Mike Finewax

The Week Ahead

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A look at blueliners

Friday, November 29, 2013


 

PHILADELPHIA

 

Games this week

@ Minnesota, @ Detroit, @ Dallas

 

Notes

Sean Couturier scored only his second goal of the season on Friday. Claude Giroux’s six game scoring streak was snapped on Friday as he looks to have recovered from a slow start and an off-season tendon injury that required surgery. Mark Streit had a goal and five points in his last nine games before Friday’s action and is plus-five in that timeframe. Steve Mason finally got to the .500 mark Friday as he is now 8-8-2 with great peripherals as he has a 2.10 GAA and a .933 save percentage which is 10th and ninth best in the NHL respectively.  Giroux leads the Flyers in points with 17, two ahead of Brayden Schenn.

 

PHOENIX

 

Games this week

@ Edmonton, @ Calgary, @ Vancouver

 

Notes

The Coyotes play all three games in Western Canada this week and they do so in four nights so look for Thomas Greiss to play once in place of Mike Smith. The Coyotes are the tired team on Wednesday when they are in Calgary after facing the Oilers in Edmonton Tuesday. The Coyotes have been terrific in front of their home crowd with a 9-12 record. The Coyotes recalled Rostislav Klesla from the minors a few days after waiving him. Mikkel Boedker has 15 points in 25 games and is worth owning in deeper pools. Radim Vrbata and Martin Hanzal lead the Coyotes with 21 points apiece, one ahead of Shane Doan and four ahead of Mike Ribeiro, Oliver Ekman-Larsson and Keith Yandle.

 

PITTSBURGH

 

Games this week

@ New York Islanders, vs. San Jose, @ Boston

 

Notes

Paul Martin will be out for the next four-six weeks after fracturing his tibia. Evgeni Malkin is white-hot of late and the return of James Neal has not hurt him. Malkin has three goals and 13 points in his last seven games and trails only teammate Sidney Crosby in the scoring race as Crosby had 36 points, five ahead of Malkin. Crosby passed the 700 point career mark on Friday and he did it in only 497 games, 81 games faster than Alex Ovechkin. Pascal Dupuis has only 13 points in 27 games this season. Kris Letang has a goal and three assists in his last two games after going the previous nine games with only one goal.

 

ST. LOUIS

Games this week

@ Los Angeles, vs. New York Islanders, vs. Anaheim

 

Notes

The Blues will be the rested team on Saturday when they host the Ducks as Anaheim will be in Chicago Friday. Brian Elliott got only his second start in six games on Friday but lasted only one period as he gave up four goals on 12 shots. It was his first loss of the season as his record is now 4-1-1 and his save percentage went from .932 to .914 while his GAA jumped to 2.31 from 1.79. David Backes continues his outstanding fantasy season as he has 12 goals and 25 points in 25 games with a plus-11 rating and 52 penalty minutes. Ryan Reaves suffered a broken hand and will miss at least six weeks.

 

SAN JOSE

 

Games this week

@ Toronto, @ Pittsburgh, @ Carolina, @ Minnesota

 

Notes

The Sharks play three games in four nights as part of a four game week on the road, so expect to see Alex Stalock once in place of Antti Niemi. If you are able to use Brent Burns as a defenseman in your pool (which you can in Yahoo! pools), then you have a gem despite his missing almost five weeks of action with an upper body injury. Burns has eight goals and 14 points in just 12 games with a plus-13 rating. The Sharks reassigned Matthew Nieto to the minors on Tuesday. Tommy Wingels is playing with Patrick Marleau and Logan Couture. Justin Braun is second in the NHL in plus/minus at plus-17 and when you add in two goals and eight points in 25 games, then he has some nice fantasy value.

 

TAMPA BAY

 

Games this week

@ Columbus, vs. Ottawa, vs. Winnipeg

 

Notes

Ryan Malone is on the injured reserve list for what seems the umpteenth time in his NHL career. This time it’s a lower body injury that’s believed to be a chipped ankle bone. The Lightning love young defenseman Andrej Sustr who was signed in March, 2013 as a college free agent. Sustr is six foot eight and according to coach Jon Cooper, he needs to spend a year or two in the weight room. He has played 19 games this season garnering six assists to go with a plus-four rating. Radko Gudas could return this week from an upper body injury. Ben Bishop is 14-4-1 this season with a 2.08 GAA and a .931 save percentage and is being looked at as a possible United States goaltender in the Olympics.

 

TORONTO

 

Games this week

vs. San Jose, vs. Dallas, @ Ottawa, vs. Boston

 

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. Joffrey Lupul is back on the injured reserve list with a groin injury. He should return around the middle of December. Jake Gardiner was a healthy scratch on Wednesday and came back to play on Friday and garner an assist. Morgan Rielly was the odd man out on Friday. A must read is Rotoworld contributor and McKeen’s Hockey Pro Scouting Director Gus Katsaros’ column on the Maple Leafs defensive system and play. Click here to read his in depth analysis. The Leafs inked first round pick Frederik Gauthier to a three-year/entry level deal. Toronto did not get a shot on goal in the third period Wednesday as the Penguins outshot them 17-0.

  

VANCOUVER

 

Games this week

@ Nashville, vs. Phoenix, vs. Colorado

 

Notes

David Booth finally had a fantasy worthy game on Thursday with a goal and an assist in the Canucks 5-2 win. Henrik Sedin leads the Canucks in points with 27, three ahead of his twin Daniel. Tom Sestito leads the way in penalty minutes with 67, 24 better than Zack Kassian. Kassian only played 4:10 minutes on Saturday as coach John Tortorella benched him for most of the game. Roberto Luongo is 11-7-5 this season with a 2.32 GAA and a save percentage of .915. A lot of people think he should start for Team Canada at Sochi. Alexander Edler continues to struggle as he only has three goals and eight points in 24 games. It’s his minus-12 rating that really hurts fantasy owners.

 

WASHINGTON

 

Games this week

vs. Carolina, vs. Nashville, @  New York Rangers

 

Notes

Michal Neuvirth suffered a lower body injury when he stepped on the puck as he came out for the pre-game warmup on Friday and he day-to-day for now. Since he was unable to back up Braden Holtby Friday, the Capitals went with their video coach Brett Leonhardt as the second goalie. It wasn’t the first time this has happened to Leonhardt as he backed up Brent Johnson on December 12, 2008 when Jose Theodore suffered an injury. Jay Beagle was in the Washington lineup on Friday for the first time since October 16. John Carlson has taken over the point on the first power play from Mike Green who was relegated to second unit duty.

 

WINNIPEG

 

Games this week

@ New York Rangers, @ Florida, @ Tampa Bay

 

Notes

Evander Kane suffered a lower body injury Friday in the first period and did not return. Consider him day-to-day for now. Mark Scheifele scored his second goal of the season Monday as he now has nine points in 28 games. He is going to be a good center fantasy wise but is certainly not there yet. Jacob Trouba returned to action on Monday following a 17 game absence due to a neck injury. He has been held scoreless in three games and has a goal and two points in 11 games this season. Dustin Byfuglien is still hot with 21 points this season, third in the NHL behind Erik Karlsson with 26 and Duncan Keith who has 22. 



Michael Finewax is entering his 10th season as the Senior Hockey Writer and Editor for Rotoworld. You can follow him on Twitter @mfinewaxhockey.
Email :Mike Finewax



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