Michael Finewax

The Week Ahead

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Habs lead the way in the East

Friday, February 22, 2013


 

EDMONTON

 

Games this week

@ Chicago, @ Dallas, @ St. Louis, @ Minnesota

 

Notes

The Oilers play three games in four nights as they begin a nine game road trip. Devan Dubnyk and Nikolai Khabibulin should share the net. The Oilers will be rested Monday when playing the Blackhawks who entertain Columbus Sunday. Ryan Whitney's career as an Edmonton Oiler may be winding down as he has now been a healthy scratch in four of his last eight games. It's surprising with all their firepower up front that the Oilers are only 27th in goals for and it would be far worse if the Oilers power play wasn't so prolific as they are third in the NHL with 17 goals having the man-advantage. Sam Gagner and Taylor Hall lead the team with 16 points in 16 games. Hall may be in hot water as he could face a suspension for his knee-on-knee hit on Cal Clutterbuck of the Wild.  Do not forget about Oscar Klefbom next season. An Oilers first round selection in 2010,  19th overall, is out the rest of the season after undergoing shoulder surgery while playing in Sweden during the lockout, but Edmonton brought him over for a fortnight to bond with his teammates and watch other Oiler defensemen play. It should benefit him next season.

 

 

 FLORIDA

 

Games this week

vs. Pittsburgh, vs. Buffalo, @ Carolina, vs. Carolina

 

Notes

The Panthers play three games in four nights so you have to think that Jose Theodore will get into at least one game in place of Jacob Markstrom. Markstrom was recalled this past week as the Panthers have not received good goaltending this season. Florida takes on Carolina in a home-and-home series on the weekend so look for George Parros to add to his minute totals. Jonathan Huberdeau leads all rookies with eight goals and is second in points with 13, trailing Cory Conacher of the cross-state Tampa Bay Lightning by two. Alexei Kovalev has been a healthy scratch in three of the last seven games and has only a goal and an assist in 12 games since his opening night goal and two assist effort. After a 23 goal, 54 point effort last season, Kris Versteeg has only played seven games this season, potting a goal and two assists with a poor minus-seven rating. He has missed the last four games with a chest injury.

 

LOS ANGELES

 

Games this week

vs. Anaheim, vs. Detroit, @ Vancouver

 

Notes

The Kings are the rested team on Monday when they face Anaheim who host Colorado Sunday. Simon Gagne was a healthy scratch twice this past week as coach Darryl Sutter had reduced his ice time in recent games before sending him to the press box. He has only five assists in 11 games and nothing in his last five before the benching. Drew Doughty is minus-10 but has three assists in his last three games and now has seven points. Jonathan Bernier has played the last three of five games, all victories as the Kings have won four of five.

 

MINNESOTA

 

Games this week

vs. Calgary, @ Phoenix, @ Anaheim, vs. Edmonton

 

Notes

The Wild play four times this week and play three games in four nights. Look for Darcy Kuemper to play at least once with Niklas Backstrom getting the remainder of the starts. Josh Harding is struggling to get his medication right as he deals with multiple sclerosis and will not go between the pipes until he is feeling better.  The Wild will be tired Friday when they are in Anaheim after playing the Coyotes in Phoenix the night before. The Wild are pleased with the play of 19-year-old Jonas Brodin and love his composure on the blueline. Zenon Konopka is the only Wild player over 12 penalty minutes as he has 52.

 

MONTREAL

           

Games this week

@ Ottawa, @ Toronto, vs. Pittsburgh, @ Boston

 

Notes

Brendan Gallagher is out with a concussion. The flu bug was must have been going through the Montreal dressing room as both P.K. Subban and Carey Price were stricken with it. After going the first 10 games of the season without a goal, Max Pacioretty now has a three-game goal scoring streak. After a great start in which he had 10 points in 10 games, Andrei Markov is now pointless in his last seven. Perhaps the return of Subban has put a damper on his season. The Habs were the worst team in the Eastern Conference last season but are 11-4-2 this season and atop the East.

 

NASHVILLE

 

Games this week

vs. Dallas, @ Anaheim, @ San Jose

 

Notes

Pekka Rinne continues to be absolutely outstanding between the pipes as he has a 7-3-4 record to go with outstanding peripherals as his GAA is 1.67 with a .935 save percentage. Patric Hornqvist returned to action after missing 10 games with a knee injury and pumped 12 shots on goal in his return, but could not score. Shea Weber has turned his season around of late as he has three goals and six points in his last four games. Nine of the Predators 17 games have gone into overtime and Nashville has picked up five points in overtime and shootout losses. Brian McGrattan has one week remaining on a two-week conditioning stint with the Milwaukee Admirals.

 

NEW JERSEY

 

Games this week

@ Winnipeg, @ Buffalo

 

Notes

The Devils play only twice this week so I suggest benching all your New Jersey players in weekly transaction pools with the possible exception of Ilya Kovalchuk and Patrik Elias. David Clarkson's back tightened up on Monday but he was all right to go back into the lineup Thursday. Unfortunately he suffered a wrist injury and his status is unknown at this time. Ryan Carter is out with a head injury and was replaced in the lineup by Stefan Matteau. Jacob Josefson was sent to the minors after picking up only one point in 15 games. Patrik Elias has been terrific this season with four goals and 19 points to go with a plus-10 rating in 16 games. He also has nine power play points.

 

NEW YORK ISLANDERS

 

Games this week

vs. Boston, vs. Toronto, vs. Ottawa

 

Notes

The Islanders are the rested team twice this week as they host Toronto Thursday after the Maple Leafs host Montreal Wednesday and then again on Sunday against the Senators who are in Philadelphia Saturday.  John Tavares had a great seven days last week and was named the first star of the week as he had five goals and seven points with five points coming on the power play.  Matt Moulson has five goals and nine points in his last six, and was held off the scoresheet in three of those games. All five goals came with the man-advantage. Brian Strait is could be gone for the year after breaking his ankle. He was the only Islander who was a plus player as he was a plus-three.

 

NEW YORK RANGERS

 

Games this week

vs. Winnipeg, vs. Tampa Bay, vs. Buffalo

 

Notes

The Rangers are rested Sunday when they face the Sabres after Buffalo hosts the Devils Saturday. Rick Nash has missed the last two games with an undisclosed injury. Marian Gaborik is slumping with only two goals and an assist in his last 11 games. After an amazing playoff run last season, rookie Chris Kreider has only a goal and an assist in nine games this year. A poor start hurt the stats of Henrik Lundqvist but he has picked it up of late and is now 7-6-0 with a 2.32 GAA and a .915 save percentage. Carl Hagelin is second on the Rangers with six goals. He also has four assists in 15 games.

 

OTTAWA     

 

Games this week

 vs. Montreal, @ Boston, @ Philadelphia, @New York Islanders

 

Notes

The Senators play three games in four nights so we will likely see Ben Bishop at least once in place of Craig Anderson who the Senators are hoping is fine after suffering a leg injury Thursday. If Anderson is unable to go then Robin Lehner will get the call up. The Senators will be the tired team on Sunday when they travel to Long Island after playing in Philadelphia Saturday. The top three stars on the Sens are now hurt as Anderson joins Erik Karlsson and Jason Spezza on the shelf. Daniel Alfredsson has taken over for Karlsson on the point during the power play. Chris Neil does not have a point in his last eight games but has picked up 42 penalty minutes during that span, retaining fantasy value in pools that use the penalty minute category.


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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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