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The Week Ahead

Sabres Have Rare Five Game Week

by Michael Finewax

There are only two weeks left in the NHL schedule and best of luck if you are still in the playoffs or if you play rotisserie-style, are still in position to win or cash.

In weekly transaction leagues, this is a great week to own Buffalo Sabres as they play the ever rare five-game week. That it comes in a lot of league’s playoff time is a bonus.

 

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 MARCH 25-31

 

5 Games – Buffalo

4 Games - Boston, Calgary, Carolina, Columbus, Dallas, Detroit, Florida, Los Angeles, New York Rangers, San Jose, Vegas

3 Games – - Anaheim, Arizona, Chicago, Edmonton, Minnesota, Montreal, Nashville, New Jersey, New York Islanders, Ottawa, Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, St. Louis, Toronto, Vancouver, Washington, Winnipeg

2 Games – Colorado, Tampa Bay

 

San Jose plays all four games at home.

Dallas and Florida play all four games on the road.  

Calgary, Edmonton, Ottawa, Vancouver and Winnipeg play three games at home.

Anaheim, Buffalo, Chicago, Los Angeles and Vegas play three games on the road this week.

 

INJURIES

 

Sam Bennett is out once again with an upper-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

@ Vancouver, @ Calgary, @ Edmonton

Rested Team: None

Tired Team: @ Edmonton (Saturday)

Notes

The Ducks play all three games in Western Canada this week. John Gibson saw his four-game winning streak end on Wednesday. Daniel Sprong has done well since his trade from Pittsburgh as he has 13 goals in 41 games. He only has five helpers but that is no surprise as the Ducks have few goal scorers. Corey Perry had a good fantasy game Wednesday with 13 penalty minutes. He has been pleased with his play since returning from knee surgery on February 2. Jacob Larsson is out of action with a charley horse. Ryan Kesler has been out since March 6th with a hip injury. He had only five goals and eight points in 60 games this season.

 

ARIZONA

Games this week

vs. Chicago, @ Colorado, vs. Minnesota

Rested Team: None

Tired Team: None

Notes

Derek Stepan is “very very close” to returning to action according to coach Rick Tocchet from a lower-body injury thought to be a leg injury. He has been out of action since February 28 and could return in    time for the Chicago game, if not sooner. The Coyotes inked their second-round pick from 2018 when defenseman Kevin Bahl signed an entry-level contract. Alex Galchenyuk has only two goals and no assists in his last nine games with both markers coming against Edmonton on Saturday. Michael Grabner scored a shorthanded goal on Thursday and it was his sixth of the season and 16th by the Coyotes.

 

BOSTON

Games this week

@ Tampa Bay, vs. New York Rangers, vs. Florida, @ Detroit

Rested Team: None

Tired Team: @ Detroit (Sunday)

 

Notes

The Bruins play four games this week and continue to get outstanding goaltending from both Tuukka Rask and Jaroslav Halak. Rask should be well rested for the playoffs as he has started 41 of the Bruins 74 contests. David Pastrnak (thumb) returned to action on Tuesday and while he was rusty and did not pick up a point, he should be at full strength come playoff time. Jake DeBrusk is having a good sophomore season and has 23 goals thus far to give the Bruins a solid second line with David Krejci and Charlie Coyle. Coyle has only a goal and an assist in 13 games since the deal with Minnesota. Zdeno Chara has lost all his value in fantasy pools with only four goals and 11 points, save for penalty minutes where he has 53 in 54 games.

 

BUFFALO

Games this week

@ New Jersey, @ Ottawa, vs. Detroit, @ New York Islanders, vs. Columbus

Rested Team: None

Tired Team: @ Ottawa (Tuesday)

 

Notes

The Sabres play the rare five-game week so look for a split of the goaltending duties between the pipes as Linus Ullmark will likely play three games with Carter Hutton playing twice. The Sabres have made Jason Pominville has been a healthy scratch the last two games. Buffalo has lost eight of their last nine games and are effectively out of the playoffs. There was so much promise when the Sabres reeled off 10 wins in a row earlier in the season but that was long ago. Casey Mittelstadt has 11 goals and 22 points this season but the rookie should be better by leaps and bounds next year. Another rookie, Alexander Nylander picked up his first goal of the season against Toronto Wednesday and has a goal and two assists in five games with all his points in his last two contests.

 

CALGARY

Games this week

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

Rested Team: @ San Jose (Sunday)

Tired Team: None

 

Notes

The Flames play four games this week but none more important than Sunday’s tilt against the Sharks in San Jose. While they are in California, the one benefit is that they are the rested team while San Jose plays the night before. The Flames got Sam Bennett and Sean Monahan back after being out a couple of games apiece, on Thursday. Unfortunately for Bennett, he was hurt again in the second period and did not return. James Neal could be back Saturday as he has missed the last five weeks with a lower-body injury. David Rittich and Mike Smith are going in opposite directions heading into Thursday’s as Rittich has won four straight while Smith had lost his last three games before winning Thursday. Johnny Gaudreau has five goals and eight points in his last five games. Gaudreau has 35 goals and 92 points this season, career highs in both.

 

CAROLINA

Games this week

@ Washington, vs. Washington, vs. Philadelphia, @ Pittsburgh

Rested Team: None

Tired Team: @ Pittsburgh (Sunday)

 

Notes

The Hurricanes play four games this week including three in four nights so look for Petr Mrazek to get three starts with Curtis McElhinney getting one start between the pipes.  Calvin de Haan returned to action Thursday after missing 10 days with an eye injury. The Hurricanes have been getting great goaltending from Mrazek and McElhinney and it is a good reason why Carolina is sitting in a wild card spot. Jordan Staal had a goal and an assist Thursday after taking vicious hit from the Lightning’s Yanni Gourde, a misdeed that got Gourde a match penalty. Nino Niederreiter has a three-game points streak and has 12 goals and 24 points in 27 games with Carolina.         

 

CHICAGO

Games this week

@ Arizona, @ San Jose, @ Los Angeles

Rested Team: None

Tired Team: None

 

Notes

Erik Gustafsson continues to be one of the best surprises in fantasy as well as the NHL as the blueliner has 15 goals and 52 points this season in 70 games. He has taken over as the quarterback on the first power play as well as Duncan Keith has lost his spot. Jonathan Toews has 31 goals and 73 points and is only three goals and three points away from tying career highs. Corey Crawford is 0-1-1 after reeling off five wins in a row. The Blackhawks second line of Alex DeBrincat, Dylan Strome and Brendan Perlini should be a big line in the years to come as the trio have really clicked since the trade from Arizona brought Strome and Perlini to Chicago. Kane has 101 points, the third player this season to reach the 100-point mark.

               

COLORADO

Games this week

vs. Vegas, vs. Arizona

Rested Team: None

Tired Team: None

 

Notes

Philipp Grubauer has been very good of late as he has won his last three starts, giving up only two goals on 104 shots. After a mediocre start to the season, Grubauer is 14-9-3 with a 2.77 GAA and a .911 save percentage. While Gabriel Landeskog is out for the remainder of the season with an upper-body injury, he did skate Monday with a no-contact jersey. Tyson Barrie has four goals in a three-game streak to give him 11 goals and 52 points in 70 games. Nathan MacKinnon has back-to-back 90-plus point seasons and has established himself as one of the top stars in the NHL. Mikko Rantanen has 87 points and is also having a career year in his third NHL season.

 

COLUMBUS       

Games this week

vs. New York Islanders, vs. Montreal, @ Nashville, @ Buffalo

Rested Team: @ Nashville (Saturday)

Tired Team: None

 

Notes

The Blue Jackets play three games in four nights as part of a four-game week. Sergei Bobrovsky has been great of late and should get at least three starts (if healthy as he suffered an undisclosed injury) as Columbus is in a race for a playoff spot. If so, Joonas Korpisalo will get the net once as Keith Kinkaid has been the third goaltender since the trade from New Jersey. The Blue Jackets have been slumping and are currently on the outside looking in, at a playoff spot. Artemi Panarin has only one goal in his last 16 games and that may cost him some money when and if he bolts during free agency. Seth Jones and Zach Werenski are a combined minus-23 this season after both were minus-three on Thursday.  

 

DALLAS

Games this week

@ Winnipeg, @ Calgary, @ Edmonton, @ Vancouver

Rested Team: None

Tired Team: @ Edmonton (Thursday)

 

Notes

The Stars start the week in Winnipeg and work their way across Western Canada, culminating in a match up with Vancouver. They play four times including three games in four nights so look for Ben Bishop to play thrice with Anton Khudobin getting one start. Ben Bishop ran his winning streak to five games as his shutout streak ended at 233:04 and then saw his winning streak end Thursday despite giving up two goals on 31 shots. Jason Spezza was a healthy scratch on Tuesday before returning to the lineup Thursday. He has only eight goals and 27 points in 71 games and has lost all of his fantasy value. The Stars reunited Jamie Benn with Alexander Radulov and Tyler Seguin on Tuesday and he had a goal and two assists in the tilt.

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.