Mike Finewax

The Week Ahead

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Yahoo! Playoffs coming up

Friday, March 29, 2013


 

PHILADELPHIA

 

Games this week

vs. Montreal, @ Toronto, @ Winnipeg

 

Notes

The Flyers play three games in four nights this week so it looks like Michael Leighton could get a rare start, replacing Ilya Bryzgalov. They will be tired on Thursday when playing in Toronto after hosting the Canadiens Wednesday. Daniel Briere is out indefinitely with a concussion that he suffered when he crashed into the boards during practice on March 23. Andrej Meszaros is out indefinitely after re-injuring his shoulder. The Flyers switched up their lines with Scott Hartnell moving down to the third line with Matt Read moving up to the first unit. Hartnell responded on Thursday with two power play goals and a fight as he is now playing his regular shift with Wayne Simmonds and Brayden Schenn.

 

PHOENIX

 

Games this week

vs. Los Angeles, vs. Detroit, vs. Colorado

 

Notes

The Coyotes are rested on Saturday when they host the Avalanche who play the Red Wings in Colorado Friday. Boyd Gordon finally scored his first goal of the season in his 33rd game Wednesday. The Coyotes exploded for five goals in the first 8:26 minutes of the first period Thursday and did it on only seven shots as the Coyotes celebrated Steve Sullivan's 1,000th NHL game with a 7-4 win over Nashville. Sullivan is slumping with no points in his last eight games. Rostislav Klesla has a goal and six assists this season after a four assist night Thursday. I don't think you can expect that kind of offensive explosion again, possibly even in a month's worth of games. Shane Doan finally picked up his first power play point of the season Thursday and is now tied with Martin Brodeur this season although the New Jersey goalie does have a power play goal rather than Doan's assist.

 

PITTSBURGH

 

Games this week

vs. Buffalo, @ New York Rangers, vs. New York Rangers

 

Notes

The Penguins have certainly become the Stanley Cup favorites with their moves during the last week as they have picked up Jarome Iginla, Brenden Morrow and Doug Murray without giving up one player on their roster. Pittsburgh will be tired on Wednesday when they face the Rangers on Wednesday after playing Buffalo Tuesday. They play the Rangers in a home-and-home series this week so look for Tanner Glass and Deryk Engelland to get involved if there is any rough stuff and of course Morrow and Iginla could want to make their presence felt as well with their new teammates. Marc-Andre Fleury suffered a neck injury and is day-to-day but is expected to be back this week so Tomas Vokoun should get one start as the Penguins play three games in four nights. Beau Bennett had two goals and nine points in 19 games but with the trades and the return of Evgeni Malkin to the lineup, he was sent to the minors as the odd man out. Bennett is a talent so do not forget about him in your pools next season.

 

ST. LOUIS

 

Games this week

@ Minnesota, @ Chicago, vs. Columbus, @ Detroit

 

Notes

The Blues play three games in four nights so it is expected that Jake Allen and Jaroslav Halak will likely split the net this week. Rookie Vladimir Tarasenko scored twice on Thursday and it was the first time he found the back of the net since Feb. 13 although to be fair, he did miss 10 games with a concussion. David Backes has been a bit of a disappointment as he has only three goals this season. Look for him to come back next season. Chris Stewart continues to amaze in 2013 as he has 15 goals and 29 points in 33 games, only one assist off last season's 15 goal, 15 assist effort in a full 82 game schedule.

 

SAN JOSE

 

Games this week

vs. Vancouver, vs. Minnesota, vs. Calgary, vs. Dallas

 

Notes

The Sharks play all four games at home this week. Brent Burns has been on a tear since returning to the lineup as he has five goals and 10 points in nine games, tremendous production from a player with defenseman eligibility. Antti Neimi has been carrying the Sharks on his back as he now has back-to-back shutouts over the Ducks and Red Wings. Niemi is 15-8-5 with a 2.14 GAA and a .924 save percentage. Over the last eight games Logan Couture has had multiple point games three times which he then has followed up with two scoreless efforts. Look for him to have big games against Vancouver and Dallas this week if the pattern continues.

 

TAMPA BAY

 

Games this week

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

 

Notes

Tampa Bay plays three games in four nights. Anders Lindback is out indefinitely with a high ankle sprain so expect to see Mathieu Garon and Cedrick Desjardins to share the net this week unless one gets hot. Cory Conacher has nine goals and 24 points this season but five goals and seven assists came in the first seven games with four goals and eight assists coming in his last 26. He still is in the running for the Calder Trophy although it appears that Jonathan Huberdeau and Brendan Gallagher have surpassed him. Jon Cooper was named the new head coach of the Lightning this week. Steve Stamkos leads the NHL in goals with 23, two ahead of John Tavares while he sits third and Martin St. Louis fourth in overall scoring.

 

TORONTO

 

Games this week

vs. Philadelphia, @ New Jersey

 

Notes

The Maple Leafs are the only team to play twice this week so I suggest benching all your Toronto players in weekly transaction pools with the exception of Nazem Kadri, Phil Kessel and Joffrey Lupul.  Kessel has been red-hot in March with six goals and 18 points in 13 games while Lupul has seven goals and nine points in the six games he has played since returning from a broken forearm. Nikolai Kulemin has been scoring of late with four goals and six points in his last seven games. Tyler Bozak is eligible for unrestricted free agency at the end of the season so his name is being mentioned in trade rumors with the deadline on Wednesday. Kadri leads the Maple Leafs with 35 points, one ahead of Phil Kessel. Kadri is tied for ninth in NHL scoring while Kessel is tied for 13th spot. They are rested Thursday when hosting the Flyers who play Montreal Wednesday.

 

VANCOUVER

 

Games this week

@ San Jose, vs. Edmonton, vs. Calgary

 

Notes

The Canucks are the rested team twice this week, first on Thursday when they play the Oilers who are in Calgary the previous night, and then on Saturday when hosting the Flames with Calgary in San Jose on Friday. Cory Schneider has started the last six games for the Canucks, going a perfect 6-0 and giving up only six goals on 166 shots in that span. He is now the definite number one goalie in Vancouver and do not be surprised if the Canucks deal Roberto Luongo elsewhere at the trade deadline.  Alex Burrows moved back to the top line with Daniel and Henrik Sedin and the move paid off quickly as Burrows had a goal and an assist in his first game back Thursday.

 

WASHINGTON

 

Games this week

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

 

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 are the rested team Tuesday in Carolina as the Hurricanes are in Montreal Monday. It should be interesting to see if the Capitals deal UFA to be Mike Ribeiro who wants to stay in Washington on a long-term deal but apparently turned down a three-year/$14 million offer as he wants a five-year deal. The 33-year-old has 35 points in 33 games this season to lead the Caps. Alex Ovechkin was the NHL's first star of the week with five goals and eight points in four games.

 

 WINNIPEG

 

Games this week

@ New York Rangers, @ New York Islanders, @ Montreal, vs. Philadelphia

 

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.  Winnipeg will be rested Thursday when they play the Canadiens who are in Philadelphia Wednesday. Olli Jokinen has been a major disappointment this season with only six goals and 10 points in 35 games. His minus-18 rating is nothing to write home about as well. Tobias Enstrom scored in his first two games back from a shoulder injury. Jacob Trouba is considering leaving the University of Michigan after his freshman season and that will be a big boost if he decides to do so as the Jets could use the big defenseman who was drafted ninth overall in the 2012 Draft, although he will likely need time in the minors.



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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