Mike Finewax

The Week Ahead

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Happy Thanksgiving!

Friday, November 18, 2011


 

PHILADELPHIA

 

Games this week

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

 

Notes

The Flyers play four games this week including three in four days so look for Sergei Bobrovsky to play at least once instead of Ilya Bryzgalov. The Flyers are rested and at home to Carolina Monday after the Hurricanes play Toronto at home Sunday. Jaromir

Jagr had 17 points in 17 games but suffered a lower body injury in his 18th game and should be considered day-to-day for now. Brayden Schenn will likely return after Thanksgiving to the Philadelphia lineup after breaking his foot on October 26, but don’t put him in your lineup this week. Matt Read has had the game winning goal in each of the last two games.

 

 PHOENIX

 

Games this week

@ Washington, vs. Anaheim, vs. Vancouver, vs. Dallas

 

Notes

The Coyotes play four times this week including three in four days with Thanksgiving Day being their day off. Jason LaBarbera will likely see action once in place of the red hot Mike Smith. Daymond Langkow has missed the last four games and is unlikely to play before the Anaheim game on Wednesday as he has been given time off due to a death in the family. The Coyotes have not spent a lot of time in the penalty box as 12 minutes leads the team. Shane Doan has five of his 11 points on the power play. Mike Smith has been sensational this season with an 8-3-3 record to go with a 2.17 GAA and a .934 save percentage.

 

PITTSBURGH

 

Games this week

vs. New York Islanders, vs. St. Louis, vs. Ottawa, @ Montreal

 

Notes

The Penguins play four times this week including three games in four nights so look for Brent Johnson to play once instead of Marc-Andre Fleury. Pittsburgh is rested on Wednesday when they face St. Louis after the Blues are home to Los Angeles Tuesday. For the first time we will ask the question: Is this the week that Sidney Crosby returns to action?  Okay, maybe it’s the 10th time we’ve asked. He has been skating with the team and should return soon. The Penguins recalled Steve MacIntyre on Wednesday and sent Eric Tangradi to the minors. It has almost been a year since Kris Letang has scored an even strength goal as his last one came on November 29, 2010.

 

ST. LOUIS

 

Games this week

vs. Los Angeles, @ Pittsburgh, vs. Calgary, @ Columbus

 

Notes

The Blues play three times in four nights this week so expect to see Jaroslav Halak in net instead of Brian Elliott at least once.  They are tired in Pittsburgh Wednesday when they take on the rested Penguins after playing the Kings Tuesday. Chris Stewart was suspended for three games for his hit from behind on Niklas Kronwall. Evgeny Grachev is the beneficiary as he will get action on a line with Patrik Berglund and Matt D'Agostini. Kevin Shattenkirk finally picked up his first power play point of the season this past week. As a matter of fact, it was the first time he was on the ice for a power play goal this season. The Blues have been hot since coach Ken Hitchcock took over as they are 4-0-1.

 

SAN JOSE

 

Games this week

vs. Chicago, vs. Vancouver

 

Notes

The Sharks only play twice this week so we recommend benching all your Sharks with the exception of Patrick Marleau and Dan Boyle. The Sharks are home, rested and waiting for the Canucks on Saturday after Vancouver travels from Phoenix where they play the Coyotes on Friday. Joe Pavelski leads the Sharks in goals and points with 10 and 18 respectively. Joe Thornton leads in assists with 10 while Andrew Desjardins has 21 penalty minutes. Marc-Edouard Vlasic had a big night on Thursday with a goals and four points to go with a plus-four rating.

 

TAMPA BAY

 

Games this week

vs. Toronto, @ Florida, vs. Florida

 

Notes

The Lightning play the Panthers in a home-and-home series so look for Steve Downie to take care of any fisticuffs if the situation arises. The Lightning have been in only four fights this season and Downie has been involved in three of them with Ryan Malone in the other. Malone is hoping to return to action on November 19 after missing four games with an upper body injury. Steve Stamkos is getting hot after a slow start and has 11 goals and 19 points in 18 games. Dwayne Roloson is 6-4-1 and finally got his save percentage over .900 as it stands at .902 after Thursday’s 4-1 win over Pittsburgh.

 

 

TORONTO

 

Games this week

@ Tampa Bay, @ Dallas, @ Anaheim

 

Notes

The Maple Leafs are on the road for all three games this week. The return of James Reimer (concussion) is unknown at this time and there is no way we are going to call his mother to find out when he will return, never mind Ron Wilson or Brian Burke. Ben Scrivens and Jonas Gustavsson have not given the Maple Leafs stellar goaltending and they will have to wait impatiently for Reimer to return. Phil Kessel continues to lead the NHL in goals and points. Joffrey Lupul has been a pleasant surprise with 20 points thus far. Mikhail Grabovski is expected to miss at least a couple of weeks with a lower body injury. Clarke MacArthur is out with an upper body injury so the Maple Leafs are missing two-thirds of their second line.  Reimer was on the ice in full equipment on Friday and that has to be encouraging.

 

VANCOUVER

 

Games this week

@ Colorado, @ Phoenix, @ San Jose

 

Notes

The Canucks play three games this week in four nights so look for Cory Schneider to play at least once in place of Roberto Luongo. Luongo was out of action last week with an upper body injury. Vancouver will be tired Saturday when they travel to San Jose to take on the rested Sharks, after playing in Phoenix Friday. Good news for Mason Raymond fans as he has been cleared for contact. He suffered a compression fracture in his back during the Stanley Cup final in June and could now return shortly. Keith Ballard is out indefinitely with a back injury. Ryan Kesler tweaked his shoulder on Wednesday but should be ready to go on Sunday. Aaron Rome had three goals in four games after scoring just twice in his previous 132 games.

 

WASHINGTON

 

Games this week

vs. Phoenix, vs. Winnipeg, vs. New York Rangers, @ Buffalo

 

Notes

The Capitals play four games this week including three in four so expect to see Michal Neuvirth once in relief of Tomas Vokoun.  Mike Green has yet to practice since re-injuring his groin a week ago. With three defensemen injured, forward Brooks Laich played on the blueline and played well on Saturday, blocking four shots in 23:36 minutes of action. Alex Ovechkin only has 59 shots on goal in 17 games this season and his seven goals and 14 points leave him in 47th spot in the NHL in the race for the Art Ross Trophy. Karl Alzner leads the Capitals in plus/minus with a plus-eight rating.

                                  

WINNIPEG

Games this week

@ Washington, @ Carolina, @ Boston

 

Notes

The Jets are away for all three games this week as they play all within four days so look for Chris Mason to get a start replacing Ondrej Pavelec. Defenseman Ron Hainsey has started skating but there is still no timetable for his return from an undisclosed injury suffered on October 17. Evander Kane is playing on a line with Alexander Burmistrov and Bryan Little. He scored twice on Thursday and now has eight goals this season. Blake Wheeler potted his first goal of the season on Thursday and it was a power play effort.



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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