Michael Finewax

The Week Ahead

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Oilers Stars Panthers & Leafs

Friday, November 11, 2011


EDMONTON

 

Games this week

vs. Ottawa, vs. Chicago

 

Notes

Edmonton plays only twice this week so it may be wise to bench your Oilers this week with the exception of Ryan Nugent-Hopkins and Taylor Hall. The Oilers are rested on Saturday when they face Chicago who are in Calgary the night before. We still are amazed at the goaltending effort supplied by Nikolai Khabibulin who usually only has these type seasons in a contract year. He is 7-0-2 with a 0.98 GAA and a .964 save percentage with one more year left on his four year deal. Ryan Smyth leads the team with nine goals and 16 points, and his 27 penalty minutes trail only Andy Sutton on the Oilers. Ales Hemsky (shoulder) returned to action on Thursday and picked up a couple of assists.

 

FLORIDA

 

Games this week

@ Dallas, @ St. Louis, vs. Pittsburgh

 

Notes

The Panthers are getting tremendous production from their defensemen with nine goals and 46 points led by Brian Campbell with a goal and 14 assists. Erik Gudbranson has been a healthy scratch the last four games. Goaltender of the future Jacob Markstrom was sent back to the minors to get playing time in, with the return to action of Scott Clemmensen. Kris Versteeg has 16 points in 15 games thus far to lead the Panthers. Mikael Samuelsson could return this week. Scottie Upshall only has a goal and three points this season but is second in penalty minutes with 23 penalty minutes for the Panthers trailing only Gudbranson who has 26.

   

LOS ANGELES

 

Games this week

vs. Anaheim, @ Anaheim, vs. Detroit

 

Notes

Los Angeles plays three games in four nights so look for Jonathan Bernier to play once in place of Jonathan Quick. The Kings play a home-and-home series against Anaheim this week, so look for Dustin Penner, Kyle Clifford and possibly Kevin Westgarth to pick up some penalty minutes if there are fisticuffs. Colin Fraser (foot) has been activated from the injured list and will play on November 10. Scott Parse was placed on the injured reserve list with a lower body injury.  Coach Terry Murray believes that Drew Doughty's struggles this season are due in part to his missing training camp due to contract negotiations.  Anze Kopitar leads the Kings with eight goals and 20 points. After going minus-12 for the Lightning last season, Simon Gagne has turned it around in Los Angeles as he is plus-five thus far.

 

MINNESOTA

 

Games this week

@ Columbus, vs. Colorado, vs. St. Louis

 

Notes

The Wild finish up a five game road trip and then come home to play a couple this week. Brad Staubitz has no points but 27 penalty minutes in 10 games. Dany Heatley has seven points in his last eight games heading into action on Thursday. The Wild are getting outstanding goaltending from backup Josh Harding who was the first star of the week. Niklas Backstrom responded in spades as he had a 41 save shutout versus the Flames on Tuesday. Guillaume Latendresse had scored a goal in each of his last three games before Thursday’s clash against the Sharks.

 

MONTREAL

 

Games this week

vs. Buffalo, vs. Carolina, @ New York Islanders, vs. New York Rangers

 

Notes

Montreal plays four games this week including three in four nights so look for Peter Budaj to play once instead of Carey Price. The Canadiens will be tired on Thursday when they play the rested Islanders as the Habs play Carolina the previous night. Michael Cammalleri is currently out of action with a lower body injury. Yannick Weber has been moved up to forward as Montreal is hurting with injuries to Cammalleri, Andrei Kostitsyn and Scott Gomez. The Canadiens have been strong on the forecheck and having been forcing turnovers and scoring chances are up as a result. 

 

NASHVILLE

 

Games this week

vs. Washington, vs. Toronto, vs. Columbus

 

Notes

The Predators play all three at home this week. Craig Smith has been unbelievable thus far this season as the rookie has seven goals and 14 points in 15 games. Patric Hornqvist thought he had a Nashville record when he scored in his seventh straight game Wednesday but the goal was taken away from him and has forced him to share the record with Alexander Radulov and J.P. Dumont. Hornqvist has 11 points in his last seven games after being held pointless in his first seven. David Legwand is out with an upper body injury that fans hope is not a concussion.

 

NEW JERSEY

 

Games this week

@ Boston, @ Buffalo, @ Tampa Bay

 

Notes

The Devils play all three on the road this week. They should be tired on Wednesday when they are in Buffalo after playing in Boston the previous night.  Ilya Kovalchuk is out with a pulled muscle in his leg. He has missed the last two games and is still not practicing. Zach Parise only has eight points in 13 games this season after missing most of last year from knee surgery.  Adam Henrique has four goals and five points with a plus-four rating in his last three games and should be considered off the waiver wire in deeper leagues.

 

NEW YORK ISLANDERS

 

Games this week

vs. New York Rangers, vs. Montreal, vs. Boston

 

Notes

The Islanders play all three at home this week. They will be rested on Thursday when they face a tired Montreal squad who play Carolina the night before. The Islanders have three goalies on the roster in Rick DiPietro, Evgeni Nabokov and Al Montoya and that is a problem when all three are healthy. So far DiPietro has been hurt enough to make it work but New York is likely looking to deal Nabokov and his lowly $570,000 contract to a team that needs a netminder. The only bad part could be if (okay when) DiPietro gets hurt again. Nino Niederreiter should be back with the Islanders for the start of the week as he completes his two week conditioning stint in the minors. New York could still send him back to Portland of the WHL to avoid starting his entry contract. They have a couple of NHL games to decide as he has already played seven games in the big leagues this season.

 

NEW YORK RANGERS

 

Games this week

@ New York Islanders, @ Montreal

 

Notes

The Rangers only play twice this week for the second week in a row. so we recommend benching all your New York players with the exception of Marian Gaborik and Brad Richards.  Gaborik is red hot of late with four goals and seven points in his last two games. Michael Rupp is projected to miss four to six weeks after undergoing successful surgery on his knee to repair a meniscus tear. Wojtek Wolski underwent hernia surgery Tuesday and is expected to miss the next four weeks.  Brian Boyle is pointless in his last nine games and has only two points in 14 this season after a 21 goal, 35 point year in 2010-11.

 

OTTAWA

 

Games this week

@ Calgary, @ Edmonton, @ Vancouver

 

Notes

The Senators play all three in Western Canada this week. Daniel Alfredsson (concussion) could be back as early as November 11. Milan Michalek is off to the best start of his career as he has 10 goals in the first month of the season. Nikita Filatov was sent down to the minors once again and the Senators are hoping that he picks up his confidence there as he is a terrific AHL player but has struggled thus far in the NHL. Colin Greening has four goals and eight points but his minus-nine rating could be killing your fantasy squad.

 


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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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