-back 57 point seasons and likely went fairly low in most drafts.

 

PHILADELPHIA

 

Games this week

@ Buffalo, vs. New Jersey, vs. Columbus

 

Notes

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. The Flyers will be a rested team when they face a tired New Jersey team on Thursday as the Devils face off against Toronto on Wednesday. James van Riemsdyk was dropped to the third line alongside Matt Read and Jakub Voracek, while Scott Hartnell moved to the top line with Claude Giroux and Jaromir Jagr. Brayden Schenn was recalled from the minors early in the week but suffered a broken left foot Wednesday against Montreal and will miss four-six weeks. Chris Pronger suffered an eye injury against Toronto but it looks like he’ll miss only two-three weeks and will be allowed to do light workouts on the weekend. The Flyers really miss his presence on the blueline and it showed in a 9-8 loss to Winnipeg Thursday.

 

PHOENIX

 

Games this week

@ Colorado, vs. Nashville, vs. Edmonton

 

Notes

The Coyotes play three games in four nights this week so expect to see Jason LaBarbera at least once in place of Mike Smith. The Coyotes are tired on Thursday when they face Nashville as they are in Denver to face the Avs the night before. RFA Kyle Turris has asked the Coyotes for a trade but GM Don Maloney has refused to budge and he could miss the entire season. Martin Hanzal has been hot of late and now has seven points in nine games. Shane Doan scored his 300th career goal on Tuesday. The Coyotes have recalled last season’s Hobey Baker Award winner, Andy Miele to the NHL. He saw limited time in his first game but played on the third line with Shane Doan and Mikkel Boedker Thursday.

 

 

PITTSBURGH

 

Games this week

@ San Jose, @ Los Angeles

 

Notes

The Penguins play only two games this week and do the same next week. Everyone is still awaiting word as to when Sidney Crosby will don the skates and play a regular season game for the Penguins. Zybnek Michalek suffered a broken finger this past week and will be out four-six weeks. James Neal is tied for the NHL lead in goals with nine and can hardly wait until he has Crosby setting him up.  Evgeni Malkin returned to action this past week after being out almost two weeks with a knee injury.

 

ST. LOUIS

 

Games this week

vs. Vancouver, @ Minnesota

 

Notes

The Blues only play twice this week and are rested when they play Vancouver on Frday as the Canucks will travel from Minnesota after playing the previous night. The tables are turned on Saturday as the Blues travel to Minnesota to play the rested Wild. There is a goaltending controversy as Brian Elliott seems to have the top job at this time after winning all four outings while Jaroslav Halak is 1-4-0 with a .835 save percentage and a 3.47 GAA. It was thought that David Backes would miss some time with a possible concussion suffered on Saturday but he was back in the lineup Wednesday.

 

SAN JOSE

 

Games this week

@ New York Rangers, vs. Pittsburgh, vs. Nashville

 

Notes

The Sharks start a six game home stand with Thursday’s game against the Penguins.

Antti Niemi has returned to form after a couple of shaky starts to begin the season. He is 3-1 thus far but has given up only three goals in his last two starts in 59 shots. Joe Thornton picked up his 700th career assist on Tuesday. Martin Havlat has been a force on the second unit since returning to action after off-season shoulder surgery. Tommy Wingels was sent to the minors once Havlat returned.

 

TAMPA BAY

 

Games this week

@ Carolina, vs. Chicago, @ Florida

 

Notes

The Lightning are rested Friday when they are home to the Blackhawks who travel across the state after playing Florida Thursday. Steve Stamkos got off to a slow start but now has six goals in ten games. Dwayne Roloson is struggling so Mathieu Garon has been seeing more action. Marc-Andre Bergeron leads all NHLers in assists with 10.   

 

TORONTO

 

Games this week

@ New Jersey, @ Columbus, vs. Boston

 

Notes

The Maple Leafs play three games in four nights so look for Jonas Gustavsson to see action once in place of James Reimer. The Maple Leafs are tired Thursday when they travel to Columbus as they are in New Jersey to play the Devils the previous night. Toronto is off to their best start in years as they are 6-2-1 after playing .500 hockey during a four game road trip that ended on October 27. Reimer is currently on the injured list with whiplash, so the Leafs were forced to recall Ben Scrivens to back up Gustavsson, but are hoping the injury is not a concussion which could keep him on the shelf indefinitely. Phil Kessel is still leading the NHL in scoring and who would have thought that could ever happen. Toronto has a lot of depth on the blueline and there are NHL teams that are calling GM Brian Burke looking for that excess defenseman that could help their teams, but so far no deal has been made.

 

VANCOUVER

 

Games this week

@ Calgary, @ Minnesota, @ St. Louis, @ Chicago

 

Notes

The Canucks play all four games on the road this week. They play three games in four nights so look for the struggling Roberto Luongo to share the net with Cory Schneider. The Canucks are tired on Friday when they play the Blues as they have to travel from Minnesota the previous night.  David Booth is the newest member of the Canucks as the Panthers dealt him last week for Mikael Samuelsson and Marco Sturm. Booth was in tears when the news of the trade broke, but he is now happy to be a Canuck. Ryan Kesler has only two points in his first five games.

 

WASHINGTON

 

Games this week

vs. Anaheim, @ Carolina, @ New York Islanders

 

Notes

The Capitals are a tired team Saturday when they play the Islanders in Long Island as they face Carolina on the road Friday. The Capitals became the last NHL team to hit the loss column on October 27 when the Oilers stopped their seven game winning streak. Mike Green is day-to-day with an ankle injury. Tomas Vokoun was the third star last week as he won three games, giving up only three goals.

                                  

WINNNIPEG

Games this week

@ Florida, @ New York Islanders, @ New Jersey, @ New York Rangers

 

Notes

The Jets are in the midst of a seven game road trip and will spend Thursday to Sunday in the New York area as they play three games in four nights. Expect to see Chris Mason split the net with Ondrej Pavelec.  The Jets beat the Flyers 9-8 on Thursday with nine different players scoring. Mason suffered a slight groin injury in the game but is expected to be okay. There were rumors that Evander Kane had asked the Jets for a trade but his agent denied the rum



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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