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Michael Finewax

The Week Ahead

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Mattias Ekholm on Fire

Friday, January 11, 2019


This is the last full week in the next three in the NHL as the league will play only 25 games in 11 days and nights. The NHL will give teams its mandated five days off without practice, as well as the NHL All-Star game in San Jose.

 

Rick Nash, who refused to sign in the off-season as an unrestricted free agent, announced his retirement on Friday. He had 437 goals and 805 points in a career spent with Columbus, the New York Rangers and Boston.

 

He was the first overall pick in 2002 by Columbus and was the Rocket Richard winner the following season as a sophomore.

 

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 power play 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 JANUARY 14-20

 

 

4 Games – Anaheim, Boston, Edmonton, Minnesota, Montreal, New Jersey, New York Islanders, St. Louis, Toronto, Washington

 

3 Games – Arizona, Buffalo, Calgary, Carolina, Chicago, Colorado, Columbus, Dallas, Detroit, Florida, Los Angeles, Nashville, New York Rangers, Ottawa, Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, San Jose, Tampa Bay, Vancouver, Winnipeg

 

2 Games - Vegas

 

Anaheim plays all four games away from home.

 

Boston, Columbus, Dallas, Edmonton, Minnesota, Nashville, the New York Islanders and Vancouver play three games at home.

 

Buffalo, Los Angeles, Pittsburgh and St. Louis play three games on the road.

 

INJURIES

 

Nick Schmaltz is out for the season 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

@ Detroit, @ Minnesota, @ New Jersey, @ New York Islanders

 

Rested Team: None

Tired Team: @ New York Islanders (Sunday)

 

Notes

The Ducks play all four games on the road this week including three games in four nights. John Gibson should get three starts in goal while Chad Johnson should get the crease once. After going 9-1, the Ducks have fallen like a stone with a 0-6-3 mark in their last nine games. The Ducks sent Josh Mahura to the minors this week. He was seeing action on the second power play and had a couple of assists with the man-advantage. Anaheim activated Cam Fowler off the injured reserve list on the weekend and then did the same with Rickard Rakell on Wednesday. Rakell played on the top unit with Ryan Getzlaf and Daniel Sprong Wednesday in a 2-1 overtime loss to Ottawa.  Patrick Eaves is practicing with the Ducks after fracturing his rib. He has been out of action since November 9th.

 

ARIZONA

 

Games this week

vs. San Jose, vs. Pittsburgh, @ Toronto

 

Rested Team: vs. San Jose (Wednesday)

Tired Team: None

 

Notes

The Coyotes finally had a player join Brad Richardson as a double digit goal scorer as Christian Fischer had his 10th of the season this week. Scoring is way up in the NHL this season but you wouldn’t know it by the offensive display of the Arizona Coyotes. Just to show you how poor it is, Richardson has only five assists in 40 games while Fischer has two helpers in 43 games. Clayton Keller leads the team in points with only 30, while Oliver Ekman-Larsson is second with 23. Nick Schmaltz is out for the remainder of the season with a lower-body injury. Conor Garland has been a pleasant surprise with six goals and eight points in his last nine games including four goals in a three-game scoring streak.

 

BOSTON

 

Games this week

vs. Montreal, @ Philadelphia, vs. St. Louis, vs. New York Rangers

 

Rested Team: None

Tired Team: vs. St. Louis (Thursday)

 

Notes

The Bruins play three games in four nights as part of a four-game week. Tuukka Rask has been sensational of late, winning his last four games, while giving up five goals on 122 shots. He will play at least twice and possibly three times with Jaroslav Halak picking up the remainder of the starts. Charlie McAvoy has missed the last seven games with a lower-body injury but should be back in the lineup this week if not sooner. Jake DeBrusk has 14 goals this season but only three assists. Zdeno Chara has only three goals and four points in 25 games as he has lost all fantasy value at the age of 41. Brad Marchand has 16 goals this season with five game winners.

 

BUFFALO

 

Games this week

@ Edmonton, @ Calgary, @ Vancouver

 

Rested Team: None

Tired Team: None

 

Notes

The Sabres play all three games in Western Canada this week. Congratulations to C.J. Smith and Lawrence Pilut who each scored their first NHL goal on Tuesday. Jack Eichel should be back this week and possibly earlier as he has missed the last three games with an upper-body injury. Casey Mittelstadt has centered the top line in Eichel’s absence. Jeff Skinner picked a great season for a career year as he can become an unrestricted free agent on July 1. The former Hurricane has 29 goals and 42 points in 43 games. His best to date was 37 goals in 2016-17 and 63 points also in 2016-17 as well as his rookie season in 2010-11. Playing alongside Eichel and Sam Reinhart on the top line, certainly does not hurt.

 

CALGARY

Games this week

vs. Buffalo, vs. Detroit, @ Edmonton

 

Rested Team: None

Tired Team: @ Edmonton (Saturday)

 

Notes

Michael Stone has been out of action for two months with a blood clot and has started to skate once again but has yet to practice. Fellow defenseman Juuso Valimaki has been out since November 23 with an ankle injury and skated before Wednesday’s practice. Mark Giordano is having a career year as he has 43 points and a plus-31 rating in 43 games. His best thus far is 56 points three seasons ago and the plus/minus rating is the best yet. He is definitely worthy of Norris Trophy consideration at the halfway mark of the season. There are so many other Flames having career years, including, Elias Lindholm, Matthew Tkachuk, Sean Monahan and Johnny Gaudreau. David Rittich has been great in net for Calgary and is 16-4-3 with a 2.42 GAA and a .921 save percentage.

 

CAROLINA

 

Games this week

@ New York Rangers, vs. Ottawa, @ Edmonton

 

Rested Team: @ Edmonton (Sunday)

Tired Team: None

 

Notes

Curtis McElhinney continues to play great in net for Carolina as he has won his last three starts, giving up only six goals on 78 shots. Overall this season, McElhinney is 10-5-1 with a 2.25 GAA and a .922 save percentage as he has been one of the better goalkeepers in the NHL. Lucky for Carolina that they picked him up off waivers from Toronto before the start of the season or there is no telling how close to the bottom of the pack the Hurricanes would be. The Canes dropped a 3-1 decision to Tampa Bay (Petr Mrazek was between the pipes) halting a five-game winning streak. Saku Maenalanen potted his first career NHL goal on Tuesday.

 

CHICAGO

 

Games this week

@ New Jersey, @ New York Rangers, vs. Washington

 

Rested Team: None

Tired Team: None

 

Notes

Alex DeBrincat is having a strong season and has scored in three straight games and has seven goals in his last 10, to give him 21 this season as well as 36 points in 46 games.  Patrick Kane is having an outstanding season with 24 goals and 58 points and has only 18 points less than he did last year. Nevertheless, the Blackhawks have been a bad team this season, as they were the last half of last season. Collin Delia has been terrific thus far in only six games as he is 3-1-2 with a 2.49 GAA and a .939 save percentage. Erik Gustafsson has a seven-game points streak in which he has nine assists. He has taken over as the Blackhawks top offensive defensemen as he is on the first power play and has eight goals and 27 points in 43 games.   

 

COLORADO

 

Games this week

@ Toronto, @ Ottawa, vs. Los Angeles

 

Rested Team: None

Tired Team: None

 

Notes

The Avalanche finish up a five-game road trip to Canada this week. The Avs big line of Nathan MacKinnon, Mikko Rantanen and Gabriel Landeskog have accounted for 185 points in 44 games as well as 73 of Colorado’s 151 goals. The Avalanche need some secondary scoring as Carl Soderberg has 12 goals and J.T. Compher has 10 but no-one else has more than eight. Landeskog has three straight games with two points. Semyon Varlamov started the season in great style as he was 4-2-2 in his first eight games, giving up only 11 goals on 303 shots. It hasn’t gone as well since as Varlamov is 7-7-3, and has given up 60 goals on 471 shots for an .873 save percentage.

               

 

COLUMBUS       

 

Games this week

vs. New Jersey, vs. Montreal, @ Minnesota

 

Rested Team: vs. New Jersey (Tuesday)

Tired Team: @ Minnesota (Saturday)

 

Notes

The Blue Jackets were rocked on Thursday morning with the news that Sergei Bobrovsky was a healthy scratch due to an undisclosed incident. Columbus front office would not divulge what Bobrovsky did or didn’t do but it was bad enough that he wasn’t even the backup goaltender Thursday. The Blue Jackets behind Joonas Korpisalo, won 4-3 over Nashville, giving coach John Tortorella his 600th NHL win, the most ever by an American-born head coach. Brandon Dubinsky is out of action with a lower-body injury suffered Tuesday that put him on the injured reserve list. Nick Foligno returned to the Columbus lineup Thursday after missing four games to be with his daughter while she was having surgery to correct a congenital heart defect. We hope she is all better.

 

DALLAS

 

Games this week

vs. Tampa Bay, vs. Los Angeles, vs. Winnipeg

 

Rested Team: None

Tired Team: None

 

Notes

Tyler Seguin has been on quite a tear since CEO Jim Lites went ballistic on both he and Jamie Benn on December 28, two weeks ago. Seguin has points in all seven games including six goals and 11 points after accumulating only 11 goals and 32 points in his first 38 games. That’s a nice pace but it is not a typical Seguin season. The Stars are having big trouble beating teams below them in the standings as that is why they are struggling to establish themselves in the upper tier of the Western Conference. The Stars are currently in sixth in the West but are closer to 11th place Vancouver than they are to fifth place Winnipeg. Valeri Nichushkin has only seven assists in 35 games with nary a goal.

 


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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.
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