Mike Finewax

The Week Ahead

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Kessel, Ovie: Fantasy studs

Friday, April 19, 2013


 

PHILADELPHIA

 

Games this week

vs. Boston .vs. New York Islanders, @ Ottawa

 

Notes

The Flyers are just playing out the string as they will not make the post-season in 2013. Simon Gagne has moved to the top line with Claude Giroux and Jakub Voracek. The Flyers inked a couple of their enforcers, Jay Rosehill and Zac Rinaldo, to two-year extensions.  Steve Mason picked up his first win in a Flyers uniform Tuesday, stopping 38 shots in a 4-2 win over the Rangers. Maybe he needed a change of scenery and will start playing like he did when he was the Calder Trophy winner in 2008-09 as well as a second team All-Star. Kent Huskins is out of action after suffering a concussion.

 

PHOENIX

 

Games this week

@ Detroit, vs. San Jose, vs. Colorado, @ Anaheim

 

Notes

The Coyotes play three games in four nights this week so Jason LaBarbera could get at least one start, especially if Mike Smith is unable to go. If that is the case, Chad Johnson will also see some action.  Phoenix will be rested on Wednesday when hosting San Jose as the Sharks host Dallas Tuesday. The Coyotes will be tired Saturday in Anaheim as they host Colorado Friday.  Twenty-six year-old Chad Johnson has been sensational, albeit in only four games as he is 2-0-2 with a 1.21 GAA and a .954 save percentage. He looks like he could take over in the Coyotes cage should Phoenix be unable to sign Mike Smith in the off-season. Radim Vrbata's injury-plagued season could have been a big factor in the Coyotes not making the playoffs as they are five points out of a post-season spot in 11th place, with only five games to play. Vrbata missed 14 games and his goal-scoring prowess may have made a difference in a couple or three games. Of course had Mike Smith played as well as last season, the previous point would be moot.

 

PITTSBURGH

 

Games this week

@ Ottawa, @ New Jersey, vs. Carolina

 

Notes

The Penguins continue to roll along as they head into the post-season as the number one seed in the Eastern Conference. They will be helped by a now healthy Kris Letang who has a goal and five points in his last three games. He has 33 points in 31 games. The Penguins are not going to rush back any of their injured players before the start of the playoffs although Evgeni Malkin could see some action this week. Do not expect to see Sidney Crosby play until the start of the playoffs as there is no need to rush him back from his broken jaw. Brenden Morrow has certainly turned his season around since his trade from Dallas as he has five goals and eight points in his last four games.

ST. LOUIS

 

Games this week

vs. Colorado, vs. Calgary, vs. Chicago

 

Notes

The Blues are rested Saturday against the Blackhawks who host Calgary Friday.  David Perron broke his 16 game goalless streak Thursday as he scored the Blues lone goal in regulation. T.J. Oshie is looking to return for the start of the playoffs after undergoing ankle surgery Tuesday. Jay Bouwmeester potted his first goal in a Blues uniform Tuesday. Chris Stewart continues to lead the Blues in goals and points with 16 and 31 respectively, but has only a goal and an assist in his last 13 games. Alex Pietrangelo has not found the back of the net in his last 19 games but has an assist in each of his last two contests.

 

SAN JOSE

 

Games this week

vs. Dallas, @ Phoenix, @ Los Angeles

 

Notes

The Sharks are tired Wednesday when in Phoenix after playing the Stars at home Tuesday.  San Jose is getting hot again at the right time as they are 7-2-1 in their last ten. Logan Couture had a big four point night Thursday and now has 34 points including 19 goals. Antti Niemi is in the Vezina talk as he is 23-10-6 with a 2.10 GAA and a .927 save percentage. Too bad he will have to try and beat out Sergei Bobrovsky and that looks to be impossible at this time. Scott Hannan returned to action for the first time in a San Jose uniform. The Sharks have lost only once before a shootout at home so the battle for fourth place with the Los Angeles Kings in the West, is an important one.

 

TAMPA BAY

 

Games this week

vs. Toronto, @ Boston, vs. Florida

 

Notes

Tampa Bay are the tired team Thursday when playing a makeup game in Boston as they entertain Toronto Wednesday.  Victor Hedman should be worth a look in deeper fantasy pools next season as he has 19 points in 40 games thus far. Alex Killorn is another Lightning player to watch as the rookie has seven goals and 19 points in 34 games. It's hard to believe that Tampa Bay is not a better team with Steve Stamkos and Martin St. Louis are tied for second place in scoring with 53 points, trailing only Sidney Crosby in the race for the Art Ross Trophy. Anders Lindback hopes to return before the end of the season from an ankle injury.

 

TORONTO

 

Games this week

@ Tampa Bay, @ Florida, vs. Montreal

 

Notes

The Maple Leafs have been reeling of late as they have not looked good in their last two losses, but you cannot blame their goaltending as James Reimer has been absolutely outstanding in net. This is the reason you should never panic when taking an NHL star early in a draft and then he gets off to a slow start (See also Alex Ovechkin).  Phil Kessel had only four assists in his first nine games as so many poolies were panicking that he should be traded. Well, Kessel now has 16 goals and 46 points in 44 games and is tied for seventh in NHL scoring. DON'T PANIC early on if your star players are off to slow starts and if you are on the other side, grab these players from irrational owners. No two players have been better offensive players of late than Kessel and Ovechkin and both have probably helped playoff lineups more than any other forward in Yahoo! pools.  Joffrey Lupul returned to action on Tuesday after missing five games with a concussion.

 

VANCOUVER

 

Games this week

vs. Chicago, vs. Anaheim, @ Edmonton

 

Notes

The Canucks are rested Saturday when playing in Edmonton as the Oilers are in Minnesota Friday. Kevin Bieksa is out with a lower body injury. Derek Roy is off to a good start on the second line as he was moved to the wing. He has three points in three games with Ryan Kesler and Jannik Hansen on his line. Henrik Sedin has 11 goals and 42 points this season. His brother Daniel also has 11 goals and that has been a disappointment as he is the goal scorer in the family. Christopher Higgins is still out of action with a knee injury. Hopefully he will be ready for the start of the playoffs.

 

 

WASHINGTON

 

Games this week

vs. Winnipeg, vs. Ottawa, vs. Boston

 

Notes

The Capitals will be rested on Tuesday when Winnipeg comes to town as the Jets are in Buffalo Monday.  Brooks Laich will not have surgery on his injured groin but will not return to the Washington lineup until he is 100 percent. Laich has played in only nine games this season with one goal and four points. He is worth looking at next season if healthy as most poolies will have forgotten about him in deeper pools. Troy Brouwer is having his best season in the NHL with 17 goals and 30 points in 43 games with half his points coming on the power play. He is one of only four NHLers to be on the ice for over 30 power play goals this season.

 

WINNIPEG

 

Games this week

@ Buffalo, @ Washington, vs. Montreal

 

Notes

The Jets play three games in four nights so it's possible that Al Montoya will get one start in place of Ondrej Pavelec. The Jets will be tired Tuesday against the Capitals as they are in Buffalo Monday. Zach Redmond has been sent to the minors on a conditioning stint after missing almost two months of action when he sustained a serious cut to his femoral artery and lost a lot of blood at practice on February 21. It's great to see him playing again.  Tobias Enstrom is week-to-week with a middle body injury. Andrew Ladd has 44 points in 44 games and has been a great fantasy player this season. Jacob Trouba still has yet to play despite practicing with the team.



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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