Michael Finewax

The Week Ahead

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Stamkos is Outstanding

Friday, March 16, 2012


 

PHILADELPHIA

 

Games this week

vs. Florida, vs. Washington, vs. Montreal

 

Notes

The Flyers are rested on Saturday when they host the Canadiens as Montreal will be tired after playing Ottawa on Friday. Ilya Bryzgalov had three straight shutouts and came within 6:30 of his fourth straight shutout. He was the NHL’s first star of the week. He is the hottest goalie in the NHL at this time.  Pavel Kubina has missed the last five games with an upper body injury. Daniel Briere broke a 23 game goalless drought with a goal on Tuesday. Jakub Voracek returned on Tuesday after missing three games with a back injury. Kimmo Timonen returned after missing five games with a back injury.

 

 PHOENIX

 

Games this week

@ Dallas, vs. Colorado, @ San Jose, vs. St. Louis

 

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 Sunday when they play the rested Blues as they take on the Sharks Saturday. Ray Whitney has five assists in his last three games. Oliver Ekman-Larsson has been scoring of late as he has a goal in each of his last three games. He’s chipped in with two assists as well. David Rundblad was returned to the minors after a four game stint with the big club.

 

 

PITTSBURGH

 

Games this week

vs. Winnipeg, vs. Nashville, @ Ottawa, vs. New Jersey

 

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. They are rested on Saturday when they face a tired Senators squad who are in Montreal Friday. The tables are turned Sunday as they take on a rested New Jersey team. Sidney Crosby returned to action on Thursday after being out since December 5 with concussion-like symptoms. He had an assist and was plus-three. Kris Letang also returned from a head injury on Thursday so it looks like the Penguins are back at close to full strength. Evgeni Malkin is one point up on Steve Stamkos in the race for the Art Ross Trophy.  

 

ST. LOUIS

 

Games this week

@ Anaheim, @ Los Angeles, @ Phoenix

 

Notes

The Blues are the top team in the NHL at this time. They are on the road for all three and are the tired team Thursday when they take on Los Angeles after playing in Anaheim on Wednesday. They are the rested team Sunday in Phoenix as the Coyotes will be tired after playing in San Jose Saturday. Alex Pietrangelo and Kevin Shattenkirk are two of the best young defensemen in the NHL and the Blues are lucky to have both offensive studs.Andy McDonald is injured once again as he hurt his shoulder Thursday in the second period. He missed 51 games earlier in the season with a concussion. Jaroslav Halak was the third star of the week as he had three wins.

 

SAN JOSE

 

Games this week

vs. Anaheim, @ Los Angeles, vs. Boston, vs. Phoenix

 

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 rested Monday when they play a tired Anaheim team who face Nashville on Sunday but are tired Tuesday when they take on a rested Kings squad. Martin Havlat returned to the San Jose lineup on Thursday after missing 39 games with a torn hamstring. He played on the second line with Patrick Marleau and Ryane Clowe and should be in someone’s fantasy lineup in anything other than the shallowest of pools. Logan Couture hit the 30 goal plateau for the second straight season.

 

TAMPA BAY

 

Games this week

vs. Buffalo, vs. Edmonton. vs. New York Islanders

 

Notes

Steve Stamkos hit the 50 goal mark for the second time in his career and looks to be a sure bet to win the Rocket Richard Trophy as his lead is 11 goals over Evgeni Malkin with a little over three weeks left in the season. Vincent Lecavalier could return this week from a hand injury. Mathieu Garon is out for a few more weeks but Dwayne Roloson did not immediately take over as the starter as recent call up Dustin Tokarski took over. The Lightning scored a power play goal this past week and it was the first time in 11 goals that Teddy Purcell failed to garner a point.  

     

TORONTO

 

Games this week

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

 

Notes

The Maple Leafs will be tired on Tuesday when they are home to the rested Islanders as they play in Boston on Monday. James Reimer has started the last two games after Jonas Gustavsson got five straight starts for new head coach Randy Carlyle. The Maple Leafs have crashed and burned as they went 2-14-2 during an 18 game stretch before defeating the Lightning on Thursday. Nikolai Kulemin may be gone for the season with a broken finger. Jake Gardiner scored a beautiful goal against the Lightning and it looks like Toronto has a bona fide number one defenseman in their future.

  

VANCOUVER

 

Games this week

@ Minnesota, @ Chicago, @ Dallas, @ Colorado

 

Notes

The Canucks play four times this week, all on the road, including three games in four nights so look for Cory Schneider to play at least once in place of Roberto Luongo. They are rested Wednesday when they take on Chicago who play in Columbus the previous night. They are tired on Thursday when they are in Dallas to face the Stars. Coach Alain Vigneault switched up his lineup this past week and Daniel Sedin and Henrik Sedin find themselves on a line with Mason Raymond while Alex Burrows is playing alongside Samuel Pahlsson and Jannik HansenAaron Rome is back in the lineup as Marc-Andre Gragnani will be a healthy scratch on the blueline. Manny Malhotra is out of the lineup in the foreseeable future as he deals with some personal issues. Alex Burrows is now playing up front on the first power play unit with the Sedin twins as Ryan Kesler and Alexander Edler are on the point. Sami Salo was demoted to the second unit.

 

WASHINGTON

 

Games this week

@ Detroit, @ Philadelphia, vs. Winnipeg, vs. Minnesota

 

Notes

The Capitals play four times including three games in four nights so look for Tomas Vokoun and Michal Neuvirth to share the net. The Capitals are tired on Friday when they take on the rested Jets as Washington is in Philadelphia Thursday. They are rested Sunday as their opponents, the Minnesota Wild, are in Buffalo Saturday. Nicklas Backstrom has been practicing hard of late as he attempts to come back from a concussion suffered on January 3. Evgeny Kuznetsov announced his intention to remain in the KHL next season and the Capitals are definitely disappointed that their first round in the 2010 Entry Draft will not be in North America next season. Brooks Laich has been centering Alex Ovechkin and Marcus Johansson of late and has three goals and four points in his last five games.

 

WINNIPEG

Games this week

@ Pittsburgh, @ Washington, @ Nashville

 

Notes

Winnipeg will be a rested team facing a tired Washington team on Friday but are the tired team on Saturday when they play the Predators. The Winnipeg Jets own the league's top ranked power play on home ice this season with 30 goals in 120 opportunities. After playing in just one of the Jets past 12 games, Zach Bogosian (wrist) is hoping to return to action on March 16 against the Capitals. Despite missing over a month of action earlier in the season, Dustin Byfuglien is now a top-five scoring defenseman with 44 points. Blake Wheeler leads the Jets with 41 assists and 58 points.  

 



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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