Michael Finewax

The Week Ahead

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A Busy Playoff Schedule

Friday, March 17, 2017


There was another postponement this week as the Devils-Jets game was cancelled due to snow on Tuesday. The two squads will make the game up on March 28 and that’s not a big crimp in their plans as they were the only two teams that week who were playing only two games.

 

There is plenty to write about so let’s get to it. Hopefully you are doing well in Week 1 of the playoffs and will continue on to survive for another week. Good luck to everyone.

 

Listen to the Rotoworld Hockey Podcast with yours truly and Joey Alfieri here.


Editor's Note
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Don’t forget, for everything NHL, check out Rotoworld's Player News, and follow @Rotoworld_ HK and @mfinewaxhockey on Twitter.

 

Now to The Week Ahead.

 

WEEK OF MARCH 20-26

 

4 Games -  Arizona, Boston, Dallas, Detroit, Edmonton, Minnesota, New Jersey, New York Rangers, Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, San Jose, Toronto, Vancouver, Winnipeg

 

3 Games – Anaheim, Buffalo, Calgary, Carolina, Chicago, Colorado, Columbus, Florida, Los Angeles, Montreal, Nashville, New York Islanders, Ottawa, St. Louis, Tampa Bay, Washington

 

 

Arizona, San Jose and Vancouver play all four games on the road.

 

Anaheim, Detroit, Florida, Minnesota, Montreal, Nashville and Washington play three games at home.

 

Calgary, Carolina and Philadelphia play three games on the road.

 

INJURIES

 

Artem Anisimov is out three-four weeks with a lower body injury. (Click here to see the rest of the injury list.)

 

Note: A tired team is one that has played the day or night before and is going against a team that did not play the previous day or night. The reverse is true for a rested team.

 

ANAHEIM

 

Games this week

vs. Edmonton, vs. Winnipeg, vs. New York Rangers

 

Rested Team: vs. Winnipeg (Friday), vs. New York Rangers (Sunday)

Tired Team: None

 

Notes

The Ducks are firmly entrenched in the playoffs as they have a nine point lead over the Kings with just 12 games left on their schedule. Despite a three point performance on Sunday and three goals in four games, Corey Perry is still having difficulty scoring as he has found the back of the net only 14 times this season. John Gibson played for the first time in seven games on March 10 but quickly was back on the shelf with a recurrence of a lower body injury that has sidelined him again for a couple of games. Congratulations to Rickard Rakell who hit the 30 goal mark for the first time in his career. He leads the Ducks and is seven ahead of his nearest teammate, Patrick Eaves who did most of his damage in a Dallas uniform.

 

ARIZONA

 

Games this week

@ Nashville, @ Tampa Bay, @ Florida, @ Washington

 

Rested Team: None

Tired Team: @ Tampa Bay (Tuesday)

 

 

Notes

The Coyotes play four games this week including three games in four nights. Mike Smith should get the call in three games with Louis Domingue playing once. Well, at least now we know why Oliver Ekman-Larsson is not scoring. The defenseman had five goals in 21 games before he broke his hand on November 29. The tough blueliner never missed a game but do not put a lot of thought into why he was only so-so this season as it was an injury. Brendan Perlini’s three game goal scoring streak came to an end on Tuesday but he still has 13 goals in 45 games. The rookie is part of an outstanding class of first year players.

 

BOSTON

 

Games this week

@ Toronto, vs. Ottawa, vs. Tampa Bay, @ New York Islanders

 

Rested Team: @ New York Islanders (Saturday)

Tired Team: vs. Ottawa (Tuesday)

 

Notes

The Bruins play three games in four nights as part of a four game week. Tuukka Rask should play three games with Anton Khudobin getting the start once.  It is hard to believe but Brad Marchand leads the NHL in goals with 37 and has 79 points which is tied with Connor McDavid for the NHL lead. Where did this come from? Could it be that he picked up so much confidence from playing for Team Canada at the World Cup. Who knows but if you have him on your team, you drafted very well. David Krejci hit the 20 goal mark for the first time since 2011-12 when he scored on Thursday. David Pastrnak has 31 goals this season, a new career high. David Backes has been a bit of a disappointment offensively with 15 goals and 34 points.

 

BUFFALO

 

Games this week

@ Detroit, vs. Pittsburgh, vs. Toronto

 

Rested Team: None

Tired Team: vs. Pittsburgh (Tuesday)

 

Notes

Jack Eichel continues to put on an impressive show this season as he hit the 20 goal mark Tuesday in just his 49th game. He has 48 points thus far and has been everything that he was supposed to be when the Sabres drafted him second overall in 2015. He saw his 11 game points streak come to an end on March 10 but since he has three points in two games going into action on Thursday. He also has 20 power play points in 49 contests. The Sabres have a nice core with Eichel, Sam Reinhart, Ryan O'Reilly, Evander Kane and Rasmus Ristolainen. The problem may be that Kane could be headed out of town in the off-season if the Sabres decide to deal him elsewhere.   

 

CALGARY

 

Games this week

@ Washington, @ Nashville, @ St. Louis

 

Rested Team: None

Tired Team: None

 

Notes

After spending last week at home for all four games the Flames play all three on the road this week. Their 10 game winning streak came to an abrupt end on Wednesday as they dropped a 5-2 decision to the visiting Boston Bruins. Brian Elliott was unable to start in goal for the Flames as he was ill and Chad Johnson came in and took the loss. Johnny Gaudreau had four goals and 14 points in 10 games before being held off the scoresheet Wednesday. Kris Versteeg has been a shootout superstar as he has four goals in five shootout attempts. Michael Stone could return from an upper body injury as early as March 17.

 

CAROLINA

 

Games this week

@ Florida, @ Montreal, @ New Jersey

 

Rested Team: None

Tired Team: None

 

 

Notes

I still like Elias Lindholm. He is not much of a goal scorer as he has only seven goals in 58 games this season but he has 36 points, only three shy of his career high of 39 set in each of his last two seasons. Lindholm is only 22 and this is already his fourth season in the NHL, so I think he is ready to blossom next season. Don’t forget he had only three assists in his first 15 games so he has 33 points in his last 43 which is a very nice pace. It was a great game for the Hurricanes blueline on Monday as Jaccob Slavin had the hat trick while Justin Faulk had a pair in an 8-4 win over the Islanders. Slavin has five goals this season and is also plus-17 on a weak Carolina team.

 

CHICAGO

 

Games this week

vs. Vancouver, vs. Dallas, @ Florida

 

Rested Team: None

Tired Team: None

 

Notes

Patrick Kane has been hot. Since the beginning of February he has played in 18 NHL games, scoring 16 goals and adding 12 assists. That is quite a pace for the NHL’s reigning Art Ross Trophy scoring champ. John Hayden made his NHL debut on Thursday after completing his university career at Yale. He played alongside Jonathan Toews and Richard Panik and that’s not the worst way to start your time in the NHL. Nick Schmaltz has taken over from the injured Artem Anisimov on the Kane line. I thought there would be a bigger regression for Artemi Panarin who had 77 points in 80 games as a rookie last season but he has 63 points in 70 games thus far.  

 

COLORADO

 

Games this week

vs. St. Louis, vs. Edmonton, @ Edmonton

 

Rested Team: vs. Edmonton (Thursday)

Tired Team: None

 

Notes

The Avalanche play a home-and-home series with Edmonton and if there is any rough stuff they may need to rely on Gabriel Landeskog to do the dirty work. Carl Soderberg has been a huge disappointment for the Avs this season as he had 12 goals and 51 points last season in 82 games but scored just his sixth goal of the season Wednesday and 13th point, a tremendous drop from the 2015-16 campaign. Coach Jared Bednar switched up his lines this past week and Nathan MacKinnon was on a line with Sven Andrighetto and Mikko Rantanen. I like Rantanen next season as a lot of poolies will be turned off by his poor plus/minus.

 

COLUMBUS

 

Games this week

vs. Toronto, @ Washington, vs. Philadelphia

 

Rested Team: None

Tired Team: @ Washington (Thursday)

 

Notes

Sergei Bobrovsky in my opinion is back in front as the winner of the Vezina Trophy as he leads the NHL in wins with 38 and is right up there in GAA (2.06) and save percentage (.930). I think he has been a touch better than both Braden Holtby and Devan Dubnyk but the race will be so close to call. Zach Werenski broke Rick Nash’s rookie point record of 39 and is sitting at 44 points at this time. The record for most goals and points by a Blue Jackets is 12 goals (Bryan Berard) and 51 points (James Wisniewski) both attainable records for the 19-year-old. The Blue Jackets are sitting with a wealth of young talent on the blueline with Seth Jones and the injured Ryan Murray also there. They are going to be good for a long time.

 

DALLAS

 

Games this week

vs. San Jose, @ Chicago, vs. San Jose, @ New Jersey

 

Rested Team: @ New Jersey (Sunday)

Tired Team: vs. San Jose (Friday)

 

Notes

The Stars play four games this week and including three contests in four nights. Kari Lehtonen and Antti Niemi should split the net, but if you have either Dallas goalie on your starting roster, you are asking for trouble. The Stars also play San Jose twice at home this week so if you are looking for penalty minutes Radek Faksa could be your guy as Antoine Roussel is out for the season. Alex Hemsky scored his first of the season Thursday but in his defense he has played in only eight games. Jamie Benn suffered an upper body injury Thursday and is day-to-day. He has 63 points this season but was pointless in his last four.


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Michael Finewax is entering his 13th season as the Senior Hockey Writer and Editor for Rotoworld. You can follow him on Twitter @mfinewaxhockey.
Email :Michael Finewax



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