Mike Finewax

The Week Ahead

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After the Break

Friday, January 27, 2012


 

EDMONTON

 

Games this week

vs. Colorado, vs. Chicago, vs. Detroit

 

Notes

Ryan Whitney returned to action this past week but do not expect a lot from him the rest of the way as he still may be hurting for the remainder of the season. That being said, expect a lot from him next season as he should go cheaper and further down in drafts with his injuries over the previous year-and-a-half. Taylor Hall is starting to show why he was the top pick in 2010 as he now has 33 points in 39 games. Once the Oilers gain experience, they are going to be a great club to watch with Hall, Jordan Eberle, Ryan Nugent-Hopkins and likely a top-five pick from the upcoming draft.

 

FLORIDA

 

Games this week

vs. Washington, vs. Winnipeg, @ Tampa Bay

 

Notes

The Panthers play three games in four nights so look for Scott Clemmensen to play once in place of Jose Theodore. The Panthers are rested on Friday when they face a tired Winnipeg squad as the Jets are in Tampa Bay Thursday. The Panthers will be tired on Saturday as they face a rested Lightning team after Friday’s match with the Jets. Tomas Fleischmann was in a terrible slump as he was goalless in eight games before finding the back of the net on Tuesday. He is still a member of the top line with Kris Versteeg and Stephen Weiss. Florida will be without Dmitry Kulikov for 6-8 weeks after the defenseman had knee surgery after getting injured on Saturday.

 

LOS ANGELES

 

Games this week

vs. Columbus, @ St. Louis, @ Carolina

 

Notes

The Kings play three games in four nights so it looks like Jonathan Bernier will play once in place of Jonathan Quick. Bernier has played in only nine games this season and coach Darryl Sutter plans to give him more action between the pipes after the All-Star break. The Kings are rested on Wednesday when they play the Blue Jackets who are in San Jose to open the second half of the season Tuesday. They will be tired on Saturday when they are in Carolina as the Kings are in St. Louis Friday. Kyle Clifford’s third goal of the season gave him his first Gordie Howe hat trick in the NHL as he picked up an assist and had a fight as well.

 

MINNESOTA

 

Games this week

vs. Nashville, @ Colorado, @ Dallas

 

Notes

It took until the All-Star break but Niklas Backstrom finally won his first game in the new year on January 24.  Marek Zidlicky was a healthy scratch on Saturday for the first time in his career. Mikko Koivu (separated shoulder) was taking shots on goal under the stands on Saturday. Dany Heatley leads the Wild in goals with 15 and points with 34, one point ahead of Koivu despite playing eight extra games. Brad Staubitz has no points and is minus-seven but does have 73 penalty minutes. Zidlicky has only 11 assists in 34 games and has yet to find the back of the net.

                                                                       

MONTREAL

                                                           

Games this week

vs. Buffalo, @ New Jersey, vs. Washington, vs. Winnipeg

 

Notes

Les Canadiens play three games in four nights so Peter Budaj should see action in at least one game since they also play four games in six days. They will be tired and face a rested Jets team on Sunday after playing the Capitals on Saturday. Brian Gionta will try to return to action before the end of the season after undergoing surgery to repair a torn bicep but likely won’t return until next season if Montreal is out of playoff contention. P.K. Subban was benched for the second period in Wednesday’s win over the Red Wings taking a bad penalty for elbowing during a first period power play. He played a season low 14:36 minutes.

 

NASHVILLE

 

Games this week

@ Minnesota, @ Philadelphia, vs. St. Louis

 

Notes

The Predators are rested on Saturday when they face the Blues who host the Kings on Friday night before travelling to Nashville. Mike Fisher has four goals and a helper in his last four games. Pekka Rinne is the hottest goalie in the NHL with a 12-1-0 record in his last 13 games. Ryan Suter finally returned to action on Monday after missing three games with an upper body injury and had three assists in two games. Sergei Kostitsyn has four goals and eight points in his last 10 games. Martin Erat leads the Predators in points with 35, one ahead of Shea Weber while Patric Hornqvist’s 14 goals this season also tops all Predators.

  

NEW JERSEY

 

Games this week

vs. New York Rangers, vs. Montreal, @ Philadelphia, vs. Pittsburgh

 

Notes

The Devils play four times this week, including three games in four days so expect to see Martin Brodeur and Johan Hedberg split the net this week.  Patrik Elias and Ilya Kovalchuk each lead the team with 40 points. Jacob Josefson was sent to the minors after playing four games since returning from a broken clavicle. Travis Zajac (sore Achilles tendon) is not skating and there is no word on his return.   Adam Henrique was forced to miss the All-Star game after tweaking his groin. Adam Larsson will not attend the All Star game after injuring his wrist.

 

NEW YORK ISLANDERS

 

Games this week

@ Carolina, @ Ottawa, vs. Buffalo

 

Notes

The Islanders will be tired when they play the Sabres on Saturday after playing in Ottawa on Friday night. Nino Niederreiter has been a disappointment this season with only one goal and getting fourth line minutes at best. The Islanders are bringing him around slowly but he would be better served by playing a lot back in junior hockey. John Tavares continues to show why he was the first overall selection in the 2009 Draft as he is up to 20 goals and 49 points. Al Montoya finally returned on Tuesday for the first time in five weeks after suffering a concussion, giving up four goals in an overtime loss to Toronto. Evgeni Nabokov took over as the starter in his absence and has given the Islanders no reason to switch back to Montoya unless he is dealt.

 

NEW YORK RANGERS

 

Games this week

@ New Jersey, @ Buffalo, vs. Philadelphia

 

Notes

The Rangers are rested on Sunday when they play a tired team from Philadelphia who are in New Jersey the previous night. Carl Hagelin has been a pleasant surprise for the Rangers as he was starring for Michigan in college hockey last season. Erik Christensen was a healthy scratch for 10 straight games so the Rangers sent him to the minors for a conditioning stint in which he should get plenty of action on the ice. Defenseman Michael Sauer suffered a setback in trying to return from a concussion he suffered on December 5. There is no timetable for his return and it may not happen until next season.

 

OTTAWA

 

Games this week

@ Boston, vs. New York Islanders, vs. Toronto

 

Notes

The Senators will be tired when they play the rested Maple Leafs on Saturday as they are home to the Islanders on Friday night. Daniel Alfredsson is having a very good comeback season with 38 points in 46 games after 31 points and a minus-19 rating in 54 games last season as he had back woes. He trails only Jason Spezza (50) and Erik Karlsson (47) on the Senators. Ottawa has lost three in a row after going 10-1-1 before that. Although, his GAA isn’t anything to write home about at 2.90, his 25-16-4 record and .910 save percentage have fantasy owners thrilled as he was drafted late in most pools.

 


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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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