Mike Finewax

The Week Ahead

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Stock up on Devils

Friday, March 01, 2013


 

EDMONTON

 

Games this week

@ Columbus, @ Detroit, @ Nashville, @ Chicago

 

Notes

The Oilers play three games in four nights as they are near the end of a nine game road trip as their arena is being used for the Canadian Brier. Devan Dubnyk and Yann Danis  should share the net with Danis playing once. Nikolai Khabibulin is on injured reserve with what is believed to be a groin injury. The Oilers will be tired on Friday in Nashville after playing in Detroit Thursday. Ryan Nugent-Hopkins had only two points in 12 February games. Ryan Whitney continues to be a healthy scratch as he has missed seven of the last 11 games. Taylor Hall returned after a suspension cost him two games.                                                                     

 

 FLORIDA

 

Games this week

vs. Winnipeg, @ Washington, vs. Winnipeg, @ Montreal

 

Notes

The Panthers play three games in four nights so you have to think that Scott Clemmensen will play at least once for Jose Theodore. Florida sent their goalie of the future, Jacob Markstrom back to the minors. They will be rested Sunday against Montreal as the Canadiens play at Tampa Bay Saturday. Kris Versteeg has missed nine games with a chest injury. Tomas Kopecky has six goals in his last seven games. Stephen Weiss has only one goal and four points in 15 games this season and is rumored to be on the trade block as he is eligible to become an unrestricted free agent in the off-season

 

LOS ANGELES

 

Games this week

vs. Nashville, vs. St. Louis, vs. Dallas, vs. Calgary

 

Notes

The Kings play three games in four nights this week. Jonathan Quick and Jonathan Bernier have split the net evenly over the last eight games so look for more of the same this week. The rest has helped Quick as he has allowed only seven goals in his last four games after getting off to a rough start this season. The Kings are tired Tuesday when they play the Blues as Los Angeles hosts Nashville Monday and then are the rested team on Saturday when they entertain Calgary after the Flames are in Anaheim Friday. This week starts a five game home stand for Los Angeles. Jeff Carter has been hot of late as he is on a five game scoring streak to give him 11 in 18 games. Coach Darryl Sutter said that Carter has been the Kings best player since training camp. Anze Kopitar leads the Kings with 17 points in as many games.

 

MINNESOTA

 

Games this week

@ Chicago, @ Nashville, vs. Vancouver

 

Notes

The Wild are the rested team Saturday when they travel to Nashville as the Predators host the Oilers Friday. Minnesota then have to travel host to play the awaiting and rested Canucks Sunday. Josh Harding (multiple sclerosis) has not been able to practice since going on the injured list Feb. 14 as the medical staff want to regulate his medication before allowing him to skate. The Wild have switched their lines around as Charlie Coyle has seen time on the top line with Mikko Koivu and Zach Parise while Dany Heatley has been on the third unit alongside Kyle Brodziak and Pierre-Marc Bouchard. Mikael Granlund is getting time on the first power play unit in place of Heatley.

 

MONTREAL

           

Games this week

@ New York Islanders, @ Carolina, @ Tampa Bay, @ Florida

 

Notes

The Canadiens play all four on the road including three games in four nights so look for Peter Budaj to play once in place of Carey Price. Montreal will be tired on Sunday in Florida after playing the Lightning Saturday. The Habs gave up Erik Cole to Dallas this week but got Michael Ryder and a third round pick in return. The move will help Montreal's offense but it could hurt them in the post-season as Cole was a gritty player and the Canadiens could be lacking in that area.  Raphael Diaz is out with a concussion. It was thought that Rene Bourque was out with the flu but he has a concussion as well.

 

NASHVILLE

 

Games this week

@ Los Angeles, vs. Edmonton, vs. Minnesota

 

Notes

The Predators are rested Friday when they host Edmonton who are in Detroit Thursday. The tables will be turned on Saturday as the Wild will be rested and likely watching the Oilers game the previous night.  Colin Wilson has been the Predators best offensive player this season with five goals and 15 points in 21 games. It's hard to believe that he leads the Preds in goals. The Predators need to start scoring. They are in fifth place in the West but are only two points out of 11th and have played more games than the teams below them. Nashville dealt Brian McGrattan to Calgary for defenseman Joe Piskula.

 

NEW JERSEY

 

Games this week

@ Toronto, vs. Tampa Bay, vs. Buffalo, @ Carolina, vs. Winnipeg

 

Notes

The Devils play five times this week so I suggest activating all your New Jersey players in weekly transaction pools. Martin Brodeur is out with a bad back and if he is unable to go this week, look for Johan Hedberg to play three times with Keith Kinkaid getting the remainder of the starts. New Jersey will be the tired team on Sunday against the Jets after playing in Carolina Saturday. Andrei Loktionov has played well since his recall and has four points in five games. He could be worth looking at with the Devils playing so much this week. Jacob Josefson was returned to the minors after a one-game performance in which he was a minus-one.

 

NEW YORK ISLANDERS

 

Games this week

vs. Montreal, vs. New York Rangers, vs. Washington, @ Pittsburgh

 

Notes

The Islanders play three games in four nights during their four game week so look for Kevin Poulin to get one start in place of Evgeni Nabokov. The Islanders sent Rick DiPietro to the minors with the hope that he could return to his form of a few seasons ago, but DiPietro got himself into trouble by saying that he had been suicidal, a comment that he retracted later, saying he was joking. Keith Aucoin got off to a hot start on Long Island with four goals in his first seven games but has struggled of late and was made a healthy scratch this past week. John Tavares and Matt Moulson lead the Islanders with 25 and 23 points respectively but both are minus-eight.

 

NEW YORK RANGERS

 

Games this week

vs. Philadelphia, @ New York Islanders, vs. Ottawa, @ Washington

 

Notes

The Rangers play three games in four nights so you should look for Martin Biron to get one start with the great Henrik Lundqvist getting the remainder. The Rangers are rested Sunday when they face the Capitals after Washington plays on Long Island Saturday. Rick Nash returned to action Thursday after missing four games with an undisclosed injury and had a goal and an assist in his return. The Rangers sent Chris Kreider to the minors upon the return of Nash. New York also got Michael Del Zotto and Ryan McDonagh back from injury Thursday so the Rangers are getting healthy. Marian Gaborik continues to slump with only one assist in his past six games.

 

OTTAWA     

 

Games this week

 @ Toronto, @New York Rangers

 

Notes

The Senators only play twice this week so again I suggest reserving all your Ottawa players in weekly pools, if you are able to do so. Who would have thought that Jim O'Brien (no relation as far as we know to Rotoworld's James O'Brien) would be the leading goal scorer among forwards for the Senators as the NHL approaches the half-way mark of the season. There were such high hopes for Peter Regin but he has struggled at the NHL level and has only two assists this season in 14 games. Robin Lehner was outstanding in his seasonal debut Thursday, stopping 44 shots in a 2-1 overtime loss to Boston. Milan Michalek has missed eight games with a knee injury but is very close to returning to action.


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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 :Mike Finewax



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