Michael Finewax

The Week Ahead

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Vegas giving NHL Knightmares

Friday, January 26, 2018


The NHL will return from their four-day All-Star break on Tuesday as everyone gets Monday off. It’s down the stretch they come as all teams are approaching the two-thirds mark of the season.

 

The Vegas Golden Knights continue to be the story, not only of the NHL but in North American sports. Can you imagine any other expansion franchise being first in their conference, second overall and only three points out of first with a game in hand after 48 games.

 

The Golden Knights are superb at home with a 19-3-2 record but they are not too shabby on the road at 13-9-2.

 

They are a speedy team with a deep blueline and are well-coached. The Golden Knights are relentless and on top of the opposition at every opportunity.

 

That’s a good recipe for the playoffs and it should be interesting come April and May, especially if they keep the home ice advantage.

 

There is plenty of information and good chatter always on the Rotoworld Hockey Podcast. Listen here.

 

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 junior 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 29-FEBRUARY 4

 

 

4 Games – Carolina, Montreal, Ottawa, San Jose, Vegas

 

3 Games – Anaheim, Boston, Buffalo, Calgary, Chicago, Colorado, Columbus, Dallas, Detroit, Los Angeles, Minnesota, Nashville, New Jersey, New York Islanders, Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, St. Louis,  Tampa Bay, Toronto, Vancouver, Washington, Winnipeg

 

2 Games - Arizona, Florida, New York Rangers

 

1 Game - Edmonton

 

San Jose and Vegas play all four games on the road.

 

Carolina plays all four games at home.

 

Anaheim, Chicago, Colorado, Ottawa and Tampa Bay play three games on the road.

 

Boston, Buffalo, Calgary, Dallas, Nashville, Vancouver and Winnipeg play three games at home.

 

INJURIES

 

Ondrej Palat will miss six-eight weeks 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

@ Boston, @ Ottawa, @ Montreal

 

Rested Team: None

Tired Team: None

 

Notes

Not great news if you own Corey Perry as he was moved down to the fourth line in practice Monday but it must have made quite an impact as he played the next night with Ryan Getzlaf and Rickard Rakell on the top unit and had a goal and an assist. That being said, Perry’s best fantasy years are behind him and he is a marginal player in pools. The Ducks have started to make Francois Beauchemin a healthy scratch of late. Getzlaf had four goals and 13 points in his last 10 games heading into action on Thursday. Adam Henrique has points in each of his last five games and has 29 points in 49 games this season. Josh Manson leads all Ducks blueliners with 23 points.

 

Editor’s Note: FanDuel’s main NHL contest, the NHL Breakaway, boasts thousands in cash prizes every night and costs less than $5 to enter.  Get in on the action!

 

ARIZONA

 

Games this week

vs. Dallas, @ Los Angeles

 

Rested Team: None

Tired Team: None

 

Notes

The Coyotes picked up depth for their AHL farm team in Tucson when they acquired John Ramage from the Blue Jackets for future considerations. It’s hard to believe but Max Domi has only three goals this season after 50 games. He had 27 goals in his first two NHL seasons in 140 contests. Brendan Perlini has 14 goals this season including one in each of his last four games. Oliver Ekman-Larsson is a plus-four over his last six games but that brings him to a minus-36 this season. A lot was hoped for from Brad Richardson this season after garnering nine points in 16 games last season before fracturing his fibula and tibia. He has only nine points in 44 games this season with a minus-17 rating and played only 6:04 Thursday.

 

BOSTON

 

Games this week

vs. Anaheim, vs. St. Louis, vs. Toronto

 

Rested Team: None

Tired Team: None

 

Notes

Brad Marchand stupidly elbowed Marcus Johansson Tuesday in the head and was suspended five games for his misdeed. The Bruins recalled Anders Bjork to take his spot on the roster. Tuukka Rask continues his amazing return to form as he is 19-8-4 this season after starting out 2-8-2. He has a 2.16 GAA and a .922 save percentage, ranking him as one of the top five goalies in the game at this time.  Patrice Bergeron has nine goals and 17 points in 11 January games. He has 20 goals and 42 points in 42 games this season. The Bruins are 14-0-4 in their last 18 games and have to be considered Stanley Cup contenders.

 

BUFFALO

 

Games this week

vs. New Jersey, vs. Florida, vs. St. Louis

 

Rested Team: None

Tired Team: None

 

Notes

Jack Eichel is one of the hottest players at this time as he has 14 points in his last seven games heading into action on Thursday. Sam Reinhart had a very rough start to the season but has three goals and seven points in his last five games to give him 10 goals and 20 points this season. As poor a season as it is, do not forget about him next year as he should go quite late, if at all, in most leagues. Nathan Beaulieu picked up a possible concussion on Monday and was placed on the injured reserve list. They recalled Matt Tennyson to replace him on the roster. Benoit Pouliot has only nine goals but three have been game winners to lead the team along with Eichel.     

 

CALGARY

 

Games this week

vs. Vegas, vs. Tampa Bay, vs. Chicago

 

Rested Team: None

Tired Team: None

 

Notes

The Flames are in contract negotiations with Mikael Backlund who will become a UFA on July 1 if he does not sign a new deal.  The center has 31 points in 49 games thus far after a 53 point campaign last season. He is looking for six-years and $30 million. Calgary continues to get good goaltending from both Mike Smith and David Rittich. Rittich took over the backup job from Eddie Lack earlier in the season and is 4-1-2 with a 2.16 GAA and a .929 save percentage. Micheal Ferland continues to surprise as he is seeing first line action with Johnny Gaudreau and Sean Monahan. Ferland has 19 goals and 30 points in 48 games. Michael Frolik is practicing and could return this week from a broken jaw.

 

CAROLINA

 

Games this week

vs. Ottawa, vs. Montreal, vs. Detroit, vs. San Jose  

 

Rested Team: None

Tired Team:  vs. Detroit (Friday)

 

Notes

The Hurricanes play all four games at home including three games in four nights so look for Cam Ward to play at least twice and possibly three times with Scott Darling playing the remainder. This is the start of an eight game home stand and the Hurricanes need to turn it on as they are four points out of a wild card spot and only 10-7-4 at home thus far after going 23-12-6 last season. Teuvo Teravainen was goalless in eight games before scoring twice and adding an assist Thursday against Montreal. The 23-year-old has 39 points in 49 games. Sebastian Aho partook in an optional skate Thursday as he recovers from a concussion and lower body injury. He could return this week barring any setbacks.

 

 CHICAGO

 

Games this week

@ Nashville, @ Vancouver, @ Calgary

 

Rested Team: None

Tired Team: None

 

Notes

After going six straight games without a point, the Blackhawks made Patrick Sharp a healthy scratch Thursday. His value in fantasy is at an all-time low as he has only 13 points in 45 games. Corey Crawford may not be out for the rest of the season as he could accompany Chicago on this week’s road trip. The goaltender has been suffering from vertigo and coach Joel Quenneville said that he is progressing nicely but ‘playing might be still a little distant’. Still, there are encouraging signs there as he has been working off the ice. Jan Rutta was a minus-four Saturday and has been a healthy scratch ever since. Artem Anisimov returned to action on Monday after missing 10 games. He centered Tommy Wingels and Ryan Hartman on the third line.

 

COLORADO

 

Games this week

@ Vancouver, @ Edmonton, @ Winnipeg

 

Rested Team: None

Tired Team: None

 

Notes

The Avalanche continue their road trip as the finish up six games away from home. They are in Western Canada this week. The Avs have lost two in a row after winning 10 straight. Jonathan Bernier saw his personal nine game winning streak come to an end Tuesday in Montreal but is 14-9-1 this season with a 2.62 GAA and a .920 save percentage. He has more than adequately done the job for the injured Semyon Varlamov. Nathan MacKinnon has 24 goals and 60 points in 48 games and is among the leaders for the Hart Trophy at the All-Star break. He was the first star of the week with four goals and six points in three games. Mikko Rantanen leads all sophomores with 47 points this season. Tyson Barrie could return after the break from his hand injury.

 

COLUMBUS

 

Games this week

vs. Minnesota, vs. San Jose, @ New York Islanders

 

Rested Team: None

Tired Team: @ New York Islanders (Saturday)

 

Notes

There is a lot of controversy surrounding Brandon Dubinsky as ‘The Athletic’ reported he left the team due to personal issues but the Blue Jackets and his agent said it was medical issues. Dubinsky has been out since December 12 with a fractured orbital bone in which he was supposed to be out six-eight weeks. It has been just over six so perhaps the reason is medical. Stay tuned as Dubinsky is the top center at taking penalties. Cam Atkinson scored Thursday in his return to the lineup after missing 11 games with a foot injury. That gives him seven goals in 33 games after a 35 goal season last year. Sergei Bobrovsky made 38 saves in a 2-1 win over Arizona Thursday for his first win in four games. He is 22-15-3 with a 2.46 GAA and a .920 save percentage. Nice but not the Vezina-type season he had last year.

 

DALLAS

 

Games this week

vs. Los Angeles, @ Arizona, vs. Minnesota

 

Rested Team: vs. Minnesota (Saturday)

Tired Team: None

 

Notes

Tyler Seguin scored the lone goal for Dallas Thursday but is fourth on the team in points with 43 in 50 games. That’s a surprise as Seguin is always at the top of the team’s scoring if he remains healthy which he has this season. Alexander Radulov and John Klingberg lead with 48 points, one ahead of Jamie Benn and five up on Seguin. Marc Methot could return this week as he is out with a knee injury. The former Senator was a big off-season acquisition as it was thought he would be a top-four blueliner but he has only played in 16 games. He is not a scorer as evidenced by his lack of a single point in 16 games this season but is a solid defender. Martin Hanzal is injured again. What a surprise.    


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Michael Finewax is entering his 13th season as the Senior Hockey Writer and Editor for Rotoworld. You can follow him on Twitter @mfinewaxhockey.
Email :Michael Finewax



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