Michael Finewax

The Week Ahead

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Varlamov in hot water

Friday, November 01, 2013


 

EDMONTON

 

Games this week

@ Florida, @ Tampa Bay, @ Philadelphia, @ Chicago

 

Notes

The Oilers play all four games on the road this week and also play three games in four nights so look for the netminding to be split. Right now Devan Dubnyk is out with a minor ankle sprain so the Oilers recalled Richard Bachman from the minors on an emergency basis. He has been their best goalie thus far in only two games but Edmonton could recall him once they send him down so Jason LaBarbera's job could be in jeopardy. The Oilers welcomed Sam Gagner back this past week after he had missed the first 13 games with a broken jaw. Nail Yakupov finally scored and has three points in his past six games. While it doesn't seem like much, Yakupov went his first six games without a point before being a healthy scratch for a couple of games.

 

FLORIDA

 

Games this week

vs. Edmonton, @ Boston, @ Ottawa, @ New York Rangers

 

Notes

The Panthers play three games in four nights this week so look for Jacob Markstrom and Scott Clemmensen to split the net if Tim Thomas remains on the shelf with an ankle injury. They are the tired team on Sunday against the Rangers in New York as they are in Ottawa Saturday. Ed Jovanovski practiced on Thursday and could be ready to return after playing in only six games last season and none thus far this year due to a wonky hip.  Jonathan Huberdeau thinks he should have more than five points in 12 games as he is getting plenty of chances to score. He won the Calder Trophy last season so he could be worth picking up in most pools.

 

LOS ANGELES

 

Games this week

vs. Buffalo, vs. Vancouver

 

Notes

After a good start to the season, Dustin Brown has gone 10 games without finding the back of the net. He should get on a hot streak soon. Justin Williams on the other hand, got off to a slow start but has three goals and five assists in his last six games. Drew Doughty already has four goals in 14 games after scoring only six times in 48 games last season. Jonathan Quick is one of the best goalies in the NHL but his save percentage over the last two seasons is nothing to write home about as he finished with a .903 save percentage in October and had a .902 all last season. Anze Kopitar has two goals in his last four games after going 27 games, dating back to last season, without getting one past a goalkeeper.

 

MINNESOTA

 

Games this week

vs. Calgary, @ Washington, @ Carolina

 

Notes

Jonas Brodin suffered a broken jaw on October 22 but is now practicing and could be back in the Wild lineup this week. Coach Mike Yeo split up Zach Parise and Mikko Koivu for the first time since Parise signed as an unrestricted free agent during the 2012 off-season. The lines could be Parise, Charlie Coyle (coming back after missing 11 games) and Dany Heatley with Koivu centering Kyle Brodziak and Nino Niederreiter but as you should be aware, lines change from shift-to-shift nevermind game-to-game. The Wild are still considering whether or not to keep Mathew Dumba who has played in nine games thus far. One more game this season burns up one year of his entry level deal so they could keep him in the press box for a bit before deciding whether or not to keep him or send him back to the WHL.

 

 

MONTREAL

           

Games this week

vs. St. Louis, @ Ottawa, vs. New York Islanders

 

Notes

The Canadiens will be rested on Sunday when they host the Islanders as New York will be in Columbus Saturday. George Parros is slated to return on November from a concussion that has kept him out of the lineup since opening night. Max Pacioretty is also due to comeback on the weekend as he has missed the last seven games with a hamstring injury. Alexei Emelin has missed all season recovering from off-season knee surgery but is a couple of weeks ahead of schedule and could return shortly. He signed a four-year/$16.4 million contract so the Canadiens should soon start to negotiate with their top blueliner P.K. Subban who should command a lot more money than that after settling for a two-year bridge contract 10 months ago. The Habs lead the NHL in blocked shots with 243.

 

NASHVILLE

 

Games this week

@ Colorado, @ Winnipeg, @ New Jersey

 

Notes

Apparently the hip infection suffered by Pekka Rinne was very serious and it looks like he will be out at least one month trying to recover. Carter Hutton will now get the first crack at starting with Magnus Hellberg as his backup. Viktor Stalberg returned to the Nashville lineup on Thursday after being a healthy scratch the previous two games but the Predators prized off-season pick up is still pointless this season. Roman Josi played for the first time since suffering a concussion on October 4 but lost his spot alongside Shea Weber as Josi played with Kevin Klein while Weber teamed up with rookie sensation Seth Jones. Filip Forsberg has a goal and four points in nine games, all on the power play. He was a healthy scratch Thursday.

 

NEW JERSEY

 

Games this week

@ Philadelphia, @ Toronto, vs. Nashville

 

Notes

New Jersey will be tired Friday in Toronto as they face a rested Maple Leafs squad after playing the Flyers in Philadelphia Thursday. They play three games in four nights but with the status of Cory Schneider still up in the air due to a lower body injury, look for Martin Brodeur to get one or two starts while Schneider will hopefully be ready to go. If not, Keith Kinkaid will back up Brodeur. It was thought that Jaromir Jagr had set an NHL record with his 119th game winning goal but a further check back into the record books determined that Gordie Howe had 121. The discrepancy occurred due to the fact that the NHL's records for game-winning goals only date back to 1967-68 while Howe, whose career ended in the 1979-80 season, started his NHL career in 1946. Bryce Salvador suffered a none-displaced fracture in his foot and is expected to miss another week.

 

NEW YORK ISLANDERS

 

Games this week

@ Washington, @ Carolina, @ Columbus, @ Montreal

 

Notes

The Islanders play four road games this week including three games in four nights so look for Kevin Poulin to play at least once in favor of Evgeni Nabokov. The Islanders will be the tired team on Sunday when they in Montreal after taking on the Blue Jackets in Columbus Saturday. The Islanders pulled off a major deal this week when they picked up Thomas Vanek from the Sabres. The price was high as they gave up Matt Moulson (who apparently they were not interested in signing long-term), a first round pick this season that is protected for the first ten selections and a second rounder in 2015. Vanek is a goal scorer and will be teamed with John Tavares on the top line. Frans Nielsen had a four game scoring streak halted on Tuesday after he scored four goals and eight points in those four contests.

 

NEW YORK RANGERS

 

Games this week

vs. Anaheim, vs. Pittsburgh, @ Columbus, vs. Florida

 

Notes

The Rangers play three games in four nights this week so look for Cameron Talbot to play once for Henrik Lundqvist. The Rangers will be the tired team on Sunday against the rested Panthers as New York will take on the Blue Jackets in Columbus Saturday. There is still nothing new to report on Rick Nash who has been out since October 8 with a concussion. It certainly seems like a serious one given that there is no news. The Rangers defense and goaltending has come around as New York has given up only 12 goals in their last seven games. Brad Richards continues to lead the Rangers in points with nine in 12 games while Michael Del Zotto has picked up points in each of his last two games after starting the season pointless in his first eight games.

 

OTTAWA     

 

Games this week

@ Columbus, vs. Montreal, vs. Florida

 

Notes

The Senators sent Jean-Gabriel Pageau to the minors after deeming him good enough to make the team out of training camp. He only had one goal however in the regular season but should be back at some point this season. The highly-regarded Mika Zibanejad has three points in four games and was moved up to the second line alongside Kyle Turris and Clarke MacArthur. Erik Karlsson feels that the expectations piled upon him are unrealistic after his outstanding 2011-12 season in which he led all NHL defensemen with 78 points including 59 assists. He does have three goals and 11 points in 12 games so he is close to that pace. Craig Anderson is in a bit of a slump as he has allowed 13 goals in his last three games. Robin Lehner will get the start on November 1 with Anderson starting once again on the weekend.


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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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