Michael Finewax

The Week Ahead

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Coaching change in Buffalo

Friday, November 15, 2013


 

PHILADELPHIA

 

Games this week

vs. Ottawa, vs. Buffalo, vs. New York Islanders

 

Notes

The Flyers are home for all three games this week and are the rested team Saturday against the Islanders as New York take on the Penguins in Pittsburgh Friday. The Flyers are headed in the right direction as they are on a three game winning streak boosting their record to 7-10-1. Claude Giroux has a goal and seven points in his last nine games. Jakub Voracek has two goals and four points in his last three games along with his first two power play points of the season. Steve Downie has two assists in two games after returning from a concussion which forced him to miss four contests. Brayden Schenn has five points in his last three games.

 

PHOENIX

 

Games this week

vs. Colorado, vs. Anaheim

 

Notes

The Coyotes are the rested time on Saturday when they are home to the Ducks who play Tampa Bay at home Friday. They play only twice this week so bench your Coyote players with the exception of Oliver Ekman-Larsson and possibly Shane Doan in weekly transaction pools. If you play defense goals as a separate category, you may be surprised to learn that Michael Stone has five this season for Phoenix. Doan is red-hot with five goals and seven points in his last five games and now has 12 in his last 10 after starting the season with only three points in his first nine games. Radim Vrbata had an assist in his first game back after missing two with a lower body injury.

 

PITTSBURGH

 

Games this week

vs. Anaheim, @ Washington, vs. New York Islanders, @ Montreal

 

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. Paul Martin has missed the last two games with a lower body injury but is back at practice. Jussi Jokinen remained on the second line with Evgeni Malkin even with the return of Beau Bennett to the lineup but expect to see Bennett replace Jokinen in the near future. James Neal returned to the Penguins lineup on Sunday and has one assist in two games this past week. Look for Neal to start heating up soon and that will help Malkin as well. Kris Letang has only four points and a minus-four rating in nine games but he does have three goals.

 

ST. LOUIS

 

Games this week

@ Buffalo, @ Boston, vs. Dallas

 

Notes

Alexander Steen scored two more goals on Thursday and now has 16 in 17 games this season. David Backes is back to his pre-2013 form as he has seven goals and 19 points in 17 games with four power play goals, 32 penalty minutes and a plus-nine rating.  Patrik Berglund has been a disappointment thus far this season with only a goal and six points. Jordan Leopold is out with a hand injury so Ian Cole will take his spot on the blueline. T.J. Oshie has only two goals but he has 16 points with a plus-11 rating as he had four assists Thursday.   Alex Pietrangelo leads all St. Louis defensemen with 15 points but he has yet to pick up a penalty minute.

 

SAN JOSE

 

Games this week

vs. Tampa Bay, vs. New Jersey

 

Notes

The Sharks only play twice but it’s hard to reserve any of their top six forwards this week as they are scoring in abundance.   Antti Niemi continues to impress with a 10-2-5 record with a 2.13 GAA and a .918 save percentage. Brent Burns has yet to return to the lineup after being injured on October 19. Tomas Hertl has been heating up again as he has three goals and six points in his last five games. Mike Brown leads the Sharks in penalty minutes with 33, two ahead of Andrew Desjardins. Martin Havlat has only a goal and an assist in seven games.  Joe Pavelski and Joe Thornton lead the team with 20 points, one ahead of Logan Couture.

 

TAMPA BAY

 

Games this week

@ Los Angeles, @ San Jose, @ Anaheim

 

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 Friday in Anaheim after playing in San Jose Thursday. The loss of Steve Stamkos to a broken leg will really hurt the Lightning in the long run. Brett Connolly made the move to first line center in Stamkos’ absence. Martin St. Louis had only two assists prior to Thursday’s game when he busted out with a goal and three points. Sami Salo is out with a lower body injury but should return shortly. Valtteri Filppula has 15 points in 19 games after picking up only 17 in 41 games last season with Detroit.

 

TORONTO

 

Games this week

vs. New York Islanders, vs. Nashville, vs. Washington

 

Notes

The Maple Leafs will be rested when the Washington Capitals come to town on Saturday as the Caps are hosting Montreal Friday. The Maple Leafs are hurting badly at center as Nazem Kadri is on a three game suspension for his hit to the head on Wild goaltender Niklas Backstrom. The Leafs already had Tyler Bozak and Dave Bolland out with injuries and have been forced to move James van Riemsdyk to the middle. Kadri will return for the Nashville game and Jay McClement will center the second line in the interim. Toronto has been getting great goaltending from both Jonathan Bernier and James Reimer as Bernier is 7-4-1 with a 2.05 GAA and a .939 save percentage while Reimer is 4-2-0 with a 2.30 GAA and a .942 save percentage.

  

VANCOUVER

 

Games this week

vs. Florida, vs. Columbus, vs. Chicago

 

Notes

The Canucks are tired Saturday when hosting the Blackhawks as they are hosting Columbus Friday. Henrik Sedin picked up an assist for his first point in four games Thursday. David Booth is on a conditioning stint in the AHL and is enjoying playing a lot. He has one point in three games playing for Utica. Coach John Tortorella switched his lines around (surprise, surprise) and Mike Santorelli found himself playing with the Sedin twins with Ryan Kesler moving to the second unit with Alex Burrows and Christopher Higgins. Zack Kassian has four goals and 26 penalty minutes in 16 games this season.

 

WASHINGTON

 

Games this week

vs. Pittsburgh, vs. Montreal, @ Toronto

 

Notes

Washington plays three games in four nights so look for Michal Neuvirth to play once in place of Braden Holtby. The Capitals will be the tired team on Saturday when they are in Toronto as they host Montreal Friday. The Capitals recalled Tyson Strachan from the minors in case Mike Green (lower body) is unable to play.   Joel Ward continues to score as he has goals in three straight games and nine in 19 games this season. Alex Ovechkin’s fantasy value is higher if you do not play the plus/minus category as he is minus-10 this season in 17 games. Brooks Laich continues to disappoint as he has only two goals and four points in 19 games and is tied with Ovechkin at a team worse minus-10.

 

WINNIPEG

 

Games this week

vs. Calgary, vs. Chicago, vs. Minnesota

 

Notes

Winnipeg will be the tired team on Monday when they are home to the Flames as they play the Wild in Minnesota Sunday. Evander Kane is slumping with no goals in his last six games. Bryan Little on the other hand has 11 goals this season to lead the Jets. Andrew Ladd is a perfect five for five in the shootout. Ondrej Pavelec has won his last three games in a row to move to 7-7-2 with a .913 save percentage and a 2.85 save percentage. Dustin Byfuglien and Zach Bogosian finally each scored their first goals of the season this past week. Blake Wheeler has three assists in his past three games.



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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