Michael Finewax

The Week Ahead

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Rangers finally end road trip

Friday, October 18, 2013


I was on the NHL.com's Google+Hangout on Thursday with Matt Cubeta, Pete Jensen and Justin Goldman of NHL.com, as well as Scott Pianowski of Yahoo! as we talked fantasy hockey. It was a great 30 minutes and the conversation was lively and informative. Click here to watch.

 

 It's not too late to join a Yahoo! Hockey pool.

                                                       

Don’t forget, for everything NHL, check out Rotoworld's Player News, and follow @Rotoworld_ HK and @mfinewaxhockey on Twitter.

 

Now to The Week Ahead.

 

WEEK OF OCTOBER 21-27

 

4 Games - Anaheim, Calgary, Edmonton, San Jose, Winnipeg

 

3 Games–Boston, Buffalo, Chicago, Colorado, Columbus, Detroit, Florida, Los Angeles, Minnesota, Montreal, Nashville, New Jersey, New York Islanders, Ottawa, Phoenix, Pittsburgh, Tampa Bay, Toronto, Washington, Vancouver

 

2 Games – Carolina, Dallas, New York Rangers, Philadelphia, St. Louis

 

Anaheim and San Jose play all four of their games on the road.

 

Edmonton, Vancouver, Washington and Winnipeg play three games on the road.

 

Columbus, Detroit, Florida, Los Angeles, Montreal and Nashville play three games at home.

 

Editor's Note: Rotoworld's partner FanDuel is hosting a $1,500 Fantasy Hockey league that includes Friday and Saturday's NHL games. It's just $10 to join and first prize is $400. Starts Friday at 8pm ET. Here's the link.

 

INJURIES

 

Ryan Callahan suffered a broken thumb and will miss three-four weeks. (Click here to see the rest of the injury list.)

 

 

ANAHEIM

 

Games this week

@ Toronto, @ Montreal, @ Ottawa, @ Columbus

 

Notes

The Ducks play four on the road including three games in four nights so Viktor Fasth and Jonas Hiller could split the net. The Ducks will be the tired team Friday in Ottawa after playing in Montreal Thursday. The Ducks power play has been horrible this season as they have converted only one of 23 opportunities for a 4.4 percent conversion rate, the worst in the NHL. Hampus Lindholm continues to impress as he was the first star in Wednesday's 3-2 win over Calgary. The 19-year-old defenseman has two assists in four games but is a plus-seven. Stefan Noesen is out for the season after tearing his ACL and MCL. Fasth is 2-1 but with a 3.33 GAA and a .877 save percentage.

 

BOSTON

 

Games this week

@ Buffalo, vs. San Jose, vs. New Jersey

 

Notes

The Bruins play three games in four nights so expect to see Chad Johnson play once in place of Tuukka Rask. The Bruins will be tired Thursday when they host the Sharks after playing in Buffalo on Wednesday. Reilly Smith has moved up to the second line with Bard Marchand playing the third line alongside Chris Kelly and Jordan Caron. Marchand has been turning the puck over too much, necessitating the move. Milan Lucic has contributed fantasy-wise in every game this season as he has three goals and five points in five games with 12 penalty minutes  heading into Thursday's action. Loui Eriksson has scored in his last two games. Dougie Hamilton had been a healthy scratch of late, missing the last two games before getting in the lineup Thursday and scoring a power play goal.

 

BUFFALO

 

Games this week

vs. Boston, @ Florida, @ Tampa Bay

 

Notes

The Sabres will play three times in four nights so look for Jhonas Enroth to play once for Ryan Miller. The Sabres will be tired on Saturday when they travel to Tampa Bay after playing Friday night across the state against the Panthers. Patrick Kaleta was suspended for 10 games for his hit to the head on Jack Johnson of the Blue Jackets. He is appealing. Christian Ehrhoff picked up his first two assists of the season in Tuesday's win. The big question floating around the Sabres is what is going to happen to Thomas Vanek. Vanek is scheduled to become an unrestricted free agent at the end of the season and it does not look good at this time for the Sabres to be able to hold onto him. They should trade him if they are unable to sign him. The Wild are front runners for his services next season as he played his college hockey there and owns a home in the Twin Cities.

 

CALGARY

 

Games this week

@ Los Angeles, @ Phoenix, @ Dallas, vs. Washington

 

Notes

Calgary starts off their four game week by playing three games in four nights so look for Karri Ramo to get the net back at least once from one of the surprise goalies in the early going, Joey MacDonald. The Flames will be tired when they are in Phoenix Tuesday after playing the Kings in Los Angeles Monday. Sean Monahan has been terrific for the Flames thus far with four goals and six points in six games but he still will be better served playing in the CHL and for Team Canada's U20 team. Despite a .891 save percentage and a 2.99 GAA, MacDonald has been stellar in the Calgary cage. There is still no timetable for the return of Michael Cammalleri from a hand injury. Dennis Wideman is getting a lot of ice time as he is second in the NHL at 27:46 minutes after six games.

 

CAROLINA

 

Games this week

@ Minnesota, @ Los Angeles

 

Notes

Despite playing only twice this week, the Hurricanes play back-to-back games. Normally we figure Carolina would split the goaltending assignments but with backup Anton Khudobin on the shelf, look for Cam Ward to get both starts. The Hurricanes called up Justin Peters to back up Ward for the time being. Rookie Elias Lindholm has missed the last three games with an upper body injury but should return this week. Eric Staal is minus-five this season. He had the same problem two seasons ago as he had the worst plus/minus early in the season with a minus-18 after just 19 games in the 2011-12 season. Nathan Gerbe had only 10 points in 42 games last season with Buffalo but already has five in eight games with the Hurricanes.

           

CHICAGO

 

Games this week

@ Florida, @ Tampa Bay, vs. Minnesota

 

Notes

Niklas Hjalmarsson has five assists in seven games, one ahead of Duncan Keith but Hjalmarsson has a plus-five rating which is a lot better than Keith's minus-one rating. Patrick Kane leads the Blackhawks in goals with four and is tied with Brandon Saad, Marian Hossa and Hjalmarsson in points with five. Patrick Sharp scored his first of the season on Tuesday and it was the 200th of his career. Andrew Shaw has only two assists in seven games. Brandon Pirri scored his first NHL goal Thursday and is one of the Blackhawks more promising youngsters.

 

COLORADO

 

Games this week

@ Pittsburgh, vs. Carolina, vs. Winnipeg

 

Notes

The Colorado Avalanche get a big bonus this week as they are the rested team twice, first on Friday when they take on Carolina as the Hurricanes are in Minnesota the previous night. The second time is Sunday at home to the Jets as Winnipeg are in Dallas Saturday. The Avs are one of the surprise teams in the league, especially with their goaltending as Semyon Varlamov is 5-1 with a 1.68 GAA and an eye-popping .950 save percentage despite giving up four goals on 28 shots Thursday, while Jean-Sebastien Giguere had a shutout in his only appearance. The duo combined to be the second stars of the week. Alex Tanguay has also been a surprise with two goals and five points this season. Cody McLeod will get an in-person hearing for boarding Niklas Kronwall so expect him to miss at least five games.

 

COLUMBUS

 

Games this week

vs. New Jersey, vs. Toronto, vs. Anaheim

 

Notes

Marian Gaborik missed Thursday's game with an illness but is expected to be fine this week. Artem Anisimov was placed on the wing from center and will play on the second line with Ryan Johansen and R.J. Umberger. Matt Calvert is out six weeks after undergoing abdominal surgery. Although Sergei Bobrovsky is just 2-4-0 this season, his 2.49 GAA and .921 save percentage have been good for fantasy owners. Boone Jenner is having trouble adjusting to the speed of the NHL game but is getting better. He started the season on the top line but quickly found himself in the press box when he struggled early on. He finally hit the scoresheet with two goals Thursday. Brandon Dubinsky has a goal and three points in six games and finally picked up his first penalty on Thursday.

 

DALLAS

 

Games this week

vs. Calgary, vs. Winnipeg

 

Notes

The Stars play only twice this week but both are at home. They have moved Valeri Nichushkin to the left wing after he had only one shot on goal in four games as a right winger. He will play alongside Erik Cole and Shawn Horcoff and the two veterans should help him ease into the season. Kari Lehtonen is out with a lower body injury and the Stars have recalled Jack Campbell to back up Dan Ellis in the interim. Dallas is hoping that Lehtonen will be fine for this week's games. After going scoreless over the first two games, Tyler Seguin has eight points in his last five games. Alex Chiasson, Ray Whitney and Cody Eakin have formed a good second line for the Stars.

 

DETROIT

 

Games this week

vs. San Jose, vs. Ottawa, vs. New York Rangers

 

Notes

The Red Wings play all three games at home this week. Jimmy Howard was out with a hand injury but should be fine to go this week. Jonas Gustavsson has played well in his absence with a couple of wins, a 1.50 GAA and a .955 save percentage. After getting five assists, Daniel Alfredsson finally picked up his first goal in a Detroit uniform. Brendan Smith was a minus-four in his first four games of the season and as a result has been a healthy scratch in his last three games. Justin Abdelkader has moved from the first line with Pavel Datsyuk and Henrik Zetterberg to the second line alongside Stephen Weiss and Johan Franzen. Niklas Kronwall was taken off in a stretcher Thursday and has been diagnosed with a concussion.


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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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