Michael Finewax

The Week Ahead

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Happy Thanksgiving!

Friday, November 17, 2017


A Happy Thanksgiving to all my American readers.

 

Lore has it that if you are in the playoffs on Thanksgiving day then the team is going to make it at the end of the season into the post-season. That works with about 13-14 of the 16 teams in most years so it is a good barometer of things to come.

 

It is a different week in the NHL as there is a plethora of games on Monday and Wednesday rather than the usual Tuesday and Thursday. Every team has Thursday off with St. Louis being the only team off on Wednesday.

 

All four Western Canadian teams play every one of their 16 games on the road this week.

 

There is plenty of information and good chatter always on the Rotoworld Hockey Podcast. Listen here.

 

Editor's Note: Rotoworld’s Season Pass is now available for the low price of $19.99. You get plenty of extra articles including the minor league report, the junior report and much, much more. Buy it now!

 

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

 

WEEK OF NOVEMBER 20-26

 

4 Games – Anaheim, Arizona, Buffalo, Calgary, Edmonton, Minnesota, Nashville, New Jersey, San Jose, Tampa Bay, Toronto, Vancouver, Washington, Winnipeg

 

3 Games –Boston, Carolina, Colorado, Columbus, Dallas, Detroit, Los Angeles, Montreal, New York Islanders, New York Rangers,  Ottawa, Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, St. Louis, Vegas

 

2 Games Chicago, Florida

 

Calgary, Edmonton, Vancouver and Winnipeg play all four games on the road.

 

Arizona, Buffalo, Carolina, St. Louis, San Jose and Washington play three games at home.

 

Vegas plays three games on the road.

 

INJURIES

 

Alexander Wennberg is day-to-day with an upper 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

@ San Jose. vs. Vegas, vs. Winnipeg, @ Los Angeles

 

Rested Team: None

Tired Team: @ San Jose (Monday)

 

Notes

The Ducks play four games this week with three coming in four nights. Ryan Miller should get one start with John Gibson starting the other three. Gibson is 6-6-1 with a 2.84 GAA and a .920 save percentage. Corey Perry has four assists in his last three games as he seems to be coming out of his season long slump. Derek Grant is seeing first line action with Ryan Getzlaf out for a couple of months. Hampus Lindholm sat out Wednesday with an undisclosed injury and is day-to-day. Cam Fowler suffered a knee injury four weeks ago but may start skating before the start of the week. He is due back in December.  Rickard Rakell leads the Ducks in scoring with six goals and 15 points.

 

ARIZONA

 

Games this week

@ Toronto, vs. San Jose, vs. Los Angeles, vs. Vegas

 

Rested Team: None

Tired Team: None

 

Notes

The Coyotes finish their four game road trip this week.  They play four games including three in four nights so look for Antti Raanta to play three times with Scott Wedgewood getting the call once. Clayton Keller had an assist on Thursday to end his four game pointless drought. He has 11 goals and 18 points in 21 games and is still considered the Calder Trophy favorite as the season passes the quarter pole. It took 21 games but the Coyotes win over Montreal Thursday was their first this season in regulation. They are the first NHL team to go the first 20 games of the season without a victory. Arizona made a small trade this week as they shipped Louis Domingue to Tampa Bay for Michael Leighton and Tye McGinn.  

 

BOSTON

 

Games this week

@ New Jersey, vs. Pittsburgh, vs. Edmonton

 

Rested Team: None

Tired Team: None

 

Notes

The Bruins are not getting the goaltending they need from Tuukka Rask as he is 3-7-3 with a 2.89 GAA and a .887 save percentage. On the other hand, Anton Khudobin has been solid as he is 3-0-3 with a 2.60 GAA and a .923 save percentage. David Pastrnak leads the Bruins with 10 goals and 17 points. David Krejci was back in the lineup on Thursday after missing close to a month with a back ailment. Get him in your lineup quickly in deeper leagues. Torey Krug did not play Thursday as he suffered an undisclosed injury Wednesday. He has 11 points in 16 games so his presence will be missed offensively. I continue to like the play of Danton Heinen who has three goals and eight points in 13 games.    

 

BUFFALO

 

Games this week

vs. Columbus, vs. Minnesota, vs. Edmonton, @ Montreal

 

Rested Team: None

Tired Team: @ Montreal (Saturday)

 

Notes

The Sabres play four games this week including three games in four nights. Robin Lehner will get at least two starts and likely three with Chad Johnson picking up the crease in the remainder of the contests. Evander Kane continues to lead the Sabres with 10 goals and 18 points, two points ahead of Jack Eichel. If the Sabres were to trade Kane who is eligible for unrestricted free agency at the end of the season, then they should strike gold as he will be highly sought after by all the contenders. Alexander Nylander is expected to play his first game of the season in Rochester Friday and he could be with the Sabres in the not-too-distant future. Buffalo could use his skill level. The Sabres still don’t have a goal from their blueline.

 

CALGARY

 

Games this week

@ Washington, @ Columbus, @ Dallas, @ Colorado

 

Rested Team: None

Tired Team: None

 

Notes

The Flames finish up their six game road trip this week with four on the road including three games in four nights. It looks like Mike Smith is healthy again as the Flames sent Jon Gillies back to the minors Thursday. Expect to see Smith play three games if he can stay healthy with Eddie Lack picking up one start. Sam Bennett has three points in his last three games after starting the season pointless in his first 15 contests. Matthew Tkachuk could get a suspension for his role in Wednesday’s game against Detroit which saw 141 penalty minutes called. Micheal Ferland has been hot of late with goals in five straight games and a couple of assists chipped in as well. He has eight goals and 11 points in 17 games and has established himself for now on the first line with Sean Monahan and Johnny Gaudreau.

 

CAROLINA

 

Games this week

vs. New York Rangers, vs. Toronto, vs. Nashville  

 

Rested Team: None

Tired Team: None

 

Notes

Scott Darling has established himself as the Hurricanes top netminder. It was shaky at the start of the season as he got off to a rocky start but Darling is now 5-3-4 with a 2.37 GAA and a .910 save percentage. There is a two-way tie for first place in Carolina scoring as Jordan Staal and Teuvo Teravainen each have 15 points in 17 games. It looks to be a big season for the duo who play on the top line with Sebastian Aho. The Hurricanes have a very nice second line as well with Jeff Skinner, Victor Rask and Elias Lindholm. Aho finally scored his first goal of the season on Monday and doubled his count on Thursday with his second of the season.

 

 CHICAGO

 

Games this week

@ Tampa Bay, @ Florida

 

Rested Team: None

Tired Team: None

 

Notes

The Blackhawks are one of only two teams to play only twice this week. Corey Crawford’s record of 8-7 is not indicative of his play as he has a 2.26 GAA and a .930 save percentage. Well, the Jonathan Toews, Patrick Kane and Patrick Sharp line did not stay together long as the trio were broken up quickly. Toews now finds himself between Brandon Saad and Richard Panik while Kane is on a line with Artem Anisimov and Nick Schmaltz. The Blackhawks are having some trouble scoring. They have 59 goals in 19 games which at first looks good but they started the season with 15 goals in two games. Take that away and they have only 44 in their last 17. Alex DeBrincat has been an exception as he had only one goal in his first 12 games but has found the back of the net six times in the Hawks last seven games.  

 

COLORADO

 

Games this week

vs. Dallas, @ Minnesota, vs. Calgary

 

Rested Team: vs. Dallas (Wednesday)

Tired Team: None

 

Notes

The Avalanche play three games in four nights so look for Semyon Varlamov to play twice with Jonathan Bernier getting one start. I wrote last week that the Matt Duchene trade should give Tyson Jost more playing time and that could be the case but Colorado sent him to the minors this week as he has been out since October 22 with a lower body injury. Expect him back with the big club soon. Nathan MacKinnon is finally back to showing his offensive flair. He had a big rookie season as an 18-year-old with 24 goals and 63 points but his last three years have been okay at best with 38 (in 64 games), 52 and 53 points respectively. He has six goals and 20 points in 17 games this season and is once again showing why he was the first overall pick in 2013.

 

COLUMBUS

 

Games this week

@ Buffalo, vs. Calgary, vs. Ottawa

 

Rested Team: None

Tired Team: None

 

Notes

The Blue Jackets reportedly have agreed to a seven-year/$40.25 million contract with Cam Atkinson. The negotiations must have been bothering Atkinson who has only four goals and six points in 15 games after a 35 goal, 62 point season last year. Sergei Bobrovsky continues to show his excellence in goal as he is 10-4-1 with a 2.16 GAA and a .928 save percentage. Could another Vezina Trophy be in the cards for him? He has needed to be great as the Blue Jackets are having trouble scoring with only five goals in their last four games. Artemi Panarin leads with 13 points and defensemen Seth Jones and Zach Werenski are next in line with 12 and 11 points respectively although Oliver Bjorkstrand also has 11.  

 

DALLAS

 

Games this week

vs. Montreal, @ Colorado, @ Calgary

 

Rested Team: None

Tired Team: @ Colorado (Wednesday)

 

Notes

The Stars play three games in four nights so expect to see Ben Bishop play twice with Kari Lehtonen getting one start. Bishop’s first start against his ex-Tampa Bay teammates on Thursday did not go well as he gave up six goals and has given up 11 in his last two games. Lehtonen could see more action in the future if Bishop does not snap out of it. Alexander Radulov saw his nine game points streak end against the Lightning. He has six goals and 17 points in 19 games and forms one of the best lines in the NHL along with Tyler Seguin and Jamie Benn. Esa Lindell has four goals and seven points. Keep an eye on the defenseman.   


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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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