Michael Finewax

The Week Ahead

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Look to Taylor Hall in 2013-14

Friday, April 12, 2013


 

EDMONTON

 

Games this week

vs. Minnesota, @ Colorado, vs. Anaheim

 

Notes

The Oilers are the rested team Tuesday against the Wild as Minnesota is in Calgary the night before.  After a 76 point campaign in 2011-12, Jordan Eberle has regressed this season with only  12 goals and 28 points in 40 games this season. He is no longer the Oilers go to guy as Taylor Hall has taken over that spot. I'm not a Devan Dubnyk fan but you cannot argue with his save percentage this season as he is at .922. I don't know how Justin Schultz is in the mix for the Calder Trophy. He has six goals and 20 points in 40 games but four goals and 14 points have come on the power play. His minus-13 rating is not good and he has trouble during five-on-five action.

 

FLORIDA

 

Games this week

@ New York Islanders, @ New York Rangers, @ New Jersey, @ Boston

 

Notes

The Panthers play three games in four nights so look for Scott Clemmensen to play once in place of Jacob Markstrom. They are tired Sunday when they face the Bruins after playing in New Jersey Saturday. Florida has all four games on the road this week. Dmitri Kulikov may be someone to keep an eye on next season. The highly regarded defenseman has scored two game winners in his last five games and may finally be coming into his own. Jonathan Huberdeau leads the Panthers in points with 27, one ahead of Tomas Fleischmann and Tomas Kopecky going into Thursday's action.

 

LOS ANGELES

 

Games this week

@ San Jose, vs. Columbus, vs. Dallas

 

Notes

The Kings are the rested team twice this week, first on Tuesday against San Jose who play in Phoenix on Monday, and then on Thursday when they take on Columbus who play in Anaheim the night before. It's probably a good idea to play Jonathan Quick only at home as he is 9-4-1 with a .914 save percentage and a 1.81 GAA at the Staples Center but 5-8-2 with a .885 save percentage and a 3.21 GAA on the road. Drew Doughty has scored in three straight games heading into action Thursday.  He now has four this season. Jeff Carter has 24 goals but only five assists this season.

 

MINNESOTA

 

Games this week

@ Calgary, @ Edmonton, @ San Jose, vs. Calgary

 

Notes

The Wild play three games in four nights as part of their four game week, so look  for Darcy Kuemper to play once with Niklas Backstrom seeing the rest of the action between the pipes. The Wild will be the tired team on Tuesday in Edmonton after traveling from Calgary where they play on Monday.  Devin Setoguchi has missed Matt Cullen as the former San Jose Shark has only one assist in his last six games since Cullen went down with his lower body injury. Dany Heatley will miss the rest of the season after undergoing shoulder surgery. The Wild would have to go very deep in the playoffs for Heatley to even have a chance to play again, and there is no assurance that this would be possible even if Minnesota managed to go to the Cup final.

 

MONTREAL

           

Games this week

vs. Philadelphia, @ Pittsburgh, vs. Tampa Bay, vs. Washington

 

Notes

The Canadiens play three games in four nights so expect to see Peter Budaj play at least once in goal as Montreal could rest Carey Price a little bit more with the playoffs coming up. Montreal has faith in the play of Budaj who has won seven straight games. The Habs will be the tired team on Thursday when at home to Tampa Bay after playing in Pittsburgh Wednesday. After finishing in last place in the Eastern Conference last season, Montreal clinched a playoff spot Thursday and are currently second overall in the East. Rookie Alex Galchenyuk has a five game scoring streak in which he has three goals and six points. It's nice to see Rene Bourque back after missing seven weeks with a concussion.

           

NASHVILLE

 

Games this week

vs. Vancouver, @ Chicago

 

Notes

As hard as it is to recommend Predator players in a normal week because they are such a low scoring team, it is near impossible to do so in a week where they play only twice so the recommendation here is to bench all your Nashville players in pools with weekly transactions. The Predators are the tired team Monday when facing Vancouver as Nashville take on Detroit Sunday. Colin Wilson (shoulder) and Gabriel Bourque (knee) both require season ending surgery. David Legwand has been one of the few bright spots offensively of late as he has 16 points in his last 16 games. Look for the newly acquired Filip Forsberg to join the Predators this week as he has finished his season in Sweden. Mike Fisher is still out with a hand injury.

 

NEW JERSEY

 

Games this week

@ Toronto, @ Philadelphia, vs. Florida, @ New York Rangers

 

Notes

The Devils play four times this week including three games in four nights so look for Johan Hedberg, if healthy, to play once in place of Martin Brodeur. Anton Volchenkov was suspended for four games for his elbow to the head of Boston's Brad Marchand. He will be eligible to return for the Ranger game on Sunday April 21. Ilya Kovalchuk (shoulder)  has missed the last eight games but could return as early as the Toronto game. Patrik Elias has taken over the team scoring lead from Kovalchuk in his absence as Elias has 31 points to Kovalchuk's 27. After potting four goals and 14 points in 24 playoff games last season, Bryce Salvador has reverted back to form as he has only two assists in 39 games this season.

 

NEW YORK ISLANDERS

 

Games this week

vs. Florida, @ Toronto, @ Winnipeg

 

Notes

The Islanders have been one of the surprise teams in the NHL this season as they are currently in seventh place and would qualify to meet the Canadiens in the playoffs if the season ended on Thursday. The red-hot Islanders are 8-1-1 in their last 10 games. Ryan Strome, the Islanders first pick and fifth overall in the 2011 Draft, finished his career with the Niagara IceDogs of the OHL and has four points in five AHL games as he gets his feet wet as a professional. Look for him to challenge for a spot with the Islanders at training camp in September. Matt Moulson missed his first game in four years as he sat out on April 6 with the flu but came back with a vengeance on Tuesday with a goal and an assist. He has 13 goals and 39 points in 40 games this season.

 

NEW YORK RANGERS

 

Games this week

@ Philadelphia, vs. Florida, @ Buffalo, vs. New Jersey

 

Notes

New York plays four times this week including three games in four nights but Rangers coach John Tortorella could go with Henrik Lundqvist in all four games as they are fighting for their playoff lives at this time, holding on to the eighth and final playoff spot. The Rangers will be rested Tuesday when they are in Philadelphia with the Flyers being a tired team after playing in Montreal Monday. The Rangers will be the tired team on Friday in Buffalo as they host Florida Thursday. Derek Stepan is on a six game point scoring streak and is having a great fantasy season with 34 points in 40 games with a plus-18 rating and nine power play points. Marc Staal (eye) skated with his teammates for the first time on Wednesday since his injury on March 5, although he did say that his peripheral vision is not 100 percent.

 

OTTAWA     

 

Games this week

@ Boston, vs. Carolina, vs. Washington, vs. Toronto

 

Notes

The Senators play three games in four nights so look for Craig Anderson and Robin Lehner to split the net. The Senators will be the tired team Tuesday when they return home after a seven game road trip to face the rested Hurricanes. Coach Paul MacLean has been impressed of late with Mika Zibanejad with whom he was not impressed at the beginning of the season because of his lack of fitness and less than stellar attitude. But the rookie has turned things around and has definitely matured. He is someone to draft late in deeper pools next season, especially keeper pools. Erik Karlsson (Achilles tendon) is skating once again and could return if the Senators go deep into the playoffs, but Ottawa will not rush their young superstar into the lineup as they want him to be 100 percent before returning to game action.


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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 :Michael Finewax



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