Michael Finewax

The Week Ahead

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Rangers finally end road trip

Friday, October 18, 2013


 

PHILADELPHIA

 

Games this week

vs. New York Rangers, @ New York Islanders

 

Notes

The Flyers play only twice for the second week in a row. They will be rested on Saturday when on Long Island as the Islanders are in Pittsburgh Friday. You have to feel sorry for Steve Mason who has played quite well despite his 1-5-0 record as he has a .923 save percentage to go with a 2.37 GAA. It was thought that Ray Emery would at least split the net with Mason but Emery has only played twice, losing both. He has a 4.03 GAA and a .873 save percentage, which definitely shouldn't inspire fantasy owners. Matt Read is a minus-six and without a point in eight games this season. Kimmo Timonen suffered a lower body injury in the second period Thursday and did not return. Claude Giroux has yet to find the back of the net in eight games.

 

PHOENIX

 

Games this week

vs. Calgary, @ Los Angeles, vs. Edmonton

 

Notes

The Coyotes will be the rested team on Tuesday at home to Calgary as the Flames are in Los Angeles Monday. It looks like Rostislav Klesla may be hurt again after returning from a concussion. The Coyotes have made David Rundblad a healthy scratch the last four games but have added David Schlemko back into the mix among defensemen. They signed Jeff Halpern to a one-year/two-way contract. He will play bottom-six minutes but is quite good on faceoffs. Derek Morris has five points in five games but is out with a lower-body injury. Mike Smith has been so-so this season with a 3-2-1 record with 3.17 GAA and a .905 save percentage.

 

PITTSBURGH

 

Games this week

vs. Colorado, vs. New York Islanders, @ Toronto

 

Notes

Kris Letang and the Pittsburgh Penguins are being cautious with his knee and although he would be playing if it was the playoffs, it's still early in the season and to give him a few more days to fully recover makes sense. I think he will be back this week. Beau Bennett is out with a lower body injury and has missed the last two games. James Neal was placed on the long-term injured reserve list retroactive to October 3 so he is eligible to return on October 28. Marc-Andre Fleury has been sensational this season with a 6-0-0 record, a 1.67 GAA and a .932 save percentage. After poor playoff performances the last two seasons, he has been a pleasant surprise in the early going.

 

ST. LOUIS

 

Games this week

vs. Vancouver, @ Nashville

 

Notes

The Blues only play twice this week and are the tired team Saturday in Nashville after playing the Canucks at home Friday. Jaroslav Halak continues to play well enough that there is not a goaltending controversy in St. Louis as he is 5-1-0 with a 2.26 GAA and a .919 save percentage as he has relegated Brian Elliott to the end of the bench. David Backes has returned to form. He already has five goals in six games this season after finding the back of the net only six times in 48 games last season. Maxim Lapierre has been suspended for his hit from behind on Dan Boyle. He will get at least five games as the NHL has requested an in-person meeting. Magnus Paajarvi has taken his spot in the lineup.

 

SAN JOSE

 

Games this week

@ Detroit, @ Boston, @ Montreal, @ Ottawa

 

Notes

The Sharks are on the road for all four games this week and play three games in four nights so look for Alex Stalock to play once in place of Antti Niemi. The Sharks will be rested on Thursday in Boston as the Bruins take on the Sabres in Buffalo Wednesday. San Jose will be the tired team Sunday in Ottawa as they take on Montreal Saturday. Patrick Marleau is off to a hot start once again this season as he has nine points in seven games. He had 14 points in his first five games last season but ended up with only 31 points in 48 games so be a bit wary if you are thinking of trading for him. Dan Boyle was taken off the ice on a stretcher after Maxim Lapierre hit him from behind Tuesday but it looks like he'll be okay as he is not having headaches.

 

TAMPA BAY

 

Games this week

vs. Chicago, vs. Buffalo, @ Florida

 

Notes

The Lightning will be tired Sunday when in Sunrise to play the Panthers after playing the Sabres at home Saturday.  They are rested Saturday when playing Buffalo as the Sabres take on the Panthers Friday. You have to admire Martin St. Louis as he played 21:29 minutes on Thursday after taking a shot off his foot while trying to block a shot Tuesday. He has been wearing a protective boot but still managed to play. Ben Bishop looks to be the number one netminder in Tampa Bay as he is 5-0-0 this season with a 1.57 GAA and .943 save percentage. If you took Anders Lindback in your pool figuring he would be the starter, it's not looking good at this time. The Lightning recalled Brett Connolly and he saw fourth line minutes Thursday.

 

TORONTO

 

Games this week

vs. Anaheim, @ Columbus, vs. Pittsburgh

 

Notes

The Maple Leafs got quite a scare Thursday when James Reimer was run into by teammate Josh Leivo 32 seconds into the first period. Reimer suffered a head injury but it may not be as bad as first thought as he was be able to practice Friday. Leivo scored his first NHL goal in that game. Jonathan Bernier is 4-2-0  this season with a 1.98 GAA and a .940 save percentage but sure looked bad misplaying a Ron Hainsey shot from 175 feet out. James van Riemsdyk has missed the last two games with back spasms. Morgan Rielly has four assists in six games this season as he moves ever closer to that magic nine game mark. If he plays 10 games then he burns a year of his entry level contract. Mason Raymond has been a great off-season signing as he has four goals and eight points in eight games playing on the third line for the most part.

 

VANCOUVER

 

Games this week

@ New York Islanders, @ New Jersey, @ St. Louis

 

Notes

The Canucks continue their lengthy road trip and play three games in four nights so Eddie Lack should get the net in one game as Roberto Luongo is likely to start the other two. Mike Santorelli continues to score as he picked up his first two assists of the season on Thursday to go with four earlier goals. Alex Burrows is not yet close to returning to action as he is still wearing a protective boot. He suffered a foot injury on October 3 and while the initial prognosis was two-three weeks, it looks like it will be longer. While coach John Tortorella has broken up the Sedin twins from time to time, they still play on the power play together. Alexander Edler is eligible to return to action from a three game suspension on October 19 so get him back in your lineup.

 

WASHINGTON

 

Games this week

@ Winnipeg, @ Edmonton, @ Calgary

 

Notes

The Capitals go to Western Canada this week and will finish up their swing on October 28th in Vancouver. Alex Ovechkin has been firing a lot of shots on goal this season as he now has 50 in just seven games. He will set an NHL record for SOG if he can keep up the pace and stay healthy. A couple of Capitals avoided suspensions for questionable hits this week as Jason Chimera hit Justin Schultz from behind while Troy Brouwer knocked Derek Stepan to the ice. Brouwer scored his first of the season on Monday as did Brooks Laich. Ovechkin and Nicklas Backstrom lead the Capitals with nine and eight points respectively but also are minus-five and minus-four this season.

 

WINNIPEG

 

Games this week

vs. Washington, @ Nashville, @ Dallas, @ Colorado

 

Notes

The Jets play four times this week including three games in four nights so expect to see Al Montoya to play once instead of Ondrej Pavelec. The Jets will be tired Sunday in Colorado after playing in Dallas Saturday. It looked serious when Evander Kane (leg) had to be helped off the ice during practice Wednesday but he could play on October 18. Blake Wheeler is off to a slow start this season with only a goal and three points in seven games after scoring 19 last season with 41 points in 48 games. Tobias Enstrom has not scored in his last two games but had six assists in five games to start the season as he tied for the team lead in points with Dustin Byfuglien.



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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