Mike Finewax

The Week Ahead

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Joe Thornton Leads the Pack

Saturday, January 26, 2013


 

EDMONTON

 

Games this week

vs. Colorado, @ Phoenix, @San Jose, @ Colorado

 

Notes

The Oilers are tired Thursday when they are in San Jose after playing in Phoenix Wednesday. The Oilers play three games in four nights so expect to see Yann Danis between the pipes once instead of Devan Dubnyk. Nikolai Khabibulin is still out with a hip injury but he should be ready to go shortly which will necessitate the demotion of Danis to Oklahoma City. Nail Yakupov and Justin Schultz each scored the first goals of their NHL careers in a 6-3 loss to San Jose in which Dubnyk gave up a half dozen first period goals before getting pulled. Mark Fistric made his Edmonton debut on Thursday, replacing Corey Potter.

 

FLORIDA

 

Games this week

@ Tampa Bay, vs. Winnipeg, @ Buffalo

 

Notes

The Panthers will be rested on Sunday when they take on the tired Buffalo Sabres as the Western New York team is in Montreal Saturday. Stephen Weiss missed Thursday’s game with a lower body injury. Alexei Kovalev has been a pleasant surprise in the early going. Kris Versteeg has been out of the lineup with a groin injury but is eligible to return as soon as January 25. Jonathan Huberdeau had a goal and a pair of assists in his NHL debut but has been held off the scoresheet in the last three games. Eric Gudbranson hurt his shoulder in a wakeboarding accident in September and is getting close to returning.

 

LOS ANGELES

 

Games this week

vs. Vancouver, vs. Nashville, @ Anaheim

 

Notes

The Kings are the rested team twice this week facing a tired Vancouver team on Monday as the Canucks are in San Jose Sunday. As well, the Kings will be rested Saturday when they travel the 28 miles from the Staples Center to the Duck Pond to play Anaheim who play the Wild on Friday. Willie Mitchell does not think he is ready to return to the lineup despite getting medical clearance from the medical staff to do so. Matt Greene is likely out for the remainder of the regular season with a back injury as the Kings blueline is being decimated by injury. The best news of the week was that Anze Kopitar only missed one game with his knee injury and played Tuesday.

 

MINNESOTA

 

Games this week

vs. Columbus, vs. Chicago, @ Anaheim

 

Notes

The Wild play three games in four nights so Josh Harding will likely get a start in net in place of Niklas Backstrom. Minnesota gets a break this week as they are the rested team when they face Columbus Tuesday after the Blue Jackets are home to the Wild Monday but will be tired on Wednesday when they are home to a rested Blackhawk team. Jonas Brodin, the 10th overall pick in the 2011 Draft, was recalled after he recovered from a broken clavicle and should be in the lineup January 25. Dany Heatley has three goals and four points in his first three games.

 

MONTREAL

           

Games this week

vs. Winnipeg, @ Ottawa, vs. Buffalo, vs. Ottawa

 

Notes

The Canadiens are the tired team on Super Bowl Sunday when they host Ottawa after hosting the Sabres Saturday. They play four games in six days so look for Carey Price to get a game off this week with Peter Budaj getting the start. The Habs also play a couple of games against Ottawa so expect to see Brandon Prust and Ryan White lead the parade to the penalty box. Andrei Markov has three goals and an assist in three games thus far, and is attempting to put his last two injury-plagued years behind him. Markov’s play has allowed the Habs to be tougher with the salary requests of restricted free agent P.K. Subban who is not close to a deal at this time. Lars Eller has been a healthy scratch the last two games.

 

NASHVILLE

 

Games this week

@ Phoenix, @ Los Angeles, @ San Jose

 

Notes

The Predators remain in the Far West this week. Paul Gaustad has missed the last three games with an upper body injury. Shea Weber has been held scoreless in his first four games of the season but does have 11 penalty minutes. Pekka Rinne does not have a win in three outings but Chris Mason got one in his only appearance in net. Martin Erat and Patric Hornqvist are leading the Predators with four points in the early going.

 

NEW JERSEY

 

Games this week

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

 

Notes

The Devils play three games in four nights so look for Johan Hedberg to play once in place of Martin Brodeur, who picked up his career leading 120th shutout. New Jersey will be rested on Tuesday when they take on a tired Boston team who host Carolina Monday and will be tired on Sunday when they travel to Long Island after playing in Pittsburgh Saturday. New Jersey plays the Islanders twice this week so expect to see David Clarkson and Krys Barch add to their penalty minute totals. Mattias Tedenby has moved to the top line, at least in practice as he is on the wing with Travis Zajac and Ilya Kovalchuk, while Dainius Zubrus moved down to the second unit with Patrik Elias and Clarkson.

 

NEW YORK ISLANDERS

 

Games this week

@ Pittsburgh, @ New Jersey, vs. New Jersey

 

Notes

The Islanders will be rested on Sunday when they face the Devils who are in Pittsburgh Saturday. New York plays back-to-back games against New Jersey so tough guy Matt Martin will be likely be spending some prolonged time in the sin bin. Joshua Bailey is hoping to return this week from a knee injury. Evgeni Nabokov is 2-1 this season but look for backup Rick DiPietro to get a start. Nino Niederreiter has asked to be traded according to a source, after not being invited to training camp but the Islanders, who will not accede to wishes, want to give him a full year in the minors after he had only one goal, no assists and a minus-29 rating in 55 games as a 19-year-old in 2011-12.

 

NEW YORK RANGERS

 

Games this week

vs. Philadelphia, @Pittsburgh, @ Tampa Bay

 

Notes

The Rangers are rested on Saturday when they travel to Tampa Bay who face the Jets at home on Friday. Chris Kreider has struggled all season, first in the AHL during the lockout and now he is seeing little ice time in the NHL so he could be returned to the minors although a hard hit by Brooks Orpik to his jaw on Sunday certainly didn’t help. Marian Gaborik had a hat trick in the Rangers’ 4-3 win over Boston on Wednesday but he has only one assist in his other three games. Taylor Pyatt has been a nice surprise in the early going as he has goals in three straight games.

 

OTTAWA     

 

Games this week

vs. Washington, vs. Montreal, @ Carolina, @ Montreal

 

Notes

The Senators play three games in four nights this week. Craig Anderson is the starting goalie and should get three starts while Ben Bishop would get the other. There are a lot of teams interested in the services of Bishop and the Sens could deal him as they have Robin Lehner in the minors. Ottawa plays Montreal twice this week and you can expect Chris Neil to add to penalty minute totals. Erik Karlsson has picked up right where he left off last season as he leads the team with four points in three games while Kyle Turris has three goals in as many games.


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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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