Michael Finewax

The Week Ahead

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A look at blueliners

Friday, November 29, 2013


 

EDMONTON

 

Games this week

vs. Phoenix, vs. Colorado. vs. Calgary

 

Notes

The Oilers are the rested team Saturday at home to Calgary as the Flames take on Colorado at home Friday.  Ilya Bryzgalov made his Edmonton debut on Thursday and shutout the Nashville Predators 3-0 as he stopped all 33 shots directed at him. The Oilers are getting hot but it may be too little, too late as they are still last in the Western Conference with an 8-16-2 mark despite winning four of their last five. Ryan Nugent-Hopkins has 20 points in 24 games but is minus-11. David Perron has played well offensively this season as he has 18 points including eight goals in 22 games. He is tied with Nail Yakupov for the team lead with four power play goals. Yakupov has yet to score an even strength goal.

 

FLORIDA

 

Games this week

vs. Ottawa, vs. Winnipeg, @ Detroit, @ Chicago

 

Notes

The Panthers play four games this week, including three games in four nights so look for Scott Clemmensen to play once in place of Tim Thomas. Thomas has played the last 10 games in a row and is now 6-8-1 this season with a 2.75 GAA and a .909 save percentage for the struggling Panthers. Florida will be the rested team on Saturday when they face the Red Wings as Detroit plays in New Jersey Friday but will be the tired team on Sunday in Chicago after travelling from Detroit Saturday. Dmitry Kulikov has struggled this season and is eligible to become a restricted free agent. Although he is obviously talented enough to play in the NHL, do not be surprised if he is in the KHL next season. Ed Jovanovski is getting close to a return. He has yet to play this season because of hip surgery earlier in the year.

 

LOS ANGELES

 

Games this week

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

 

Notes

The Kings are the tired team on Tuesday when they travel the 28 miles from the Staples Center to Anaheim as they take on St. Louis Monday. The Kings have been hot of late as they have not lost in regulation in 11 games and are 7-0-4 in that span. Ben Scrivens continues to shine as he is 6-1-4 this season with a 1.48 GAA and a .947 save percentage. Jeff Carter returned this past week from a foot injury that caused him to miss 10 games. Put him back in your lineup if you have not done so yet. Matt Frattin has missed the last three games with a lower body injury.

 

MINNESOTA

 

Games this week

vs. Philadelphia, vs. Chicago, @ Columbus, vs. San Jose

 

Notes

The Wild play four times this week including three games in four nights so expect to see Josh Harding and Niklas Backstrom to split the net. They are the tired team on Friday in Columbus as the Wild are home to Chicago Thursday. Zach Parise was slated to miss two-three weeks with a foot injury but he could be back as early as November 29. Mikael Granlund is out of action with a head injury and is expected to miss at least a week as he was placed on injured reserve. The Wild have been experimenting with Justin Fontaine in the middle between Nino Niederreiter and Jason Pominville. Dany Heatley has four goals and five points in his last six games despite a minus-three rating.

 

MONTREAL

           

Games this week

vs. New Jersey, @ New Jersey, vs. Boston, vs. Buffalo

 

Notes

The Canadiens play three games in four nights so look for Peter Budaj to play once as Carey Price gets a night off. The Habs will be tired on Thursday when they host the Bruins after playing in New Jersey Wednesday. Speaking of the Devils, Montreal plays a home-and-home series against New Jersey so look for Brandon Prust, P.K. Subban and possibly George Parros, if he plays, to pick up some penalty minutes if there are any fisticuffs. Andrei Markov loves playing with Subban, especially on the power play. David Desharnais has two goals and five points in his last four games. Rene Bourque has been cleared to play after sitting out three games with a lower body injury.

 

NASHVILLE

 

Games this week

vs. Vancouver, vs. Carolina, @ Washington  

 

Notes

Shea Weber was injured Thursday when he took a puck to his mouth but expect him to play this week. Seth Jones has gone pointless in his last four games. Marek Mazanec has continued to be terrific as he has now played in seven straight games without allowing more than two goals. He is 5-4-0 with a 2.01 GAA and a .934 save percentage and is worth picking up in deeper leagues as Pekka Rinne is not due back until Christmas at the earliest. Ryan Ellis has moved up the depth chart and is now part of the Predators second unit defensively, alongside Kevin Klein. He has a lot of offensive upside but with Weber and Jones in front of him, the best he can hope for is second power play time barring an injury.

 

NEW JERSEY

 

Games this week

@ Montreal, vs. Montreal, vs. Detroit, @ New York Rangers

 

Notes

New Jersey plays three games in four nights so look for Cory Schneider to play at least once in place of Martin Brodeur. They play a home-and-home series with Montreal so tempers may flare. If they do, look for Cam Janssen to be involved and raise his penalty minute total. The Devils will be the tired team Saturday when they are in New York to play the Rangers after playing at home to Detroit Friday.  Schneider is having a hard time with being a backup goaltender again as he backed up Roberto Luongo in Vancouver and despite the Devils giving up the ninth overall pick in 2013 for Schneider, he continues to back up veteran Brodeur. Michael Ryder has only one assist in his last nine games.

 

NEW YORK ISLANDERS

 

Games this week

vs. Pittsburgh, @ St. Louis, @ Los Angeles

 

Notes

It looks like Frans Nielsen has come back to earth. While his 22 points in 25 games still looks good, he has only one point in his last seven games. Kevin Poulin was a hot goalie for a while and it looked like he would take the netminding job from the injured Evgeni Nabokov and run with it but it has not been a good last three weeks for the Islander goaltender as he is 2-7 with a .872 save percentage and a 4.21 GAA. Matt Donovan had a chance to play the power play earlier in the season with Lubomir Visnovsky out of action but he couldn’t do the job and has now been sent to the minors. Visnovsky will see a neurologist this week as he tries to return from a concussion. He is hoping to resume skating and if he is allowed to do so, he return could be imminent.

 

NEW YORK RANGERS

 

Games this week

vs. Winnipeg, @ Buffalo, vs. New Jersey, @ Washington

 

Notes

The Rangers play four times this week including three games in four nights so look for Cameron Talbot to play at least once in place of Henrik Lundqvist. The Rangers will be the rested team on Saturday when they host New Jersey as the Devils are home to Detroit Friday. Michael Del Zotto has been scratched the last two games as he is having a difficult time staying on the ice. Derek Dorsett is currently out with a sore wrist. Mats Zuccarello has been a bit of a surprise with 14 points in 25 games. He has a bit of value in deeper leagues. Rick Nash has three goals in five games and should be in someone’s fantasy lineup at this time. Ryan McDonagh has six goals to lead the Rangers blueliners and is only one off the team lead held by Brad Richards.  

 

OTTAWA     

 

Games this week

@ Florida, @ Tampa Bay, vs. Toronto

 

Notes

 

Mika Zibanejad has seven goals and 10 points in 18 games this season and has three points in his last three games. He is worth looking at in deeper leagues and should be on someone’s roster in keeper pools. The goaltending controversy is on again in Ottawa after Craig Anderson gave up four goals on 15 shots in 30 minutes of action Thursday. Robin Lehner is the Senators goalie of the future and the future could be now. Clarke MacArthur has seven goals and 19 points this season. Bobby Ryan is having a great fantasy season with 13 goals and 25 points in 26 games to go with a plus-eight rating. He has five power play goals this season after scoring only two in Anaheim last year.


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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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