Michael Finewax

The Week Ahead

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Habs lead the way in the East

Friday, February 22, 2013


 

PHILADELPHIA

 

Games this week

vs. Toronto, vs. Washington, vs. Ottawa

 

Notes

The Flyers are rested Wednesday when they host the Capitals as Washington hosts Carolina Tuesday. Jakub Voracek is the player to have of late as he has four goals and eight points in his last three games. He has been one of the few bright lights on the Flyers this season. Matt Read is out for six weeks with a torn rib cage muscle. It was bad luck for Read as he just moved to the top line with Voracek and Claude Giroux. Scott Hartnell has a chance to return for the Ottawa game as his recovery from a broken foot continues. He has been practicing with the Flyers farm club in Adirondack.

 

PHOENIX

 

Games this week

@ Vancouver, vs. Minnesota, vs. Anaheim

 

Notes

The Coyotes are the rested team when they face Anaheim on Saturday at home as the Ducks host Minnesota Friday. Matthew Lombardi is expected to return to action on February 23 after missing a month with an upper body injury. Radim Vrbata is also due back on the 23rd after missing one game with an upper body injury. Martin Hanzal has been a pleasant surprise in the scoring department with seven goals and 10 points in 12 games. Oliver Ekman-Larsson and Keith Yandle lead the Coyote defensive corps with 10 points apiece. The Coyotes have been getting some secondary scoring from David Moss who has a couple of goals and eight points in 16 games.

 

PITTSBURGH

 

Games this week

@ Florida, @ Carolina, @ Montreal

 

Notes

Tomas Vokoun has been a bit of a disappointment as the Penguins were hoping he would be a strong backup but the netminder has given up at least three goals in five of his six starts in place of Marc-Andre Fleury. Fleury has won three in a row and it could be a while before Vokoun sees the ice again. Pascal Dupuis has been a nice addition for the Sidney Crosby line and has seven goals and 12 points in 17 games. Evgeni Malkin has four goals and 20 points this season but three goals and 10 assists have come with the man-advantage. James Neal has 12 goals in 17 games.

 

ST. LOUIS

 

Games this week

vs. Chicago, vs. Edmonton, @ Dallas

 

Notes

The Blues play three games in four nights so look for the struggling Brian Elliott to get one start instead of Jaroslav Halak. Jake Allen played well but was sent to the minors Thursday. Vladimir Tarasenko suffered a head injury on Wednesday but there was no update as of this writing. The Blues are getting balanced scoring as they have 10 players between 11 and 15 points in just 17 games. Patrik Berglund has nine goals this season as he puts last season's 19 goal and 38 point effort behind him. Jamie Langenbrunner had successful season-ending hip surgery and at age 37, he may have played in his last NHL game.

 

SAN JOSE

 

Games this week

vs. Colorado, vs. Detroit, vs. Nashville

 

Notes

The Sharks will be rested on Thursday when they play Detroit as the Red Wings are in Los Angeles to take on the Kings Wednesday. Martin Havlat has not put a point on the board in his last seven games and has been demoted to fourth line duty. Brent Burns return from off-season sports hernia surgery is off to a slow start as he has a minus-four rating and no points in four games. Scott Gomez has only two assists in 10 games this season. Joe Thornton and Patrick Marleau got off to great starts with nine points each on the power play in the first nine days. It has almost been a month since the hot start and Thornton has just one power play point since while Marleau has none.

 

 

TAMPA BAY

 

Games this week

vs. Buffalo, @ New York Rangers, @ Boston

 

Notes

As per usual, Steve Stamkos and Martin St. Louis are leading the Lightning in scoring with 24 and 22 points respectively and are sitting third and tied for fourth in league scoring. After missing two weeks, Ryan Malone (lower body) will be checked out by doctors on Monday. Anders Lindback is 7-4-1 but his peripherals are nothing to write home about as he has a 3.12 GAA and a .895 save percentage. Have a look at Benoit Pouliot in your pool. He has five goals and 13 points with two goals and seven points coming in his last five games. He is owned in only 14 percent of Yahoo! pools.

 

TORONTO

 

Games this week

@ Philadelphia, vs. Montreal, @ New York Islanders

 

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 one if Reimer is still unavailable. The Leafs will be tired Thursday on Long Island after hosting Montreal Wednesday. Toronto has the weekend off after Thursday's game against the Islanders.  James van Riemsdyk is only one goal off the NHL lead as he has 11 in 18 games. Phil Kessel has only three goals but has 15 points and the puck will start going in for him with more regularity shortly as he has hit nine posts this season. If you use plus/minus and penalty minutes in your pool, Mark Fraser is someone to watch as he has a plus-13 rating (second best in the NHL) and 29 penalty minutes which is good for 37th. He is owned in only five percent of Yahoo! pools.

 

VANCOUVER

 

Games this week

vs. Phoenix, vs. Los Angeles, @ Calgary

 

Notes

The Canucks are tired Sunday when they travel to Calgary after hosting the Kings Saturday. David Booth may be worth stashing as he finally returned after missing all season with a groin injury. He started off on the fourth line but could start seeing second line duty before too long. Zack Kassian had his chance on the top line with the Sedin twins but has now been demoted to fourth line duty and he has only two assists in his past eight games although he did get into a fight on Thursday for the first time since January 27. After a slow start, Cory Schneider is now 4-3-1 with a 2.64 GAA and a .915 save percentage. Those numbers pale in comparison to Roberto Luongo who is 4-0-3 with a scintillating 1.63 GAA and .934 save percentage.

 

WASHINGTON

 

Games this week

vs. Carolina, @ Philadelphia, @ Winnipeg

 

Notes

The Capitals are tired Wednesday when they travel to Philadelphia to play the Flyers after hosting the Hurricanes Tuesday. Troy Brouwer has been a gem lately with four goals and six points with 12 penalty minutes in his last four games. Mike Green is out with a lower body injury but could return this week. Brooks Laich has still not played this season due to a groin injury but is progressing. Marcus Johansson has been a huge disappointment this season and has only one goal in nine games while missing the last five games with an upper body injury that could be lingering effects of a back injury suffered while playing in Sweden during the lockout. Alex Ovechkin has five goals and 10 points this season with a minus-six rating. Teammate Joel Ward, who likely was not drafted in most pools, has five goals and 11 points with a plus-seven rating.

 

 WINNIPEG

 

Games this week

@ New York Rangers, @ New Jersey, vs. Washington

 

Notes

It was an ugly scene at practice Wednesday with Zach Redmond getting cut on the back of the leg and being transported to hospital where he underwent three hours of surgery. Olli Jokinen has not registered a point in the month of February, a span of nine games. Chris Thorburn leads the Jets with 39 penalty minutes. Zach Bogosian returned from a wrist injury and has one assist in four games. He has a lot of offensive talent and should be looked at as he is owned in only 19 percent of Yahoo! pools. Ondrej Pavelec is 5-8-1 with a 2.97 GAA and a .896 save percentage.



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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