Michael Finewax

The Week Ahead

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Goaltending Dilemmas

Friday, October 04, 2013


 

PHILADELPHIA

 

Games this week

vs. Florida, vs. Phoenix, @ Detroit

 

Notes

The Flyers will be rested on Friday when they host the Coyotes who are in Detroit Thursday. Philadelphia faces a rested Detroit team on Saturday at the Joe Louis Arena. The Flyers surprised some by keeping Scott Laughton out of training camp and then sending him back to junior hockey after making him a healthy scratch in Philadelphia's opener against Toronto. Steve Mason started the opener while Ray Emery sat on the bench. Expect the duo to split the action in the first 20 or so games. Brayden Schenn scored the lone Flyers goal and played on the top line with Claude Giroux and Scott Hartnell. The move sent Jakub Voracek down to the third line although he played the point on the first power play.

 

PHOENIX

 

Games this week

@  New York Islanders, @ Detroit, @ Philadelphia, @ Carolina

 

Notes

The Coyotes play all four games on the road as they end a five game road trip. Phoenix will play three games in four nights so look for Thomas Greiss to play once in place of usual number one starter Mike Smith. The Coyotes will be the tired team on Friday in Philadelphia as they are in Detroit Thursday. Radim Vrbata and Martin Hanzal are together on the second line and the duo got off to a great start in the opener Thursday as Vrbata picked up the hat trick while Hanzal chipped in with two assists. Chris Brown scored 29 goals in the AHL last season with 98 penalty minutes and had 17 penalty minutes in his first game of the season in only 5:27 minutes of action.

 

PITTSBURGH

 

Games this week

vs. Carolina, @ Florida, @ Tampa Bay

 

Notes

The Penguins will be in Florida on the weekend where they will be the rested team on Friday against the Panthers who are in Tampa Bay the previous night. The Penguins will be the tired team on Saturday in Tampa Bay as the Lightning have the night off Friday. Marc-Andre Fleury quieted his distracters Thursday at least temporarily by shutting out the Devils. James Neal started but was unable to finish Thursday's game as he played only 3:49 minutes and likely re-aggravated the upper body injury that kept him out of action during the preseason. Consider him day-to-day for now. Look for Joe Vitale to take his spot on the second line with Evgeni Malkin and Jussi Jokinen, although Beau Bennett could also see some time there. Tomas Vokoun is out three-six months after doctors removed blood clots from his pelvis. Jeff Zatkoff will back up Fleury for now.

 

ST. LOUIS

 

Games this week

vs. Chicago, vs. New York Rangers

 

Notes

The Blues play twice again this week and will have had the easiest time in the NHL as they have yet to go on the road. Brenden Morrow had his work visa come through and was able to play Thursday in the opener as he will get second line minutes to start the season  with Derek Roy and Chris Stewart. Coach Ken Hitchcock will use three lines on the power play to start the season as David Backes, Patrik Berglund and T.J. Oshie will form the first unit, while Derek Roy, Chris Stewart and Vladimir Tarasenko will line up together and  Morrow, Jaden Schwartz and Vladimir Sobotka will also see action. The Blues' power play will use two groups of point men as Jay Bouwmeester will be alongside Alex Pietrangelo, and Kevin Shattenkirk will be paired with Alexander Steen. With so many getting power play time, it takes away from the value of all in fantasy pools.

 

SAN JOSE

 

Games this week

vs. New York Rangers, @ Vancouver, vs. Ottawa

 

Notes

The Sharks will be rest on Tuesday when they host the Rangers as New York will be in Los Angeles Monday. Tommy Wingels had a goal and five points in five preseason games and his offensive prowess continued into the regular season as he scored Thursday in the Sharks opener. Brad Stuart sat out the season opener with a lower body injury. The Sharks got off to a rough start as they were 0-7 on the power play. It appears that Joe Thornton will take a lot less to remain in a Sharks uniform than he could get as an unrestricted free agent so expect him to stay in San Jose as he is eligible to become a UFA at the end of the season.

 

TAMPA BAY

 

Games this week

@ Buffalo, vs. Florida, vs. Pittsburgh

 

Notes

The Lightning will be rested on Saturday when they face a tired Penguins team who play the Panthers in Miami Friday. The move shocked a lot of people but the Lightning sent Jonathan Drouin who was selected third overall in the 2013 Draft back to junior hockey without giving him a sniff of regular season action. Anders Lindback picked up the opening night assignment in net but look for Ben Bishop to see just as much action. Sami Salo missed Thursday's game with an upper body injury. He is injury prone and usually misses 15-20 games per season. He has value in fantasy pools with daily moves as you can place him in and out of your lineup without the worry that an injury will keep him out all week. Martin St. Louis was named captain of the Lightning and Steve Stamkos thought it was the right decision.  

 

TORONTO

 

Games this week

vs. Colorado, @ Washington, vs. Edmonton

 

Notes

Jonathan Bernier showed Leaf Nation why he was highly regarded as he stole a game against the Flyers in a 3-1 win as Philadelphia outplayed Toronto. Phil Kessel will be a Toronto Maple Leaf for a long time as he inked an eight year extension. Mark Fraser was placed on the injured reserve list after twisting his knee, so Morgan Rielly will draw into the lineup. The Leafs opened up the season with two road wins for the first time in their history. Dave Bolland scored twice in his second game in a Toronto uniform and he could see more time as a top-six forward this season. James van Riemsdyk looks quicker this season and thanks must be given to former figure skating champion Barbara Underhill as the two worked together on his skating form during the off-season.

 

VANCOUVER

 

Games this week

vs. New Jersey, vs. San Jose, vs. Montreal

 

Notes

The Canucks play all three games at home and will be rested on Tuesday when they take on a tired New Jersey team who are in Edmonton Monday. Alex Burrows has the great assignment of starting the season with Daniel and Henrik Sedin. David Booth returned to the lineup after getting injured during training camp and played on the third line with Brad Richardson and Mike Santorelli. The Canucks sent both first round picks Bo Horvat and Hunter Shinkaruk back to the CHL where they will get plenty of playing time.  Both have a good chance to crack Team Canada's U20 World team. The Canucks picked up Zac Dalpe and Jeremy Welsh from Carolina in exchange for Kellan Tochkin and a fourth round pick.

 

WASHINGTON

 

Games this week

vs. Carolina, vs. Colorado

 

Notes

Martin Erat played only 9:01 minutes during the opener Tuesday and was confused. Imagine how he feels now as he saw only 6:30 minutes on Thursday. They sent Michael Latta to the minors after picking up Alexander Urbom off waivers. Mikhail Grabovski's Washington career got off to an outstanding start as he became the first Capital to score a hat trick on opening night. He has five points in two games. Braden Holtby gave up five goals on 34 shots in the opener and followed it up with only eight saves on 11 shots before being pulled. Michal Neuvirth held down the fort Thursday as he came in cold but managed to stop 27 of 28 shots as the Capitals came back from a three goal deficit to beat Calgary in a shootout 5-4.

 

WINNIPEG

 

Games this week

@ Minnesota, vs. Dallas, vs. New Jersey

 

Notes

The Jets play three games in four nights so expect to see Al Montoya to play once in place of Ondrej Pavelec. Winnipeg will be a tired team Friday when at home to the Stars as the Jets play in Minnesota Thursday. Jacob Trouba had a great NHL debut as he had a goal and an assist to lead the Jets to a 5-4 comeback win over Edmonton. Tobias Enstrom and Dustin Byfuglien were paired together as Byfuglien's normal defense partner, Grant Clitsome was injured. Enstrom will play alongside Zach Bogosian when everyone is healthy. The Jets signed their 2013 first round pick, defenseman Josh Morrissey, to an entry level contract.



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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