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The Week Ahead

A 100 Year Celebration

by Michael Finewax
Updated On: October 4, 2018, 4:04 pm ET

The NHL kicks off its 100th year of business on January 1 with the Centennial game played at BMO Field in Toronto where the Maple Leafs take on the Detroit Red Wings.

 

The NHL started business on December 19, 1917 with two games as the Montreal Canadiens beat the Ottawa Senators 7-4 and the Montreal Wanderers outlasted Toronto 10-9. It would be the only game the Wanderers would win as they were disbanded five games later.

 

Enough of the history, although Toronto did win the Stanley Cup that season.

 

This is the start of a big year for the NHL with celebrations throughout. The Winter Classic will be played the following day as Chicago is in St. Louis.

 


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Now to The Week Ahead.

 

WEEK OF DECEMBER 26-JANUARY 1

 

4 Games - Anaheim, Washington

 

3 Games –Arizona, Boston, Buffalo, Calgary, Carolina, Colorado, Chicago, Columbus, Dallas, Detroit, Florida, Los Angeles, Minnesota, Montreal, Nashville, New Jersey, New York Islanders, New York Rangers, Ottawa, Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, San Jose, Tampa Bay, Toronto, Vancouver, Winnipeg

 

2 Games – Edmonton, St. Louis  

 

 

Montreal and Philadelphia play three games at home.

 

Tampa Bay plays three games on the road.

 

INJURIES

 

Artem Anisimov is day-to-day with an upper body injuy.  (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

vs. San Jose, @ Calgary, @ Vancouver, vs. Philadelphia

 

Rested Team: None

Tired Team: @ Vancouver (Friday)

 

Notes

The Ducks play four games this week and three in four nights so look for Jonathan Bernier to play once with John Gibson getting the other three starts.  It was a big week in Canada as Randy Carlyle made his coaching return to Toronto a successful one as the Ducks beat the Leafs 3-2 Monday but Bernier’s homecoming in Montreal was not as good as he allowed five goals on 34 shots Tuesday. The Ducks inked the 30th overall pick in the 2016 Draft Sam Steel to an entry level deal. He leads the WHL with 54 points. Andrew Cogliano has played in 738 straight games since the start of his NHL career and is now fifth all-time in the NHL.

 

ARIZONA

 

Games this week

vs. Dallas, vs. New York Rangers, @ Calgary

 

Rested Team: None

Tired Team: None

 

Notes

Jakob Chychrun has been very good this season as an 18-year-old defenseman but he was slammed into the boards Wednesday by Eric Gryba and is undergoing concussion protocol. Oliver Ekman-Larsson has two goals and four points in his last five games. It was great seeing Craig Cunningham having a press conference and telling the world about the doctors who saved his life after he had a heart attack on the ice November 19. He is expected to get out of the hospital before Christmas. Max Domi is out with a broken hand and Lawson Crouse is seeing some action on the top line with Martin Hanzal and Radim Vrbata.

 

BOSTON

 

Games this week

@ Columbus, @ Buffalo, vs. Buffalo

 

Rested Team: None

Tired Team: None

 

Notes

The Bruins play a home-and-home series with the Sabres so look for Brad Marchand or David Backes to add to their penalty minute totals if there is any rough stuff. David Pastrnak returned on Thursday after missing two games with an elbow injury. He leads the Bruins with 19 goals and is second in the NHL behind only Sidney Crosby. Congratulations to Anton Blidh on his first NHL goal Tuesday. Jimmy Hayes scored only his second goal of the season Sunday and then came back on Tuesday with six shots on goal in only 9:51 of ice time. Dominic Moore has eight goals this season.

 

 

BUFFALO

 

Games this week

@ Detroit, vs. Boston, @ Boston

 

Rested Team: None

Tired Team: None

 

Notes

The Sabres play a home-and-home series with Boston so look for Evander Kane to add to his penalty minute count if there is any rough stuff. Rasmus Ristolainen has 13 points on the power play and is only a minus-two this season. After missing 20 games with a knee injury, Zach Bogosian has played in the Sabres last three contests. Backup netminder Anders Nilsson is 5-2-3 this season with a 2.22 GAA and a .933 save percentage. He played very well at times last season before he gave the net back to Cam Talbot in Edmonton. Zemgus Girgensons continues to disappoint as the former first round pick has only two goals and five points in 32 games.

 

CALGARY

 

Games this week

@ Colorado, vs. Anaheim, vs. Arizona

 

Rested Team: None

Tired Team: None  

 

Notes

Johnny Gaudreau saw his eight game points streak end on Tuesday. He started the streak after returning from a fractured finger and had two goals and 11 points in the eight games. Matthew Tkachuk has been strong of late and has six goals and 18 points thus far with six assists in his last five games. He also has 62 minutes in penalties. Chad Johnson has slipped a bit of late as he has lost his last three games and he has opened the door for Brian Elliott once again.  Sean Monahan became the first Flame to hit double digits in goals but is still two points behind Gaudreau’s 22 points despite playing 10 more games than Johnny Hockey.

 

CAROLINA

 

Games this week

@ Pittsburgh, vs. Chicago, @ Tampa Bay

 

Rested Team: @ Pittsburgh (Wednesday), vs. Chicago (Friday)

Tired Team: @ Tampa Bay (Saturday)

 

Notes

The Hurricanes play three games in four nights. Cam Ward should see action in two games with Eddie Lack playing once. Carolina’s Monday game against Detroit was postponed due to a leak in the PNC Arena’s cooling system and while it was fixed, it was too late to play the game. The game will be rescheduled. Lack was activated from injured reserve on Wednesday and the Hurricanes sent Michael Leighton back to the minors. Sebastian Aho had been held off the scoresheet in the last two games before Thursday but has 17 points in 32 games. Jeff Skinner leads with 27 points, one ahead of Victor Rask.

 

CHICAGO

 

Games this week

vs. Winnipeg, @ Nashville, vs. Carolina

 

Rested Team: None

Tired Team: @ Carolina (Friday)

 

Notes

Marian Hossa is day-to-day with an upper body injury. The Blackhawks also moved Artem Anisimov to the injured reserve list with an upper body injury that was retroactive to December 18. The Blackhawks called up Tanner Kero to replace Anisimov on the roster. Jonathan Toews has not found the back of the net in 13 games. Corey Crawford is slated to return to action on Friday but Scott Darling did yeoman’s work during his absence as he is 10-3-2 this season with a 2.35 GAA and a .923 save percentage. Duncan Keith finally scored his first goal of the season in his 34th game.

 

COLORADO

 

Games this week

vs. Calgary, @ Dallas, vs. New York Rangers

 

Rested Team: None

Tired Team: None

 

Notes

The Avalanche are 2-10-1 in their last 13 contests. The rumor mill is working overtime in Denver and the latest is that the Avs want to build their team around Nathan MacKinnon and that puts Matt Duchene and Gabriel Landeskog on thin ice for a possible deal. Jarome Iginla is in the tail end of his career and has just four goals and eight points in 32 games this season. Landeskog and Carl Soderberg each have four goals and nine points although Landeskog has played 10 less games that Soderberg’s 32. Tyson Barrie has two goals and 13 points but has a minus-20 rating.

 

COLUMBUS

 

Games this week

vs. Boston, @ Winnipeg, @ Minnesota  

 

Rested Team: None

Tired Team: None

 

Notes

Cam Atkinson is having an outstanding season with 15 goals and 34 points in 31 games. He was questionable Thursday with a foot injury, prompting the Blue Jackets to recall Oliver Bjorkstrand but ended up playing. It sure looks like this was the season to load up on Columbus Blue Jackets players in your pools. Brandon Saad has 12 goals and 27 points but just picked up his first power play point on Sunday. Jack Johnson has only a goal and eight points but has a plus-19 rating. Columbus is allowing 2.07 goals per game, down almost a full goal (3.02) from last season. Sergei Bobrovsky is on a nine game winning streak and is 20-5-2 this season.

 

DALLAS

 

Games this week

@ Arizona, vs. Colorado, vs. Florida

 

Rested Team: None

Tired Team: None

 

Notes

Tyler Seguin is goal-less in his last six games with only three assists. He has seven power play goals, one better than Patrick Eaves and two ahead of Jamie BennJiri Hudler has played only nine games this season due to a bothersome illness and has only two helpers thus far. Patrick Sharp is still out with a concussion and although he is progressing, he has played only 11 games. The Stars continue to get spotty goaltending as Kari Lehtonen is 6-10-3 with a 2.92 GAA while Antti Niemi is 4-4-2 with a 2.85 GAA. John Klingberg has only two goals and 16 points in 32 games.

 

DETROIT

 

Games this week

vs. Buffalo, @ Ottawa, @ Toronto

 

Rested Team: None

Tired Team: None

 

Notes

The Red Wings are in Toronto on January 1 for the Centennial Classic and it will be an outdoor game at BMO Field. Jimmy Howard was placed on injured reserve with a lower body injury and the Red Wings recalled Jared Coreau to backup Petr Mrazek. It looks like Howard could be out for a while and that will give Mrazek a chance to regain his status as a number one goalie. Anthony Mantha has five goals and 10 points in 18 games. Mike Green was hurt on Saturday with a lower body injury and is still day-to-day. Dylan Larkin has 10 goals but only two assists. He is also a minus-11.

 

EDMONTON

 

Games this week

vs. Los Angeles, vs. Vancouver

 

Rested Team: vs. Los Angeles (Thursday), vs. Vancouver (Saturday)

Tired Team: None

Notes    

The Oilers play only twice this week. Mark Letestu has five of his seven goals against Winnipeg and had a big game Wednesday against the former Winnipeg Jets, the Arizona Coyotes. I guess he just loves anything to do with Winnipeg. The Oilers finally broke a 0-21-4 slump against Arizona with a 3-2 win Wednesday. Connor McDavid has only two assists in his last six games but continues to lead the NHL in points with 40.  Leon Draisaitl is a heck of a hockey player but seems to get a little less publicity than he deserves, probably because of McDavid. But the German star has 14 goals and 31 points in 35 games and is the Oilers second best forward.

 

FLORIDA

 

Games this week

vs. Toronto, vs. Montreal, @ Dallas

 

Rested Team: None

Tired Team: None

 

Notes

The Panthers play three games in four nights this week. Expect to see James Reimer play once with Roberto Luongo getting the remaining two starts. The Panthers get a break over the holidays as both Toronto and Montreal are in town and that should drive up the attendance. Aleksander Barkov has nine goals and 26 points this season with seven goals and five assists coming in the last 11 games.  Jaromir Jagr had an assist on Thursday and is now second all-time in scoring behind Wayne Gretzky as he surpassed Mark Messier with his 1,888th point. He trails Gretzky by ‘only’ 969 points. Nick Bjugstad snapped a 13 game goal-less drought Tuesday.

 

LOS ANGELES

 

Games this week

@ Vancouver, @ Edmonton, vs. San Jose   

 

Rested Team: vs. San Jose (Saturday)

Tired Team: @ Edmonton (Thursday)

 

Notes

The Kings play three times in four nights and expect to see Petr Budaj in goal for two games with Jeff Zatkoff playing once. Budaj picked up his fourth shutout of the season Thursday as he made 28 saves in beating the Predators. Tyler Toffoli is out with a lower body injury.  Jeff Carter has three goals in his last two games to give him 17 this season. Dustin Brown picked up an assist Thursday but saw his 207 game consecutive streak end Sunday with a lower body injury. It was a shock to see Marian Gaborik be a healthy scratch on Sunday but he has gone pointless in the two games since and has only a goal and four points in 11 games.

 

MINNESOTA

 

Games this week

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

 

Rested Team: None

Tired Team: None

 

Notes

The Wild are hot! They won their ninth in a row on Thursday as they defeated the Montreal Canadiens 4-2. Devan Dubnyk won his eighth in a row and is 17-6-3 with a 1.57 GAA and a .948 save percentage. He has been as great as he was in 2014-15 when he was dealt to the Wild from the Coyotes and put the team on his back and got them into the playoffs. Eric Staal continues to have a renaissance season as he has 11 goals and 26 points in 32 games. Zach Parise missed Thursday’s game with an illness. He has only five goals and 13 points this season in 24 games. Mikko Koivu has six goals in his last 14 games after scoring only two in his first 18 games.

 

MONTREAL

           

Games this week

@ Tampa Bay, @ Florida, @ Pittsburgh

 

Rested Team: None

Tired Team: None

 

Notes

The Canadiens play three games in four nights so look for Carey Price to play twice with Al Montoya getting one start. With the World Junior Tournament in Toronto and Montreal, the Canadiens are embarking on a seven game road trip with this week being games 2-4. Shea Weber started the season out like a house on fire with seven goals in his first 16 games but the blueliner has only one goal in his last 17 contests. The Habs hope that Andrei Markov returns from a lower body this week after missing the previous three games. Tomas Plekanec has only three goals and 16 points in 33 games but has two goals and seven assists in his last eight matches.

 

 NASHVILLE

 

Games this week

vs. Minnesota, vs. Chicago, @ St. Louis

 

Rested Team: None

Tired Team: @ St. Louis (Friday)

 

Notes

The Predators play three games in four nights so look for Juuse Saros to play once with the veteran Pekka Rinne getting a couple of starts. P.K. Subban has missed the last four games with an upper body injury. He could return this week. Filip Forsberg has five goals with three coming in his last six games. Viktor Arvidsson is under the radar but had two goals and seven assists in his last eight games heading into action Thursday and he and Ryan Johansen lead the team in points with 23. Mike Fisher leads the Predators with 31 penalty minutes.

 

 

NEW JERSEY

 

Games this week

vs. Pittsburgh, @ Washington, vs. Washington

 

Rested Team: None

Tired Team: None

 

Notes

The Devils play a home-and-home series against divisional rivals the Washington Capitals so look for John Moore or Damon Severson to add to their penalty minute count. Adam Henrique has 19 points this season but has been hot of late with four goals and nine points in his last 10 games. Mike Cammalleri on the other hand, is cold with two assists in his last nine games but he hit the 600 point milestone on Saturday. Jacob Josefson is out of action with a concussion.  Travis Zajac leads the Devils with 23 points but he is pointless in his last three.  Devante Smith-Pell has been a healthy scratch the last three games.

 

NEW YORK ISLANDERS

 

Games this week

vs. Washington, @ Minnesota, @ Winnipeg

 

Rested Team: None

Tired Team: None

 

Notes

Anders Lee is the hottest goal scorer in the NHL with 11 goals in his last 14 games. The problem with his season is that he had only one goal in his first 18 contests. Still, he is the only Islander in double digits as we approach Christmas, and that includes John Tavares. Tavares suffered a hand/wrist injury Tuesday and while he took a maintenance day off Wednesday, he still may not miss a game. He is day-to-day for now. Adam Pelech could return as early as December 23 as he has been out since November 28 with an upper body injury. Casey Cizikas is out indefinitely with an upper body injury. It’s no wonder why the Islanders are bringing up the rear in the Eastern Conference.

 

NEW YORK RANGERS

 

Games this week

vs. Ottawa, @ Arizona, @ Columbus

 

Rested Team: None

Tired Team: None

 

Notes

The Rangers had been getting outstanding goaltending from Antti Raanta all season but that was not the case on Tuesday as he gave up seven goals on 47 shots to the Penguins. Henrik Lundqvist turned his game around and his last win on Sunday was his 389th of his NHL career to tie him with Dominik Hasek for top spot in victories by a European-born and trained goalie. He will regain the net as the top gun with the Rangers as he has been hot in his last three while Raanta looks like he is cooling down. Rick Nash is back on the sidelines with a recurrence of his groin injury. Chris Kreider leads the Rangers in penalty minutes with 19.

 

OTTAWA     

 

Games this week

@ New York Rangers, vs. Detroit, @ Washington

 

Rested Team: @ Washington

Tired Team: None

 

Notes

The Senators did not make the playoffs last season but have been one of the surprises of this year as they are 20-11-3. One big reason has been the acquisition of Mike Condon who has been a bright light in the cage for the Senators, with Craig Anderson spending a lot of time with his ailing wife. Condon is 8-3-2 this season with a 2.20 GAA and a .924 save percentage. He has won all four games he has played in, in the last week as Andrew Hammond suffered a high ankle sprain on the weekend. The Senators inked Filip Chlapik to an entry level contract. Mike Hoffman had the winner Thursday and has 15 points in his last 16 games.

 

PHILADELPHIA

 

Games this week

@ St. Louis, @ San Jose, @ Anaheim

 

Rested Team: None

Tired Team: None

 

Notes

Every time I watch Ivan Provorov play I am more impressed. Wayne Simmonds has to be the best power forward in the NHL and his stats for fantasy certainly agree as he has 16 goals and 29 points with 60 penalty minutes. He has eight power play goals and 14 pp points with the only black mark on his stats sheet being a minus-seven rating. Travis Konecny started the season like a house on fire but the rookie has not found the back of the net in 21 games. Sean Couturier has missed the last month (17 games) with a lower body injury. After playing 71 games as a 21-year-old last season for the Flyers, it surprising that Scott Laughton has played only twice this season for the Flyers. He was drafted 20th overall in 2012 and it could be time to give him a new start elsewhere if he is unable to play with Couturier out. He has three goals and 10 points in 14 games with the AHL’s Lehigh Valley Phantoms.

 

PITTSBURGH

 

Games this week

@ New Jersey, vs. Carolina, vs. Montreal

 

Rested Team: vs. Carolina (Wednesday)

Tired Team: None

 

Notes

The highs and lows of the week were on display for the Penguins as they knocked off the Rangers 7-2 Wednesday but lost 7-1 Thursday to the red-hot Columbus Blue Jackets. Matt Murray started both games but was pulled Thursday when he gave up six goals on only 23 shots. It‘s hard to believe that Justin Schultz was a minus-71 in four seasons before this one but is a plus-20 in 34 games thus far. Tom Kuhnhackl is week-to-week with a lower body injury. Sidney Crosby leads the NHL with 23 goals but his shooting percentage is an unsustainable 24.0 percent. Olli Maatta has only two assists in 34 games.

  

ST. LOUIS

 

Games this week

vs. Philadelphia, vs. Nashville

 

Rested Team: vs. Nashville (Friday)

Tired Team: None

 

Notes

The Blues only play twice this week as they continue a nice break during the holidays. Paul Stastny is on the injured reserve list with an upper body injury. He has seven goals and 17 points in 34 games and there are plenty of players with those stats. After scoring only once in his first 30 games, Patrik Berglund has four in his past five games. It helps that he has been moved up to a top-six role. David Perron has a goal in each of his last two games. Colton Parayko has yet to score this season but has 15 assists in 35 games. Jake Allen is 16-8-3 with a 2.63 GAA and a .905 save percentage. He needs to get his peripherals back up to snuff to have any fantasy impact for his owners.

 

SAN JOSE

 

Games this week

@ Anaheim, vs. Philadelphia. @ Los Angeles

 

Rested Team: @ Los Angeles

Tired Team: None

 

Notes

The benching of Joonas Donskoi seems to have worked as the forward spent December 14 in the press box. In the three games since he has two goals and four points after starting the season with only two goals and eight points in 29 games. Joel Ward spent Tuesday’s game in the press box, the second time in three games that has occurred. Mikkel Boedker has also been a huge disappointment as he had picked up 51 points in two of his last three seasons but has only two goals and six points with a minus-seven rating this season in 33 games. Joe Thornton has only two goals this season but has 20 assists in 33 contests.

 

TAMPA BAY

 

Games this week

vs. Montreal, vs. Toronto, vs. Carolina

 

Rested team: None

Tired Team: vs. Carolina (Saturday)

 

Notes

The Lightning play three games in four nights so expect to see Andrei Vasilevskiy play at least twice with Ben Bishop out of action for the next three-four weeks with a lower body injury. The Lightning recalled Kristers Gudlevskis from the minors but he may not see any action this week. Jonathan Drouin had a big game Thursday with a couple of goals and a helper. He has 10 goals and 20 points in 26 games and should be on someone’s radar if he has not been picked up in your pool. He also has 13 points in his last nine games. Ondrej Palat continues to miss action with an undisclosed injury. Vladimir Namestnikov broke a 15 game goal-less drought Tuesday and then was a healthy scratch Thursday.

 

TORONTO

 

Games this week

@ Florida, @ Tampa Bay, vs. Detroit

 

Rested team:  None

Tired Team: None

 

Notes

The Maple Leafs host the Centennial Classic Sunday and it will be the first outdoor event in Toronto. Frederik Andersen continues to show Leaf fans why the team gave up a couple of high draft picks to the Ducks for him as he stoned the Avs 6-0, stopping 38 shots. He has faced 241 shots over the last eight games and has conceded only 16 goals. William Nylander is up and down the lineup and has been seeing some fourth line time of late. Auston Matthews has seven goals in his last 11 games and is definitely in the Calder Trophy conversation. Nikita Zaitsev has a goal and three assists in his last three games and now has a goal and 14 points this season.

 

VANCOUVER

 

Games this week

vs. Los Angeles, vs. Anaheim, @ Edmonton

 

Rested Team: vs. Anaheim (Friday)

Tired Team: @ Edmonton (Saturday)

 

Notes

The Canucks play three games in four nights so look for Ryan Miller to play twice with Jacob Markstrom getting one start. Jannik Hansen was injured Thursday with a lower body injury and is day-to-day for now. Bo Horvat and Daniel Sedin lead the Canucks with 10 goals. Luca Sbisa is having a nice season with a goal and nine points but he is also a plus-seven with 24 penalty minutes. Erik Gudbranson needed surgery to repair a torn ligament in his wrist and is gone indefinitely at this time. Loui Eriksson, the Canucks big off-season acquisition, had six goals and 14 points in 33 games.

 

WASHINGTON

 

Games this week

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

 

Rested team: None

Tired Team: vs. Ottawa (Sunday)

 

Notes

The Capitals are one of only two teams to play four games this week (Anaheim being the other) so look for Braden Holtby to play three games with Philipp Grubauer playing once. Washington also has a home-and-home series against New Jersey and expect to see Tom Wilson get into a fight if tempers flare. Andre Burakovsky was a healthy scratch in three straight games and his return to the lineup was amazing as he scored his third of the season and he also added an assist. Lars Eller also scored his third of the season in Wednesday’s shootout loss to Philadelphia. Alexander Ovechkin needs to pick things up as he has only 14 goals in 31 games.  

 

WINNIPEG

 

Games this week

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

 

Rested team: None

Tired Team: None

 

Notes

Nikolaj Ehlers is one of the reasons so many people are high on the Jets as they have so much young talent. He has scored four goals in the last three games and now has nine goals and 29 points this season. Patrik Laine has 19 goals (second best in the NHL) and is 15th overall in points with 30. He is five points ahead of Auston Matthews and Mitch Marner in the scoring race among rookies. If you are looking for penalty minutes then Chris Thorburn could be your man although he was a healthy scratch Thursday. He has 65 minutes and three goals in 29 games. The Jets got a couple of bottom-six forwards back on Thursday as Joel Armia and Shawn Matthias returned from injuries.

Michael Finewax

Michael Finewax is entering his 16th season as the Senior Hockey Writer and Editor for NBC Sports Edge. You can follow him on Twitter @mfinewaxhockey.