Michael Finewax

The Week Ahead

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Teams Don't Like Each Other

Friday, November 04, 2011


 

EDMONTON

 

Games this week

@ Montreal, @ Boston, @ Detroit, @ Chicago

 

Notes

The Oilers finish their six game road trip this week with four games including three games in four nights. Nikolai Khabibulin has been the best goalie in the NHL in the first month but Devan Dubnyk has not been far behind so look for the duo to split the net this week. They will be tired when they face Detroit on Friday as the Oilers are in Boston the previous night. Former first round pick Colten Teubert was recalled this past week and made his NHL debut in place of the injured Cam Barker (shoulder) on Thursday. Ryan Nugent-Hopkins was named the NHL's rookie of the month for October. 

 

FLORIDA

 

Games this week

@ Toronto, @ Winnipeg, vs. Philadelphia

 

Notes

The Panthers have sent goaltender Scott Clemmensen to the minors on a conditioning stint. He has been out of the lineup since training camp with a knee injury. Dmitri Kulikov is progressing as a potential top blueliner as the 21-year-old is seeing plenty of action in all situations. He has six assists and a plus-3 rating in 10 games this season, while averaging 21:44 of ice time per game and 4:17 per contest on the power play. Mikael Samuelsson could be out another week.

 

LOS ANGELES

 

Games this week

@ San Jose, vs. Nashville, vs. Vancouver, vs. Minnesota

 

Notes

The Kings play four times this week, including three games in four nights so Jonathan Bernier should get at least one start in place of Jonathan Quick. They are a tired team on Tuesday when they come home to face Nashville who will be waiting for them as the Kings are in San Jose Monday. Dustin Penner is back on the third line after playing with Justin Williams and Anze Kopitar on the top line. Simon Gagne will regain his spot on the top unit after being out the last two games with a middle-body injury.

 

MINNESOTA

 

Games this week

@ Calgary, @ San Jose, @ Los Angeles, @ Anaheim

 

Notes

The Wild play four road games this week including three in four nights so look for Josh Harding, who has excelled in the early going, winning back-to-back games against the Red Wings, to split the net with Niklas Backstrom. The Wild could be tired on Sunday when they go into Anaheim to play the Ducks as they face the Kings the previous night. The Wild returned Brett Bulmer to Kelowna of the WHL. It looks like Marek Zidlicky will return to the top power play after being replaced for a game by Jared Spurgeon.

 

MONTREAL

 

Games this week

vs. Edmonton, @ Phoenix, @ Nashville

 

Notes

Lars Eller has replaced the injured Scott Gomez on the third line between Travis Moen and Andrei Kostitsyn. Andrei Markov (knee) is getting closer to returning to practice and if all goes well, he could return to the lineup by the end of the month. Carey Price was the first star of the week at the end of October picking up three straight wins. Surprisingly, Josh Gorges leads the Canadiens in assists with six.

 

NASHVILLE

 

Games this week

@ Los Angeles, @ Anaheim, vs. Montreal

 

Notes

The Predators may be tired when they face Anaheim on Wednesday as they play across town against the Kings on Tuesday.    They finally signed one of their top stars as they inked goaltender Pekka Rinne to a seven-year/$49 million deal Thursday and would like to get Ryan Suter and Shea Weber under long-term contracts as well. Mike Fisher was hurt yet again, this time with an upper body injury but returned to action on Thursday. Mr. Underwood has two goals and four points in four games this season. Patric Hornqvist potted two goals against the Blackhawks Monday but has only four points in the first ten games.

 

NEW JERSEY

 

Games this week

vs. Carolina, vs. Washington, @ Washington

 

Notes

The Devils play a home-and-home series against the Capitals this week so look for David Clarkson and Cam Janssen to add to their penalty minute totals if the going gets rough. Adam Larsson picked up his first NHL point on Wednesday. He was the top defenseman in the 2011 Entry Draft and will have a long and prosperous career in the league. He should be grabbed in all keeper leagues. Coach Peter DeBoer switched up his line combinations on Wednesday but left the line of Patrik Elias, Petr Sykora and Dainius Zubrus alone. Just like last season, Ilya Kovalchuk is off to a slow start with only two goals in his first ten games and pulled a leg muscle on Thursday. Consider him day-to-day for now.  

 

NEW YORK ISLANDERS

 

Games this week

@ Boston, @ Colorado, @ Vancouver

 

Notes

The Islanders play all three on the road this week. Rick DiPietro has started the last two games for the Islanders while Al Montoya has been his backup. Evgeni Nabokov is getting close to returning to action as he has been suffering from a lower body injury and when he returns, the Islanders will once again have three goalies. Nino Niederreiter (groin) was assigned to the minors Tuesday on a conditioning assignment. New York still has two NHL games to decide whether or not to keep him or send him back to Portland of the WHL but the two weeks he'll be allowed to play in the minors will give the Islanders more time to make a decision.  No surprise that Travis Hamonic got into a fight in his first NHL game in his hometown of Winnipeg.

 

NEW YORK RANGERS

 

Games this week

@ Ottawa, vs. Carolina

 

Notes

The Rangers only play twice this week so we recommend benching all your New York players with the exception of Marian Gaborik and Brad Richards.  The Rangers are weak on the blueline, especially with the season-long concussion woes that Marc Staal is undergoing, so they signed offensive defenseman Anton Stralman to a one-year deal. Sean Avery cleared re-entry waivers and was added to the New York roster. Michael Rupp suffered a knee injury and may need surgery. Wojtek Wolski has played in the last five games after missing five games as a healthy scratch.


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Michael Finewax is entering his 10th season as the Senior Hockey Writer and Editor for Rotoworld. You can follow him on Twitter @mfinewaxhockey.
Email :Michael Finewax



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