Michael Finewax

The Week Ahead

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Grab the Lightning this week

Friday, January 10, 2014


 

PHILADELPHIA

 

Games this week

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

 

Rested team: None

Tired Team: None

 

Notes

Matt Read is out of action with a concussion while enforcer Zac Rinaldo will miss six weeks with a high-ankle sprain. The good news is that two-and-a-half weeks will be the Olympic break and he should be ready to go after that. He had his first goal of the season on Wednesday before getting hurt. It was a surprise that Claude Giroux was not named to Canada's Olympic team as he seemed to be a lock at the start of the season, a bubble player at best when he got off to a poor start and a lock again after he scored six goals and 17 points in nine games through the end of 2013. Steve Mason continues to impress with an 18-10-4 record to go with a 2.34 GAA and a .922 save percentage.

 

PHOENIX

 

Games this week

@ Winnipeg, @ St. Louis, vs. Vancouver, vs. New Jersey

 

Rested team: vs. Vancouver (Thursday)

Tired Team: @ St. Louis (Tuesday)

 

Notes

The Coyotes play four times this week including three games in four nights so look for Thomas Greiss to play at least once in place of Mike Smith. Oliver Ekman-Larsson returned to action on Thursday after missing a couple of games with an upper body injury, courtesy of a hit from behind by Derek MacKenzie. Smith is 1-5-3 since December 12 and has allowed 28 goals on 286 shots in that span. He was still named to Canada's Olympic team, although it is likely he will be the third goalie barring injuries.  Gilbert Brule had his contract terminated by the Coyotes and it appears that he has retired. He was selected sixth overall in the 2005 draft.

 

PITTSBURGH

 

Games this week

vs. Washington

 

Rested team: vs. Washington (Wednesday)

Tired Team: None

 

Notes

The Penguins only play once this week so if you play in weekly transaction pools and have to decide between a Penguin and any Lightning player, bench your Penguin. Pittsburgh welcomed back Kris Letang and Evgeni Malkin on January 5 and that had to please his fantasy owners. Malkin has three goals, four points and a plus-five rating in the two games since coming back.  Jussi Jokinen has been hot of late with six points in his last three games including three goals. James Neal and Letang were not named to Team Canada but Sidney Crosby and Chris Kunitz were picked.

 

ST. LOUIS

 

Games this week

vs. Phoenix, vs. Los Angeles, vs. Anaheim

 

Rested team: vs. Phoenix (Tuesday) vs. Anaheim (Saturday)

Tired Team: None

 

Notes

Vladimir Tarasenko has been hot of late with four goals and 11 points in his last seven games. The Blues are home for all three games this week. Jaroslav Halak played on Thursday for the first time since December 28 and had a shutout, stopping all 33 shots to improve his record to 18-6-3 with a 2.31 GAA and a .911 save percentage. Brian Elliot won six straight starts after the Christmas break and gave up only 11 goals on 144 shots. Alexander Steen has missed the last eight games with a concussion but he could be close to a return as he has started skating.

 

SAN JOSE

 

Games this week

@ Washington, @ Florida, @ Tampa Bay

 

Rested team: None

Tired Team: None

 

Notes

Tommy Wingels returned from a five game absence due to an upper body injury on Thursday and mixed it up with the Red Wings Todd Bertuzzi. Tyler Kennedy also returned after missing four games with the flu and had seven penalty minutes. Joe Pavelski has 21 goals to lead the Sharks in goals. Logan Couture is out three-four weeks after undergoing hand surgery. Matt Irwin sat out Thursday's game with an upper body injury. Joe Thornton, who was not named to the Canadian Olympic team, leads the NHL with 45 assists in 45 games. He has only five goals.

 

TAMPA BAY

 

Games this week

@ Columbus, @ New York Rangers, vs. New York Islanders, vs. San Jose, @ Carolina

 

Rested team: None

Tired Team: @ New York Rangers (Tuesday)

 

Notes

The Lightning play a rare five game week (Boston has one in March) so look for Anders Lindback to play at least once with Ben Bishop (if healthy) seeing the rest of the action. Bishop is currently out with a sprained wrist and could return as early as the Rangers game but if he is unable to go, then Lindback and Cedrick Desjardins will split the net. Ondrej Palat has been red hot of late with 10 points during an eight game scoring streak. Valtteri Filppula has 17 goals and 34 points in 44 games and has five goals and 11 points in his last 10 contests. A couple of noteworthy omissions from the Olympics were Victor Hedman with Sweden and Martin St. Louis of Canada.

 

TORONTO

 

Games this week

@ Boston, vs. Buffalo, vs. Montreal

 

Rested team: None

Tired Team: None

 

Notes

The Maple Leafs are slumping and have given up 18 goals in their last three games while scoring only five times. Tyler Bozak had a seven game point scoring streak end on Thursday. Peter Holland was sent down to the minors as the Maple Leafs did not think it was fair that he play on the fourth line with a couple of enforcers and recalled Carter AshtonPhil Kessel has three goals and six points in his last 11 games. James van Riemsdyk is minus-six in his last 10 games. Jake Gardiner was a healthy scratch on Thursday as Carl Gunnarsson returned to the lineup after missing a game with a wrist injury.

 

VANCOUVER

 

Games this week

@ Los Angeles, @ Anaheim, @ Phoenix, vs. Calgary

 

Rested team: None

Tired Team: @ Phoenix (Thursday)

 

Notes

The Canucks play four times this week including three games  in four nights so look for Roberto Luongo  (if healthy) to play a couple of games with Eddie Lack playing the remainder. If Luongo is unable to go then Lack will get the majority of the starts with Joacim Eriksson playing once. Tom Sestito is second in the NHL with 103 penalty minutes but has been used on the power play of late and has three points including two goals in his last five games. He is worth looking at in deeper pools that use penalty minutes as a category.

 

WASHINGTON

 

Games this week

vs. San Jose, @ Pittsburgh, @ Columbus, @ New York Rangers

 

Rested team: vs. New York Rangers (Sunday)

Tired Team: @ Pittsburgh (Wednesday)

 

Notes

The Capitals play three games in four nights so look for  Philipp Grubauer to play twice as he has taken over the net from Braden Holtby, with Holtby getting one start. Eric Fehr is starting to pick up some fantasy value as he has four goals and seven points in his past 10 games. Martin Erat was in the press box as a healthy scratch on Thursday for the first time in 17 games and that ought to make him want out of Washington again. The Capitals mixed up their line combinations this week with Brooks Laich skating alongside Nicklas Backstrom and Troy Brouwer with Alex Ovechkin playing with Fehr and Mikhail Grabovski. Marcus Johansson was bumped down to the third line.

 

WINNIPEG

 

Games this week

vs. Phoenix, @ Calgary, vs. Edmonton

 

Rested team: None

Tired Team: None

 

Notes

The Jets put Dustin Byfuglien at forward in practice on Thursday and that will help his fantasy value if you can use him as a defenseman in your pool. Devin Setoguchi was benched on Tuesday as he played just 5:35 minutes. Coach Claude Noel has not been pleased with his play of late as he has not scored in his last 17 games. Mark Scheifele has played well of late with one goal and eight points in his last10 games. He has been playing alongside Evander Kane of late and that will help both players. Bryan Little and Byfuglien lead the Jets in points with 34, one ahead of Blake Wheeler.



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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