Mike Finewax

The Week Ahead

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Look to Taylor Hall in 2013-14

Friday, April 12, 2013


This is the second last week of the season and I want to wish everyone who is still alive in the playoffs, the best of luck.

 

I will be on Google+Hangout Thursday April 18th with NHL.com's Matt Cubeta  Pete Jensen, Brian Metzer and Matthew Sitkoff for our final fantasy chat of the season. Use #NHLHangout on twitter for your fantasy questions.

 

Taylor Hall is showing all the signs of superstardom that was predicted when he was selected first overall in the 2010 Entry Draft. He suffered through a couple of injury-filled seasons in his first two years in the league but this year has been different.

 

He had 22 goals and 42 points in his rookie season in 65 games and then followed up with 27 goals and 53 points in 61 games last season.

 

He worked on his passing when playing in the AHL during the lockout and is having his biggest season with 13 goals and 41 points in 37 games.  Look for an explosion next season as he is the Oilers best player.

 

Now to The Week Ahead.

 

WEEK OF APRIL 15-21

 

4 Games–Boston, Calgary, Carolina, Columbus, Dallas, Florida, Minnesota, Montreal, New Jersey, New York Rangers, Ottawa, Philadelphia,  St. Louis, San Jose, Toronto, Vancouver

 

3 Games – Anaheim, Buffalo, Chicago, Colorado, Edmonton, Los Angeles, New York Islanders, Phoenix, Pittsburgh, Tampa Bay, Washington, Winnipeg

 

2 Games - Detroit, Nashville

 

Boston plays all four games at home this week.

 

Columbus and Florida play all four games on the road this week.

 

Carolina, Dallas, Minnesota, New Jersey, Vancouver and Washington play three games on the road this week.

 

Calgary, Chicago, Colorado, Montreal, Ottawa, St. Louis and Winnipeg play three games at home.

 

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INJURIES

 

 Brad Marchand is out with a mild concussion. (Click here to see the rest of the injury list.)

 

ANAHEIM

 

Games this week

vs. Columbus, @ Calgary, @ Edmonton

 

Notes

Cam Fowler suffered a lower body injury Wednesday and is day-to-day. Ryan Getzlaf returned on Wednesday after missing three games with a lower body injury. Francois Beauchemin ended a six game scoreless streak with an assist April 10. He has 22 points in 41 games, tying his point total of last season. Radek Dvorak has been a pleasant surprise since signing on with the Ducks after playing seven games with Davos of the Swiss League. Dvorak has three goals in his first five games. Sheldon Souray has been very good this season as he has seven goals and nine assists in 39 games to go with a plus-26 rating and 46 penalty minutes.

 

BOSTON

 

Games this week

vs. Ottawa, vs. Buffalo, vs. Pittsburgh, vs. Florida

 

Notes

The Bruins play all four games at home this week so do not be surprised if Anton Khudobin gets into one game in place of Tuukka Rask. They are rested Sunday when they take on the Panthers, who play the Devils Saturday. Highly regarded Carl Soderberg signed with the Bruins but still needs his release from the Swedish National Team, before he can play in North America as he has already secured his release from his club team.  The Federation did not give him his release so it looks like it will be next season at the earliest before Soderberg dons a Boston uniform unless the Bruins go deep into the playoffs. Patrice Bergeron skated for the first time on Thursday after suffering a concussion on April 2. Milan Lucic is goalless in his last nine games while Rich Peverley broke a ten game goalless streak on Wednesday. Tyler Seguin has been a bit of a disappointment this season with 14 goals and 28 points.

 

BUFFALO

 

Games this week

@ Boston, vs. New York Rangers, @ Pittsburgh

 

Notes

The Sabres will play three games in four nights so look for Ryan Miller to play twice while Jhonas Enroth will play once unless Buffalo is still in the hunt for a playoff spot in which case Miller could play all three times. The Sabres will be rested Friday when they take on the Rangers at home after the Rangers host Florida Thursday. Thomas Vanek returned on Tuesday after missing six games with an upper body injury but it was not a great return as he was minus-four.  Tyler Myers offensive game has been in a steady decline since his rookie season as he has had seasons of 48, 37 and 23 points heading into 2013. Thus far he has only three goals and eight points in 39 games.

 

CALGARY

 

Games this week

vs. Minnesota, vs. Detroit, vs. Anaheim, @ Minnesota

 

Notes

The Flames play the Wild twice this week so there could be fisticuffs. If there are, look for Tim Jackman to provide some muscle for the Flames. Calgary will have to wait at least one more year for college sensation John Gaudreau to turn pro as he will play one more season at Boston College. Matthew Stajan suffered an upper body injury and is out of the lineup. As a result, rookie Max Reinhart centered the first line on Wednesday and picked up his first NHL point. Michael Cammalleri, Alex Tanguay and Lee Stempniak lead Calgary with 27 points.

 

CAROLINA

 

Games this week

@ Ottawa, @ Winnipeg, vs. Philadelphia, @ Tampa Bay

 

Notes

The Hurricanes play three games in four nights  so look for Dan Ellis to split the net with Justin Peters. The Hurricanes will be rested Tuesday when they are in Ottawa as the Senators play in Boston Monday. They will be the tired team Sunday when facing the Lightning as Carolina hosts the Flyers Saturday. If the Hurricanes do not make the playoffs this season, they have only themselves to blame as they have a 7-13 home record, the worst in the NHL. Alexander Semin has returned to the Carolina lineup after missing two games with an upper body injury.  

           

CHICAGO

 

Games this week

vs. Dallas, vs. Nashville, vs. Phoenix

 

Notes
The Blackhawks play as the tired team twice this week, first on Monday when they host Dallas after playing in St. Louis Sunday, and then on Saturday against the Coyotes as they host Nashville Friday. Dave Bolland is getting close to returning from a lower body injury but has sat out the last three games. Marcus Kruger has taken over from him as the Blackhawks second line center. Ray Emery has three shutouts in his last five games. Patrick Sharp is back in the Chicago lineup after missing almost five weeks with a shoulder injury. Patrick Kane leads the Blackhawks in goals with 20, assists with 26 and obviously points with 46.

  

COLORADO

 

Games this week

vs. Columbus, vs. Edmonton, vs. St. Louis

 

Notes

There is plenty of angst in Colorado after goaltender Jean-Sebastien Giguere called out his teammates for a lack of effort saying "some guys are more worried about their Vegas trip at the end of the season than playing the games." He was wholly supported by Matt Duchene and it must have worked as the Avs won 4-1 Wednesday, limiting the Ducks to only 19 shots. Paul Stastny returned the same evening after missing eight games with a bruised foot. Semyon Varlamov  is out with a hip injury and the Avalanche recalled Sami Aittokallio from the minors. Captain Gabriel Landeskog scored shorthanded Wednesday, his first point in eight games.

 

COLUMBUS

 

Games this week

@ Colorado, @ Anaheim, @ Los Angeles, @ San Jose

 

Notes

The Blue Jackets play three games in four nights so it's possible that Michael Leighton will get one start but Sergei Bobrovsky has played so well that coach Todd Richards may go with his top goalie in every game as the surprising Blue Jackets remain in the hunt for a playoff spot. He is 14-10-6 with a 2.06 GAA and a .930 save percentage, which is second best in the NHL. Columbus will be a tired team on Thursday in Los Angeles after playing in Anaheim the previous night. They are in the midst of a six game road trip. Marian Gaborik has two goals and five points in four games since being dealt from the Rangers.

 

DALLAS

 

Games this week

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

 

Notes

The Stars play three games in four nights so look for Richard Bachman to get at least one start in place of Kari Lehtonen. We are assuming that Lehtonen will be healthy as he suffered a lower body injury on Tuesday.  The Stars will be rested Monday when playing in Chicago as the Blackhawks are in St. Louis Sunday. A lot of poolies are jumping on the Alex Chiasson bandwagon as the rookie has a three game scoring streak and has four points in his four NHL games this season including three goals. Look for Jamie Benn to improve now that Jaromir Jagr has been dealt to Boston as Benn often deferred to the Czech great when both were on the ice.

 

DETROIT

 

Games this week

@ Calgary, @ Vancouver

 

Notes

The Red Wings only play twice this week so I suggest that you should bench your Detroit players in weekly transaction pools. After a 66 point season, Valtteri Filppula has only seven goals and 14 points in 36 games this year. In an attempt to get his offensive game going, coach Mike Babcock is moving him to center Damien Brunner and Daniel Cleary. Detroit had big expectations when they signed Mikael Samuelsson in the off-season, well maybe not big expectations but they certainly expected him to play more than four games this season. Brendan Smith spent two games in the press box as a healthy scratch before playing on Thursday. Jimmy Howard is closing in on a six-year extension worth $31.8 million.


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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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