Mike Finewax

The Week Ahead

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The Three Amigos

Friday, March 08, 2013


PHILADELPHIA

 

Games this week

@ New Jersey, vs. New Jersey

 

Notes

The Flyers only play twice this week and both are against the Devils so it is likely that there could be a fight or two. With this in mind, don't be afraid to put Zac Rinaldo, Wayne Simmonds or Braydon Coburn in your lineup even though the Flyers play only twice. Keep Jakub Voracek in your lineup as he is one of, if not the hottest, players in the NHL with 12 goals and 29 points thus far. Nicklas Grossmann leads the Flyers and the NHL in blocked shots with 73. Matt Read was supposed to be out four-six weeks with a rib injury but returned on Thursday after only missing two weeks. Ilya Bryzgalov struggled this past week, allowing eight goals in 94 minutes of action and stopping only 28 shots.

 

PHOENIX

 

Games this week

vs. Los Angeles, @  St. Louis, @ Columbus

 

Notes

The Coyotes are rested Tuesday when they are home to the Kings as Los Angeles hosts Calgary Monday. Zbynek Michalek has 60 blocked shots, 32 ahead of Oliver Ekman-Larsson and Derek Morris. Radim Vrbata has missed nine straight games with a lower body injury but is close to returning to action. Martin Hanzal returned to action on Monday and had an assist in three games this past week. He is tied for the Coyotes goal scoring lead along with Shane Doan with seven despite playing only 15 games to Doan's 24. Kyle Chipchura has a lot of value in traditional pools with four goals, six assists and 41 penalty minutes this season. He is also plus-three despite going minus-four Thursday.

 

PITTSBURGH

 

Games this week

vs. Boston, @ Toronto, @ New York Rangers, vs. Boston

 

Notes

The Penguins play three games in four nights so look for Tomas Vokoun to get at least one start, taking the place of Marc-Andre Fleury. The Penguins are rested on Tuesday when they play Boston who are in Ottawa Monday. Brooks Orpik has 69 blocked shots to lead the Penguins. They play the Bruins twice this week so expect Tanner Glass and Deryk Engelland to engage in fisticuffs with the feisty Bruins. Chris Kunitz is having an outstanding season playing alongside Sidney Crosby as he has 14 goals and 31 points good for sixth and fourth respectively in the NHL. Beau Bennett is worth looking at as the former first round pick is currently playing alongside Evgeni Malkin and James Neal.

 

ST. LOUIS

 

Games this week

vs. San Jose, vs. Phoenix, vs. Anaheim

 

Notes

Alex Pietrangelo does a lot for the Blues including leading them in blocked shots with 46. What a difference a year makes. Last season Jaroslav Halak and Brian Elliott were the best duo in the NHL bar none. This season is a different story. Halak is 5-2-1 with a 2.31 GAA but a weak .884 save percentage while Elliott is 3-6-1 with a 3.65 GAA and a .851 save percentage. Their struggles forced St. Louis to recall Jake Allen from the minors despite both Halak and Elliott being healthy. A decision on whether or not to sign Jason Arnott to a contract will be made by March 10. Chris Stewart has two goals and six points in his last two games and now has nine goals and 20 points in 23 games this season. He has come back from last season's horrible year in which he had only 15 goals and 30 points all season.

 

SAN JOSE

 

Games this week

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

 

Notes

The Sharks play the Kings in a back-to-back, home-and-home series this week so expect to see Ryane Clowe protect his teammates. It has been a big fall for Clowe who has yet to score this season and does not have a point in his last eight. Brad Stuart has 43 blocked shots, one ahead of Doug Murray.  Martin Havlat has missed the last two games with a lower body injury. Tim Kennedy is getting a look on the second line alongside Patrick Marleau and Joe Pavelski and is worth a look see in fantasy pools if he is able to keep the assignment.  Brent Burns has played only six games this season and is minus-five without a point this season.

 

TAMPA BAY

 

Games this week

@ Florida, vs. New York Islanders, vs. Carolina

 

Notes

Young Victor Hedman is the team leader in blocked shots with 51. The Lightning have two scorers in the top three of the NHL in Steve Stamkos and Martin St. Louis. Vincent Lecavalier has only two goals and nine points in 16 games since he took a puck off his foot on Feb. 2. Cory Conacher continues to lead rookie scorers with 20 points in 24 games but fellow rookie Alex Killorn has four goals and eight points in 14 games and is likely below the radar if poolies are looking for a waiver wire pickup in deep pools. He is owned in only one percent of Yahoo! pools. B.J. Crombeen has 57 penalty minutes and has a goal and four points to go with a plus-three rating. Not bad if you are looking for some PIMs.

 

TORONTO

 

Games this week

@ Winnipeg, vs. Pittsburgh, vs. Winnipeg

 

Notes

The Maple Leafs play the Jets twice this week so expect to see Frazer McLaren, Colton Orr and Mark Fraser add their penalty minute totals. First year player Mike Kostka leads the Maple Leafs in blocked shots as he has 47. Nazem Kadri has been outstanding all season and especially so lately as he has 11 goals, 25 points and a plus-12 rating this season with six goals and 11 points coming in the last seven games. Believe it or not but he is owned in only 72 percent of Yahoo! pools. Matt Frattin is close to returning from minor knee surgery. James Reimer is definitely having a bounce back season as he is 9-3-0 with a 2.56 GAA and a .921 save percentage.

 

VANCOUVER

 

Games this week

@ Columbus, vs. Nashville, vs. Detroit

 

Notes

The Canucks are rested Saturday when they host the Red Wings who are in Edmonton Friday. Alexander Edler has 44 blocked shots. Mason Raymond is having a fairly good season with six goals and 12 points in 23 games of which four goals have come on the power play. Cory Schneider is starting to get more starts than Roberto Luongo as Schneider has started four of the last five games, going 1-1-2 with a 2.18 GAA and giving up nine goals in 108 shots. Luongo has played only once since giving up eight goals to Detroit on Feb. 24. despite better numbers than Schneider overall. Kevin Bieksa has missed five of the last six games with a groin injury.

 

WASHINGTON

 

Games this week

vs. Carolina, @ Carolina, @ Boston, vs. Buffalo

 

Notes

The Capitals play three games in four nights this week so expect to see Michal Neuvirth play once in place of Braden Holtby. They take on Carolina twice this week so look for Matt Henricks and the recently acquired Aaron Volpatti to spend some time in the sin bin. John Carlson has 59 blocked shots to lead Washington. Mike Ribeiro continues to amaze as he now has 28 points in 22 games, numbers that you would think would come from Alex Ovechkin. Ovechkin has been hot of late with four goals and 10 points in his last six games, giving him a respectable 20 points in 22 games. Nicklas Backstrom has only two goals this season but does have 18 assists and has also been playing better of late with a goal and 12 points in the last 10 games.

 

 WINNIPEG

 

Games this week

vs. Toronto, vs. New York Rangers, @ Toronto, @ Ottawa

 

Notes

The Jets play three games in four nights this week so look for  Al Montoya to take at least one start away from Ondrej Pavelec.  Ron Hainsey has 60 blocked shots to lead the Jets. Winnipeg plays Toronto twice this week so it is likely that Chris Thorburn will be sent on the ice when the Maple Leafs send their tough fourth liners out as the Leafs fourth unit is known as the 'Blue Bombers' with Colton Orr and Frazer McLaren born in Manitoba. Al Montoya is now 3-0 this season and has better numbers than starter Ondrej Pavelec who is 8-11-1 with 2.93 GAA and a .897 save percentage compared to Montoya's 2.33 GAA and .909 save percentage. Olli Jokinen has only five goals and seven points this season with a minus-12 rating and has not picked up a point in his last four games.



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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