Michael Finewax

The Week Ahead

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New York is not home

Friday, March 22, 2013


 

PHILADELPHIA

 

Games this week

vs. New York Rangers, vs. New York Islanders, vs. Boston, vs. Washington

 

Notes

The Flyers play three games in four nights so it is likely that Michael Leighton will play once in net instead of Ilya Bryzgalov. The Flyers are home for all four games as they start a six game home stand. Ruslan Fedotenko has only one goal this season and has not found the back of the net in 25 games. Sean Couturier has not scored in his last 22 games. Brayden Schenn has not picked up a point and is a horrible minus-nine in his last seven games. Scott Hartnell only has a goal and no assists in his last eight games. No wonder the Flyers are in a three way tie for 12th in the Eastern Conference.

 

PHOENIX

 

Games this week

vs. Detroit, @ Minnesota, @ Nashville, @ San Jose

 

Notes

The Coyotes play three games in four nights this week so look for Jason LaBarbera to get one start this week giving Mike Smith one night off. The Coyotes are rested Monday as they are home to Detroit who play in Anaheim Sunday. The Coyotes are tired Thursday when in Nashville after playing in Minnesota Wednesday.  Smith suffered an undisclosed injury Thursday so keep an eye on the goaltending situation. Boyd Gordon is one of only three NHL forwards to play 28 or more games and not register a goal. Jeff Halpern and Tanner Glass are the others. Mikkel Boedker leads the Coyotes with 19 points, one ahead of Oliver Ekman-Larsson and Shane Doan.

 

PITTSBURGH

 

Games this week

vs. Montreal, vs. Winnipeg, vs. New York Islanders

 

Notes

Kris Letang could return this week from an upper body injury suffered on St. Patrick's Day. While he has not been on the ice, he is working out off-ice. Evgeni Malkin (upper body) is hoping to return on March 22 as he took part in some contact drills on Wednesday. Keep your eye on Beau Bennett for next season as he could be quite a scorer if he plays as a top-six forward. He is currently on the second unit with James Neal and Dustin Jeffrey but that could change once Malkin returns. After 29 games, Paul Martin already has tied his season high goal total of six, set in his rookie season of 2003-04. Sidney Crosby is the first NHLer to 50 points this season and he did it in only 31 games.

 

ST. LOUIS

 

Games this week

vs. Edmonton, vs. Los Angeles

 

Notes

The Blues are rested Tuesday when hosting the Oilers who are in Nashville Monday. They only play twice this week so it may be a good idea to bench your Blues if you are in weekly pools. Good news for Blues fans as Andy McDonald returned to action this past week after missing 10 games with a knee injury. Chris Stewart was the first star of the week as he had five goals and seven points in three games. He is leading the Blues with 14 goals and 28 points, seven points ahead of David Perron who sits in second. Jake Allen is 8-2 this season with a .915 save percentage but the Blues need Jaroslav Halak to return to form if they hope to do anything in the playoffs, provided they make the post-season.

 

SAN JOSE

 

Games this week

@ Anaheim, vs. Anaheim, vs. Detroit, vs. Phoenix

 

Notes

The Sharks play three games in four nights so you should expect to see Thomas Greiss (if healthy) play once in place of Antti Niemi. If Greiss is unable to go then Alex Stalock may get the call in net. The Sharks will be tired Thursday when they host Detroit after playing Anaheim the night before. San Jose play the Ducks in back-to-back games and Ryane Clowe and Andrew Desjardins could find themselves involved in a fight. The Sharks finally made Michal Handzus a healthy scratch after he had only two points in 28 games with a minus-nine rating. Dan Boyle is being named in trade rumors with the New York Rangers leading the way as a possible destination.

 

TAMPA BAY

 

Games this week

vs. Buffalo, vs. New Jersey

 

Notes

The Lightning play only twice this week so I suggest benching all your Tampa Bay players with the exception of Steve Stamkos and Martin St. Louis. The Lightning signed highly regarded undrafted college player Andrej Sustr to a two-year/entry level contract. He is a behemoth at six foot, eight inches and should be a presence on the Tampa Bay blueline. Anders Lindback is out indefinitely with a high ankle sprain and the Lightning are in serious trouble again between the pipes (remember last season with Dwayne Roloson) with Mathieu Garon the likely starter for the foreseeable future.  Ryan Malone was placed on the injured reserve list after suffering a shoulder injury Monday.

 

TORONTO

 

Games this week

@ Boston, vs. Florida, vs. Carolina, @ Ottawa

 

Notes

The Maple Leafs play three games in four nights so expect to see Ben Scrivens play once in net for James Reimer. They will tired on Tuesday when the Panthers come to the Air Canada Centre after playing in Boston Monday. Joffrey Lupul will return to action this week after sitting out a two-game suspension for a hit to the head on the Lightning's Victor Hedman. Nazem Kadri is eighth in NHL scoring with 33 points while teammate Phil Kessel is tied for 15th with 30 points. Mike Komisarek agreed to be waived and was sent to the minors allowing the Maple Leafs to recall last year's sensation Jake Gardiner. Leo Komarov left Thursday's game with an upper body injury.

 

VANCOUVER

 

Games this week

vs. Columbus, vs. Colorado, @ Edmonton

 

Notes

The Canucks are the rested team Thursday when they host the Avalanche as Colorado will be in Calgary on Wednesday. Jordan Schroeder's first goal in 17 games was the winner Thursday. The Canucks could start going with Cory Schneider after a good performance in back-to-back performances this week, especially with Roberto Luongo struggling of late. Zack Kassian returned to action on Tuesday from a  back injury and then promptly re-injured it in a fight. Daniel Sedin has found the back of the net only once in his last 11 games. David Booth is out indefinitely with a leg injury and could be dropped in most pools as he will likely not have any fantasy value the remainder of the season.

 

WASHINGTON

 

Games this week

vs. New York Islanders, @ Buffalo, @ Philadelphia

 

Notes

After missing another 10 games with a groin injury, Mike Green returned to action on Thursday. Despite the perceived poor season that most think Alex Ovechkin is having he has 13 goals and 27 points in 30 games including an NHL leading nine power play goals. Brooks Laich finally returned to action on Tuesday after missing all season with a groin injury and picked up an assist Thursday for his first point of the season. Braden Holtby is 11-10-0 with a 2.77 GAA and a .913 save percentage but is tied for second in the NHL with four shutouts, trailing only Pekka Rinne. Mike Ribeiro has 32 points in 30 games, good for ninth place in NHL scoring but he is on the trading block as he can become an unrestricted free agent at the end of the season.

 

 WINNIPEG

 

Games this week

@ Carolina, @ Pittsburgh, vs. Carolina

 

Notes

Winnipeg plays Carolina twice this week so it is likely that Chris Thorburn will get into a fight or two along the way. Al Montoya is close to returning from a lower body injury and should be able to push Ondrej Pavelec between the pipes. Arturs Kulda played in the KHL this season and returned to the Jets after his team was eliminated in Russia. He has played in 15 NHL games in the previous three years and the defenseman had no points in nine games last season with a plus-three rating. Tobias Enstrom has missed the last 18 games with a shoulder injury but was able to partake in some contact drills in practice this week.



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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