Mike Finewax

The Week Ahead

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New York is not home

Friday, March 22, 2013


 

EDMONTON

 

Games this week

@ Nashville. @ St. Louis, vs. Columbus, vs. Vancouver

 

Notes

The Oilers play three times in four nights so look for Nikolai Khabibulin to play at least once in place of Devan Dubnyk. The Oilers will be the tired team on Tuesday when playing the Blues in St. Louis after visiting Nashville Monday. Sam Gagner continues to impress as he has 28 points in 29 games. Ryan Nugent-Hopkins has not, with only 11 points in 27 games but does have three in his last four. Rookie Justin Schultz is worried about hitting the wall in his first professional season as he has already played over 25 games more than he did last season in college hockey with 19 still remaining in the regular season.

 

 FLORIDA

 

Games this week

@ Toronto, vs. Buffalo, vs. New Jersey

 

Notes

The Panthers are the rested team playing tired teams twice this week. First they are in Toronto Tuesday after the Maple Leafs are in Boston Monday, and they then host the Devils on Saturday after New Jersey take on the Lightning in Tampa Bay Friday. After struggling earlier on, rookie Jacob Markstrom is finally showing fans why he was considered the top goalie in the world not in the NHL coming into this season. He has won his last two starts giving up only two goals on 79 shots in two wins. Dmitry Kulikov has apparently been out with a core injury since March 2 although he is expected back at some point this week.

 

LOS ANGELES

 

Games this week

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

 

Notes

The Kings play three games in four nights this week so look for Jonathan Bernier to play at least once in place of Jonathan Quick.  After playing all four at home last week, the Kings are on the road for four as part of a five game road trip. They are rested Saturday when they play the Wild who face the Stars Friday and then are the tired team the next day as they are in Dallas to take on the rested Stars. Drew Doughty finally potted his first goal this season in 29 games. Justin Williams is picking up the pace after a slow start as he is tied for second spot in Kings scoring with 21 points. Tyler Toffoli was a healthy scratch on Thursday but scored his first NHL goal Monday. He had 52 last season with Ottawa of the OHL and it should be the first of many in the NHL.

 

MINNESOTA

 

Games this week

@ Dallas, vs. Phoenix, @ Dallas, vs. Los Angeles

 

Notes

The Wild play three games in four nights so expect to see the recently recalled Matthew Hackett to play in place of Niklas Backstrom once. The Wild are tired Saturday at home to Los Angeles as they are in Dallas Friday to play the Stars. They play Dallas twice this week and you can expect to see Zenon Konopka and Michael Rupp spend some time in the penalty box due to some fisticuffs. Devin Setoguchi has been red-hot of late with six goals in his last five games. Ryan Suter has been equally as hot with two goals and 15 points in his last 12 games. Jason Zucker is back after suffering an upper body injury when hit by Corey Perry, an indiscretion that cost Perry a four game suspension.

 

MONTREAL

           

Games this week

@ Pittsburgh, @ Boston, vs. New York Rangers

 

Notes

The Canadiens will be tired Wednesday when they face the Bruins in Boston after playing the Penguins the previous night. P.K. Subban has been outstanding since returning after signing his contract into the season as he has nine goals and 22 points in 24 games. He leads all defensemen in goals and is tied for third in points. Rene Bourque has been out of action since February 21 with a concussion but is expected back this week if not sooner as he has been practicing with the team. Alex Galchenyuk is slumping with only two assists in his last 12 games. Carey Price is 16-4-4 this season and has a shot at the Vezina as his GAA is 2.34 with a .912 save percentage.

 

NASHVILLE

 

Games this week

vs. Edmonton, vs. Phoenix, @ Colorado

 

Notes

The Predators are rested Thursday when they host the Coyotes who play the Wild on Wednesday. Mike Fisher has been the Predators leading scorer of late with five goals in his last five games. Shea Weber started the season with only one assist in his first 13 games but has really turned things around with five goals and 17 points in his last 18  games. Colin Wilson is still out with an upper body injury suffered on March 9 and there is no timetable for his return. Defenseman Jonathon Blum has played in the Predators last three games after being a healthy scratch for the previous five. Pekka Rinne has been in a terrible slump of late, giving up 16 goals in his last five games on only 88 shots.

 

NEW JERSEY

 

Games this week

@ Ottawa, @ Tampa Bay, @ Florida

 

Notes

The Devils will be tired on Saturday when they travel across the state of Florida to play the Lightning after playing the Panthers Friday. Great return to action for 40-year-old netminder Martin Brodeur, who played Thursday for the first time since Feb. 21. He stopped 17 of 18 shots and was credited with a power play goal. It was the third goal of his NHL career and he scored more power play points this season than Shane Doan of the Coyotes who has played 86:10 minutes of power play time with nary a point. Travis Zajac has a goal and two assists in his last two games after only eight points in his first 29 games. Andrei Loktionov scored in his return to action on Thursday after missing two games with an undisclosed injury.

 

NEW YORK ISLANDERS

 

Games this week

@ Washington, @ Philadelphia, @ Pittsburgh

 

Notes

Jesse Joensuu is close to returning and should play this week after missing the entire season thus far recovering from a sports hernia injury. Michael Grabner returned to the lineup on Thursday after missing three games with a shoulder injury. He has 10 goals and 13 points in 27 games. Matt Carkner also returned on Thursday but he had been out since Feb. 5 with a lower body injury. Mark Streit has four goals and 15 points in 30 games but his minus-14 rating really hurts his fantasy value in traditional pools. Thomas Hickey is the only Islander with a plus rating who has played in over half the team's games as he is plus-four.

 

NEW YORK RANGERS

 

Games this week

@ Philadelphia, @ Ottawa, @ Montreal

 

Notes

Marian Gaborik scored his ninth goal of the season on Thursday but his name is getting bandied about in trade rumors with San Jose being prominently named. The Rangers recalled Chris Kreider and he played alongside JT Miller and Brian Boyle. Kreider struggled in the minors as he has done so all season with only a goal and an assist in 11 games since his previous demotion. Do not expect a lot from him fantasy-wise the rest of the way as this could be a lost season, but look for him to be a fantasy asset in a couple of years. The Rangers could use some extra toughness and will get it with Arron Asham returning, possibly as early as March 24 as he has been out since Feb. 19 with a back injury. After being a Stanley Cup favorite heading into the season, the Rangers are currently on the outside looking in, at a playoff position going into Friday's action.

 

OTTAWA     

 

Games this week

vs. New Jersey, vs. New York Rangers, vs. Toronto

 

Notes

Robin Lehner has a 1.92 GAA and a .944 save percentage but is only 2-1-4 this season. Zack Smith has three goals in his last eight games after going goalless in his first 23 contests. If you are looking for a scoring defenseman, Ottawa has two you could consider as Patrick Wiercioch has four goals and eight points in his last nine games and Sergei Gonchar is really hot as he is on a nine game scoring streak with two goals and 15 points. Gonchar is owned in 72 percent of Yahoo! pools while Wiercioch is owned in only 22 percent. Gonchar suffered an undisclosed injury on Thursday. Kyle Turris was the NHL's second star of the week last week with four goals and six points.


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Michael Finewax has been covering hockey since 2005 and is the Hockey Editor for Rotoworld. You can follow him on Twitter.
Email :Mike Finewax



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