Mike Finewax

The Week Ahead

print article archives RSS

Playoffs are coming

Friday, March 09, 2012


PHILADELPHIA

 

Games this week

vs. New Jersey, @ New York Islanders, @ Boston, vs. Pittsburgh

 

Notes

The Flyers play three games in four nights so look for Sergei Bobrovsky to get one start in place of the suddenly hot Ilya Bryzgalov. The Sunday game against the Penguins is the beginning of a five game homestand. Tuesday’s home game against New Jersey is the back half of a home-and-home series so look for Zac Rinaldo and Scott Hartnell to add to their penalty minute totals if there is any rough stuff. Daniel Briere had two assists on Thursday but has now gone 21 games without a goal. Claude Giroux has 79 points and trails Steve Stamkos by only three points in the race for the Art Ross Trophy.  

 

 PHOENIX

 

Games this week

vs. Nashville, @ Vancouver, @ Calgary, @ Edmonton

 

Notes

The Coyotes play four times this week including three games in four nights so Jason LaBarbera could get one start in place of Mike Smith. The Coyotes will be tired on Thursday when they play the rested Flames as they take on the Canucks Wednesday. Ray Whitney is having a great season as he approaches his 40th birthday leading the Coyotes with 40 assists and 61 points to go with a plus-21 rating. Antoine Vermette finally scored his first goal in a Phoenix uniform this past week as he is centering a line with Shane Doan and Lauri Korpikoski. Martin Hanzal has seven assists in his last eight games, but only one in his last four.    

 

PITTSBURGH

 

Games this week

@ New York Rangers, @ New Jersey, @ Philadelphia

 

Notes

The Penguins play three games in four nights this week so look for Brad Thiessen to play once in place of Marc-Andre Fleury. It looks like Sidney Crosby is ready to return to action on March 11 from his concussion which has allowed him to play only eight times thus far this season. James Neal has gone eight straight games without a goal. Kris Letang (concussion) managed to get in some light off-ice work Tuesday, but there is no timetable for his return. Evgeni Malkin had his eight game scoring streak halted on Wednesday. Steve Sullivan has 12 points in his last nine games.

 

ST. LOUIS

 

Games this week

@ Chicago, @ Carolina, @ Tampa Bay

 

Notes

The Blues are 35-0 when scoring three or more goals this season. Alex Pietrangelo is becoming one of the top offensive defensemen in the NHL as he has 30 points in his last 30 games. They continue to get the best goaltending in the NHL with Jaroslav Halak and Brian Elliott. Halak has won his last seven games and is now 22-10-5 with a 1.89 GAA and a .926 save percentage while Elliott is 20-8-2 with a 1.63 GAA and a .937 save percentage. Kevin Shattenkirk is having a quiet but very good season, with nine goals and 35 points. He also has 42 penalty minutes with a plus-26 rating and 13 power play points.

 

SAN JOSE

 

Games this week

@ Edmonton, @ Calgary, vs. Nashville, vs. Detroit

 

Notes

The Sharks play four times this week including three in four games so look for Thomas Greiss to play at least once instead of Antti Niemi. They are tired Tuesday when they take on a rested Flames team in Calgary after playing in Edmonton Monday. Martin Havlat (torn hamstring) is continuing to skate as he attempts to get ready to return by mid-March and is on the current road trip. Logan Couture returned to action this past week from a knee injury and his return is much needed. Joe Pavelski and Marc-Eduard Vlasic lead the team in plus/minus at plus-14 while Couture leads in goals with 27 and Joe Thornton is tops in points with 59.

 

TAMPA BAY

 

Games this week

vs. Boston, vs. Toronto, vs. St. Louis

 

Notes

Teddy Purcell is hot right now as he has 22 points in his last 11 games, giving him 55 points in 66 games. Mathieu Garon is out three-four weeks with a groin injury so Dwayne Roloson could get another chance to play in goal. They recalled Dustin Tokarski with the injury to Garon and he could get some starts, especially if Roloson falters as he done so often this season. Victor Hedman returned to action after missing four games with an upper body injury. Steve Stamkos looks like the winner of the Rocket Richard Trophy and barring injury he should win it as he has 48 goals, ten ahead of his closest competitor Evgeni Malkin. Vincent Lecavalier is skating as he attempts to return from a non-displaced fracture in his right hand.   

     

TORONTO

 

Games this week

@ Florida, @ Tampa Bay, @ Ottawa

 

Notes

The Maple Leafs will be rested on Saturday when they travel to Ottawa to take on the Senators who will be tired after playing the second half of a home-and-home series against Montreal Friday. They shook things up on March 2 when they fired coach Ron Wilson and hired former Brian Burke protégé Randy Carlyle. It appears that Jonas Gustavsson is Carlyle’s choice of goaltenders at this moment with James Reimer stuck on the bench. The Maple Leafs will become a much better conditioned team under Carlyle but that may not show up until next season. Joffrey Lupul could be gone for the season as he is out three-four weeks with a separated shoulder. The Maple Leafs tied up second line center Mikhail Grabovski for the next five years, paying him $5.5 million a season. Jay Rosehill passed through re-entry waivers and will get fourth line minutes as Toronto tries to become more truculent once again.

 

VANCOUVER

 

Games this week

vs. Phoenix, vs. Columbus

 

Notes

The Canucks play only twice this week so I recommend benching all your Canucks in pools that allow weekly transactions only, with the exception of Daniel Sedin, Henrik Sedin and possibly Alexander Edler who is hot of late. Christopher Higgins was moved up to the second line on Thursday and responded in a big way with seven shots on goal and stellar work along the boards. David Booth and Ryan Kesler will benefit from his effort.  Kesler potted a shorthanded goal on Thursday, only his second goal in his last 15 games. The Sedin twins have been slumping of late as well with Daniel picking up only one assist in his last seven games and Henrik not even doing that well. Alex Burrows is playing wing on the first power play with Kesler moving back to the point, alongside Elder.

 

WASHINGTON

 

Games this week

@ New York Islanders, @ Winnipeg, @ Chicago

 

Notes

The Capitals are on the road for all three this week. Mike Green has had an injury plagued season and it may be getting worse as he could be getting suspended for his hit to the head on Tampa Bay’s Brett Connolly. Stay tuned to Rotoworld for further updates. Dmitry Orlov has changed the spelling of his first name from Dmitri to Dmitry. Tomas Vokoun was out with a lower body injury but returned to action, so Braden Holtby was sent back to the minors. Mike Knuble returned to action on March 4 after being a healthy scratch since Feb. 22, but has been a healthy scratch the last two games so it is time to cut bait on him. Karl Alzner leads with a plus-10 rating while Knuble is a team-worst minus-16.

 

WINNIPEG

Games this week

vs. Dallas, vs. Washington, vs. Carolina

 

Notes

Winnipeg will be a rested team facing a tired squad twice this week. It starts off on Wednesday when they face Dallas who take on Minnesota Tuesday and then face Carolina Sunday as the Hurricanes are also in Minnesota the previous night. The Jets are just outside of a playoff spot and while they have been outstanding at home (21-10-4), they are only 11-18-3 on the road and play eight of their last 14 games away from Portage and Main. Blake Wheeler is catching fire on the goal scoring front with five goals in his last five games to give him 16 this season. Ondrej Pavelec has a career high 25 wins, but the 24-year-old thinks he can even be better which is great news for Jets fans. Zach Bogosian returned to action from a wrist injury after missing seven games. Unfortunately he re-injured the wrist and has missed the last two games.

 



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



Highest Searched Players over the last 7 days



Video Center

  •  
    Strategy: Mock Draft Analysis

    Strategy: Mock Draft Analysis
  •  
    WR: S. Watkins or T. Williams?

    WR: S. Watkins or T. Williams?
  •  
    Levitan: Ryan or Foles at QB?

    Levitan: Ryan or Foles at QB?
  •  
    Braxton Miller NFL projection

    Braxton Miller NFL projection
  •  
    Levitan: Cameron vs. Witten

    Levitan: Cameron vs. Witten
  •  
    Levitan: Gerhart vs. Morris?

    Levitan: Gerhart vs. Morris?
  •  
    Levitan: Romo vs. Brady?

    Levitan: Romo vs. Brady?
  •  
    Levitan: Murray or Foster?

    Levitan: Murray or Foster?