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The Week Ahead

Last Week before the Olympics

by Michael Finewax
Updated On: October 4, 2018, 4:09 pm ET

The Olympic break starts on February 9th and the NHL will not resume until February 25th when the makeup game between Buffalo and Carolina takes place. The rest of the league starts play over the next two days.

 

I've done the research on if there is any Olympic letdown when the NHL season resumes and the answer is ...

 

No!

 

Some players will have better stats than in the first half, some will remain the same and some will be worse but there has been no discernible difference in the previous four Olympics.

 

I was on the NHL.com's Google+Hangout Thursday along with Matt Cubeta, Pete Jensen, Brian Metzer and Justin Goldman of NHL.com and Yahoo!'s hockey expert Scott Pianowski. Click here to watch.

 

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

 

While you're at it, please also read Rotoworld writers @RyanDadoun, @CoreAbbott, @cyclelikesedins@kbrownroto and @katshockey for the latest news.

 

Editor's Note: Rotoworld's partner FanDuel is hosting a $1,500 Fantasy Hockey league for Friday's NHL games. It's $10 to join and first prize is $350. Starts Friday at 7pm ET. Here's the FanDuel link.


Now to The Week Ahead.

 

WEEK OF FEBRUARY 3-9


4 Games- Colorado, Ottawa, Vancouver

 

3 Games– Anaheim, Boston, Buffalo, Calgary, Carolina, Chicago, Columbus,   Dallas, Detroit, Edmonton, Florida, Montreal, New Jersey, New York Islanders, New York Rangers, Philadelphia, Phoenix, Pittsburgh, St. Louis, San Jose, Tampa Bay, Toronto, Washington, Winnipeg

 

2 Games - Los Angeles, Minnesota, Nashville

 

Colorado and Vancouver play all four games on the road.

 

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

 

Calgary, Chicago, Columbus, Edmonton, Ottawa and Winnipeg play three games on the road.

 

INJURIES

 

Paul Stastny suffered an ankle injury Thursday. The extent of the injury should be known on Friday so consider him day-to-day for now. (Click here to see the rest of the injury list.)

 

ANAHEIM

 

Games this week

vs. Columbus, vs. Chicago, @ Nashville

 

Rested team: None

Tired Team: None

 

Notes

Coach Bruce Boudreau was  not happy with the play of his Ducks of late as they were 3-3 heading into action on Thursday but they responded by defeating the Flyers 5-3. Look for the Ducks to be buyers at the trade deadline as the organization thinks that they have a great shot to win the Cup. Luca Sbisa returned this week from a hand injury that caused him to miss 28 games. Jonas Hiller recorded the first NHL shutout in an outdoor game when he stopped 36 shots in a 3-0 whitewash over the Kings in Dodger Stadium. Hiller has been outstanding of late as he is 24-7-4 this season with a 2.39 GAA and a .914 save percentage.

 

BOSTON

 

Games this week

vs. Vancouver, @ St. Louis, vs. Ottawa

 

Rested team: vs. Vancouver (Tuesday)

Tired Team: None

 

Notes

It's hard to believe that Reilly Smith is the Bruins top goal scorer this season as he potted his 18th of the year on Tuesday. He is also second on the team in points as he seemed to be a throw-in to most pundits in the Tyler Seguin-Loui Eriksson deal in the off-season. Milan Lucic is having a solid all-round fantasy season with 15 goals, 36 points, a plus-17 rating, 60 penalty minutes and eight power play points in 51 games. After three good starts in a row in which he was 2-0-1 and allowed five goals in 93 shots, Tuukka Rask gave up three goals on 18 shots Thursday.

 

BUFFALO

 

Games this week

vs. Edmonton, vs. Pittsburgh, @ Ottawa

 

Rested team: None

Tired Team: @ Ottawa (Thursday)

 

Notes

The Sabres play three games in four nights so look for Jhonas Enroth to play once this week with Ryan Miller playing the other two games. Tyler Myers is pointless in his last six games with a minus-seven rating. Christian Ehrhoff has been a good fantasy player of late as he has 16 points in his last 25 games with a plus-one rating for a poor Buffalo team. Drew Stafford has missed the last three games with an upper body injury. Cody Hodgson has six goals and 10 points in 10 games since his return from a hand injury that caused him to miss eight games.

 

CALGARY

 

Games this week

@ Montreal, @ New York Islanders, @ Philadelphia

 

Rested team: None

Tired Team: None

 

Notes

Karri Ramo had another strong performance on Thursday leading the Sharks to a 4-1 win over San Jose. Ramo has taken over the number one spot that has been up in the air all season in Calgary as he has won three straight games, including a win over Chicago. Reto Berra will continue to back up and get a start every three or four games. It was thought that Michael Cammalleri would return on Thursday from a concussion that has sidelined him since January 11 but it looks like he will return on February 1. Mark Giordano is on an eight game point streak as he has four goals and eight points. The defenseman has nine goals and 26 points with a plus-two rating, 34 penalty minutes and 12 power play points in 36 games, making him a huge fantasy asset.

 

CAROLINA

 

Games this week

vs. Winnipeg, vs. Florida, vs. Montreal

 

Rested team: vs. Florida (Friday)

Tired Team: vs. Montreal (Saturday)

 

Notes

The Hurricanes play all three games at home. Cam Ward was activated on Thursday after missing a month of action with a lower-body injury and was sent to the minors on a conditioning stint. He should return this week and the Canes could carry three goalies for the rest of the week. Alexander Semin had his six game point streak end on Tuesday but he had six goals and nine points on the streak. Elias Lindholm has hit the wall after returning from the World Junior Championships as he has only one assist in his last nine games.  Tuomo Ruutu has been seeing fourth line minutes of late and had averaged 9:30 minutes in five games before seeing 12:49 minutes Tuesday.

 

CHICAGO

 

Games this week

@ Los Angeles, @ Anaheim, @ Phoenix

 

Rested team: None

Tired Team: None

 

Notes

The Blackhawks will finish the pre-Olympic break with three games in the West. Michal Handzus was a healthy scratch on Tuesday after going the previous 14 games without a point. He played Wednesday and halted the streak with an assist. Brandon Saad scored for the first time in 12 games on Wednesday but still has 17 goals and 39 points with a plus-22 rating. Antti Raanta has played in only two full games and half of another in the last 10 games as Corey Crawford has taken back the top job after returning in early January from a lower body injury.

 

COLORADO

 

Games this week

@ New Jersey, @ New York Rangers, @ Philadelphia, @ New York Islanders,

 

Rested team: None

Tired Team: @ New York Rangers

 

Notes

The Avalanche play all four in the East and play three times in four nights so look for Jean-Sebastien Giguere to play once in place of Semyon Varlamov. Varlamov inked a five-year deal worth $29.5 million on Thursday. P. A. Parenteau has been a healthy scratch the last two games and rumors persist that the Avs are trying to send him to Montreal. The Habs on the other hand, are apparently interested in Jamie McGinn who has 12 goals and 20 points this season but two goals and an assist in his last three games. Nathan MacKinnon has four goals and eight points in the last six games as the youngster leads all rookies with 19 goals and 37 points. He leads Colorado with seven power play goals. The Avalanche are 15-1 with Alex Tanguay in the lineup.

 

COLUMBUS

 

Games this week

@ Anaheim, @ Los Angeles, @ San Jose

 

Rested team: None

Tired Team: @ San Jose (Friday)

 

 

Notes

Wow! Ryan Johansen been the best breakout candidate this season as the former fourth overall pick in the 2010 Draft has 21 goals and 40 points this season in 54 games after picking up only 33 points in his first 107 games. The 21-year-old has blossomed this season and should be their top center for years to come. James Wisniewski has been very good for the Blue Jackets as well as he has five goals and 33 points in 47 games. The blueliners has been great on the power play as he has set up 15 goals and scored twice himself. Marian Gaborik is skating with the team but is not expected back from a broken collarbone until after the Olympic break.

 

DALLAS

 

Games this week

@ Phoenix, @ San Jose, vs. Phoenix

 

Rested team: vs. Phoenix (Saturday)

Tired Team: @ San Jose (Wednesday)

 

Notes

The Stars play two games this week against the Coyotes so look for Antoine Roussel, Brenden Dillon and Ryan Garbutt to add to their penalty minute totals if there is any fisticuffs. Dallas signed Garbutt to a three-year extension that's worth $5.4 million. Tyler Seguin is red-hot with three goals and seven points in his last four games, giving him 53 points this season in 52 games. Kari Lehtonen was named the first star of the week as he won three of four games with a 1.25 GAA and a .944 save percentage. Alex Goligoski got off to a very slow start but has 10 assists in his last nine games to give him 22 points in 53 games in 2013-14.

 

DETROIT

 

Games this week

vs. Vancouver, @ Florida, @ Tampa Bay

 

Rested team: None

Tired Team: vs. Vancouver (Monday)

 

Notes

The Red Wings are an old team and are having a tough time staying healthy. Pavel Datsyuk (35 years-old) has missed the last 11 games with a lower body injury. Henrik Zetterberg (33) has missed the last two games but is expected to return on the weekend. Johan Franzen (34) has missed the last 18 games with a concussion and will not play for Sweden at the Olympics. Goaltender Jimmy Howard is expected to return on Friday from a knee injury and it appears that he is ready to take back the net. It's been a bad season injury-wise for the Red Wings but they are still in the playoff race as they have 57 points and are tied with the Hurricanes for eighth overall in the East.  

 

EDMONTON

 

Games this week

@ Buffalo, @ New York Rangers, @ New Jersey

 

Rested team: None

Tired Team: @ New Jersey (Friday)  

 

Notes

Ben Scrivens was absolutely sensational on Wednesday as he turned aside all 59 shots in a 3-0 win over San Jose. Scrivens set the record for the most shots on goal in a shutout since the NHL expanded in 1967. Ales Hemsky hopes to return to the lineup on February 1 as he has missed seven games with an ankle injury. He should be dealt by the trade deadline as he is eligible to become an unrestricted free agent at the end of the season. Taylor Hall has points in nine of his last 10 games and has three goals and 13 points in that span. David Perron has five goals in his last six games including a hat trick Monday against Vancouver.

 

FLORIDA

 

Games this week

vs. Toronto, vs. Detroit, @ Carolina  

 

Rested team: None

Tired Team: @ Carolina (Friday)

 

Notes

The Panthers play three games in four nights so expect to see Scott Clemmensen in goal once for Tim Thomas. Erik Gudbranson has been a healthy scratch for the last three games and in a surprise, Tomas Fleischmann was also a scratch on Thursday, the first time in three years he has been put in the press box. Fleischmann has only five goals and 23 points in 52 games and should not be on your fantasy roster. Brad Boyes leads the Panthers in points but it's not anything to write home about as he has 25 points in 52 games. The Panthers may not have a player get 40 points this season so it's no surprise that they are 27th overall in the NHL.

 

LOS ANGELES

 

Games this week

vs. Chicago, vs. Columbus

 

Rested team: None

Tired Team: None

 

Notes

The Kings get their Olympic break started early as they are done on Thursday. They are having a lot of trouble finding the back of the net as Los Angeles has only two goals in the last 296:47 minutes. Dustin Brown has been a major non-contributor this season as he has only 10 goals and 16 points in 55 games. The Kings are only 3-6-1 in their last 10 games and are in danger of missing the playoffs as they have gone from a top team in the West to sixth in the conference, only six points ahead of the ninth place Coyotes who hold two games in hand.

 

MINNESOTA

 

Games this week

vs. Tampa Bay. vs. Nashville

 

Rested team: None

Tired Team: None

 

Notes

Darcy Kuemper has started the last nine games in a row but the streak could end as he was pulled on Thursday after giving up four goals on 23 shots against Colorado. Mikko Koivu has yet to skate with the Wild since breaking his ankle on January 4. He still is optimistic that he will be able to play for Finland at the Olympics. Zach Parise was held off the score sheet in his first two games back after returning from a stress fracture in his foot but he exploded the last two games with three goals and seven points. Jared Spurgeon has been out since January 2 after hurting his foot blocking a shot but should return this week.

 

MONTREAL

           

Games this week

vs. Calgary, vs. Vancouver @ Carolina

 

Rested team: @ Carolina (Saturday)

Tired Team: None

 

Notes

The Canadiens are the rested team against the Hurricanes for the second week in a row. Carey Price had been struggling with five straight losses before he shut out the Hurricanes Tuesday, stopping 36 shots. The Habs then went to Peter Budaj for the first time since January 8 and he turned aside 34 of 35 shots as the Canadiens have now won two straight. P.K. Subban continues to lead the Canadiens in points with 37 while Max Pacioretty is first in goals with 23. Pacioretty has only 10 assists with seven of his goals coming on the power play as do four assists. Brandon Prust has 96 penalty minutes after picking up 27 against Washington January 25.

 

NASHVILLE

 

Games this week

@ Minnesota, vs. Anaheim

 

Rested team: None

Tired Team: None

 

Notes

Shea Weber suffered an upper body injury Tuesday and should be considered day-to-day as he missed practice Thursday. Colton Sissons made his NHL debut on Tuesday and picked up an assist. He was taken 50th overall in the 2012 Draft and could eventually be a captain in the NHL as he has excellent leadership abilities. Viktor Stalberg has been a big disappointment this season. He was signed in the off-season as an unrestricted free agent to a four-year/$12 million contract but the former Blackhawk has only six goals, 15 points and a minus-10 rating in 47 games.

 

NEW JERSEY

 

Games this week

vs. Colorado, vs. Edmonton, @ Washington

 

Rested team: vs. Edmonton (Friday)

Tired Team: @ Washington (Saturday)

 

Notes

Cory Schneider has taken over as the number one netminder in New Jersey and Martin Brodeur said he would  be willing to waive his no-trade contract if the Devils want to deal him. Schneider is only 10-10-7 this season but his peripherals are outstanding as he has a eye-popping 1.87 GAA and a just as impressive .926 save percentage. Dainius Zubrus is now playing on the top line with Travis Zajac and Jaromir Jagr while Patrik Elias is on the second unit with Stephen Gionta and Damien Brunner. Jagr continues to amaze at age 41 with 16 goals, 46 points and a plus-21 rating in 55 games.

 

NEW YORK ISLANDERS

 

Games this week

@ Washington, vs. Calgary, vs. Colorado

 

Rested team: None

Tired Team: None

 

Notes

John Tavares has only one assist in his last three games with a minus-two rating. Evgeni Nabokov returned to action and got his first start since Jan. 6 but dropped a 2-1 decision to the Rangers at Yankee Stadium. Lubomir Visnovsky returned on January 27th from a concussion suffered on October 19 and led the Islanders in power play time on ice Monday with 7:23 minutes. He is worth owning in deeper leagues and is owned in only 33 percent of Yahoo! pools. Thomas Hickey had a four game point streak end Wednesday at Yankee Stadium and he is plus-seven in his last five games, giving him three goals and 15 points with a plus-eight rating in 56 games this season.

 

NEW YORK RANGERS

 

Games this week

vs. Colorado, vs. Edmonton, @ Pittsburgh

 

Rested team: vs. Colorado (Tuesday)

Tired Team: @ Pittsburgh (Friday)

 

Notes

The Rangers play three games in four nights and Cameron Talbot should see action in one game with Henrik Lundqvist playing in the other two. Daniel Carcillo had the winner in the Stadium Series game against the Islanders. Ryan Callahan could be on the trade block as the unrestricted free agent to be apparently is seeking a seven-year/$42 million contract. Daniel Girardi is also looking for big bucks as he is asking for a six-year/$33 million deal according to sources. Anton Stralman rarely has a breakout fantasy game as he only has six assists in 54 games this season with a minus-three rating but he had a pair of helpers and was plus-four against the Devils Sunday.

 

OTTAWA     

 

Games this week

@ Pittsburgh, @ St. Louis, vs. Buffalo, @ Boston

 

Rested team: vs. Buffalo (Thursday)

Tired Team: @ St. Louis (Tuesday)

 

Notes

The Senators play four games this week, including three games in four nights. Craig Anderson should get the bulk of the action with Robin Lehner playing once. Erik Karlsson leads all NHL blueliners with 51 points in 54 games. Kyle Turris has eight goals and 10 points in his last 10 games with a plus-five rating. Bobby Ryan has 20 goals this season but only two in his last 13 games. Twenty-year-old Cody Ceci has been told that he will remain with the Senators for the remainder of the season. The Senators first round pick in 2012 has only one goal and five points in 22 games but has offensive capabilities that should make him a fantasy asset in the years to come.

 

PHILADELPHIA

 

Games this week

@ San Jose, vs. Colorado, vs. Calgary

 

Rested team: None

Tired Team: None

 

Notes

Steve Mason has struggled of late. He is 2-3-2 in his last seven games while getting pulled early three times. He shut out the Red Wings but Detroit is not the Detroit of the past 23 years and they could miss the playoffs (Sorry Tina). Mason has given up 21 goals in the seven games on 191 shots for a 3.43 GAA and a .890 save percentage including the 33 save shutout of the Motowners. Don't expect a lot of offense from Sean Couturier as he is a defensive center who can score rather than an offensive center who can play defensively.  He has nine goals and 25 points in 56 games this season.

 

PHOENIX

 

Games this week

vs. Dallas, vs. Chicago, @ Dallas

 

Rested team: None

Tired Team: @ Dallas (Saturday)

 

Notes

The Coyotes play the Dallas Stars twice this week so if there are any fights Martin Hanzal or Paul Bissonnette could be involved. Coach Dave Tippett is very happy with the fourth line of Bissonnette, Jeff Halpern and Kyle Chipchura. The big news off the ice is that the Coyotes will be officially known as the Arizona Coyotes starting next year. Thomas Greiss has started the last two games for the struggling Mike Smith and is 1-1 with a 1.53 GAA and a .948 save percentage. Look for Smith to regain his spot quickly despite the way Greiss has played this past week.   

 

PITTSBURGH

 

Games this week

vs. Ottawa, @ Buffalo, vs. New York Rangers

 

Rested team: vs. New York Rangers (Friday)

Tired Team: None

 

Notes

Jussi Jokinen is still playing well and has 16 goals and 39 points after a one goal and two assist performance Thursday. Jeff Zatkoff has been a nice handcuff for Marc-Andre Fleury and if you have been using Zatkoff in daily transaction leagues when he starts, you have been rewarded as he is 9-2-1 this season with a 2.64 GAA and a .909 save percentage. Fourth liner Tanner Glass has been showing some glimpses of offense as he has two goals and an assist in his last two games. He now has four goals and 11 points in 39 games with 53 penalty minutes.

 

ST. LOUIS

 

Games this week

vs. Ottawa, vs. Boston, vs. Winnipeg

 

Rested team: vs. Ottawa (Tuesday)

Tired Team: None

 

Notes

Alexander Steen thinks he has a lot more to give even though he is on a five game scoring streak in which he has three goals and seven points. Patrik Berglund has been a disappointment this season. He had a couple of helpers Tuesday to halt a seven game pointless streak but has only 22 points in 49 games this season. Vladimir Tarasenko is feeling more comfortable in his second NHL season and has 17 goals and 31 point thus far. The Blues are bringing him along slowly but he should have a breakout season offensively in the next year or two. Chris Stewart has seen only 13 minutes of ice time in three of the last four games but it was even worse two games ago as he played only 5:32 minutes against the Islanders.

 

SAN JOSE

 

Games this week

vs. Philadelphia, vs. Dallas, vs. Columbus

 

Rested team: vs. Dallas (Wednesday), vs. Columbus (Friday)

Tired Team: None

 

Notes

The Sharks have lost three in a row and have scored only once as Alex Stalock lost twice while Antti Niemi picked up one L. The Sharks were all over the Oilers Wednesday as they fired 59 shots at Ben Scrivens but the Oilers goaltender was amazing in stopping every shot as San Jose set a franchise record for most shots on net. Martin Havlat returned to action after missing over a month of action with a lower body injury. Coach Todd McLellan said that Tomas Hertl is "in the infant stages of rehab" as he tries to return from knee surgery. He should be fine for the start of training camp.

 

TAMPA BAY

 

Games this week

@ Minnesota, vs. Toronto, vs. Detroit

 

Rested team: None

Tired Team: None

 

Notes

Everyone is hoping that this is the week that Steve Stamkos finally returns from a broken leg. If he does, he is heading to Sochi for the Olympics and if he is unable to go, he will sit down with Lightning GM as well as Team Canada GM Steve Yzerman to discuss the Olympics. Valtteri Filppula is day-to-day with a lower body injury suffered on Thursday. Martin St. Louis picked up his 600th career assist in the same game and now has 965 points in 1,033 games. Ben Bishop suffered an upper body injury Thursday and he said he had a headache after the game so everyone is thinking a possible concussion. Victor Hedman continues to show that he is becoming a top defenseman in the NHL as he has 11 goals and 34 points in 47 games. It seems that he has been around for a long time but he just turned 23 in December.

 

TORONTO

 

Games this week

@ Florida, @ Tampa Bay, vs. Vancouver

 

Rested team: None

Tired Team: None

 

Notes

The Maple Leafs are in Florida for a couple of games after Tampa Bay and Florida played at the ACC this past week. James van Riemsdyk continues to have a break out year as he now has career highs in goals and points after a goal and an assist on Thursday. He has 22 goals and 43 points. Phil Kessel has 57 points in 56 games and is the only NHLer to be in the top ten of scoring in each of the last three seasons. Crosby has been there the last two years but was tied for 169th in 2011-12 with 37 points in only 22 games. Jonathan Bernier is the undisputed number one goalie in Toronto although coach Randy Carlyle will not come out and say so. He is 19-15-5 this season with a 2.61 GAA and a .926 save percentage.

 

VANCOUVER

 

Games this week

@ Detroit, @ Boston, @ Montreal, @ Toronto

 

Rested team: @ Detroit (Monday)

Tired Team: @ Boston (Tuesday)

 

Notes

The Canucks play all four on the road this week including three games in four nights so look for Eddie Lack to play at least once in place of Roberto Luongo. Daniel Sedin did not like the month of January as he failed to score in 14 games and has only one assist in his last nine games. Twin brother Henrik Sedin has missed the last five games with a rib injury and should return at some point this week, if not sooner. Frank Corrado was recalled after Kevin Bieksa was sent to the sidelines with a sore foot. Tom Sestito had a goal and an assist in the last two weeks after a 64 penalty minute week in the middle of January. Sestito would be tied for 42nd for the season in penalty minutes just based on that four game week.

 

WASHINGTON

 

Games this week

vs. New York Islanders, vs. Winnipeg, vs. New Jersey

 

Rested team: vs. New Jersey (Saturday)

Tired Team: None

 

Notes

Braden Holtby has struggled this season and a perfect example has been the last three games in which he is 2-1-0 with a shutout but he allowed nine goals on only 77 shots. Holtby is now 15-12-2 this season with a 2.93 GAA and a .912 save percentage.  Mike Green was injured Thursday when he apparently hit his head into the boards following a hit from the Blue Jackets Boone Jenner.  It happened one game after Green had two goals and an assist to hit the 30 point mark for the first time since 2009-10. Alex Ovechkin leads the NHL with 38 goals and 14 power play goals.  

 

WINNIPEG

 

Games this week

@ Carolina, @ Washington, @ St. Louis

 

Rested team: None

Tired Team: None

 

Notes

Mark Scheifele has adapted to the NHL very nicely of late as he has 21 points in his last 23 games after starting the season with only eight points in his first 32 contests. Also keep an eye on fellow rookie Jacob Trouba who has three goals and seven points in his last seven games and has seven goals and 20 points with a plus-eight rating in 38 games. Ondrej Pavelec is  5-2 in his last seven while giving up 16 goals on 190 shots. He is 16-21-4 overall with a 2.99 GAA and a .901 save percentage. Evander Kane has a hand infection and will be out until after the Olympic bre

Michael Finewax

Michael Finewax is entering his 15th season as the Senior Hockey Writer and Editor for Rotoworld. You can follow him on Twitter @mfinewaxhockey.