Mike Finewax

The Week Ahead

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Friday, December 06, 2013


 

 

PHILADELPHIA

 

Games this week

@ Ottawa, @ Chicago, vs. Montreal, @ Washington

 

Rested team: @ Chicago (Wednesday)

Tired Team: vs. Montreal (Thursday)

 

Notes

The Flyers play three games in four nights so look for Ray Emery to play once instead of Steve Mason. Mason has been great this season for the Flyers and is hoping to re-sign with the team as he is a restricted free agent at the end of the season. Negotiations can start on January 1. Sean Couturier has only five goals and 14 points in 28 games this season but has been red-hot of late with all five goals and 10 points in his last nine games. He is plus-10 this season as well as plus-10 over his last nine. Vincent Lecavalier has missed the last two games with back spasms. Andrej Meszaros has played in the last four games after missing the previous nine as a healthy scratch.

 

PHOENIX

 

Games this week

@ Colorado, vs. New York Islanders, vs. Carolina

 

Rested team: None

Tired Team: None

 

Notes

Shane Doan is scoring at a pace that will get him over 70 points and if it happens, it will be only the third time he has reached the mark in his 18 year career. He has 23 points in 27 games thus far. Lauri Korpikoski has missed the last seven games with an upper body injury but hopes to return this week. Martin Hanzal continues to have a career year as he has eight goals and 22 points in 25 games. His best offensive season was in his rookie year of 2007-08 when he had 35 points as a 20-year-old. The Coyotes have four players with more than 20 points as Radim Vrbata, Doan, Hanzal and Mike Ribeiro have reached the mark. Oliver Ekman-Larsson is right behind with 19 points.

 

PITTSBURGH

 

Games this week

vs. Columbus, vs. New Jersey, @ Detroit

 

Rested team: None

Tired Team: @ Detroit (Saturday)

 

Notes

Marc-Andre Fleury continues to show why he should be on Team Canada at the Olympics as he is now 16-7-1 this season with a 2.01 GAA and a .922 save percentage. A lot of people thought the Penguins were in trouble when Tomas Vokoun was stricken with a blood clot problem in training camp (I was one of them) but Fleury has proven his detractors wrong thus far. Vokoun’s NHL career is up in the air at this time and will let his doctors determine if he can return to action. Evgeni Malkin has been sensational of late and he was named the NHL’s second star of the month in November. He missed Thursday’s game due to a lower body injury suffered during the morning skate. Sidney Crosby played in his 500th NHL game on Tuesday and had 253 goals and 706 points at that time. He is plus-110 in his career.

 

ST. LOUIS

Games this week

@ Winnipeg, vs. Toronto, @ Columbus

 

Rested team: None

Tired Team: vs. Toronto (Thursday)

 

Notes

Maxim Lapierre will try and replace the injured Ryan Reaves on the fourth line. Reaves was injured on November 23 as he suffered a broken hand and will be re-evaluated in another four weeks to determine his return date. David Backes is having a career year as he is contributing in all traditional categories. He has 13 goals and 26 points in 27 games with a plus-10 rating and 54 penalty minutes. In addition, he has six power play goals and nine power play points which puts him as a top-ten fantasy skater this season. Jaroslav Halak continues to excel in net as he is now 15-4-2 this season with a 2.11 GAA and a .915 save percentage.  He has left Brian Elliott in his dust as Elliott has played in only eight games this season with only six starts.

 

SAN JOSE

 

Games this week

vs. New York Islanders, vs. Minnesota, @ Nashville

 

Rested team: vs. New York Islanders (Tuesday), vs. Minnesota (Thursday)

Tired Team: None

 

Notes

Joe Thornton is on a seven game scoring streak with three goals and nine points as he has five goals and 31 points in 28 games this season. He is also plus-10. Brent Burns has been hot since his return from a mouth injury on November 21 as he has four goals and seven points in seven games. Logan Couture has ten goals and 28 points this season to go with a plus-10 rating as he is second in scoring on the Sharks, two ahead of Patrick Marleau. Andrew Desjardins leads San Jose in penalty minutes with 42, four ahead of Mike Brown. Alex Stalock is a perfect 3-0 in starts this season in relief of Antti Niemi.

 

TAMPA BAY

 

Games this week

@ Washington, vs. Detroit, @ New Jersey, @ Detroit

 

Rested team: @ New Jersey (Saturday)

Tired Team: None

 

Notes

The Lightning play four times this week including three games in four nights so expect to see Anders Lindback play at least once with Ben Bishop getting the rest of the starts. They play Detroit twice this week so look for Radko Gudas to pick up some minutes. Eric Brewer is skating but has missed the last two games with a lower body injury. Ondrej Palat is getting time on the wing with Martin St. Louis and responded with a couple of assists on Thursday. Ben Bishop has continued his terrific play this season as he is now 15-5-1 with a 1.98 GAA and a .934 save percentage.

 

TORONTO

 

Games this week

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

 

Rested team: vs. Los Angeles (Wednesday)

Tired Team: @ St. Louis (Thursday)

 

Notes

The Maple Leafs play three games in four nights so look for Jonathan Bernier and James Reimer to play once each and have coach Randy Carlyle make the decision as to who faces the Blackhawks. Here’s a big surprise. Joffrey Lupul is injured again. There is no timetable for his return at this time as he is out with a groin injury. Jonathan Bernier was outstanding on Thursday as the Maple Leafs won 3-2 in overtime despite being outshot 50-24. It was hard to believe but all three stars of the game were from Toronto. Phil Kessel is warming up again as he is on a five game scoring streak and has three goals and six points in that span. Kessel is now up to 15 goals and 27 points this season. Lots of people are critical of his physical condition but he has not missed a game in over four seasons and has not missed a game since November 30, 2009,  a span of 311 games.

 

VANCOUVER

 

Games this week

vs. Carolina, vs. Edmonton, vs. Boston

 

Rested team: vs. Edmonton (Friday)

Tired Team: vs. Carolina (Monday), vs. Boston (Saturday)

 

Notes

Alexander Edler is out indefinitely with a lower body injury that appears to be a knee injury. Andrew Alberts will draw back into the Vancouver lineup with the injury to Edler. Roberto Luongo is now 12-8-5 this season with a 2.35 GAA and a .914 save percentage. Alex Burrows is out a month with a broken jaw. He will not be missed by fantasy owners as he is having a horrible season with only three assists in 17 games with a minus-seven rating. Tom Sestito leads the Canucks with 77 penalty minutes. After a very quick start, Mike Santorelli is still fourth in points on the Canucks with 18, trailing only the Sedin twins and Ryan Kesler.

 

WASHINGTON

 

Games this week

vs. Tampa Bay, @ Florida, vs. Philadelphia

 

Rested team: None

Tired Team: None

 

Notes

Mike Green finally scored his first goal of the season on Tuesday. He had 10 goals and 19 points in his last 18 games last season and it was thought he was back to his form of a few seasons ago when he was the best offensive defenseman in the NHL but it appears those days are behind him. Brooks Laich is another Capital who seems to have lost it as he has only four goals and six points in 25 games this season after seasons of 53, 59, 48 and 41 in the four years before last year’s lockout. Tom Wilson will not be loaned to Team Canada for the World U20 Championships. Michal Neuvirth was placed on the injured reserve list with a leg injury after he stepped on a puck in a pregame warmup. Philipp Grubauer will backup Braden Holtby until Neuvirth is able to return.

 

WINNIPEG

 

Games this week

vs. St. Louis, vs. Colorado, vs. Dallas

 

Rested team: None

Tired Team: None

 

Notes

Zach Bogosian has begun some light skating as he attempts to return from a groin injury that has sidelined him since November 15. He could return this week.   Evander Kane has missed the last two games with a lower body injury. He has seven goals and 14 points with a minus-two rating in 26 games this season, far below expectations. Devin Setoguchi has three goals and four points in his last five games while John Albert scored his first goal in his NHL debut and it was on his first shot. Dustin Byfuglien is second in points on the Jets to Bryan Little but Byfuglien loses some value with a minus-11 rating. 



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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