Michael Finewax

The Week Ahead

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Stock up on Islanders

Friday, February 15, 2013


 

PHILADELPHIA

 

Games this week

@ New York Islanders, @ Pittsburgh, vs. Florida, vs. Winnipeg

 

Notes

The Flyers play three games in four nights this week. Expect to see Brian Boucher play once in favor of Ilya Bryzgalov. Philadelphia will be the tired team on Thursday when they return home after a six game road trip, and start a five game homestand as they face the Florida Panthers after playing in Pittsburgh Wednesday. Scott Hartnell (broken foot) could be back in the lineup as early as Wednesday and ahead of schedule as he was slated to be out four-eight weeks. Wednesday’s game will be just under four weeks so I suggest grabbing him as he is not owned in 16 percent of Yahoo! pools. Brayden Schenn and Jakub Voracek are clicking together on the third line.

 

PHOENIX

 

Games this week

vs. Calgary, @ Edmonton, @ Calgary  

 

Notes

The Coyotes are the rested team when they face Calgary on Monday at home as the Flames are in Dallas Sunday. The Coyotes and Flames face each other twice this week Kyle Chipchura is a chippy player who will likely get involved if there are fisticuffs involved. Paul Bissonnette will also come to the defense of his teammates but he has been a healthy scratch in four of 14 games so his ice time is not guaranteed. Mike Smith has had one terrible outing in February in which he gave up six goals in 35 minutes to the Blackhawks but he has been very good in the other six games, giving up only nine goals including garnering two shutouts so I can recommend him again. Radim Vrbata leads the Coyotes with 11 points.

 

PITTSBURGH

 

Games this week

vs. Philadelphia, vs. Florida, vs. Tampa Bay 

 

Notes

The Penguins are the rested team twice this week, first against the Panthers on Friday when they host Florida after the Panthers are in Philadelphia Thursday, and then on Sunday when they take on Tampa Bay with the Lightning in Carolina Saturday. The Penguins got a couple of defensemen back this past week as Kris Letang and Matt Niskanen were activated off injured reserve. The Zach Boychuk experiment has not worked out as of yet. He was claimed off waivers from Carolina and placed on a line with Evgeni Malkin and James Neal but he is pointless in seven games. The Penguins recalled former first round pick Beau Bennett and he could get a shot to play with Malkin and Neal. He is worth a waiver wire pick up as he can be easily dropped if he fails to play as a top-six forward.

 

ST. LOUIS

 

Games this week

vs. San Jose, @ Colorado, vs. Columbus

 

Notes

The Blues are tired Wednesday as they travel to Colorado after hosting San Jose Tuesday. Vladimir Tarasenko has a ton of talent but it’s tough at times being a rookie in the NHL. He picked up his first point in five games Wednesday but was still a minus player for the fifth consecutive time. After starting the season with five goals and 10 points to go with a plus-six rating in his first eight games, Tarasenko’s stats are now six goals, 11 points and a minus-two rating. Wade Redden was a healthy scratch Wednesday after going minus-seven in his five previous games. The Blues seem to have lost some faith in Brian Elliott as Jake Allen was between the pipes in a 4-1 win on February 13. Jaroslav Halak (groin) had a setback on Monday and will be out at least a week.

 

SAN JOSE

 

Games this week

@ St. Louis, @ Chicago, @ Dallas

 

Notes

The Sharks will be tired on Saturday when they play in Dallas as they end a six-game road trip. They are in Chicago Friday. The Sharks sure are a streaky team. They won their first seven games but have now lost six straight, albeit three have gone past regulation, giving them three extra points. San Jose has only scored twice in the last 236:21 minutes but that will turn around shortly as Logan Couture and Ryan Clowe will get it going. Brent Burns was activated on Feb. 9 and is minus-two in two games. He may take another couple of games to get into game-shape but is worth a pick up on the waiver wire.

 

TAMPA BAY

 

Games this week

vs. Toronto, vs. Boston, @ Carolina, @ Pittsburgh

 

Notes

The Lightning play four times this week including three games in four nights so look for Mathieu Garon to play once in place of Anders Lindback. The Lightning will be rested on Tuesday when they host the Maple Leafs who are in Florida Monday and then are the tired team Sunday in Pittsburgh after playing in Carolina Saturday. Still underrated, Martin St. Louis has 19 points in 13 games. Not bad for a 37-year-old. Victor Hedman is showing the offensive prowess that scouts said he had when he was drafted second overall in 2009. He has four goals and eight points in 12 games and has a plus-10 rating.

 

TORONTO

 

Games this week

@ Florida, @ Tampa Bay, vs. Buffalo, @ Ottawa

 

Notes

The Maple Leafs play three games in four nights. James Reimer (knee) could still be on the sidelines this week, so Ben Scrivens will get most of the starts, although Jussi Rynnas could get a start. The Leafs will be tired Tuesday in Tampa Bay after playing the Panters across the state of Florida Monday.  Reimer suffered a mild MCL sprain and is day-to-day. Matt Frattin needed some minor surgery on his knee and should be out about a week. Nazem Kadri leads the Maple Leafs in points with 12. Phil Kessel would like to sign a long-term deal and finish his career in Toronto.  Grab Cody Franson if you are looking for a scoring defenseman. He has five assists in his last five games and has eight points in 11 contests thus far.

 

VANCOUVER

 

Games this week

@ Chicago, @ Dallas, @ Nashville, @ Detroit

 

Notes

The Canucks play all four on the road and play three games in four nights. Roberto Luongo and Cory Schneider will likely split the net this week. The Canucks are tired Friday when they take on the Predators after playing in Dallas Tuesday but get a bit of a break on Sunday as they are rested and face Detroit who host Nashville Saturday. Ryan Kesler is due back on February 15 and he’ll give the Canucks the second line center they have been missing all season. It looks like the career of Manny Malhotra is at an end. He was clipped in the eye with an errant puck on March 16, 2011 and his safety on the ice was a concern because of his eyesight, forcing the Canucks to put him on injured reserve for the rest of the season. David Booth (groin) has been skating hard in practice but there is no timetable for his return.

 

WASHINGTON

 

Games this week

vs. New Jersey, vs. New Jersey

 

Notes

The Capitals play only twice but both games are at home against the Devils. Matt Hendricks will add to his 40 penalty minutes as tempers will eventually flare. Mike Ribeiro continues to shine with 17 points in 14 games, six ahead of Alex Ovechkin and Nicklas Backstrom who sit second. Ovechkin has turned his game around of late as he had three goals and seven points in five games before being held off the scoreboard by the Lightning Thursday. Brooks Laich (groin) has been given the go-ahead to participate in contact drills in practice. He has yet to play this season. The Capitals have not been getting good goaltending from Braden Holtby and Michal Neuvirth as Holtby has a 3.89 GAA while Neuvirth is at 3.05.

 

WINNIPEG

 

Games this week

@ Buffalo, @ Carolina, @ Philadelphia, @ New Jersey

 

Notes

The Jets play three games in four nights as part of a four game week so expect to see Eddie Pasquale play once in place of Ondrej Pavelec. Al Montoya is week-to-week with a lower body injury. Eric Tangradi is hoping that Winnipeg will be the place that he finally gets a chance to show why the Anaheim Ducks selected him 42nd overall in the 2007 Draft.  The Penguins gave up on him for a seventh round pick. Dustin Byfuglien is back after missing six games with a lower body injury. Tobias Enstrom leads the team with 13 points, two ahead of Blake Wheeler and Andrew Ladd.



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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