Michael Finewax

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The Penalty Kill

Friday, November 08, 2013


 

PHILADELPHIA

 

Games this week

@ Ottawa, @ Pittsburgh, @ Winnipeg

 

Notes

The Flyers play three games in four nights and all are on the road so look for Ray Emery to see the net once with Steve Mason drawing the other two assignments. The Flyers will be tired on Wednesday when they face the Penguins in Pittsburgh after playing in Ottawa on Tuesday. Claude Giroux has yet to score in 15 games this season. The Flyers have reunited Giroux with Jakub Voracek and Scott Hartnell in hopes that the trio can get untracked. Steve Downie could return as early as November 9 from a concussion suffered Nov. 1 courtest of Aaron Volpatti of the Capitals. Tye McGinn was tied for second in goals scored for the Flyers before he was returned to the minors. He had three.

 

PHOENIX

 

Games this week

@ St. Louis, @ Chicago, vs. Tampa Bay

 

Notes

Martin Hanzal is off to a great start with five goals and 13 points in 15 games. He also hits a lot so his value in fantasy pools is skyrocketing. Andy Miele, the former Hobey Baker winner was sent to the minors Thursday after picking up two assists in four games. Mike Smith is 9-3-2 with a .915 save percentage but his goals against average is so-so at 2.87. Rostislav Klesla is back after missing four games with a lower body injury. Brandon Gormley was returned to the minors as he still has not played a game in the NHL. Antoine Vermette has five goals and nine points in 17 games with a plus-eight rating and 14 penalty minutes. He has also been terrific in the faceoff circle at 58.1 percent, the sixth best in the NHL.

 

PITTSBURGH

 

Games this week

vs. Philadelphia, vs. Nashville, @ New Jersey

 

Notes

The Penguins play three games in four nights so it is likely that Jeff Zatkoff will play once in place of Marc-Andre Fleury. The Penguins will be rested on Wednesday when they host the Flyers as Philadelphia takes on Ottawa in Canada’s capital Tuesday. I was on @penguinslive with @Brian_Metzer Thursday and everyone in Pittsburgh is getting excited about the return of James Neal who could return at some point this week. It will add to the fantasy value of Evgeni Malkin who has struggled a bit this season without Neal on the wing. Malkin does have 14 points in 16 games but he was expected to do a lot better than that and has scored only three times. Combine that with the imminent return of Beau Bennett to the second line as well and it looks like the Penguins are looking good.

 

ST. LOUIS

 

Games this week

vs. Phoenix, vs. Colorado, vs. Carolina, @ Washington

 

Notes

The Blues play four games this week including three in four nights so Brian Elliott will get at least one start with Jaroslav Halak getting the rest of the action. The Blues will be the rested team on Saturday when they take on the Hurricanes as Carolina is home to Anaheim Friday. St. Louis will be the tired team on Sunday in Washington. Alexander Steen became only the fifth player since 1999-2000 to score 14 goals in his team’s first 14 games. Brenden Morrow was put on the injured reserve list with an upper body injury. Derek Roy saw only 12:01 minutes of ice time on Thursday including just 2:47 in the third period. T.J. Oshie was back on the first line Thursday after being bumped to the second unit during practice Monday. He set up Steen for his goal Thursday.

 

SAN JOSE

 

Games this week

@ Calgary, @ Vancouver, @ Edmonton, @ Chicago

 

Notes

The Sharks play all four on the road this week including three games in four nights so expect to see Alex Stalock in goal once with Antti Niemi playing three times. The Sharks will be the tired team on Friday against the Oilers after playing in Vancouver Thursday but will be rested on Sunday in Chicago as the Blackhawks are in Nashville Saturday. There is still no timetable for the return of Brent Burns who has been out of action since October 19 after taking a puck to the mouth. He has four goals and eight points but has missed the last eight games. Tommy Wingels saw time on the first line Thursday with Joe Thornton and Tomas Hertl but by the third period the line combinations were all mixed up.

  

TAMPA BAY

 

Games this week

@ Boston, @ Montreal, vs. Anaheim, @ Phoenix

 

Notes

The Lightning play three games in four nights as part of a four game week so expect to see Anders Lindback play once in place of Ben Bishop. They will be the tired team on Tuesday in Montreal after playing in Boston on Monday. Bishop’s play has been so good this season that his name is being bandied about for Team USA at the Sochi Olympics. Bishop is 10-2-0 with a 2.14 GAA and a .928 save percentage. Keith Aulie has played only twice this season but is working hard in practice. He will need to clear waivers to go to the minors and that is unlikely. Alex Killorn is playing well on the top line with Steve Stamkos and Martin St. Louis and is worth picking up in all pools at this time.

 

TORONTO

 

Games this week

@ Minnesota, @ Buffalo, vs. Buffalo

 

Notes

The Maple Leafs play three games in four nights so James Reimer and Jonathan Bernier will get net time with Randy Carlyle deciding who plays the extra game. The Maple Leafs play a home-and-home series with Buffalo and look for tempers to flare with the Phil Kessel-John Scott incident in preseason play. Colton Orr, and Frazer McLaren should add to their penalty minute totals and Mark Fraser is likely to as well. Fraser will return on November 8 after missing a month with a knee injury. Look for Morgan Rielly to be a healthy scratch more often in the next month. Jerred Smithson was signed this week as the Maple Leafs needed a center with the injury to Dave Bolland.

  

VANCOUVER

 

Games this week

vs. San Jose, vs. Dallas

 

Notes

The Canucks are the only team in the NHL this week to play two games so I would suggest benching all your Vancouver players in weekly transaction pools with the exception of the Sedin twins and Ryan Kesler, if you can. Henrik Sedin leads the NHL with 17 assists. Roberto Luongo has been outstanding this season and is the leading candidate to play goal for Canada at the Olympics at this time as he is 9-4-2 with a 2.23 GAA and a .916 save percentage. Christopher Higgins is playing well with six goals and 10 points in 18 games.   The Canucks sent David Booth to the minors on a conditioning stint.

 

WASHINGTON

 

Games this week

vs. Columbus, @ Detroit, vs. St. Louis

 

Notes

The Capitals will be the rested team on Sunday when they host the Blues as St. Louis takes on Carolina at home on Saturday. How the mighty have fallen. Brooks Laich was a good fantasy player a couple of seasons ago as he had point totals of 53, 59, 48 and 41 from 2008-09 to 2011-12. But an injury in 2012 forced him to miss 39 of 48 games and he has only three points in 16 games this season. Marcus Johansson is having a breakout season with 14 points in 16 games. Alex Ovechkin returned to action after missing two games with an upper body injury.  

 

WINNIPEG

 

Games this week

@ Detroit, vs. Philadelphia, @ Minnesota

 

Notes

Jim Slater, who has been out of the lineup since October 18, underwent sports hernia surgery and is out indefinitely. Evander Kane (lower body) was held out of Wednesday’s game although he thought he could play. Bryan Little has 13 points including eight goals in 17 games and is on pace to beat his best season ever as he had 51 points in 2008-09. Mark Scheifele had two assists on Monday and now has five points in 17 games. Dustin Byfuglien has yet to find the back of the net but does have 10 assists this season. He has 22 penalty minutes as well but his minus-nine rating lowers his fantasy value.



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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