Michael Finewax

The Week Ahead

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Bruins Racing to the Top

Friday, February 9, 2018


I watched the Opening Ceremonies from PyeongChang this morning and couldn’t help but feel the NHL should be on a break this week and competing in South Korea. I understand the NHL’s point of view but the need to showcase hockey at the world’s stage should have been the overriding reason to go to the Olympics.

 

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 FEBRUARY 12-18

 

4 Games – Arizona, Carolina, Chicago, Columbus, Detroit, Edmonton, Florida, New Jersey, New York Rangers, Pittsburgh, Tampa Bay, Toronto

 

 

3 Games – Anaheim, Buffalo, Calgary, Colorado, Los Angeles, Minnesota, Montreal, Nashville, New York Islanders, Ottawa, Philadelphia, San Jose, Vancouver, Vegas, Washington, Winnipeg

 

2 Games - Boston, Dallas, St. Louis

 

Florida plays all four games on the road.

 

Anaheim, Edmonton, Los Angeles, Montreal, New Jersey, the New York Rangers and Washington play three games on the road.

 

Arizona, Carolina, Columbus, Minnesota, Nashville, Pittsburgh, San Jose, Vegas and Winnipeg play three games at home.

 

INJURIES

 

Patric Hornqvist is week-to-week 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

@ Detroit, @ Chicago, @ Minnesota

 

Rested Team: None

Tired Team: None

 

Notes

The Ducks are back on the road for all three this week. Cam Fowler has been hot of late with eight assists in his last seven games. Rickard Rakell has been piling up the points this season and has 22 goals and 45 points in 50 games, including four goals and nine points in his last five games. Corey Perry has been in a season-long funk (actually it goes back to the start of last season) but he has six points in his last three games. John Gibson has been skating and working out but has yet to return to game action as he has been out with a lower body injury since January 30. Ryan Miller has been the starter of late. Nicolas Kerdiles was recalled by the Ducks.

 

ARIZONA

 

Games this week

vs. Chicago, @ San Jose, vs. Montreal, vs. Edmonton  

 

Rested Team: vs. Montreal (Thursday)

Tired Team: @ San Jose (Tuesday)

 

Notes

The Coyotes play four games this week including three games in four nights. Antti Raanta should see the crease in three games with Scott Wedgewood getting the call once. Raanta is not having a bad season with the Coyotes despite his 9-14-5 record as he has a 2.63 GAA and a .915 save percentage. Perhaps the Coyotes have their goalie for the next few seasons. The New York Post was reporting that Max Domi was being actively shopped around the league in trade talk but GM John Chayka denied it. It would be surprising if the Coyotes gave up this early on the 22-year-old former first round pick.  Clayton Keller scored the overtime winner Thursday. It was his first goal in 13 games.

 

BOSTON

 

Games this week

vs. Calgary, @ Vancouver

 

Rested Team: None

Tired Team: None

 

Notes

The Bruins are the hottest team in the NHL and are just three points in arrears of the Tampa Bay Lightning with a couple of games in hand. They have the best tandem in goal with Tuukka Rask and Anton Khudobin who have combined for a 33-11-8 record with a .925 save percentage and have allowed 113 goals in 52 games. Brad Marchand completed his five game suspension and returned to the first line Wednesday, alongside Patrice Bergeron and David Pastrnak. Pastrnak has a ten game points streak on the go while Bergeron has eight goals and 13 points in the same 10 contests. Zdeno Chara has three points in his last three games and continues to be a fine mentor for the youngsters on the blueline including Charlie McAvoy and Brandon Carlo.

 

BUFFALO

 

Games this week

vs. Tampa Bay, @ Ottawa, vs. Los Angeles

 

Rested Team: vs. Tampa Bay (Tuesday)

Tired Team: None

 

Notes

The Sabres have not had good production out of Sam Reinhart this season with only 26 points in 54 games but he has been turning it around of late with four goals and 13 points in his last 10 games including five points in his last two contests. Jake McCabe is out three-four weeks after undergoing thumb surgery. Johan Larsson returned on Thursday after missing a couple of games due to a suspension. Jack Eichel has four points in his last two games and had 53 in 54 games. Evander Kane keeps popping up as the best player to get at the trade deadline and it certainly looks like he will not be a Sabre come February 27.

 

CALGARY

 

Games this week

@ Boston, @ Nashville, vs. Florida

 

Rested Team: None

Tired Team: None

 

Notes

The Flames finish a long six game road trip before returning to play the Panthers. David Rittich continues to give the Flames excellent back up goaltending as he is 5-1-2 with a 2.20 GAA and a .927 save percentage after a 3-2 win over the Devils Thursday. Sean Monahan had a pair of goals Thursday and has 27 in 53 games thus far. After scoring only once last season in 37 games, you would have figured that Curtis Lazar would have no trouble beating that mark this season. Well, the winger is. Lazar, who was a healthy scratch on Thursday, has not scored in 39 games this season and has just one assist in his last 18 games. T.J. Brodie has six assists in his last four games.

 

CAROLINA

 

Games this week

vs. Los Angeles, @ New Jersey, vs. New York Islanders, vs. New Jersey  

 

Rested Team: vs. New Jersey (Sunday)

Tired Team:  None

 

Notes

The Hurricanes play four games this week including three in four nights. Cam Ward is likely to see action in three games with Scott Darling picking up one game in goal. The Hurricanes play the Devils twice this week so look for Justin Williams to become involved if there is any extra-curricular activity. Jeff Skinner has only four goals in his last 27 games and that has to be concerning to the Hurricanes and his fantasy owners. Marcus Kruger was put on waivers by Carolina Thursday as was Josh Jooris. Elias Lindholm leads the Hurricanes in power play goals with six. It has been a frustrating offensive season for Justin Faulk as the defenseman has only four goals in 54 games after averaging 16 over the last three seasons. Sebastian Aho has 19 goals and 40 points this season in 50 games. He leads Carolina in goals.

 

 CHICAGO

 

Games this week

@ Arizona, @ Vegas, vs. Anaheim, vs. Washington

 

Rested Team: None

Tired Team: @ Vegas (Tuesday)

 

Notes

The Blackhawks play four games with three coming in four nights. Corey Crawford (vertigo) is still not ready to return so look for Anton Forsberg and Jeff Glass to share the netminding duties. Crawford has been skating but was off the ice for a couple of days this week. It was not a setback according to the Blackhawks but rather part of their plan. Jonathan Toews broke an 11 game goalless drought on Thursday with his 15th of the season.  Brandon Saad has become a bottom-six forward as he was on the fourth line Tuesday before moving up to the third unit with Nick Schmaltz and Vinnie Hinostroza on Thursday. He is also off both units of the power play after starting on the first unit for most of the season.

 

COLORADO

 

Games this week

vs. Montreal, @ Winnipeg, vs. Edmonton

 

Rested Team: vs. Edmonton (Sunday)

Tired Team: None

 

Notes

Mikko Rantanen missed his first game of the season Tuesday with a lower body injury but was back in the lineup on Thursday. The talented sophomore has 17 goals and 50 points in 52 games but misses his center Nathan MacKinnon who has missed the last four games with an upper body injury. He has started to skate and could return as early as this week or he could still be out another 14 days as he was slated to miss two-four weeks. Jonathan Bernier had a poor game on Thursday giving up three goals on 20 shots in only 25 minutes of action so this could be the chance the previously injured Semyon Varlamov needs to regain his spot as the number one goalie. Varlamov did not help his cause as he gave up three goals on 11 shots the remainder of the way.

 

COLUMBUS

 

Games this week

@ New York Islanders, @ Toronto, vs. Philadelphia, vs. Pittsburgh

 

Rested Team: vs. Pittsburgh (Sunday)

Tired Team: @ Toronto (Wednesday)

 

Notes

The Blue Jackets play four games this week including three in four nights. Sergei Bobrovsky will likely play three times while the recently recalled Jeff Zatkoff should play once. Joonas Korpisalo is usually the backup but he was sent to the minors to get in some game action and it would not be a surprise if he was recalled before Zatkoff is slated to play and gets the start instead. Ryan Murray (back) has not played since November 27 but partook in practice Thursday for the first time. There is no timetable for his return. Cam Atkinson saw his four game points streak end on Tuesday. Look for a strong finish from Atkinson who had 35 goals and 62 points last season. 

 

DALLAS

 

Games this week

vs. St. Louis, @ San Jose

 

Rested Team: None

Tired Team: None

 

Notes

The Stars only play twice this week so don’t be alarmed if you have Kari Lehtonen and Ben Bishop gets both starts. Tyler Seguin has 28 goals in 55 games including six in his last six games. Mattias Janmark has been one of the better stories this season. He has 15 goals and 29 points in 55 games (the exact same stats as in 2015-16 but in 73 contests) but missed all of last season with a joint disorder called osteochondritis dissecans. Well done Mattias! Marc Methot has been practicing with the Stars and should be ready to return from a knee injury that has had him miss half the season. John Klingberg was the first defenseman to get to 50 points this season.

 

DETROIT

 

Games this week

vs. Anaheim, @ Tampa Bay, @ Nashville, vs. Toronto

 

Rested Team: None

Tired Team: None

 

Notes

The Red Wings play three contests in four nights as part of their four game week. Petr Mrazek and Jimmy Howard should split the net this week. Howard has lost his last five games while Mrazek has really come on of late and could be considered the starting netminder if he continues to shine. Gustav Nyquist has only one goal in his last 11 games. Tomas Tatar has been in an awful slump with only two goals in his last 20 games. He leads the Red Wings with seven power play goals. Anthony Mantha leads Detroit with 16 goals. Henrik Zetterberg has only six goals this season but does have 28 helpers.


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



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