Michael Finewax

The Week Ahead

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Happy Thanksgiving!

Friday, November 22, 2013


 

EDMONTON

 

Games this week

vs. Chicago, @ Nashville, @ Columbus, @ Dallas

 

Notes

The Oilers play three games in four nights this week so Ilya Bryzgalov and Devan Dubnyk will likely split the net. The Oilers are the rested team on Thursday when they are in Nashville as the Predators play in Columbus on Wednesday. Edmonton will be the tired team Friday when they travel to Columbus. The Oilers are hot of late as they have won their last three. Don’t take Nail Yakupov just yet in one-year pools as he has six points in his last eight games but a closer look shows that four are on the power play even though he is seeing second power play time. He has only three assists in 21 games in even strength situations so he is not a good candidate for the taking in most pools.  Sam Gagner picked up his first goal of the season on Thursday.

 

FLORIDA

 

Games this week

vs. Philadelphia, vs. New York Rangers, vs. Pittsburgh

 

Notes

The Panthers are the rested team on Saturday when they face the Penguins as Pittsburgh take on the Tampa Bay Lightning Friday. Nick Bjugstad is taking advantage of the extra ice time that he has received since Florida traded Kris Versteeg away as he is now averaging over 18 minutes of playing time in the last four games with 2:41 coming on the power play. He has three assists in the four games playing a lot on the top unit with Jonathan Huberdeau and Tomas Fleischmann. After only one assist in his first 19 games, Tomas Kopecky scored in back-to-back games and had three points in three games before getting injured Thursday night.

 

LOS ANGELES

 

Games this week

@ Vancouver, @ San Jose, vs. Calgary

 

Notes

The Kings are the rested team on Saturday when hosting the Flames as Calgary takes on Anaheim Friday. Look for Jonathan Quick to end up on the long-term injured reserve list as he is likely out until at least Christmas with a groin injury. Ben Scrivens has taken over the net and was the NHL’s first star of the week with a 3-0-1 record to go with a 0.66 GAA and a .977 save percentage. Dustin Brown potted a goal on Tuesday for the first time in six games. Matt Frattin, who was part of the Ben Scrivens trade in which the Kings gave up Jonathan Bernier to Toronto, broke a 10 game scoring drought Tuesday and now has two goals and six points in 21 games with a minus-seven rating.

 

MINNESOTA

 

Games this week

@ St. Louis, vs. Phoenix, vs. Colorado, @ Colorado

 

Notes

The Wild play three games in four nights so expect to see Darcy Kuemper play once instead of Josh Harding as Niklas Backstrom continues to remain out of the lineup with a concussion. Jason Zucker was recalled and played with Mikael Granlund and Jason Pominville on the Wild’s second unit Wednesday. The Wild play a home-and-home series against the Colorado Avalanche this week so expect to see Zenon Konopka and Clayton Stoner to be involved if there is any rough stuff as they should add to their penalty minute totals. Nino Niederreiter has four goals and 12 points in 23 games as the 21-year-old is playing well in his first season with Minnesota after an off-season trade from the Islanders. He was chosen fifth overall in the 2010 Draft.

 

MONTREAL

           

Games this week

@ Buffalo, @ Washington, vs. Toronto

 

Notes

The Canadiens play three games in four nights so look for Peter Budaj to play once as Carey Price gets one night off. George Parros has been a healthy scratch in his last five games as the Habs have not needed an extra enforcer in their lineup. P.K. Subban has 19 points in 22 games this season as he is a top-three fantasy defenseman in the first quarter of the season. David Desharnais picked up a pair of assists in Tuesday’s win over Minnesota to give him three assists in 20 games this season. In case you think he is snapping out of a season long funk, do not pick him off the waiver wire just yet. He had 60 points two seasons ago but had 20 points on the power play in that season and is not seeing much time this year with the man-advantage as he is averaging only 1:36 minutes of ice time per game, 11th on the team.

 

NASHVILLE

 

Games this week

vs. Phoenix, @ Columbus, vs. Edmonton, vs. Philadelphia  

 

Notes

The Predators play four times this week including three games in four nights so look for Carter Hutton to play once as Marek Mazanec has taken over as the starting goalie. He has won three games in a row and is 3-2-0 with a 2.37 GAA and a .926 save percentage. The Predators will be the tired team on Thursday when they host Edmonton after playing in Columbus on Wednesday night but will be the rested team Saturday against the Flyers as Philadelphia are home to Winnipeg on Black Friday. Matt Cullen was outstanding on Thursday with a four point effort to lead the Preds to a 4-2 win in Toronto. Eric Nystrom has missed three games with a head injury but should be back this week. Filip Forsberg is out with an upper body injury.

 

NEW JERSEY

 

Games this week

vs. Winnipeg, vs. Carolina, @ Carolina, vs. Buffalo

 

Notes

New Jersey plays three games in four nights so look for Martin Brodeur to play at least once in place of Cory Schneider. They play a home-and-home series with Carolina so tempers may flare. If they do, look for Cam Janssen to be involved and raise his penalty minute total. Despite a 2-5-3 record, Cory Schneider has been outstanding in net with a 1.87 GAA and a .925 save percentage. What is ruining his record is the lack of scoring as the Devils have found the back of the net only 12 times in his 10 starts. Jaromir Jagr tied Mario Lemieux for ninth place in career goals with his overtime winner on Thursday and it was also his 121st game-winning goal, tying him for first place all-time with Gordie Howe. Damien Brunner was a healthy scratch on Thursday as he has not picked up a point in his last 10 games.

 

NEW YORK ISLANDERS

 

Games this week

vs. Winnipeg, vs. Detroit, vs. Washington

 

Notes

The Islanders are home for all three games this week and they play them in four days so Anders Nilsson could get one start in place of Kevin Poulin. Evgeni Nabokov will miss at least four weeks with a groin injury. Lubomir Visnovsky has been out of action since October 19 with a concussion and is still has symptoms so his return is still indefinite. Thomas Vanek has missed the last five games with an upper body injury. Frans Nielsen continues his excellent season as he has 22 points in 22 games and is one of the few Islanders to be a plus player as he is plus-one this season. Michael Grabner was a healthy scratch on Tuesday as he has only two goals and six points in 19 games.

 

NEW YORK RANGERS

 

Games this week

@ Tampa Bay, @ Florida, @ Boston, vs. Vancouver

 

Notes

The Rangers play four times this week including three games in four nights so look for Cameron Talbot to play once in place of Henrik Lundqvist. The Rangers will be the tired team on Saturday when they host Vancouver as they are on the road in Boston Friday.  The Rangers have been getting tremendous goaltending of late as they have given up only 25 goals in their last 15 games. Great news in that Rick Nash is back in the Rangers lineup after missing 17 games with a concussion. He scored on Thursday after returning to action on Tuesday. Michael Del Zotto played on Thursday after being a healthy scratch for the previous three games. Taylor Pyatt was back on the ice Tuesday for the first time since suffering a concussion almost two weeks ago.

 

OTTAWA     

 

Games this week

@ Washington, vs. Vancouver, vs. Detroit

 

Notes

The Senators will be the tired team on Thursday when they are at home to Vancouver after playing in Washington Wednesday. Milan Michalek broke a nine game goal scoring slump Wednesday and has 13 points and a minus-nine rating in 22 games. Bobby Ryan did not miss any time after taking an elbow to his head courtesy of Dennis Seidenberg. Ryan is tied for second on the Senators in scoring with Kyle Turris, two points behind defenseman Eric Karlsson. Clarke MacArthur leads the way with a plus-11 rating, three better than Ryan and Turris. Jason Spezza has 18 points in 21 games but his minus-eight rating lowers his fantasy value.

 

PHILADELPHIA

 

Games this week

@ Florida, @ Tampa Bay, vs. Winnipeg, @ Nashville

 

Notes

The Flyers play four times this week including three games in four days so expect to see Ray Emery play at least once for Steve Mason. The Flyers will be the tired team on Saturday in Nashville as they are home to the Winnipeg Jets on Friday. The Flyers are flying of late as they are 5-0-1 and are now just three points out of a playoff spot with a game in hand. Claude Giroux has two goals and six points in his last six games. Sean Couturier scored his first of the season on Tuesday. Brayden Schenn has been the Flyers best player this season as he has 12 points and has been a physical presence in their lineup.

 

PHOENIX

 

Games this week

@ Nashville, @ Minnesota, vs. Chicago

 

Notes

The Coyotes are the rested team on Saturday when they are home to the Blackhawks who play in Dallas on Friday. Michael Stone continues his awesome offensive start to the season as the defenseman has seven goals to tie him for the league lead amongst rearguards with seven. The anomaly is that he has yet to pick up an assist. Lauri Korpikoski had five points in his last four games before sitting out Thursday with an upper body injury. Zbynek Michalek was placed on injured reserve with a lower body injury as Derek Morris came off the injured list. The Coyotes are 5-4 in overtime or shootout games this season.

 

PITTSBURGH

 

Games this week

@ Boston, vs. Toronto, @ Tampa Bay, @ Florida

 

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 are the tired team Saturday in Florida after playing across the state in Tampa Bay Friday. Beau Bennett scored his first goal of the season on Wednesday. Evgeni Malkin continues to pick up assists by the boatload but has not scored a goal in his last 15 games. He has 12 assists in his last nine games. Brian Gibbons had a goal and an assist in his NHL debut on Monday. It sure helps to have your first goal being setup by Malkin. Gibbons was leading the AHL in points with 22 in 15 games before his recall so he may be worth looking at in deeper leagues.

 

ST. LOUIS

Games this week

vs. Minnesota. @ Colorado, @ San Jose

 

Notes

Jaroslav Halak continues to win while in the Blues cage as he is now 12-3-2 with a 2.34 GAA and a .906 save percentage. Brian Elliott is 3-0-1 with a 1.94 GAA and a .921 save percentage but is having trouble displacing Halak. Alexander Steen is tied for the NHL lead in goals with 17 and is tied for second in the NHL in points with 26, two behind Sidney Crosby. Chris Stewart is not scoring like he did last season with only three goals and 10 points in 21 games but does have 57 penalty minutes. He is second on the Blues as Ryan Reaves leads the way with 60. Magnus Paajarvi scored his first goal as a St. Louis Blue on Tuesday. Brenden Morrow scored twice on Tuesday.

 

SAN JOSE

 

Games this week

vs. Los Angeles, vs. St. Louis, vs. Anaheim

 

Notes

The Sharks play three games in four nights so expect to see Alex Stalock once in place of   Antti Niemi. Niemi is 11-3-5 with a 2.22 GAA and a .916 save percentage as he is one of the top fantasy goalies in the NHL. Brent Burns finally returned to the lineup Thursday after missing 13 games with an upper body injury and scored his fifth of the season. His return forced Tommy Wingels to the second line alongside Patrick Marleau and Logan Couture and Wingels celebrated by scoring twice. Burns is playing on the top line with Joe Thornton and Tomas Hertl. Marleau played on Thursday despite being involved in a car accident Tuesday. Martin Havlat’s name is being bandied about in the rumor mill and the Rangers and Senators are reportedly interested in obtaining him.

 

TAMPA BAY

 

Games this week

vs. New York Rangers, vs. Philadelphia, vs. Pittsburgh

 

Notes

The Lightning return home for all three games after playing in California last week. It looks like the Brett Connolly experiment is over as he played on the fourth line Thursday after the Lightning tried him out at center to replace the injured Steve Stamkos on the top line. Ryan Malone is on the second line with Alex Killorn and J.T. Brown while Valtteri Filppula is centering the top line with Martin St. Louis and Teddy Purcell on his wings. St. Louis played in his 1,000th NHL game on Tuesday. Victor Hedman is headed towards a career high in points this season as the 22-year-old defenseman has had four straight seasons in the 20’s with 26 in 2010-11 being a career high. He has four goals and 11 points in 22 games thus far.

 

TORONTO

 

Games this week

vs. Columbus, @ Pittsburgh, @ Buffalo, @ Montreal

 

Notes

The Maple Leafs play three games in four nights as part of a four game week so look for Jonathan Bernier and James Reimer to split the net. The Leafs finish a five game homestand Monday before heading on the road for three games. The Maple Leafs dealt Jesse Blacker to Anaheim for center Peter Holland and Brad Staubitz (the Leafs gave up draft picks as well) as they needed help up the middle with three centers out of action last week. Nazem Kadri returned on Thursday after sitting out a three game suspension while Tyler Bozak is slated to return on November 23 from a month long hamstring injury. Holland should be the third or fourth line center the rest of the way, at least until Dave Bolland returns from a long term injury as he had a tendon in his ankle cut.

  

VANCOUVER

 

Games this week

vs. Los Angeles, @ Ottawa, @ New York Rangers, @ Carolina

 

Notes

The Canucks play three games in four nights so look for Eddie Lack to play once instead of Roberto Luongo.  The Canucks are the rested team on Thursday when they are in Ottawa as the Senators are in Washington Wednesday. Vancouver will also be rested Saturday against the Rangers as New York take on the Bruins in Boston Friday. They will be tired Sunday in Carolina against the rested Hurricanes. David Booth feels that he doesn’t have the same jump he used to have but thinks he can get it back. In the meantime, he was a healthy scratch on Tuesday. Alex Burrows has not scored in 11 games this season including the last 10 after coming back from a foot fracture. Jannik Hansen has returned after missing 10 games with an upper body injury.

 

WASHINGTON

 

Games this week

vs. Ottawa, vs. Montreal, @ New York Islanders

 

Notes

Washington plays three games in four nights so look for Michal Neuvirth to play once in place of Braden Holtby. Alex Ovechkin is tied for the NHL lead in goals with 17. Mike Green is expected to return to action on November 22 from a lower body injury. He hs yet to score a goal in 19 games but does have 11 assists. John Erskine (knee) is not ready to return to action despite being eligible to after going on the long-term injured reserve list. Karl Alzner and Mikhail Grabovski lead the team in plus/minus at plus-3 while Brooks Laich brings up the rear at minus-10. Holtby has a very good save percentage at .923 despite an average GAA of 2.70.

 

WINNIPEG

 

Games this week

@ New Jersey, @ New York Islanders, @ Philadelphia

 

Notes

After starting the season without a goal in his first 18 games, Dustin Byfuglien has six goals in his last six games to move into third place among defensemen in goals.  Blake Wheeler has not found the back of the net in 10 games. Keaton Ellerby scored on Thursday for the first time since St. Patricks Day 2011, a span of 104 games. Jacob Trouba (neck) finally was able to participate in contact at practice and should return this week after being out of action since October 18.Bryan Little is having a terrific fantasy season with 12 goals and 23 points in 24 games to go with 20 penalty minutes and a plus-five rating. He should surpass his career high 51 point effort in 2008-09. Zach Bogosian has only a goal and four points but is a plus-eight. 



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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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