Mike Finewax

The Week Ahead

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Rangers finally end road trip

Friday, October 18, 2013


 

EDMONTON

 

Games this week

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

 

Notes

The Oilers play four times this week including three games in four nights so expect to see Jason LaBarbera to play at least once for Devan Dubnyk. They are the tired team Sunday in Los Angeles after playing in Phoenix Saturday. Mark Arcobello has been on fire as far as assists go as he now has eight in eight games. Nail Yakupov has yet to garner a point in six games this season and the former first overall pick has been a healthy scratch twice. Boyd Gordon has four goals and five points this season. Dubnyk is 0-4-1 and needed to stop 37 of 40 shots Thursday to bring his GAA down to 4.91 and raise his save percentage to .854.

 

FLORIDA

 

Games this week

vs. Chicago, vs. Buffalo, vs. Tampa Bay

 

Notes

The Panthers are the rested team Sunday when they host the Lightning with Tampa Bay hosting Buffalo on Saturday. It's nice to see that Nick Bjugstad return this past week from a concussion that kept him out of the lineup since September 8. Scottie Upshall was the odd man out with Bjugstad's return. Tim Thomas returned on Thursday from a groin injury and the Panthers came close to upsetting his former Bruins teammates as they dropped a 3-2 decision. Thomas stopped 37 shots in the loss. Rookie Aleksander Barkov has two goals and five points in eight games.

 

LOS ANGELES

 

Games this week

vs. Calgary, vs. Phoenix, vs. Edmonton

 

Notes

The Kings are rested Sunday when facing Edmonton who take on the Coyotes in Phoenix Saturday. Slava Voynov was off to a slow start with only a goal and two points in his first seven games but he scored his second of the season Thursday. Drew Doughty is off to another slow start as he has only a power play goal in eight games. A lot of poolies bought into Jacob Muzzin before the start of the season but poor performances in the early going has made Muzzin a healthy scratch in his last five games. Jonathan Quick has struggled early on and is 4-3-0 with a 2.58 GAA.

 

MINNESOTA

 

Games this week

vs. Nashville, vs. Carolina, @ Chicago

 

Notes

Good news for the Wild as Niklas Backstrom has returned from a knee injury so Minnesota has returned Darcy Kuemper to the minors. Kuemper had a tough time against the Maple Leafs as he gave up three goals on only seven shots before being pulled. Don't be surprised if Mathew Dumba is returned to junior hockey as it is tough for a defenseman to make the transition to the pro ranks without some minor league time. Mikko Koivu finally scored Thursday and now has a goal and five assists in eight games. Dany Heatley has been in a terrible slump with only one assist in eight games.

 

MONTREAL

           

Games this week

vs. Edmonton, vs. Anaheim, vs. San Jose

 

Notes

Max Pacioretty is out of action for three weeks with a left hamstring strain. It looks like Davis Drewiske is out for the remainder of the regular season. He underwent shoulder surgery and is expected to miss five-six months. Daniel Briere is seeing fourth line minutes at this time. Carey Price is 4-2-0 this season with a 2.01 GAA and a .938 save percentage. George Parros seems to be coming along after suffering a concussion on opening night. He has played only one game and leads the team in penalty minutes with 20. P.K. Subban leads all defensemen with 10 points in seven games. He also is plus-six with 12 penalty minutes.

 

NASHVILLE

 

Games this week

@ Minnesota, vs. Winnipeg, vs. St. Louis

 

Notes

The Predators will be rested Saturday when hosting the Blues with St. Louis playing Vancouver on Friday. After a slow start, Pekka Rinne is starting to return to form as he is 3-3-1 with a 2.73 GAA and a .901 save percentage. Look for the last two numbers to improve significantly as the season progresses. Carter Hutton has appeared in only one game and that was in relief of Rinne in the season opener.  Shea Weber had three points in two games before being held off the scoresheet Thursday. Mike Fisher and Craig Smith lead the team in points with five. 

 

NEW JERSEY

 

Games this week

@ Columbus, vs. Vancouver, @ Boston

 

Notes

Ryane Clowe was placed on the injured reserve list with a head injury after being hit by Jacob Trouba of the Jets Sunday. He could return this week as he is feeling better. The Devils have yet to win a game as they are 0-4-3. Martin Brodeur has played in four games with a 0-2-2 record, a 3.40 GAA and a .865 save percentage. I know it's early but Cory Schneider's peripherals are a lot better as he has a 2.65 GAA and a .908 save percentage despite a 0-2-1 record. Adam Henrique has been playing on the left wing at times this season, on a line with Andrei Loktionov and Michael Ryder. Damien Brunner leads the Devils in goals and points with three and five respectively.

 

NEW YORK ISLANDERS

 

Games this week

vs. Vancouver, @ Pittsburgh, vs. Philadelphia

 

Notes

The Islanders will be the tired team on Saturday when they are home to the Flyers after playing in Pittsburgh on Friday night. John Tavares has been hot of late with five points in his last three games and now has nine points this season.  We would take Matt Martin in any pool that uses hits and/or penalty minutes so his rare goal on Tuesday was a bonus. Pierre-Marc Bouchard was a healthy scratch on Oct. 12 and returned to play alongside Joshua Bailey and Frans Nielsen. Cal Clutterbuck is minus-two with nary a point in four games since returning from a cut on his leg during a preseason game.

 

NEW YORK RANGERS

 

Games this week

@ Philadelphia, @ Detroit

 

Notes

The Rangers finally end their wicked nine game road trip to start the season with a game this week in Detroit. New York put goaltender Martin Biron and forward Arron Asham on waivers earlier in the week and then sent both down to the minors.  They recalled Jason Missiaen to back up Henrik Lundqvist in the interim. Ryan Callahan's stretch of bad luck continues as he suffered a broken thumb Wednesday that will keep him on the shelf for three-four weeks. Derek Stepan looks like he avoided an injury after he took an elbow to his head, courtesy of Troy Brouwer. Brad Richards leads the Rangers with seven points in six games.

 

OTTAWA     

 

Games this week

@ Detroit, vs. Anaheim, vs. San Jose

 

Notes

The Senators are the rested team twice this week. They play the Ducks are Friday after Anaheim plays in Montreal Thursday. They are home to the Sharks on Sunday with San Jose playing the Canadiens Saturday. Jason Spezza got off to a bit of a slow start with two points in his first four games but has had back-to-back three point games this week. He is one point ahead of Bobby Ryan who has played well thus far for the Senators. Binghamton coach Luke Richardson has been impressed with the play and attitude of Mika Zibanejad and he could be recalled as the Senators placed Stephane Da Costa on waivers. Da Costa will be sent to the minors if he passes through waivers as he is on a two-way contract.


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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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