Michael Finewax

The Week Ahead

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Look to Taylor Hall in 2013-14

Friday, April 12, 2013


 

PHILADELPHIA

 

Games this week

@ Montreal, vs. New York Rangers, vs. New Jersey, @ Carolina

 

Notes

The Flyers are all but out of the playoffs as they are in 12th and trail the eighth place Rangers by seven points with only eight games remaining. They play three games in four nights so could look to Steve Mason to see what they have in net, and put Ilya Bryzgalov on the bench. They will be tired on Tuesday when hosting the Rangers after playing in Montreal Monday. Daniel Briere thinks that his contract will be bought out at the end of the season. He has been out for the last 10 games with a concussion. Nicklas Grossmann is likely out for the remainder of the season with a concussion. Claude Giroux has four goals and 13 points in his last 11 games.

 

PHOENIX

 

Games this week

vs. San Jose. @ St. Louis, @ Chicago

 

Notes

The Coyotes will be the rested team Saturday when they face off against the Blackhawks who host Nashville Friday. Boyd Gordon is a bottom-six forward but was sought after at the trade deadline. The defensive forward has been a surprise offensively of late with four goals and six points in his last eight games. Kyle Chipchura would have made a nice very late pick in the deepest of pools as he has four goals and 12 points to go with 48 penalty minutes this season. Mike Smith has played well of late as he heads into unrestricted free agency as he has a 2-1 record, stopping 93 of 95 shots since returning from an upper body injury.

 

PITTSBURGH

 

Games this week

vs. Montreal, @ Boston, vs. Buffalo

 

Notes

The Penguins play three games in four nights so look for Tomas Vokoun to play once with Marc-Andre Fleury playing twice. Jussi Jokinen has filled in admirably for Sidney Crosby since being dealt at the trade deadline as he has five points in three games. He cannot keep up the Crosby-like pace but will continue to play on the second line with Pascal Dupuis until number 87 returns from his broken jaw. Chris Kunitz has been moved to the Evgeni Malkin and Jarome Iginla line with James Neal out with a concussion. Kris Letang returned on Thursday after missing nine of his last 10 games from a groin injury and broken toe.  

 

ST. LOUIS

 

Games this week

vs. Vancouver, vs. Phoenix, vs. Dallas, @ Colorado

 

Notes

The Blues play three games in four nights so it is expected that the red-hot Brian Elliott will get most of the action with Jake Allen getting one start. I was fortunate enough to pick up Elliott in one of my pools on Sunday night and he has rewarded me with two straight shutouts and poolies with five straight wins if you put him in the week before. The Blues will be the rested team on Tuesday when they host Vancouver as the Canucks are in Nashville Monday. T.J. Oshie could return this week from an injured ankle suffered on March 28 when he blocked a shot. He has missed the last six games and has been skating for the last four days although he has yet to be cleared for contact.

 

 

SAN JOSE

 

Games this week

@ Phoenix, vs. Los Angeles, vs. Minnesota, @ Columbus

 

Notes

The Sharks play three games in four nights so look for Thomas Greiss to play once instead of Antti Niemi. The Sharks will be tired when they face the Kings Tuesday after playing in Phoenix Monday. San Jose has become a quicker and faster team since the trade deadline as they dealt some of their slower players like Ryane Clowe, Michal Handzus and Doug Murray. After an amazing start in which he picked up nine goals and 14 points in his first six games, Patrick Marleau has only eight goals and 13 points in his last 34 games. Hopefully you dealt him after his white-hot start and fleeced some unsuspecting fellow poolie.

 

TAMPA BAY

 

Games this week

@ Winnipeg, @ Montreal, vs. Carolina

 

Notes

Tampa Bay are the rested team twice this week, first on Thursday when they play in Montreal after the Canadiens are in Pittsburgh Wednesday. They are also rested against Carolina on Sunday who play Philadelphia Saturday. Victor Hedman has been out a week with a lower body injury but should return by the start of the week. Ryan Malone missed nine games with a shoulder injury and made a surprise return to the lineup this past week. Goaltender Anders Lindback is getting close to returning to the lineup after suffering an ankle injury on March 20. He and Ben Bishop will battle for the net the rest of the season and should make a good goaltending tandem next season.

 

TORONTO

 

Games this week

vs. New Jersey, @ Washington, vs. New York Islanders, @ Montreal

 

Notes

The Maple Leafs play four times this week including three games in four nights so look for Ben Scrivens to play once for James Reimer. Toronto will be a tired team on Tuesday when they travel to Washington as the Maple Leafs host New Jersey Monday. Phil Kessel has four goals and five points in his last two games. Do not panic over the mini-slump of Nazem Kadri who has one assist in his last four games. Joffrey Lupul is still day-to-day with an upper body injury and Toronto hopes he is back in the lineup before the start of the playoffs.  Jake Gardiner has been a healthy scratch for five of the last six games.

 

VANCOUVER

 

Games this week

@ Nashville, @ St. Louis, @ Dallas, vs. Detroit

 

Notes

The Canucks play three times in four nights during their four game weekly schedule, so it is possible that Roberto Luongo could get a start in net, giving Cory Schneider a breather.  

Vancouver is the rested team on Monday when they are in Nashville who take on Detroit Sunday. The Canucks are the tired team Tuesday in St. Louis. Chris Higgins (knee) and Chris Tanev (foot) should return before the end of the regular season. Dale Wiese took over from Higgins on the Derek Roy and Jannik Hansen line. Hansen has had a pretty good season thus far with eight goals, 22 points and a plus-14 rating in 39 games.

 

WASHINGTON

 

Games this week

vs. Toronto, @ Ottawa, @ Montreal

 

Notes

The Capitals will be rested on Tuesday when Toronto comes to town as the Maple Leafs are home to New Jersey Monday. Troy Brouwer broke a six game pointless streak on Thursday with a two goal performance. Alex Ovechkin has been white-hot of late with 16 goals and 22 points in his last 14 games. He now leads the NHL in power play goals with 14 and is tied with Steve Stamkos at 26 goals. Braden Holtby has won his last four starts as he has given up eight goals in 144 shots. Brooks Laich has missed the last four games with the groin injury, an injury that caused him to miss all but nine games of the season. He has a goal and four points this season.

 

WINNIPEG

 

Games this week

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

 

Notes

Tobias Enstrom missed Thursday's game with a mid-body injury. The Jets are in tough for a playoff spot as they are tied for eighth spot but the Rangers have two games in hand as the Jets have only six left to play. Jacob Trouba has been skating in practice but there is no timetable for the rookie to get into a game. Ondrej Pavelec has won three in a row after losing his previous four games. He has allowed only four goals in 88 shots in the three wins. Evander Kane is having a breakout season with 16 goals and 31 points to go with 76 penalty minutes in 42 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 :Michael Finewax



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