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The Week Ahead

Goaltending Troubles

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

For everyone complaining about their goaltending in fantasy pools to start the season I have one word to say to you.

 

Relax.

 

Take a deep breath and exhale. . . Do it again.

 

All right now.

 

The Flames fans were complaining about Brian Elliott and he has responded with two great games, quieting the fans who wanted Chad Johnson in goal.

 

The same thing is happening in Toronto right now and Frederik Andersen came up with his best performance on Thursday in a Maple Leafs uniform, shutting down the critics for at least one night.

 

Ben Bishop has struggled in Tampa Bay, the Islanders netminding duo of Jaroslav Halak and Thomas Greiss have had their problems, Corey Crawford and Pekka Rinne are off to weak starts and the list goes on.

 

Relax. Your goaltending is going to improve. If you liked them on draft day, don’t let two weeks sway you. Of course, if you drafted Carey Price or Devan Dubnyk or even Cory Schneider, you're laughing now.

 

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.

 

 

Now to The Week Ahead.

 

WEEK OF OCTOBER 31-NOVEMBER 6

 

 

4 Games - Anaheim, Calgary, Chicago, Colorado, Dallas, Edmonton, New York Rangers, St. Louis, Winnipeg

 

3 Games – Arizona, Boston, Buffalo, Carolina, Columbus, Detroit, Florida, Los Angeles, Montreal, Nashville, New Jersey, New York Islanders, Ottawa, Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, San Jose, Tampa Bay, Toronto, Vancouver, Washington

 

2 Games – Minnesota

 

Calgary and Edmonton play all four games on the road.

 

Anaheim, Chicago, Los Angeles, the New York Islanders, the New York Rangers, Ottawa and San Jose play three games at home.

 

Dallas, New Jersey, Pittsburgh, Vancouver and Winnipeg play three games on the road.

 

INJURIES

 

Tuukka Rask is on injured reserve 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

@ Los Angeles, vs. Pittsburgh, vs. Arizona, vs. Calgary

 

Rested Team: vs. Arizona (Friday), vs. Calgary (Sunday)

Tired Team: vs. Pittsburgh (Wednesday)

 

Notes

The Ducks play three games in four nights as part of a four game week, so look for John Gibson to play three times with Jonathan Bernier getting the other start if healthy as he was injured Wednesday. If not, the Ducks recalled Dustin Tokarski from the minors. Hampus Lindholm inked a six-year/$31.5 million contract on Thursday but will likely need a week or two to get into shape. Look for the Ducks to do some kind of transaction before activating Lindholm. Cam Fowler’s name has been bandied about in trade rumors but lately they have been denied. Rickard Rakell inked a six-year/$22.8 million contract a couple of weeks ago and still has yet to play.

 

ARIZONA

 

Games this week

vs. San Jose, vs. Nashville, @ Anaheim

 

Rested Team: None

Tired Team: @ Anaheim (Friday)

 

Notes

The Coyotes three games in four nights so look for Louis Domingue to play twice with Justin Peters getting one start. Brad Richardson leads the Coyotes with six points, one ahead of Jordan Martinook, Oliver Ekman-Larsson who has five goals but no helpers, Max Domi and Radim Vrbata. Alex Goligoski is a team worst minus-eight. Mike Smith is hoping to start skating again this week as he has been out since October 18 due to a lower body injury. Justin Peters has actually played well compared to Louis Domingue as Peters is 0-1 with a 3.23 GAA and a .914 save percentage while Domingue is 1-4 with a 4.74 GAA and a .857 save percentage.

 

BOSTON

 

Games this week

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

 

Rested Team: None

Tired Team: None

 

Notes

Tuukka Rask is currently on the shelf (as is backup Anton Khudobin) and the Bruins recalled Malcolm Subban as well as Zane McIntyre. David Backes underwent an elbow procedure but could return for the full week of games. Austin Czarnik potted his first career NHL goal Wednesday. I really like him in deeper drafts. David Pastrnak is off to a great start as he has five goals and eight points in seven games with a plus-seven rating and that’s after going minus-one in each of his last two games.   

 

BUFFALO

 

Games this week

@ Minnesota, vs. Toronto, @ Ottawa

 

Rested Team: None

Tired Team: None

 

Notes

Look for Robin Lehner to man the net twice with Anders Nilsson playing once if Lehner has recovered from his illness that has affected him in the past week. Nilsson has played in the last two games with Lehner on the shelf. Matt Moulson had a couple of goals Tuesday and now has four goals, all on the power play, this season in six games. Evander Kane is week-to-week with three cracked ribs. Rasmus Ristolainen has six assists in six games and should be on somebody's roster as he is one of the top offensive defensemen in hockey. His only downside is his plus/minus as he is a minus-three this season. He came into this season as a minus-68 in 194 games for the Sabres.

 

CALGARY

 

Games this week

@ Chicago, @ San Jose, @ Los Angeles, @ Anaheim

 

Rested Team: None

Tired Team: @ Anaheim (Sunday)

 

Notes

The Flames play four times this week, all on the road, so expect to see Chad Johnson play once for Brian Elliott who has really come on of late. He has won his last two starts and has played exceptionally well after there was talk in Calgary amongst fans that Chad Johnson should be the starter. Troy Brouwer has a four game point streak in which he has a goal and three assists. The Flames are having difficulty finding a winger for the Sean Monahan/Johnny Gaudreau combination. They have went through six players already as Kris Versteeg, Brouwer, Alex Chiasson, Michael Frolik, Micheal Ferland and Matthew Tkachuk have all been given a shot with little success. Whoever winds up with the assignment will have a lot more fantasy value but who it may be is up in the air right now. 

 

CAROLINA

 

Games this week

@ Ottawa, @ Nashville, vs. New Jersey

 

Rested Team: None

Tired Team: None

 

Notes

Jeff Skinner missed Tuesday’s contest with a middle body injury but the Hurricanes are hopeful he can return on October 28. Sebastian Aho picked up five assists in the Canes first six games which were all on the road. Victor Rask has four goals and seven points in six games but teammate Elias Lindholm is off to another poor start with only one assist in six games. He is also a minus-four. Lee Stempniak has been a pleasant surprise as he has four goals and six points in six games. Eddie Lack and Cam Ward have similar peripherals after each has played three games. Both have given up 12 goals and Lack has the better (if you can call it that) save percentage .857 to .848 while going 1-1-1 to Ward’s 0-2-1.

 

CHICAGO

 

Games this week

vs. Calgary, vs. Colorado, @ Dallas, vs. Dallas

 

Rested Team: None

Tired Team: None

 

Notes

The Blackhawks play four times this week including three games in four nights so Scott Darling should get a start in goal for Corey Crawford. Chicago also plays Dallas in back-to-back games. Jordin Tootoo should add to his penalty minute totals if there is any rough stuff. Andrew Desjardins has yet to play with a lower body injury but could resume skating this week. Brian Campbell has a goal and three assists in his last two games since being paired with Duncan Keith. Corey Crawford has not been great thus far for poolies with a 3.02 GAA and a .897 save percentage.

 

COLORADO

 

Games this week

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

 

Rested Team: None

Tired Team: None

 

Notes

The Avalanche play three games in four nights as part of a four game week. Semyon Varlamov should get the start in three games with Calvin Pickard getting the start in net once. Mikko Rantanen is ready to return and he has been practicing alongside Nathan MacKinnon and Mikhail Grigorenko. Pick him up immediately in deeper pools. Patrick Wiercioch is leads all Avalanche defensemen in points with five and is also tied for the team lead. Jarome Iginla has moved up the depth charts and is now playing with Matt Duchene and Gabriel Landeskog. That will help his fantasy value.

 

COLUMBUS

 

Games this week

vs. Dallas, vs. Montreal, @ St. Louis

 

Rested Team: None

Tired Team: @ St. Louis (Saturday)

 

Notes

Boone Jenner is still struggling and has only one assist in five games heading into action Thursday. Cam Atkinson, Josh Anderson, Scott Hartnell and Zach Werenski lead the Blue Jackets in goals with two apiece while Nick Foligno, Alexander Wennberg and Werenski have five points each. Oliver Bjorkstrand has been a healthy scratch in three contests thus far.  Sergei Bobrovsky has been terrific of late as he was 2-1-1 in his last four while giving up only seven goals. Brandon Dubinsky is a minus-eight but does have 11 penalty minutes in six games.  

 

DALLAS

 

Games this week

@ Columbus, vs. St. Louis, vs. Chicago, @ Chicago

 

Rested Team: None

Tired Team: None

 

Notes

The Stars play a home-and-home series with Chicago so look for Antoine Roussel to handle the fisticuffs if the going gets tough. The Stars play four games including three in four nights so look for Kari Lehtonen and Antti Niemi to share the net. Jason Spezza is out with a lower body injury and Patrick Sharp is out with concussion-like symptoms. He has started skating and could return as early as this week. Ales Hemsky is out with a groin injury. Devin Shore is off to a great start with six points in seven games as he is one point in arrears of Tyler Seguin for the team lead in points.

 

DETROIT

 

Games this week

@ Philadelphia, vs. Winnipeg, vs. Edmonton

 

Rested Team: vs. Winnipeg (Friday), vs. Edmonton (Sunday)

Tired Team: None

 

Notes

Thomas Vanek is leading the Red Wings in points with eight in seven games but missed Thursday’s contest with a groin/hip flexor injury. The injury allowed Andreas Athanasiou back into the lineup after he potted a goal and an assist Tuesday against Carolina. Dylan Larkin broke out of his early season slump with a couple of goals Tuesday. Mike Green was the third star of the week as he had three goals and five points in four games. Gustav Nyquist is putting his bad year of last season behind him and has eight points in eight games this season including a plus-six rating.

 

EDMONTON

 

Games this week

@ Toronto, @ New York Rangers, @ New York Islanders, @ Detroit

 

Rested Team: None

Tired Team: @ Detroit (Sunday)

Notes    

The Oilers play all four on the road this week and Jonas Gustavsson should see his first start of the season. Cam Talbot has been stellar in the nets for the Oilers as he is 6-1 with a 2.49 GAA and a .927 save percentage a far cry from last season when he was sitting on the bench for a lot of the first two months of the season. Connor McDavid and Kris Russell are both plus-seven. Milan Lucic and Leon Draisaitl each have a power play goal and an assist while McDavid has three helpers with the man-advantage. The Oilers blueliners have only one goal in seven games as Darnell Nurse found the back of the net. McDavid will play in Toronto for the first time in his career in front of friends and family.

 

FLORIDA

 

Games this week

vs. Boston, vs. New Jersey, @ Washington

 

Rested Team: None

Tired Team: None

 

Notes

After spending four games on the road last week, the Panthers are in the friendly confines for a couple of contest before heading to Washington. Jonathan Marchessault has been a huge surprise in the early going as he has 10 points including five goals, in eight games. He has made everyone (well maybe not everyone) forget about Jonathan Huberdeau whose job on the top line he has stolen since Huberdeau’s injury. Jussi Jokinen is out with a lower body injury but should return this week. Shane Harper scored his first two NHL goals versus Colorado on Saturday and leads the Panthers with 11 penalty minutes. He is 27 so don’t rush to pick up the journeyman.

 

LOS ANGELES

 

Games this week

vs. Anaheim, vs. Pittsburgh, vs. Calgary   

 

Rested Team: vs. Pittsburgh (Thursday)

Tired Team: None

 

Notes

The Kings have had all their goalie plans go up in the air as both Jonathan Quick and Jeff Zatkoff are on the shelf. The goaltenders are Petr Budaj and Jack Campbell and I bet the Kings didn’t think that would be their tandem near the end of October. Budaj is a perfect 4-0 which is considerably better than Zatkoff’s 0-3 mark so perhaps the injury hasn’t been all bad. Tanner Pearson has four goals and six points in five games. Teddy Purcell continues to be a healthy scratch. Brayden McNabb already has matched his goal production of last season with two and has 11 penalty minutes.

 

MINNESOTA

 

Games this week

vs. Buffalo, @ Colorado

 

Rested Team: None

Tired Team: None

 

Notes

The Wild are the only team in the NHL to play only twice this week. Devan Dubnyk is very hot of late with back-to-back shutouts including 65 saves. He is 4-1-1 this season with a 1.67 GAA and a .944 save percentage, all sparkling stats. Boy is Ryan Suter off to a hot start. The defenseman has nine points in eight games thus far. Marco Scandella suffered a lower body injury Thursday that forced him to leave the game in the first period. Joel Eriksson Ek has gotten off to a very nice start in his NHL career. The Wild chose him 20th overall last season and the 19-year-old has given them early rewards as he has two goals and five points in only four games. Pick him up if you can.

 

MONTREAL

           

Games this week

vs. Vancouver, @ Columbus, vs. Philadelphia

 

Rested Team: None

Tired Team: vs. Philadelphia (Saturday)

 

Notes

The Canadiens play three games in four nights. Carey Price should get at least a couple of starts with Al Montoya picking up one. Price has been sensational since returning from the flu that kept him out the first three games of the season. The netminder is 4-0-0 with a 1.51 GAA and a .947 save percentage as the Habs have taken 15 of a possible 16 points this season. The off-season trade for Shea Weber has worked out great thus far as Weber has been a rock on the blueline (in a good way and not in a pylon way). He saw his four game points streak end Thursday but still has three goals and five points in eight games with a plus-12 rating. Montreal has moved Andrei Markov off the point on the first power play and replaced him with Alexander Radulov.

 

 NASHVILLE

 

Games this week

@ Colorado, @ Arizona, vs. Carolina

 

Rested Team: None

Tired Team: None

 

Notes

The Predators complete a five game road trip before returning home to face Carolina. James Neal has been in a season-long slump with only one assist in seven games with a minus-seven rating. Filip Forsberg has yet to score as well but does have five helpers in seven contests. The Predators were hit with a bout of food poisoning on the weekend necessitating the call up for Juuse Saros in net. He was outstanding in stopping 34-of-35 shots in a 5-1 win over Pittsburgh but was sent down Monday when Pekka Rinne was able to return to the ice. Victor Arvidsson leads the Predators in points with six.

 

NEW JERSEY

 

Games this week

@ Florida, @ Tampa Bay, @ Carolina

 

Rested Team: None

Tired Team: None

 

Notes

The Devils travel south for a trio of road games including a pair in Florida. Taylor Hall has gotten off to a great start with five goals and in his first six games. Travis Zajac is the only other Devil to have more than two goals as he has three. The Devils blueliners last season were poor offensively as Damon Severson led the way with only 21 points. This season Severson has four assists in six games, albeit with a minus-five rating. New Jersey returned Blake Speers to Sault Ste. Marie of the OHL after he played in three NHL games. The third round selection in the 2015 Draft, is one to keep an eye on next season.  Pavel Zacha has been seeing some time with Hall and Kyle Palmieri on the top line.

 

NEW YORK ISLANDERS

 

Games this week

vs. Tampa Bay, vs. Philadelphia, vs. Edmonton

 

Rested Team: vs. Philadelphia (Thursday)

Tired Team: None

 

Notes

The Islanders are not getting great goaltending from their tandem of Jaroslav Halak and Thomas Greiss as Halak is 2-3-0 with a 3.04 GAA and a .901 save percentage while Greiss is marginally better at      1-2 with a 2.71 GAA to go with a .907 save percentage. John Tavares started the season with a couple of pointless outings but has four goals and six points in his last five games. Rookie Anthony Beauvillier is pointless in his last two but had five points in his first five games. Every regular defenseman on the Islanders have already scored at least once with Johnny Boychuk and Dennis Seidenberg leading the way with two apiece.

 

NEW YORK RANGERS

 

Games this week

vs. St. Louis, vs. Edmonton, @ Boston vs. Winnipeg

 

Rested Team: None

Tired Team: vs. Winnipeg (Sunday)

 

Notes

The Rangers play four games this week including three in four nights so look for Antti Raanta to get into one contest with Henrik Lundqvist getting the start in the other three.  Pavel Buchnevich is slated to return on October 28 after missing five games with a back injury. He will replace Josh Jooris in the lineup (after Jooris replaced him) as the former Flame has a Grade 2 shoulder separation that should keep him out of the lineup for three-four weeks. Dylan McIlrath was been placed on waivers Thursday for the purpose of sending him to the minors but there is a chance he could get claimed. Jimmy Vesey is showing everyone why he was one of the most sought after free agents as he has four goals and five points in seven games.

 

OTTAWA     

 

Games this week

vs. Carolina, vs. Vancouver, vs. Buffalo

 

Rested Team: vs. Vancouver (Thursday)

Tired Team: None

 

Notes

The Senators return home after a Western Canada swing. Craig Anderson left the team on Thursday to tend to a personal matter and the team recalled netminder Chris Driedger from the minors. Ryan Dzingel was moved on Tuesday to a line with Bobby Ryan and Derick Brassard because of his speed. He responded with a couple of goals and should see plenty more ice time as a top-six forward. Pick him up in deep leagues. Cody Ceci had 10 goals and 26 points last season but has only one assist and a minus-three rating thus far. Clarke MacArthur is not interested in retirement. He has suffered four concussions in the last 18 months including one in training camp.

 

PHILADELPHIA

 

Games this week

vs. Detroit, @ New York Islanders, @ Montreal

 

Rested Team: @ Montreal (Saturday)

Tired Team: @ New York Islanders (Thursday)

 

Notes

The Flyers play three games in four nights so look for Steve Mason to get two starts with Michal Neuvirth tending the nets in the other one. The Flyers have not exactly been getting top-notch goaltending as Mason is 2-4-1 with a 3.15 GAA and a .886 save percentage. He looks like Georges Vezina in comparison to Neuvirth who has a win but a 4.46 GAA and a .845 save percentage in three games. Claude Giroux has yet to score in eight games but does have nine assists. Jakub Voracek is one point behind showing that last year’s slump was short-lived. Mark Streit has quietly picked up a couple of goals and six points with a goal and three assists coming with the man-advantage.

 

PITTSBURGH

 

Games this week

@ Anaheim, @ Los Angeles, @ San Jose

 

Rested Team: @ Anaheim (Wednesday)

Tired Team: @ Los Angeles (Thursday)

 

Notes

The Penguins are in sunny California all week. The Penguins have to be thrilled with the return this past week of Sidney Crosby (concussion) to the lineup. He has a couple of goals and three points in two games. Kris Letang has now missed four straight games with an upper body injury but he is practicing with the team and could return this week. Marc-Andre Fleury is 5-2-1 with a 2.97 GAA and a .910 save percentage but will now be pushed by Matt Murray who is healthy and backing up Fleury. Fleury has responded nicely to the threat as he has given up four goals in the last two games (which coincided with Murray and Crosby’s return) on 59 shots in winning both contests.  

 

ST. LOUIS

 

Games this week

@ New York Rangers, @ Dallas, vs. Columbus, vs. Colorado

 

Rested Team: vs. Columbus (Saturday)

Tired Team: None

 

Notes

The Blues play four games this week including three games in four nights so expect to see Carter Hutton play once for Jake Allen. Allen is 3-1-2 in six starts with a 2.13 GAA but his save percentage isn’t great at .908. Ryan Reaves has played in all eight games but still has yet to visit the penalty box. That anomaly should end soon. Robby Fabbri is off to a slow start with three assists in eight games as well as a minus-four rating. The Blues activated Jori Lehtera (concussion) and waived former 10th overall pick Magnus Paajarvi. Nail Yakupov has yet to be a minus player in any game this season after going a combined minus-84 over the last three seasons in Edmonton.

 

SAN JOSE

 

Games this week

vs. Arizona, vs. Calgary, vs. Pittsburgh

 

Rested Team: None

Tired Team: None

 

Notes

Brent Burns is tied with Joe Pavelski with nine points but is pointless in his last three. Mikkel Boedker has only one goal in eight games but was promoted to the top line with Joe Pavelski and Joe Thornton on Tuesday. Hopefully for his fantasy owners, that will get him going. Tomas Hertl moved down the depth chart and was centering the third line. Joonas Donskoi went five games without a point but has a goal and an assist in his last two contests. Marc-Edouard Vlasic has done the exact same thing only he went four games with nary a point. Dylan Demelo has been a healthy scratch all season.  

 

TAMPA BAY

 

Games this week

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

 

Rested team: None

Tired Team: None

 

Notes

Steven Stamkos made his return to Toronto (where so many people thought he would sign in the off-season but ultimately decided to return to the Lightning) a successful one before family and friends as he had two goals and four points. The stud has five goals and nine points in eight games. He was also plus-four in the contest and is now a zero.  Jonathan Drouin potted his second of the year in the same game and is playing with Tyler Johnson and Ondrej Palat. The Lightning have plenty of firepower up front and it seems like no matter who plays with whom, the line should be productive. Ben Bishop had a rough start to the season as he gave up 11 goals in his first three games but has given up only five in his last two.  

 

TORONTO

 

Games this week

vs. Edmonton, @ Buffalo, vs. Vancouver

 

Rested team:  None

Tired Team: None

 

Notes

The Leafs are one of the most exciting teams to watch this season as their very young talent can bring the crowd out of their seats while the blueline makes too many mistakes. It makes for high-scoring games which I’m sure is not what coach Mike Babcock wants. The Maple Leafs top three scorers are their first round picks from the last three seasons, Auston Matthews, William Nylander and Mitch Marner who have 10, nine and six points in seven games respectively. You have to be very excited if you are a Leaf fan. Nikita Zaitsev leads all the Toronto blueliners with five points. The Leafs sent Milan Michalek to the minors (his brother Zbynek was also sent down after 12 seasons in the NHL) when they claimed Ben Smith off waivers.

 

VANCOUVER

 

Games this week

@ Montreal, @ Ottawa, @ Toronto

 

Rested Team: None

Tired Team: @ Ottawa (Thursday)

 

Notes

The Canucks are in Eastern Canada for all three games. Resident tough guy Derek Dorsett (who has only seven penalty minutes this season) injured his shoulder Saturday and may not be back at all this week. Defenseman Chris Tanev was seen this week in a walking boot. Boy, I remember the days when Alex Burrows was a fantasy stud as he was a forward who could score and also spend plenty of time in the sin bin. But those days are long gone as it was the 2011-12 season that he last contributed big time with 28 goals and 52 points to go with a plus-24 and 90 PIMs. He is now injured and is pointless in five games.

 

WASHINGTON

 

Games this week

@ Winnipeg, vs. Winnipeg, vs. Florida

 

Rested team: None

Tired Team: None

 

Notes

The Capitals play the Jets in a home-and-home series so expect to see Tom Wilson enter the penalty box if there are any fights.  Nicklas Backstrom had two assists in his first game but has only one in his last five and has not found the back of the net this season. Braden Holtby won 48 games last season but is on pace for only 28 this year. He is 2-2-1 with a 2.38 GAA and a .910 save percentage. The Capitals switched up their lines with Andre Burakovsky moving to the top unit with Alex Ovechkin and Evgeny Kuznetsov while T.J. Oshie dropped to the second unit alongside Backstrom and Marcus Johansson. Taylor Chorney should finally see some game action this week as he has been a healthy scratch all season.

 

WINNIPEG

 

Games this week

vs. Washington, @ Washington, @ Detroit, @ New York Rangers

 

Rested team: @ New York Rangers (Sunday)

Tired Team: @ Detroit (Friday)

 

Notes

The Jets play four games this week including three in four nights so look for Connor Hellebuyck and Michael Hutchinson to share the net. The Jets play the Washington Capitals in a home-and-home series this week so look for Dustin Byfuglien and/or Chris Thorburn to add to their penalty minute production if there are any fights. Patrik Laine scored a couple of power play goals Thursday and now has six goals and eight points in his rookie season. The Jets are apparently willing to give Jacob Trouba a six-year deal but there are other factors concerning the restricted free agent including his wanting to play on the right side. Connor Hellebuyck is becoming the clear number one goalie in Winnipeg. 

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.