Mike Finewax

The Week Ahead

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It's Wild On Top of Standings

Friday, November 25, 2011


 

PHILADELPHIA

 

Games this week

@ Anaheim, @ Phoenix

 

Notes

The Flyers only twice but the second game will be the homecoming of Ilya Bryagalov ot Phoenix for the first time since the deal that sent him to Philadelphia in the off-sesason. The Flyers will be tired when they play the Coyotes after facing Anaheim the previous night. Jaromir Jagr returned to action on Wednesday after missing two games with a groin injury and promptly injured it again so he will likely be out for a couple of games. He should return this week as the Flyers do not play until Friday. Chris Pronger has missed the last two games with the flu. Philadelphia activated Brayden Schenn (broken foot) from the injured list and loaned him to Adirondack of the AHL. James van Riemsdyk is seeing action on the first power play along with Scott Hartnell.

 

 PHOENIX

 

Games this week

@ Chicago, @ Winnipeg, vs. Philadelphia

 

Notes

The Coyotes are rested on Saturday when they face a tired Philadelphia squad as the Flyers are in Anaheim the previous night. The Coyotes re-signed restricted free agent Kyle Turris to a two-year contract but he could still be traded, as that was his wish before he signed on. Daymond Langkow is expected to return to the Phoenix lineup on November 25 after missing seven games due to the unexpected death of his mother. Radim Vrbata is hot with five goals in his last three games. Mike Smith continues to shine for Coyotes with a 10-3-3 record, a 2.15 GAA and a .935 save percentage. He is playing like a number one fantasy goalie and was likely drafted very late or not at all in your fantasy pool. 

PITTSBURGH

 

Games this week

@ New York Rangers, @ Washington, @ Carolina

 

Notes

The Penguins end a four game road trip this week with all three away from home. Sidney Crosby returned to action on Monday and came back with some oomph as he had two goals and four points after being out for over 10 months with a concussion. Not too shabby a return for the NHL’s best player. Pascal Dupuis is off to the best start of his NHL career with 17 points in 22 games and will ride shotgun on Crosby’s wing. Lost in the return of Crosby, was the return the same night of Zbynek Michalek from a broken finger suffered four weeks earlier. The Penguins will have an awesome top power play with Crosby, Evgeni Malkin, James Neal, Steve Sullivan, and Kris Letang. Look for the Penguins to fly up the power play efficiency standings the rest of the way.

 

ST. LOUIS

 

Games this week

@ Washington, @ Colorado, vs. Chicago

 

Notes

Brian Elliott has been sensational for the Blues this season and it’s a wonder that the Blues do not use him more often. He is 8-1-0 this season with a 1.48 GAA and a .946 save percentage compared with Jaroslav Halak’s 3-7-2 record, a 2.57 GAA and a .895 save percentage. It looks like a no-brainer to me. Chris Stewart is back after serving a three game suspension. Matt D'Agostini is a surprising plus-13 this season and has nine points as well.

 

SAN JOSE

 

Games this week

@ Los Angeles, vs. Montreal, vs. Florida

 

Notes

The Sharks are rested on Thursday when they face a tired Montreal team as the Canadiens are in Anaheim on Wednesday. They moved around their top six forwards on Wednesday as Patrick Marleau rejoined Joe Pavelski and Joe Thornton, while Martin Havlat found himself back with Logan Couture and Ryane Clowe. Antti Niemi has been outstanding of late as he has won his last five starts, giving up only six goals in the process. Marc-Edouard Vlasic was the second star of the week, last week, with seven points in three games and now leads the Sharks defensemen in points with 11, one ahead of Dan Boyle.

 

TAMPA BAY

 

Games this week

@ Minnesota, @ Detroit, vs. New York Rangers

 

Notes

The Lightning are rested on Monday when they take on a tired Minnesota squad, who play Calgary the previous night. Dwayne Roloson may be on his last legs in the NHL. The 42-year-old goaltender has given up 42 goals on 373 shots thus far and looks like he may be done. Steve Downie is day-to-day with an upper body injury. Ryan Shannon played on the first line alongside Vincent Lecavalier and Martin St. Louis with Ryan Malone moving to Steve Stamkos’ line. St. Louis seems to be having a bit of an off-year thus far with 16 points in 20 games after averaging over a point a game in three of the last four seasons with 80 points in 82 games in his only year that he didn’t.

 

TORONTO

 

Games this week

vs. Boston, @ Boston

 

Notes

The Maple Leafs only play twice this week, but it is a home-and-home series against the Bruins so there should be fisticuffs. Look for Colton Orr, Dion Phaneuf and possibly Luke Schenn to add to their penalty minute count. Phil Kessel and Joffrey Lupul are one-two in scoring in the NHL and that hasn’t happened this late in the season since 1933 when two members of the famed Kid Line were also one-two. Charlie Conacher led the league with Gentleman Joe Primeau second. The third member of the line, Busher Jackson, was third. James Reimer could return for the second half of the series in Boston but is more likely to be available the following week. If you listened to Rotoworld’s Ryan Dadoun in his Waiver Wired article on November 12, you would have picked up Tyler Bozak and have his six points in his last four games. Jonas Gustavsson has won back-to-back 7-1 games despite the Leafs getting outshot in both.  Mike Komisarek is out eight weeks with a broken arm that requires surgery while Matthew Lombardi is out four weeks with a separated shoulder.

 

VANCOUVER

 

Games this week

vs. Columbus, vs. Nashville, vs. Calgary

 

Notes

The Canucks play all three games at home and are rested on Sunday when they are home to Calgary after the Flames take on Edmonton Saturday. Cory Schneider has given up only one goal in his last two games and could start getting more starts even when Roberto Luongo returns to the starting lineup, which is expected to be on November 26. Dan Hamhuis has been stellar of late on the blueline with two goals and 10 points and a plus-six rating in his last 11 games.  Mason Raymond (compressed fracture of vertebrae) could return this week for the first time since the Stanley Cup final in June.

 

WASHINGTON

 

Games this week

vs. St. Louis, vs. Pittsburgh, vs. Ottawa

 

Notes

Mike Green is still not even skating, two weeks after injuring his groin, so there is no timetable for his return. For the first time since his rookie season, Alexander Semin was a healthy scratch on Monday. The benching obviously worked because Semin popped a goal on Wednesday and was plus-two and he didn’t take a minor penalty which was his undoing in so many games this season. I can’t believe how weak a season Alex Ovechkin is having.  With only seven goals and 16 points in 20 games to go with 10 penalty minutes and a minus-four rating, he is more like a mid-round pick rather than the first or second pick where he was selected in most pools. Marcus Johansson, who most likely wasn’t selected, even in deep pools, has six goals and 12 points in 19 games and is plus-one. Not a huge difference.

                                  

WINNIPEG

Games this week

vs. Ottawa, vs. Phoenix, vs. New Jersey

 

Notes

The Jets are home for all three games this week. They will be rested and waiting at home for the Devils on Saturday as New Jersey plays in Minnesota the previous night. Zach Bogosian was not suspended for his hit to the head of Cody Eakin. Alexander Burmistrov was one of the Jets best players at the beginning of the season but has not played well of late and managed to see only 7:56 minutes of action on Wednesday. He is only 20 and a great talent so he will bounce back but we cannot recommend him at this time in one-year pools. Anyone who said that Kyle Wellwood would be leading the Jets in scoring at the Thanksgiving break was lying or a tremendous friend or relative to the former Maple Leaf. He has 17 points in 21 games to have a three point lead over Nik Antropov, Evander Kane and Dustin Byfuglien.

 

 



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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