Michael Finewax

The Week Ahead

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Hockey Day in Canada

Friday, February 01, 2013


 

EDMONTON

 

Games this week

vs. Vancouver, vs. Dallas, @ Detroit, @ Columbus

 

Notes

The Oilers are tired Sunday when they are in Columbus after playing in Detroit Saturday. Nikolai Khabibulin is back after missing the beginning of the season with a hip injury. Look for him to see action this week in at least one game with number one goalie Devan Dubnyk getting the remainder of the starts. Rookie Nail Yakupov is off to a hot start with four goals in his first seven games. Magnus Paajarvi was sent to the minors once again as the 10th overall pick in the 2009 Draft is having trouble cracking the Edmonton lineup. He is talented offensively, but so are the Oilers and that could hurt his chances in Edmonton. Justin Schultz has a chance to do something no one else has ever done, winning the rookie of the year in the AHL and the NHL in the same year.

 

FLORIDA

 

Games this week

@ Winnipeg, @ Philadelphia, @ Washington

 

Notes

The Panthers end a four game road trip when they play the Capitals. Stephen Weiss should return to action this week as he has been out with a groin injury. Put him back in your lineup if you normally would. Marcel Goc played his first game of the season Thursday after recovering from an ankle injury and was slotted in on the top line between Tomas Fleischmann and Kris Versteeg, although he should lose that spot to Weiss upon his return. Peter Mueller, who has goals in three straight games and has 21 shots on goal in seven games, is worth picking up in deeper leagues. Fleischmann has two goals and seven points in seven games but is minus-six.

 

LOS ANGELES

 

Games this week

@ Columbus @ Nashville, @ Detroit

 

Notes

The Kings are rested Sunday when in Detroit as the Red Wings take on Edmonton Saturday.  After a shaky season opener, Jonathan Quick has given up only 10 goals in his five games, stopping 130 shots. The Kings once again this season are having trouble finding the back of the net as they are tied with the Predators for last overall in the NHL with 12 goals although to be fair, Nashville has played one more game. The power play is the worst in the NHL with only two goals in 33 opportunities. They are struggling so much that they have only 24 shots on goal with the man advantage. Willie Mitchell has had a setback in his recovery from a knee injury from overtraining. No word on when he will return.

 

MINNESOTA

 

Games this week

@ Phoenix, vs. Vancouver, vs. Nashville

 

Notes

The Wild top line of Mikko Koivu, Dany Heatley and Zach Parise is arguably the top line in the NHL in the early going along with the San Jose and New York Rangers first unit. Jonas Brodin, the Wild’s first pick and 10th overall in 2010, made his NHL debut and has now been paired with Ryan Suter on the blueline. He has two assists in four games and Minnesota is quite high on the youngster who returned from a broken clavicle. Parise is leading the team in scoring with five goals and nine points in seven games. Tom Gilbert has been effective from the point with two goals and six points. He should be looked at as he is owned in only six percent of all Yahoo! pools.

 

MONTREAL

           

Games this week

vs. Boston, @ Buffalo, vs. Toronto

 

Notes

The Canadiens are the tired team Thursday in Buffalo after hosting Boston the night before. They play three games in four nights so look for Carey Price to get a game off this week with Peter Budaj getting the start. The Canadiens finally signed P.K. Subban to a two-year deal and he will be back in the lineup this week. He should take some power play time away from Raphael Diaz, who has been deserving of all the time he has received as he has eight assists in only six games. Brendan Gallagher and Alex Galchenyuk were told that they were remaining with the Habs and celebrated with a goal and an assist and two assists respectively against the Jets Tuesday.

 

NASHVILLE

 

Games this week

@ St. Louis, vs. Los Angeles, @ Minnesota, vs. Chicago

 

Notes

The Predators play three games in four nights so expect to see Chris Mason in goal once to give Pekka Rinne a rest. The Predators will be tired Sunday when they are home to Chicago after playing in Minnesota Saturday. Patric Hornqvist is out of the lineup for the next two-three weeks with a sprained knee. Paul Gaustad has the first shot at taking over his spot on the first power play, playing in front of the net. The Predators will miss Hornqvist, their best goal scorer, as they have scored only 12 times in seven games. Shea Weber is pointless through seven games with a minus-one rating and 11 penalty minutes, but has not had a penalty in his last four games. Be patient as Weber is one of the best defensemen in the NHL, both on the ice and in fantasy hockey.

 

 

NEW JERSEY

 

Games this week

vs. New York Rangers, vs. Tampa Bay, vs. Pittsburgh, @ Pittsburgh

 

Notes

The Devils play four times this week including three games in four nights so look for Johan Hedberg to play once in place of Martin Brodeur. They go back-to-back with Pittsburgh and  this will be the third time in the last eight days that both sides will have met so expect tempers to flare as David Clarkson and Krys Barch should add to their penalty minute totals. Jacob Josefson has moved to the top line with Ilya Kovalchuk and Travis Zajac. Martin Brodeur has yet to lose in regulation with a 3-0-2 record. Stefan Matteau has played five games but the Devils have yet to send the rookie back to junior hockey although they did make him a healthy scratch on Thursday to give them more time to make their decision. Adam Henrique played for the first time this season on Thursday as he had been out with a thumb injury and scored.

 

NEW YORK ISLANDERS

 

Games this week

vs. Pittsburgh, @ New York Rangers, vs. Buffalo

 

Notes

John Tavares is off to a hot start with four goals and 11 points in just seven games. He is one of the top offensive stars in the league. Rick DiPietro is the definite backup on Long Island has he has played only once with Evgeni Nabokov playing six times between the pipes thus far. Keith Aucoin has been a pleasant surprise since being selected off waivers from Toronto at the start of the season. He has four goals and an assist in seven games. Jesse Joensuu is out five-seven weeks after undergoing sports hernia surgery. Joshua Bailey who is under suspension for hurting his knee while playing in Europe, should start practicing any day.

 

NEW YORK RANGERS

 

Games this week

@ New Jersey, vs. New York Islanders, @ Tampa Bay

 

Notes

The Rangers are rested on Saturday when they visit Tampa Bay who are in Boston Saturday. Ryan Callahan is out 10-14 days with a shoulder subluxation and Taylor Pyatt should grab his spot on the second line with Derek Stepan and Carl Hagelin. Chris Kreider is out with bone chips in his ankle but has resumed light skating. Stu Bickel leads the Rangers with 24 penalty minutes in six games but has stayed out of the penalty box in his last two contests. The Brad Richards, Rick Nash, Marian Gaborik line has eight of the Rangers 16 goals and are one of the top lines in the NHL.

 

OTTAWA     

 

Games this week

vs. Buffalo, vs. Carolina, vs. Winnipeg

 

Notes

The Senators will be severely hurt with Jason Spezza out of the lineup for at least two months after undergoing back surgery Friday but it will give Kyle Turris the chance he has always wanted: to be the first line center. Turris is tied for the team lead with Eerik Karlsson with seven points. Mika Zibanejad has a goal and an assist in two games. He will also benefit from the loss of Spezza and should be the second line center. Craig Anderson has been absolutely sensational with a 5-0-1 record to go with an eye-popping 0.98 GAA and a .967 save percentage. If you are looking for penalty minutes then look at Mark Borowiecki who has 18 minutes in just four games.


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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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