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Mika Zibanejad
AP
The Week Ahead

Limit your Rangers this week

by Michael Finewax
Updated On: October 6, 2019, 3:44 am ET

The NHL season is only two days old and it feels like we are already right into the middle of things. Most, if not all, pools have been completed and everyone is on their phones looking at the scoring summaries.

It’s a busier week in the NHL with only the Rangers playing once. Chicago and Philadelphia return from Europe and each have a couple of home games to get back into the North American lifestyle.

October usually starts off slow as teams edge into the season. Things really start picking up in November after Thanksgiving in the US as the schedule starts getting quite busy.

Let’s get to it!

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WEEK OF OCTOBER 7-13

4 Games – Calgary, Los Angeles, Pittsburgh, Vegas, Winnipeg

3 Games - Anaheim, Boston, Buffalo, Carolina, Columbus, Dallas, Detroit, Edmonton, Florida, Montreal, Nashville, New Jersey, New York Islanders, St. Louis, San Jose, Toronto, Washington

2 Games –Arizona, Chicago, Colorado, Minnesota, Ottawa, Philadelphia, Tampa Bay, Vancouver

1 Game – New York Rangers

Anaheim, Calgary, Edmonton and St. Louis play three games on the road.

INJURIES

Adam Larsson will be out of action six-eight weeks with a fractured right fibula. (Click here to see the rest of the injury list.)

ANAHEIM

Games this week

@ Detroit, @ Pittsburgh, @ Columbus

Tired: @ Columbus (Friday)

Rested: None

Notes

The Ducks head out on the road for the first time and play all three games in four nights. Expect to see Ryan Miller get one start with John Gibson getting a couple. Gibson was outstanding in stopping 32-of-33 Arizona shots in a 2-1 win. Ondrej Kase was supposed to start the season on the injured reserve list with a head injury but Anaheim took him off it before Thursday’s opener and he played alongside Ryan Getzlaf and Nick Ritchie. Maxime Comtois was sent to the minors when Kase was activated, as was Isac Lundstrom. Cam Fowler scored the winner Thursday.

ARIZONA

Games this week

vs. Vegas, @ Colorado

Tired: None

Rested: None

Notes

The Coyotes are starting the season with a top line of Derek Stepan, Clayton Keller and Phil Kessel. All three were in on Arizona’s only goal. Antti Raanta (lower body) is starting the season in the minors on a conditioning stint but that should not last long. Darcy Kuemper got the start Thursday against Anaheim while Adin Hill was the backup. Kuemper inked a two-year extension with Arizona for $9 million, that will start next season. The Coyotes sent their first-round pick in 2019, Victor Soderstrom back to Sweden where the defenseman will get plenty of playing time. Fifth overall pick from 2018, Barrett Hayton made the team but could be returned to junior hockey before he plays 10 NHL games. The Coyotes made him a healthy scratch Thursday.

BOSTON

Games this week

@ Vegas, @ Colorado, vs. New Jersey

Tired: None

Rested: None

Notes

John Moore (shoulder) has been placed on the long-term injured reserve list. David Krejci sat out the opener with a lower-body injury. Tuukka Rask was very good Thursday in a 2-1 win over Dallas as he stopped 28 shots. Danton Heinen scored the winner with Brett Ritchie scoring the other as the big line of David Pastrnak, Patrice Bergeron and Brad Marchand were held pointless. Torey Krug is working on a contract extension and is excited as he wants to stay in Boston. He will become a UFA at the end of the season if no agreement is reached. Jakub Zboril and Peter Cehlarik were sent to the minors earlier in the week. The Bruins finally play their first home game against New Jersey after starting the season with four road games.

BUFFALO

Games this week

@ Columbus, vs. Montreal, vs. Florida

Tired: None

Rested: None

Notes

Brandon Montour was expected to be a top-four defenseman in Buffalo but that will have to wait as he is out three-four weeks with a hand injury. Victor Olofsson is starting the season on the top line with Jack Eichel and Sam Reinhart. He had a pair of goals and four points in six games last season in Buffalo and the Sabres are quite excited with his play. That moves Jeff Skinner to the second unit along with Marcus Johansson and Vladimir Sobotka. Zach Bogosian underwent hip surgery after the season ended in April but he is still not close to a return. Carter Hutton got the start Thursday and stopped 28-of-29 shots as the Sabres upended the Penguins 3-1 for their first win in regulation time over Pittsburgh in over six years.

CALGARY

Games this week

vs. Los Angeles, @ Dallas, @ Vegas, @ San Jose

Tired: @ San Jose (Sunday)

Rested: None

Notes

The Flames play four times this week including three games in four nights. It is early in the season so Calgary could split the net this week with David Rittich and Cam Talbot each starting twice. Rittich hopes to start 60 games this season but Talbot is likely to see lots of action as coach Bill Peters will want to keep both fresh. Derek Ryan is back after dealing with an illness at the end of training camp. He will start the season on the third line between Milan Lucic and Sam Bennett. The first line will be Johnny Gaudreau, Sean Monahan and Elias Lindholm while Mikael Backlund will center the second unit with Matthew Tkachuk and Michael Frolik on the wing.

CAROLINA

Games this week

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

Tired: None

Rested: None

Notes

Jake Gardiner was good to go on Thursday despite some tightness in his hips. He played the point on the first power play with Sebastian Aho, Jordan Staal, Nino Niederreiter and Martin Necas. Necas is a sneaky play in fantasy as most poolies have forgotten about him but he was the 12th overall pick in 2017. He scored in Carolina’s 4-3 shootout win over Montreal Thursday. Trevor van Riemsdyk is on the injured reserve list with a shoulder injury that required surgery in May. It was thought that Ryan Dzingel’s lower-body injury would keep him out for weeks but lo and behold, he was in the opening night lineup and had an assist in 14:07 of action. Dougie Hamilton had two helpers in the opener.   

CHICAGO

Games this week

vs. San Jose, vs. Winnipeg

Tired: None

Rested: None

Notes

The Blackhawks return to North America after playing the Flyers in Prague and will see action in only two games this week. Alex DeBrincat signed a three-year extension with Chicago that runs through the 2022-23 season. The 21-year-old is coming off a 41-goal season last year and is considered a top flight winger. Connor Murphy is out of action with a groin injury. Kirby Dach, the third overall pick in this season’s draft, is out with a concussion but has been skating on his own for a couple of weeks. That is encouraging. He should be sent back to junior eventually but Chicago is likely to give him a taste of the NHL before sending him back. Look for Andrew Shaw to start on the second line with DeBrincat and Dylan Strome.

COLORADO

Games this week

vs. Boston, vs. Arizona

Tired: None

Rested: None

Notes

Mikko Rantanen missed all of training camp and preseason games but was in the lineup Thursday, scoring twice while playing on the top line with Gabriel Landeskog and Nathan MacKinnon. Looks like he didn’t need a training camp. Joonas Donskoi played in his first game as an Avalanche and he also scored a pair in a 5-3 win over rival Calgary. Cale Makar played in his first regular season NHL game (he did see action in 10 playoff games last season, signing with Colorado after his freshman season at UMass-Amherst) and assisted on Rantanen’s power play goal. Ian Cole (off-season surgery on both hips) will start the season on the injured reserve list but has started participating in practice.  

COLUMBUS

Games this week

vs. Buffalo, vs. Anaheim, @ Carolina

Tired: None

Rested: vs. Anaheim (Friday)

Notes

The Blue Jackets will start the season with Joonas Korpisalo as their number one goaltender but look for Elvis Merzlikins to get a chance to take over at the first chance of any weakness. Rookie winger Jakob Lilja made the team out of camp. The Swede had 12 goals and 37 points in 52 Swedish League games last season. Brandon Dubinsky was put on the IR with a wrist injury that will keep him out for weeks. Ryan Murray looks to be healthy enough to start the season. The big question with Murray is: Will he be healthy enough to play all year and finish the season?

DALLAS

Games this week

@ Washington, vs. Calgary, vs. Washington

Tired: None

Rested: None  

Notes

The Stars play the Washington Capitals twice this week. Roman Polak would have been the player to contest Tom Wilson if there were any fisticuffs, but Polak was stretchered off the ice Thursday after colliding with the Bruins Chris Wagner and going head-first into the boards. We will him the best of luck and recovery. Roope Hintz scored the lone Dallas goal in a 2-1 loss to Boston Thursday. Ben Bishop gave up both goals and faced only 20 shots. Surprise, surprise. Martin Hanzal will open the season on the injured reserve list with a wonky back. There is no timetable for his return. Corey Perry is out of action for at least another week with a foot injury.

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.