Mike Finewax

The Week Ahead

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Oilers Stars Panthers & Leafs

Friday, November 11, 2011


We are now more than a month into the NHL season and there are definitely some early season surprises especially seeing the Dallas Stars, Edmonton Oilers, Florida Panthers and Toronto Maple Leafs leading their respective divisions after all missed the playoffs last season. 

 

Phil Kessel continuing to lead the NHL in goals and points has shocked many while Sheldon Souray is tied for first heading into Friday’s action in plus-minus with plus-11 with teammate Loui Eriksson and second year pro Tyler Seguin.

 

Four goalies considered backups before the start of the season are leading the NHL in goals-against-average with Nikolai Khabibulin leading with a 0.98 GAA. Josh Harding is second at 1.18, Jhonas Enroth third with a 1.41, while Brian Elliott is fourth at 1.72. 

 

James O’Brien has been writing a great column, The Daily Dose for a few weeks now. If you want it sent directly to you via e-mail, click on the NHL box in your profile.

 

And a Happy Birthday goes out to my nephew, Zachary!

 

Here is The Week Ahead.

 

WEEK OF NOVEMBER 14-20

 

4 Games - Carolina, Colorado, Detroit, Toronto

 

3 Games - Anaheim, Boston, Buffalo, Chicago, Columbus, Dallas, Florida, Los Angeles, Minnesota, Montreal, Nashville, New Jersey, New York Islanders, Ottawa, Philadelphia, Phoenix, Pittsburgh,  St. Louis, San Jose, Tampa Bay, Washington, Winnipeg

 

2 Games - Calgary, Edmonton, New York Rangers, Vancouver

 

Detroit plays all four games on the road.

 

Carolina, Montreal, Nashville, the New York Islanders and Winnipeg play three times at home.

 

Chicago, New Jersey, Ottawa, Phoenix and Washington play three games away from their home arena.

 

INJURIES

 

Tim Connolly is out 10-14 days with an upper body injury.

(Click here for all the NHL injuries)

 

ANAHEIM

 

Games this week

@ Los Angeles, vs. Los Angeles, vs. Detroit

 

Notes

Anaheim plays a home-and-home series against their cross-town rivals the Kings, so look for Sheldon Brookbank and Corey Perry to add to their penalty minute totals. George Parros would have been a likely participant in any fight but he’s out four weeks after corrective surgery to repair a torn retina in his eye. It may be a while longer than that before he is allowed to resume his enforcer duties.  Lubomir Visnovsky has not garnered a point in his last eight games. Anaheim is last overall in the NHL in shots on goal per game at 24.8. Devin Pelly-Smith scored the first goal of his NHL career on Wednesday. If penalty minutes are a category in your pool you have to love the game Teemu Selanne had on Saturday with a minor and two misconducts for 22 minutes.

                                                                                                      

BOSTON

 

Games this week

vs. New Jersey, vs. Columbus, @ New York Islanders

 

Notes

The Bruins end a five game home stand this week before heading out on the road to Long Island. Tyler Seguin has been outstanding in the first month of the season and has given the Bruins a good second scoring line alongside Brad Marchand and Patrice Bergeron, with Nathan Horton, David Krejci and Milan Lucic making up the top unit. Bergeron had a seven game scoring streak snapped on Thursday. He had three goals and six assists during the streak. Daniel Paille underwent facial surgery on Wednesday so the Bruins recalled Zach Hamill as Rich Peverley was also questionable.

 

BUFFALO

 

Games this week

@ Montreal, vs. New Jersey, @ Carolina, vs. Phoenix

 

Notes

The Sabres play four times this week including three games in four nights so look for

Jhonas Enroth to get at least one start in place of the struggling Ryan Miller. Buffalo will be rested on Wednesday when they take on New Jersey at home as the Devils are in Boston on Tuesday should be tired on Saturday when they are home to the rested Coyotes after playing at Carolina Friday. If you only go by the stats, Enroth is far superior to Miller this season as Enroth is 4-0 with a 1.41 GAA and a .952 save percentage while Miller is 5-5-0 with a 2.74 GAA and a .913 save percentage. Robyn Regehr has no points in 14 games.

 

CALGARY

 

Games this week

vs. Ottawa, vs. Chicago

 

Notes

Calgary only plays twice this week and although both games are at home we have a hard time recommending playing your Flames with the exception of Jarome Iginla. Mikael Backlund (broken finger) is expected back in the lineup for the first time this season on November 11. He is a candidate to line up on the first line with Jarome Iginla and Alex Tanguay when he is back at full strength. Right now Roman Horak is on the line and is getting his shot. Anton Babchuk is out with a broken hand. Brendan Morrison was thought to be a healthy scratch on Tuesday but was placed on the injured reserve list Thursday because of his knee.

 

CAROLINA

 

Games this week

vs. Philadelphia, @ Montreal, vs. Buffalo, vs. Toronto

 

Notes

The Hurricanes play four times this week but do not play three games in four nights. Carolina gets the benefit of being the rested team twice this week as they face the Flyers on Monday after Philadelphia takes on Florida the previous night while they play Toronto at home Sunday with the Maple Leafs facing Washington at home Saturday. Eric Staal is continuing to play in a funk and a lot of people seem to think that his hit on brother Marc last season which has kept Marc on the shelf this season with a concussion, is really bothering him. Jussi Jokinen could return to the lineup and join fellow Finnish native Tuomo Ruutu on a line with Jeff Skinner on the aptly named “Finns and Skins” line. First round draft pick Ryan Murphy suffered what is thought to be a fairly serious concussion in junior hockey this past week when he was leveled behind the net with his head down. Tomas Kuhnhackl received a 20 game suspension for the hit.

 

CHICAGO

 

Games this week

@ Vancouver, @ Calgary, @ Edmonton

 

Notes

The Blackhawks play three times in four nights so look for Ray Emery to play at least

once in place of Corey Crawford. They play all three in Western Canada this week and will be tired on Saturday when they are in Edmonton as they play Calgary the night before. Marcus Kruger will replace the injured Dave Bolland (foot) in the Chicago lineup. The Blackhawks power play has been less than stellar of late so they are putting Steve Montador on the point with the second unit. He responded on Thursday with a power play goal.

 

COLORADO

 

Games this week

@ Pittsburgh, @ Minnesota, vs. Dallas, vs. San Jose

 

Notes

The Avalanche play four times this week including three games in four nights so look for Jean-Sebastien Giguere to play at least once in place of Semyon Varlamov. The Avs will be rested when they face San Jose Saturday as the Sharks take on the Stars in Dallas on Saturday, but will be tired on Friday when they play the Stars as Colorado takes on Minnesota the previous night. Peter Mueller (head and possible concussion) could return to action this week as he has been practicing with the team. If so, he is worth putting back in your lineup as he has been practicing with Matt Duchene and David Jones. Varlamov started six straight games but Giguere was scheduled to get the start on Thursday.

 

COLUMBUS

 

Games this week

vs. Minnesota, @ Boston, @ Nashville

 

Notes

The Blue Jackets are reeling and it was a bit of a surprise that Scott Arniel was not the first coach fired this season. They picked up Mark Letestu on Tuesday from Pittsburgh and he practiced between Vaclav Prospal and Derick Brassard. He also should see some power play time so he is worth picking up in deep leagues as he actually scored on the pp Thursday. Mark Dekanich is healthy again and the Blue Jackets sent him to the minors for a couple of weeks for conditioning. Do not be surprised if he get the chance to become the starting netminder upon his return as Steve Mason is struggling once again this season.  Jeff Carter is still not ready to return to action with a hairline fracture of his foot, an injury he suffered on October 15. Rumors have the Blue Jackets interested in Evgeni Nabokov to help with their goaltending woes.

   

DALLAS

 

Games this week

vs. Florida, @ Colorado, vs. San Jose

 

Notes

The Stars play three games this week and are a tired team in back-to-back nights on one occasion and rested on another. They are rested on Friday when they play Colorado who are in Minnesota Thursday but have the reverse situation the next night as the Sharks are sitting and waiting for them in Dallas. Look for Steve Ott (hip) to be back for Tuesday’s game against Florida. Kari Lehtonen has continued his outstanding netminding as he has won 11 of 12 starts this season. He has given up two or less goals in 10 of the 12 games. Loui Eriksson was the second star of the week with two goals and six points in two games. Alex Goligoski picked up his first two power play points of the season on Saturday.

 

DETROIT

 

Games this week

@ St. Louis, @ San Jose, @ Los Angeles, @ Anaheim

 

Notes

The Red Wings are out of town for all four games this week and also play three times in four nights so look for Ty Conklin to play once in place of Jimmy Howard. Forty-one-year-old defenseman Niklas Lidstrom continues to amaze as he leads all NHL blueliners in goals with six. Henrik Zetterberg finally picked up his first power play point of the season this past week. Johan Franzen has four goals and six points in his last two games. Fabian Brunnstrom was recalled from the minors earlier in the week.

 


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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 :Mike Finewax



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