Michael Finewax

The Week Ahead

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The Penultimate Week

Friday, March 28, 2014


 

EDMONTON

 

Games this week

@ San Jose, @ Anaheim, @ Phoenix, vs. Anaheim

 

Rested team: None

Tired Team: @ Anaheim (Wednesday)

 

Notes

The Oilers play three times in four nights as part of a four game week so expect to see Ben Scrivens and Viktor Fasth split the net this week. Scrivens has given up eight goals in his last 49 shots. The Oilers play the Ducks twice this week so tempers may flare. If so, look for Luke Gazdic and Matt Hendricks to garner some penalty minutes. Ryan Nugent-Hopkins continues to be an enigma in the sense that he is talented enough to be garnering a lot more points than his 48 this season in 71 games. His minus-16 rating gives him little fantasy value. Taylor Hall on the other hand has 67 points in 66 games but his minus-15 hurts his fantasy value.

 

FLORIDA

 

Games this week

@ New Jersey, @ New York Islanders, vs. Calgary, vs. Dallas

 

Rested team: vs. Calgary (Friday)

Tired Team: @ New York Islanders (Tuesday), vs. Dallas (Sunday)

 

Notes

Roberto Luongo was injured on Thursday when he suffered an upper body injury as he was run into by Radek Dvorak. Dan Ellis replaced him and Ellis could see the majority of the starts this week if Luongo is unable to go. Tom Gilbert is out for the remainder of the season as he needs sports hernia surgery. Ryan Whitney used to be one of the top offensive defensemen in the NHL but he has played most of this season in the minors and has yet to pick up a point in seven games with the Panthers. GM Dale Tallon thinks that defenseman Erik Gudbranson has the chance to become the team captain at some point.

 

LOS ANGELES

 

Games this week

vs. Minnesota, vs. Phoenix, @ San Jose, @ Vancouver

 

Rested team: vs. Phoenix (Wednesday)

Tired Team: @ San Jose (Thursday)

 

Notes

The Kings play three games in four nights as part of a four game week so expect to see Martin Jones in net once in place of Jonathan Quick.  Jones stopped 35 shots in a rare start on Thursday as the Kings defeated the Penguins 3-2 on the road.  The win tied the franchise record for most consecutive wins on the road at eight, set in the 1974-75 season. Alec Martinez has been an offensive star in the month of March as the defenseman has six goals and five assists in 13 games. Dustin Brown has 10 points in his last 13 games but now has only 26 points in 71 games this season.

 

MINNESOTA

 

Games this week

@ Los Angeles, @ Chicago, vs. Pittsburgh

 

Rested Team: None

Tired Team: None

 

Notes

Keep an eye on Nino Niederreiter next season. After being a bust in Long Island, the 21-year-old has 13 goals and 34 points this season as his career is once again on an upward slope. Darcy Kuemper has given up eight goals on only 36 shots in his last two games. Charlie Coyle had a three game goal scoring streak end on Thursday. Niklas Backstrom had core muscle surgery on Tuesday and should be ready for the start of the 2014-15 season. Jason Pominville leads the Wild with 27 goals and 51 points while Niederreiter has the best plus/minus at plus-11.

 

MONTREAL

           

Games this week

@ Tampa Bay, @ Ottawa, vs. Detroit

 

 Rested team: None

Tired Team: @ Tampa Bay

 

Notes

Thomas Vanek is starting to come on with the Canadiens as he now has nine points in 11 games after a three point effort on Thursday. Tough Dale Weise is out two-three weeks with a hand injury after he was hit from behind on Monday. Lars Eller continues to struggle as he has only one goal and two assists in his last 31 games with a minus-18 rating. I guess that's a lot worse than struggling. Max Pacioretty potted his 33rd goal of the season on Thursday. Tomas Plekanec has three goals in his last four games after going 13 straight games with finding the back of the net.

 

NASHVILLE

 

Games this week

@ Anaheim, @ San Jose

 

Rested team: None

Tired Team: @ San Jose (Saturday)

 

Notes

The Predators play only twice this week so consider benching all your Nashville players with the exception of Shea Weber. Weber reached the 20 goal mark for only the second time of his career on Thursday. His defensive partner Roman Josi is up to 11 goals after scoring a pair on Tuesday. Carter Hutton is having a pretty good rookie year as he is 17-11-4 with a 2.68 GAA and a .907 save percentage. He has lost a lot of his playing time since the return of Pekka Rinne to the lineup but is 3-1 in the Predators last 10 games and has surrendered only five goals on 95 shots during that span. Calle Jarnkrok has started his NHL career in fine fashion with points in all four games as he has a goal and three assists.

 

NEW JERSEY

 

Games this week

vs. Florida, @ Buffalo, vs. Washington, @ Carolina

 

Rested team: None

Tired Team: @ Buffalo (Tuesday), @ Carolina (Saturday)

 

Notes

The Devils play a couple of back-to-back games this week so look for Cory Schneider and Martin Brodeur to split the net. The Devils have been using defenseman Eric Gelinas as a forward of late but the long term plans are still for him to be a rearguard. Gelinas is a very good power play player and has seven goals and 27 points in 54 games this season. Michael Ryder was not surprised when he found himself on the fourth line in practice this past week as he has only one goal in his last 27 games. Damien Brunner has been a disappointment this season with only 11 goals and has found himself as a healthy scratch at times.

 

NEW YORK ISLANDERS

 

Games this week

vs. Florida, @ Ottawa, vs. Washington, @ Columbus

 

Rested team: vs. Florida (Tuesday)

Tired Team: @ Ottawa (Wednesday), @ Columbus (Sunday)

 

Notes

Anders Lee continues to impress as now Lightning coach Jon Cooper is praising him as a 'born leader' and 'a winner'. The Islanders rookie has six goals and 11 points in 13 games this season and has put 44 shots on goal. Evgeni Nabokov is slated to become an unrestricted free agent at the end of the season and still wants to play in the NHL. It remains to be seen if the Islanders are interested in re-signing the Russian netminder and if not, he may be forced to become a backup goalie. It was thought by some that Josh Bailey would have a breakout season but with only six goals and 28 points in 68 games, it was not to be.

 

NEW YORK RANGERS

 

Games this week

@ Vancouver, @ Colorado, vs. Ottawa

 

Rested team: vs. Ottawa (Saturday)

Tired Team: None

 

Notes

Ryan McDonagh is having a breakout season as the talented defenseman has 14 goals and 43 points this season. Chris Kreider is out of action and likely for the remainder of the regular season with a possible broken hand but there is no word at the time of this writing as to whether or not he will require surgery. Martin St. Louis continues to struggle with New York as he has only three assists in 12 games since being dealt from the Lightning. Brad Richards had just two assists in his previous 10 games before potting a goal on Monday. He has 17 goals and 47 points in 74 games this season and could be a buyout candidate in the off-season.

  

OTTAWA     

 

Games this week

vs. Carolina, vs. New York Islanders, vs. Montreal, @ New York Rangers

 

Rested team: vs. Carolina (Monday)

Tired Team:  vs. New York Islanders (Tuesday), @ Ottawa (Saturday)

 

Notes

The Senators play four games this week including three in four nights so expect to see Craig Anderson and Robin Lehner to split the net as Anderson returned to action from a shoulder injury. Bobby Ryan is out for the remainder of the season as he will undergo sports hernia surgery. Mark Stone was recalled from the minors and is now seeing second line minutes alongside Kyle Turris and Clarke MacArthur. Stone has a goal and two points in two games since his recall from the minors. Patrick Wiercioch played on Tuesday for the first time in nine games as he has been a healthy scratch.  Mika Zibanejad is out with an upper body injury.


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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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