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The Week Ahead

The End of the Break

by Michael Finewax
Updated On: January 26, 2020, 4:40 am ET

The NHL completes its mandated five days off for the players this week as Chicago, Colorado, Florida, Minnesota and the New York Islanders play only once, while the nine other teams on break, play twice.

You can certainly play the schedule this week in leagues with weekly transactions as Anaheim, Montreal, Nashville, Ottawa, St. Louis, Tampa Bay, Vancouver and Washington play four games.

Next week it is back to a full slate of games.

Editor's Note: Drafting is only half the battle. Dominate all season long with our Season Pass! Use our NEW Lineup Adviser, get our Weekly and Rest-of-Season rankings and projections, track all of your players and more on your way to a championship! Click here for more!  

Don’t forget, for everything NHL, check out Rotoworld's Player News, and follow @Rotoworld_ HK and @mfinewaxhockey on Twitter.

WEEK OF JANUARY 27-FEBRUARY 2

4 Games – Anaheim, Montreal, Nashville, Ottawa, St. Louis, Tampa Bay, Vancouver, Washington

3 Games – Arizona, Buffalo, Calgary, Dallas, Edmonton, Los Angeles, New Jersey, San Jose, Toronto

2 Games - Boston, Carolina, Columbus, Detroit, New York Rangers, Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, Vegas, Winnipeg

1 Game – Chicago, Colorado, Florida, Minnesota, New York Islanders

St. Louis and Tampa Bay play all four games on the road.

Buffalo, Montreal and San Jose play three games at home.

Vancouver plays three games on the road.

INJURIES

Adam Lowry is out at least a month with an upper-body injury. (Click here to see the rest of the injury list.)

ANAHEIM

Games this week

@ San Jose, vs. Arizona, vs. Tampa Bay, @ Los Angeles

Tired: @ Los Angeles (Saturday)

Rested: None

Notes

The Ducks return to action with four games including three games in four nights. Expect to see John Gibson play three times with Ryan Miller getting the call once. Before the Ducks started their break, they sent youngsters Max Jones, Daniel Sprong and Chase De Leo back to the minors to get in some extra playing time. Cam Fowler is a plus-three while Michael Del Zotto is a plus-one. The duo are the only two Ducks on the plus side of the rating. Nicolas Deslauriers has 68 penalty minutes in 36 games and the former Hab is worth looking at if you are in need of penalty minutes.

ARIZONA

Games this week

@ Anaheim, vs. Los Angeles, vs. Chicago

Tired: None

Rested: None

Notes

The Coyotes play three games in four nights. It is no sure thing that Darcy Kuemper will be back as he has been out since December 19 with a lower-body injury. Look for Antti Raanta to play twice with Adin Hill playing once if Kuemper is unable to go. Before the break, the Coyotes sent Hill, Kyle Capobianco and Michael Chaput to the minors. It has been a very disappointing season for Phil Kessel in his first season in the desert. The winger has only 11 goals and 31 points in 51 games with a minus-20 rating. He had 82 and 92 points respectively in his last two seasons with Pittsburgh and the Coyotes thought they were getting a lot better than they did in Kessel. Fortunately, all it cost them was perennial disappointment Alex Galchenyuk.

BOSTON

Games this week

@ Winnipeg, @ Minnesota

Tired: @ Minnesota (Saturday)

Rested: None

Notes

The Bruins sent goaltender Daniel Vladar, Jeremy Lauzon and Karson Kuhlman to Providence of the AHL before beginning the break. They hope to get Connor Clifton back by mid-February as the defenseman has been out of action since December 29 with an upper-body injury. The Bruins have five players in double-digits as far as goal-scoring is concerned. It is no surprise that each of their top line, David Pastrnak, Brad Marchand and Patrice Bergeron, all have at least 21 goals with Pastrnak leading the entire NHL with 37. Jake DeBrusk has 15 while David Krejci has 12. Charlie Coyle is next best with nine. Tuukka Rask participated in Tuesday’s optional skate as he is trying to return from a concussion. Stay tuned. Congratulations to Lauzon who scored his first career NHL goal against the Golden Knights in his second NHL game.

BUFFALO

Games this week

vs. Ottawa, vs. Montreal, vs. Columbus

Tired: None

Rested: vs. Ottawa (Tuesday)

Notes

The Sabres sent Scott Wilson, Lawrence Pilut and Rasmus Asplund to Rochester of the AHL to get in some extra playing time during the break. Victor Olofsson could be back as early as the end of this week from a lower-body injury suffered on January 2. The winger has shed his walking boot and was doing some off-ice workouts when he joined the team during its recent road trip as he was with his dad during the father’s trip. Jeff Skinner has been out of action since December 28 with an upper-body injury but he could return to action in time for the Ottawa game on Tuesday. Jack Eichel continued his career year as he has 28 goals and 62 points in 48 games. Carter Hutton started the season 6-0-0 but has not won since October, going 0-7-4 since then.

CALGARY

Games this week

vs. St. Louis, @ Edmonton, vs. Edmonton

Tired: @ Edmonton (Wednesday)

Rested: vs. St. Louis (Tuesday), vs. Edmonton (Saturday)

Notes

The Flames play a pair of games with their provincial rivals, the Edmonton Oilers. Last time the two teams met, Matthew Tkachuk and Zack Kassian had a few incidents that resulted in Kassian getting a two-game suspension. His first game back is Tuesday and expect fireworks. Alexander Yelesin was returned to the minors. Nice move by referee Wes McCauley who threw both Elias Lindholm and Artem Anisimov out of the face off circle to start the game so brothers Brady and Matthew Tkachuk could take the draw in front of 40 family and friends. No wonder McCauley is the best referee in the NHL. Mark Jankowski scored Saturday in the same game, his first goal in the 39 NHL games this season.

CAROLINA

Games this week

vs. Vegas, vs. Vancouver

Tired: None

Rested: vs. Vancouver (Sunday)

Notes

Jaccob Slavin has taken over the point on the power play for the injured Dougie Hamilton (who is out for the remainder of the season) so grab him if available in your fantasy league. It was a great first half of the season for sophomore Andrei Svechnikov as the winger has 19 goals and 45 points in 50 games. He has star written all over him. Teuvo Teravainen is putting together another big season and very quietly at that as he has 10 goals and 48 points to lead the Hurricanes. It has been quite a return for Justin Williams who scored the shootout winner in his debut on January 19 and then came back two nights later to score a pair in a 4-1 win over Winnipeg.

CHICAGO

Games this week

@ Arizona

Tired: None

Rested: None

Notes

The Blackhawks sent Brandon Hagel and Dennis Gilbert to the minors. Goaltender Matt Tomkins inked a two-year/two-way deal with Chicago. Erik Gustafsson has only 24 points in 50 games after a 60-point season last year but the defenseman seems to be coming out of his funk with a goal and six points in his last three games. Dylan Strome has missed seven straight games with an ankle injury. Jonathan Toews was the third star of the week with three goals and nine points in four games including a two-goal, two-assist effort against Toronto. Congratulations go out to the great Patrick Kane who reached the 1,000-point mark Sunday, the youngest American-born player to do so.

COLORADO

Games this week

@ Philadelphia

Tired: None

Rested: @ Philadelphia (Saturday)

Notes

Ryan Graves is having a terrific season. The defenseman has eight goals and 19 points and is tops in the NHL with a plus-34. Cale Makar was named the midseason winner of the Calder Trophy by the PHWA. He has 11 goals and 37 points in 41 games thus far. Nathan MacKinnon is having a fabulous season with 72 points (third best in the NHL) including 30 goals, in 49 games. He is one of the top-three players in the NHL at this time. Nazem Kadri has been quite a revelation this season as the center has 17 goals and 31 points in 46 games. Andre Burakovsky, the other off-season acquisition, had 15 goals and 33 points in 46 games as the Avs have definitely added secondary scoring.

COLUMBUS

Games this week

@ Buffalo, @ Montreal

Tired: None

Rested: None

Notes

The surprise team of the first half, Columbus was supposed to be re-building after losing free agents Sergei Bobrovsky, Artemi Panarin and Ryan Dzingel in the summer. But coach John Tortorella has them playing amazing hockey and they are fighting for a playoff spot with 62 points, good enough for the first wild card spot in the East. They sent Matiss Kivlenieks and Adam Clendening to the minors but not before Kivlenieks won his first NHL start, making 31 saves Sunday. Elvis Merzlikins, who took over from the injured Joonas Korpisalo at the end of December and was winless in eight starts to begin his NHL career, all of a sudden is a Vezina-winning type goalie as he is 9-2-0 since then, stopping 321 of the 337 shots fired his way.

DALLAS

Games this week

vs. Tampa Bay, vs. Toronto, @ New Jersey 

Tired: None

Rested: None

Notes

The Stars sent Joel Kiviranta to the minors during the break. The Stars are sitting in third place in the Central as well as having the third best record in the West but they are not doing it with a lot of scoring. Tyler Seguin leads in points with 36 in 48 games but has only 11 goals. Roope Hintz leads the team with only 15 goals. I’ve been surprised with John Klingberg’s lack of success offensively as he has only two goals and 19 points in 37 games. The Dallas goalkeeping has kept them in the hunt as both Ben Bishop and Anton Khudobin have .927 save percentages with Bishop at 2.28 as far as goals-against-average is concerned and Khudobin at a slightly higher 2.30.

Michael Finewax

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