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Michael Finewax

The Week Ahead

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New Coaches in LA and Chicago

Friday, November 9, 2018


There were two coaching changes in the NHL in the last week as the Los Angeles Kings dumped John Stevens in favor of Willie Desjardins while Chicago gave up on their long-time coach Joel Quenneville with whom they won three Stanley Cups in the last nine years and promoted Jeremy Colliton from their AHL affiliate in Rockford. Colliton is the youngest current coach in the AHL at the tender age of 33.

 

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There is a lot of information to get to so let’s get started.

 

WEEK OF NOVEMBER 12-18

 

4 Games – Anaheim, Chicago, Minnesota, Nashville, New Jersey, Vancouver

 

3 Games – Arizona, Boston, Buffalo, Carolina, Colorado, Columbus, Dallas, Detroit, Edmonton, Florida, Los Angeles, Montreal, New York Islanders, New York Rangers, Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, San Jose, St. Louis, Tampa Bay, Toronto, Vegas, Washington

 

2 Games - Calgary, Ottawa, Winnipeg

 

Boston, Florida, Montreal, St. Louis, Tampa Bay, Toronto, Vancouver and Washington play three games on the road.

 

Anaheim, Carolina, Colorado, Minnesota, the New York Islanders, Philadelphia and San Jose play three games at home.

 

INJURIES

 

Ondrej Palat is out another 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. Nashville, @ Vegas, vs. Toronto, vs. Colorado

 

Rested Team: vs. Toronto (Friday)

Tired Team: None

 

Notes

The Ducks play four games this week so look for Ryan Miller to get in one start with John Gibson getting the call three times. Josh Manson is out with an upper body injury but should be back this week if not earlier. Ondrej Kase has been out of action with a concussion all season but was skating with the team on Wednesday, albeit in a non-contact jersey.  Nick Ritchie has been skating in a non-contact jersey as well but he could return from his upper body injury this week. Ryan Getzlaf returned Tuesday from an upper body injury that caused him to miss one game and he scored the game-winner the following night against the Calgary Flames.

 

ARIZONA

 

Games this week

@ Detroit, @ Nashville, vs. Boston

 

Rested Team: vs. Boston (Saturday)

Tired Team: None

 

Notes

Antti Raanta could miss this week as he is on the injured-reserve list with a lower-body injury. The Coyotes recalled Hunter Miska to back up Darcy Kuemper but unless there is a blow out, do not expect to see Miska in the net. Jakob Chychrun should return this week from off-season knee surgery. If you are in need of penalty minutes, look at Lawson Crouse who has 24 minutes in 13 games and has chipped in with a couple of goals as well. Dylan Strome has only two goals this season with both coming on the power play. Oliver Ekman-Larsson has two goals and 10 points in 14 games with an impressive plus-six rating. Michael Grabner has four goals and nine points with three goals and a pair of assists coming while shorthanded. He has eight points in his six-game scoring streak.

 

BOSTON

 

Games this week

@ Colorado, @ Dallas, @ Arizona

 

Rested Team: None

Tired Team: @ Arizona (Saturday)

 

Notes

The Bruins play three games in four nights so look for Tuukka Rask to play twice and Jaroslav Halak once. They are getting great production from their top line of Patrice Bergeron, David Pastrnak and Brad Marchand while David Krejci is chipping in nicely with 13 points in 15 games. The problem is that the rest of the forwards are doing little or even less than that. The top scorer of the remaining nine forwards is Jake DeBrusk who had a measly four points in 14 games before a big three-point game Thursday. It’s tough when forwards like Nel Acciari (zero points in 15 games) and David Backes (no points in 10 games) are contributing nothing. Torey Krug has four assists in four games and has taken over his rightful spot on the number one power play from Matthew Grzelcyk who replaced him when Krug was injured.

 

BUFFALO

 

Games this week

vs. Tampa Bay, @ Winnipeg, @ Minnesota

 

Rested Team: None

Tired Team: @ Minnesota (Saturday)

 

Notes

Jeff Skinner has been great for the Sabres as he has 11 goals and 18 points in his first 16 games with Buffalo. He is one point behind team leader Jack Eichel. Sean Malone is back from a knee injury suffered at training camp and was sent to Rochester of the AHL. Rasmus Ristolainen was a minus-102 in 346 NHL games heading into this season but he has not improved, in fact, he has been worse this season with a minus-12 in 16 games. Carter Hutton has been okay with a 5-6-1 mark to go with a 2.78 GAA and a .911 save percentage but backup Linus Ullmark has been sensational with a 3-0-1 record, a 2.00 GAA and a .934 save percentage. It would not be surprising if he worked his way into a share of the starting job or better than that.

 

CALGARY

Games this week

vs. Montreal, vs. Edmonton

 

Rested Team: None

Tired Team: None

 

Notes

Sean Monahan was the first star of the week as he had four straight two-point games last week including four goals. Monahan has 18 points, tied with Matthew Tkachuk, one behind Johnny Gaudreau and one ahead of Elias Lindholm. While Lindholm has been a stud since his trade from Carolina, Noah Hanifin has been playing well but has not been a fantasy asset as he has only four assists in 15 games. Mike Smith has been struggling in the Calgary net as his record is okay at 5-5-1 but his peripherals are not as he has a 3.66 GAA and a .872 save percentage. Dillon Dube is on injured reserve and he may have a concussion.

 

CAROLINA

 

Games this week

vs. Chicago, vs. Columbus, vs. New Jersey

 

Rested Team: None

Tired Team: None

 

Notes

The Hurricanes play all three games at home this week. They seem to be the most interested team in the William Nylander talks as the Maple Leafs and their talented winger have yet to agree on a new contract. The Hurricanes are believed to be offering either Brett Pesce or Jaccob Slavin, both young defensemen. Petr Mrazek is day-to-day with a lower body injury. The trade that sent Elias Lindholm and Noah Hanifin to Calgary has worked out for both teams in the early going as Micheal Ferland has a team-leading seven goals and 11 points while Dougie Hamilton has a couple of goals and five points and leads the Hurricanes with 66 shots on goal.

 

CHICAGO

 

Games this week

@ Carolina, vs. St. Louis, vs. Los Angeles, vs. Minnesota

 

Rested Team: vs. Minnesota (Sunday)   

Tired Team: None

 

Notes

The Blackhawks got their week off on a different foot as they fired their long-time coach Joel Quenneville who took them to three Stanley Cup wins in his 10-year tenure with the team. He was replaced by the Blackhawks AHL affiliate coach Jeremy Colliton.  Colliton becomes the youngest coach in the NHL at 33. Corey Crawford should get the net three times this week as the Blackhawks play four games. He has struggled this season after missing 10 months with a concussion as he is 3-4-0 with a 2.92 GAA and a .907 save percentage. Brandon Saad has picked it up of late as he has four goals and five points in his last seven games. Nick Schmaltz had a big season last year with 21 goals and 52 points in 78 games. He is not off to a great start this season with only a goal and seven points in 14 games and was a healthy scratch in Edmonton on November 1.

 

COLORADO

 

Games this week

vs. Boston, vs. Washington, @ Anaheim  

 

Rested Team: None

Tired Team: None

 

Notes

Tyson Jost is still out of the lineup with a head injury and has missed the last four games. He has been a disappointment this season as he had 12 goals and 22 points in 65 games as a 19-year-old last season but has only a goal and two points in 11 games this campaign. He practiced in full gear Tuesday but still did not play Wednesday. After starting the season at 4-0-2, Semyon Varlamov has lost his last four straight, giving up nine goals on 70 shots in his last two games. Still, he has a 2.21 GAA and a .934 save percentage on the year. Tyson Barrie has 11 assists and is a plus-nine this season after 15 games. He has been a combined minus-65 in 220 games over the last three seasons.

 

COLUMBUS       

 

Games this week

@ Dallas, vs. Florida, @ Carolina

 

Rested Team: None

Tired Team: None

 

Notes

Oliver Bjorkstrand was banished to the press box on Tuesday, the first time this season that he has not been in the starting lineup. Bjorkstrand had 40 points last season and it was thought that another leap forward was within his grasp but he has only a goal and three points this season in 14 games. Sergei Bobrovsky’s numbers don’t look great a month into the season as he is 4-6-0 with a 3.09 GAA and a .902 save percentage but he has allowed only one goal in three of his last four games and has stopped 119-of-126 shots in that time frame. Zach Werenski is off to a nice start this season with three goals and 10 points in 15 games. With the return of Brandon Dubinsky to the lineup, Sonny Milano was sent to the minors.

 

DALLAS

 

Games this week

vs. Columbus, vs. Boston, @ New York Islanders

 

Rested Team: None

Tired Team: None

 

Notes

The Stars recalled Denis Gurianov from the minors where the winger had six goals and 12 points in 11 games. The Stars are in need of some secondary scoring as Tyler Seguin, Jamie Benn, the injured Alexander Radulov, Jason Spezza and Devin Shore are off to good starts but there is little other scoring on the Stars up front. Radek Faksa and Jason Dickinson each have three goals in 16 games and they are the best of the rest. Seguin had gone 12 straight games without finding the back of the net before scoring Thursday and has four goals and 16 points in 16 games. Martin Hanzal is expected to be back at or near the end of November and has been given the green light for some light contact in practice.


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Michael Finewax is entering his 14th season as the Senior Hockey Writer and Editor for Rotoworld. You can follow him on Twitter @mfinewaxhockey.
Email :Michael Finewax



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