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Patrick Kane
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The Week Ahead

Kane keeping Blackhawks Alive

by Michael Finewax

It’s a pretty busy week in the NHL with only the Vancouver Canucks not playing at least three times. The races for the playoffs are getting tight especially in the West where even the last place Los Angeles Kings are only seven points out of the second wild card spot currently held by the Minnesota Wild.

 

It’s not as close in the East as the Penguins have a three-point edge on the Carolina Hurricanes who are 14-5-1 in their last 20 while the slumping Buffalo Sabres are four points in arrears of the Pens. The Flyers are next in line but are eight points back despite a 10-1-1 mark in their last 12.

 

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

WEEK OF FEBRUARY 18-24

  

4 Games - Arizona, Calgary, Chicago, Colorado, Columbus, Dallas, Minnesota, New York Rangers, Ottawa, St. Louis, San Jose, Washington

 

 3 Games – Anaheim, Boston, Buffalo, Carolina, Detroit, Edmonton, Florida, Los Angeles, Montreal, Nashville, New Jersey, New York Islanders, Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, Tampa Bay, Toronto, Vegas, Winnipeg

 

2 Games – Vancouver

 

Anaheim, Arizona, Boston, Florida, Minnesota, Pittsburgh, Tampa Bay, Vegas and Winnipeg play three games on the road.

 

Calgary, Chicago Dallas, Edmonton, Montreal, New Jersey, the New York Rangers, St. Louis, Toronto, Vancouver and Washington play three games at home this week.

 

INJURIES

 

Andreas Johnsson suffered a leg injury and is day-to-day. (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

@ Minnesota, @ Calgary, @ Edmonton

 

Rested Team: None

Tired Team: @ Edmonton (Saturday)

 

Notes

The Ducks finally fired coach Randy Carlyle after he was 2-15-4 in his last 21 games as Anaheim dropped to the bottom of the Western Conference standings. GM Bob Murray went behind the bench for the first time in his career, and led the Ducks to a 1-0 win over Vancouver Wednesday. Murray wanted to see some fire from his team and they responded with a troika of fights against the Canucks. Kevin Boyle made his first NHL start in the game and picked up a 35-save shutout. Adam Henrique was dealt to Anaheim from New Jersey last season and played in 57 games, scoring 20 times and adding 16 assists to go with a plus-17 rating. This season in 57 games, he has 10 goals and 28 points with a minus-six rating. Ryan Kesler has only four goals and six points in 49 games. He has no fantasy value.

 

ARIZONA

 

Games this week

@ Calgary, @ Edmonton, @ Vancouver, vs. Winnipeg

 

Rested Team: None

Tired Team: None

 

Notes

The Coyotes play three games in four nights as part of their four-game week. Darcy Kuemper should get three starts with Calvin Pickard getting the call once. Congratulations to Alex Galchenyuk who became the first Coyote to a dozen goals breaking a logjam with six others at six. Brad Richardson returned to action on February 14 after being out of action since January 10 with an upper body injury. Jason Demers is practicing with the Coyotes, albeit in a non-contact jersey, his first practice since suffering a knee injury in the middle of November. Antti Raanta is ahead of schedule as far as recovering from a lower-body injury but still may not return to action the rest of the season.

 

BOSTON

 

Games this week

@ San Jose, @ Vegas, @ St. Louis

 

Rested Team: None

Tired Team: None

 

Notes

David Pastrnak suffered a broken thumb (following a sponsorship dinner if you can believe that) that required surgery and that will keep him out of action for at least two weeks. That’s a big blow for the Bruins who are in a fight for second place in the Atlantic Division with Toronto and Montreal. They recalled Karson Kuhlman from the minors to take Pastrnak’s spot on the roster, but not on the line as that spot was taken by Danton Heinen. He makes a nice fantasy pickup at this time in the short-term. Heinen has three goals and six points in his last four games.  Patrice Bergeron was the second star of the week after a four goal, seven-point effort in three games.

 

BUFFALO

 

Games this week

@ Florida, @ Tampa Bay, vs. Washington

 

Rested Team: None

Tired Team: None

 

Notes

Casey Mittelstadt has had a tough rookie campaign with eight goals and 19 points in 55 games and with the first signs of some progress with a goal and five points in seven games, Mittelstadt suffered a lower-body injury in a morning skate. His spot on the second line was taken by Evan Rodrigues between Conor Sheary and Sam Reinhart. Mittelstadt has a bright future and don’t forget about him next season in fantasy. Rasmus Dahlin has six goals and 31 points in 56 games this season and is tied for third place all-time in points by a defenseman under the age of 19. He trails only the great Bobby Orr who had 37 before he turned 19, and his current head coach Phil Housley who had an amazing 57.                

 

CALGARY

 

Games this week

vs. Arizona, vs. New York Islanders, vs. Anaheim, @ Ottawa

 

Rested Team: None

Tired Team: None

 

Notes

The Flames play four games this week and it is possible that David Rittich and Mike Smith split the net. James Neal suffered a lower-body injury Thursday and was unable to return. He has had a tough season this year with five goals and 15 points in 55 games. Neal has a streak of 10 seasons in a row with at least 20 goals and that includes a low of 21 set in the lockout shortened 2012-13 season when only 48 games were played. The Flames suffered their fourth straight loss Thursday although they at least grabbed a point in a 3-2 shootout loss to Florida. Elias Lindholm is tied with Sean Monahan for second play in Flames scoring as both have 65 points, 13 in arrears of the leader, Johnny Gaudreau.

 

CAROLINA

 

Games this week

vs. New York Rangers, @ Florida, @ Dallas

 

Rested Team: None

Tired Team: None

 

Notes

The Hurricanes have been red-hot since December 30 as they are 14-5-1 and are back in the playoff picture. Carolina is only three points back of the Pittsburgh Penguins for the final wild card spot. Curtis McElhinney has been a great pickup as they claimed him just before the start of the season from Toronto. He is 14-6-1 with a 2.43 GAA and a .917 save percentage. Scott Darling was expected to be the starting goalie this season but after a tough start to the season, he was sent to the minors on December 16.  He has been having problems in the minors and the Hurricanes granted him a leave of absence. Nino Niederreiter has six goals and 10 points in 11 games and has been a great addition to the Canes who only gave up Victor Rask in return.  

 

CHICAGO

 

Games this week

vs. Ottawa, @ Detroit, vs. Colorado, vs. Dallas

 

Rested Team: None

Tired Team: vs. Dallas (Sunday)

 

Notes

The Blackhawks play four games this week so look for Collin Delia and Cam Ward to share the net unless Corey Crawford is ready to return from his concussion. Patrick Kane had a goal and two assists Thursday to give him a 16-game scoring streak in which he has 12 goals and 35 points. The Blackhawks top gun has 34 goals and 85 points as he is second in NHL scoring and is seven points behind leader Nikita Kucherov. Dylan Strome was the third star of the week with two goals and five helpers in three games. I think the Blackhawks stole him from Arizona. His Erie Otters linemate Alex DeBrincat has been having a strong season with 29 goals and 54 points. The Blackhawks saw their seven-game winning streak end on Tuesday but started a new streak Thursday with a win over New Jersey.

 

COLORADO

 

Games this week

vs. Vegas, vs. Winnipeg, @ Chicago, @ Nashville

 

Rested Team: None

Tired Team: @ Nashville (Saturday)

 

Notes

The Avalanche play three games in four nights as part of their four-game week. Semyon Varlamov should get a trio of starts with Philipp Grubauer playing once. The best thing that has happened to the Avs in the last two-plus months is the Senators descent to the bottom of the standings as the Avalanche have their first pick. It was dealt to Colorado in the Matt Duchene deal and there is no protection on the pick which could be the first one in the Draft. Carl Soderberg has set a career-high in goals thus far with 18 and there are still 25 games left in the season. Tyson Barrie is already up to 40 points in 53 games but could be on the trade block.

 

COLUMBUS       

 

Games this week

vs. Tampa Bay, @ Montreal, @ Ottawa, vs. San Jose

 

Rested Team: @ Ottawa (Friday)

Tired Team: @ Montreal (Tuesday), vs. San Jose (Saturday)

 

Notes

The Blue Jackets play a pair of back-to-back games this week so it is probable that Sergei Bobrovksy and Joonas Korpisalo share the net. The Blue Jackets penalty kill has been sensational of late as they have given up only one goal in their last 42 opportunities and have given up a league-low 23 goals shorthanded last season. The Sergei Bobrovsky saga continues and if they do indeed trade him, Elvis Merzlikins could be in a Columbus uniform next season. He was drafted in the third round in 2014 and has been a stud this season with Lugano of the Swiss League. Brandon Dubinsky has missed the last five games with a lower-body injury.   

 

DALLAS

 

Games this week

vs. Nashville, vs. St. Louis, vs. Carolina, @ Chicago

 

Rested Team: None

Tired Team: @ Chicago (Sunday)

 

Notes

The Stars play four games this week including three games in four nights. Ben Bishop is out with an upper-body injury but the Stars hope he is back for this week. If so, he will play at least twice with Anton Khudobin playing the remainder of the time. If not, Khudobin will get three starts with Landon Bow getting one start.  Tyler Seguin leads the Stars in points with 54 in 57 games and while that is not star status in the higher scoring NHL this season, his plus-16 has been good. Jamie Benn has struggled this season with only 19 goals and 39 points in 56 games. He led the NHL in scoring just four seasons ago but is now tied for 93rd.

 

Michael Finewax

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