Michael Finewax

The Week Ahead

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Alex DeBrincat Catching Fire

Friday, December 1, 2017


Some notes from around the league include:

 

The New York Islanders are the only team in the NHL not to have lost at home in regulation time this season as they are 8-0-2.

 

The New Jersey Devils are an amazing 8-2-2 on the road while Toronto is close behind at 9-4-1 as are St. Louis and Los Angeles who are both 8-3-1.

 

The Canadiens and Penguins are both in playoff spots despite having a goal differential of minus-17 and minus-16 respectively. The Rangers are not in a playoff spot (although they do have a game in hand on Pittsburgh and two on Montreal) but are a plus-five.

 

The Rangers have played 17 games at home but only eight on the road.

 

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 DECEMBER 4-10

 

 

4 Games – Calgary, New York Islanders, St. Louis, San Jose

 

3 Games – Anaheim, Arizona, Boston, Buffalo, Carolina, Chicago, Colorado, Columbus, Dallas, Edmonton, Florida, Los Angeles, Montreal, Minnesota, Nashville, New Jersey, New York Rangers, Ottawa, Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, Tampa Bay, Toronto, Vancouver, Vegas, Washington, Winnipeg

 

2 Games - Detroit

 

New York Islanders play all four games on the road.

 

Florida, Los Angeles, Montreal, Pittsburgh, San Jose, Tampa Bay and Washington play three games at home.

 

Arizona, Buffalo, Carolina, Minnesota, Ottawa, Philadelphia and Winnipeg play three games on the road.

 

INJURIES

 

Matt Murray is out for 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

@ Vegas, vs. Ottawa, vs. Minnesota

 

Rested Team: None

Tired Team: vs. Ottawa (Wednesday)

 

Notes

The Ducks play three games in four nights this week with Ryan Miller likely getting one start with John Gibson starting the other two. The Ducks needed depth at center with Ryan Getzlaf and Ryan Kesler out of action so they dealt Sami Vatanen to the Devils for Adam Henrique and Joseph Blandisi. Blandisi is intriguing as he could fit the role on the second line as he has some offensive ability. Henrique is a nice acquisition as he has third line capabilities when everyone is healthy. Getzlaf is due back in mid-December and is now skating as he recovers from surgery to his fractured zygomatic bone. Jakub Silfverberg missed the third period Wednesday and is day-to-day.

 

ARIZONA

 

Games this week

@ Boston, @ Columbus, @ Chicago

 

Rested Team: @ Columbus (Saturday)

Tired Team: @ Chicago (Sunday)

 

Notes

The Coyotes play three games in four nights on the road this week. Look for Antti Raanta (upper body) to come back and start twice with Scott Wedgewood playing once on the weekend. If Raanta is unable to return then Wedgewood would play twice with Marek Langhamer getting one start. The Coyotes recalled defenseman Andrew Campbell from the minors. Clayton Keller has only four points in his last 12 games with no goals. Niklas Hjalmarsson was injured once again on Tuesday as he suffered an upper body injury.  The Coyotes recalled Dylan Strome from the minors as the third overall pick in the 2015 Draft was lighting it up in the AHL with 26 points in 15 games. He was pointless on Tuesday. The Coyotes sent Jakob Chychrun to the minors on a conditioning stint. He injured his knee in the off-season and should return quickly.

 

BOSTON

 

Games this week

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

 

Rested Team: None

Tired Team: None

 

Notes

Brad Marchand returned to action Wednesday after missing six games with an undisclosed injury. He had a couple of helpers in his return and has 17 points in 15 games. Tuukka Rask picked up a rare win on Wednesday, kicking out 19 shots to go to 4-8-2. He has been much the inferior goalie to Anton Khudobin who is 7-0-2 this season. It was nice to see David Backes back in the lineup Wednesday after a bout of diverticulitis. It was though that he would be out until the end of December or early January so it is great that he is feeling well enough to play. Charlie McAvoy had a goal and an assist Wednesday and is up to three goals and 13 points.         

 

BUFFALO

 

Games this week

@ Colorado, @ Chicago, @ St. Louis

 

Rested Team: @ St. Louis (Sunday)

Tired Team: None

 

Notes

Sam Reinhart moved down the depth chart on Wednesday as he was demoted to the fourth line, alongside Zemgus Girgensons and Johan Larsson. He was playing with Jack Eichel and Ryan O'Reilly on the top unit so this is a big comedown as Girgensons has yet to pick up a point in 17 games while Larsson has one point in 14 contests. Matt Moulson returned to the lineup Tuesday after being a healthy scratch for six straight games. The Sabres still do not have a goal from their defensive corps. Jack Eichel still has only one point on the power play this season. O'Reilly has four power play goals while Sam Reinhart has two, the only Sabres with more than one.

 

CALGARY

 

Games this week

vs. Philadelphia, @ Toronto, @ Montreal, vs. Vancouver

 

Rested Team: None

Tired Team: @ Montreal (Thursday)

 

Notes

The Flames play four games this week with three coming in four nights. Look for Mike Smith to get three starts with David Rittich getting the call in net once. Jaromir Jagr is back in the lineup after missing Tuesday’s game with a lower body injury. Sam Bennett got hit in the face by a clearing puck from the stick of goaltender Frederik Andersen but it okay to play. Kris Versteeg is on injured reserve with a lower body injury and the Flames recalled Garnet Hathaway to take his spot on the roster. Hathaway practiced with the fourth line as Curtis Lazar and Matt Stajan were his linemates. Johnny Gaudreau leads Calgary with 34 points in 25 games, eight better than Sean Monahan.

 

CAROLINA

 

Games this week

@ Vancouver, @ San Jose, @ Los Angeles  

 

Rested Team: None

Tired Team: None

 

Notes

The Hurricanes are on the West Coast this week for all three games as they start a six game road trip. Jeff Skinner has not scored in his last seven games. He still leads the Hurricanes with nine goals. Teuvo Teravainen leads the Hurricanes in points with 21, three ahead of linemate Sebastian Aho. Justin Williams is playing well and has 17 points in 23 contests. Noah Hanifin has a defense-leading four goals and 13 points for Carolina while the usual leader of the blueline, Justin Faulk, has only a goal and seven points. Chuck Greenberg is having difficulty raising the money to buy the Carolina Hurricanes and as a result, there are others buyers coming to the forefront.   

 

 CHICAGO

 

Games this week

@ Washington, vs. Buffalo, vs. Arizona

 

Rested Team: vs. Arizona (Sunday)

Tired Team: None

 

Notes

Alex DeBrincat is off to a great start this week as he has six points in his first three games to give him 19 points on the season. Jordin Tootoo cleared waivers and was sent to the minors. Patrick Kane saw his seven game points streak end on Tuesday. The talented forward has 27 points in 25 games. Patrick Sharp and Ryan Hartman each have three points in their last three games as they are playing on a line with DeBrincat. Duncan Keith and Brent Seabrook used to be the offensive stars of the blueline but they have a total of one goal in 25 games this season. Jan Rutta has been a revelation on the blueline with 12 points in his 25 games to date. Jonathan Toews started the season with six points in five games but has only 10 in his last 20.  

 

COLORADO

 

Games this week

vs. Buffalo, @ Tampa Bay, @ Florida

 

Rested Team: None

Tired Team: None

 

Notes

Nathan MacKinnon continues to be on fire as he has seven goals and 23 points in his last 13 games. Colin Wilson is day-to-day with a groin injury. Sven Andrighetto has moved up to the top line with MacKinnon and Mikko Rantanen, as Gabriel Landeskog was suspended for four games for his crosscheck on the Flames Matthew Tkachuk. Tyler Jost is back with the team and playing on a line with Alexander Kerfoot and J.T. Compher. Jost is highly regarded and while he has only a goal and an assist in seven games this season, the Avs are expecting a lot more. Nikita Zadorov leads the Avalanche in penalty minutes with 28 and has chipped in with three goals and five points in 18 games this season.

 

COLUMBUS

 

Games this week

vs. New Jersey, @ New Jersey, vs. Arizona

 

Rested Team: None

Tired Team: vs. Arizona (Saturday)

 

Notes

The Blue Jackets play a home-and-home series this week with the New Jersey Devils and if tempers flare, look for Josh Anderson to be in the middle of things. Anderson has a four game points streak. He certainly has not been a bust like so many RFA’s who hold out into the season and then cannot return to their old form that season. He has nine goals and 14 points in 23 games. Ryan Murray is day-to-day after missing Tuesday’s action with an upper body injury. Alexander Wennberg returned to action on Tuesday after missing six games with an upper body injury. He had an assist to give him 10 points in 19 games, a big drop from last season’s 59 point effort. Seth Jones does not have a point in his last 10 games.

 

DALLAS

 

Games this week

vs. Nashville, @ St. Louis, vs. Vegas

 

Rested Team: vs. Nashville (Tuesday), vs. Vegas (Saturday)

Tired Team: None

 

Notes

Radek Faksa had a natural hat trick on Tuesday with two goals coming eight seconds apart. Martin Hanzal is injured yet again, this time with the dreaded undisclosed injury. The Stars big off-season signing has missed six games this season with an array of injuries. He has only a goal and two assists with a minus-10 rating in 19 games and that is not what the Stars bargained for. The Stars top two offensive defensemen John Klingberg and Esa Lindell have combined for eight goals and 31 points with Klingberg leading the way with four goals and 22 points. Stephen Johns has two goals and five points but the bottom four of Julius Honka, Marc Methot, Jamie Oleksiak and Greg Pateryn have combined for only two assists in 56 games.  


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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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