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The Week Ahead

Happy Thanksgiving!

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

Happy Thanksgiving to all my American readers! It’s a different  schedule this week as the NHL has been a Tuesday-Thursday-Saturday game heavy nights but because of Thanksgiving, this week is heavy, Monday-Wednesday-Friday-Saturday with no one playing on Thursday.

 

 

Editor's Note: Haven't tried one-day fantasy hockey on FanDuel? Sign up today and you'll get up to a $200 bonus that's earned as you play plus a money back guarantee! Play 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 NOVEMBER 23-29

 

4 Games – Buffalo, Edmonton, Nashville, New York Rangers, Philadelphia, Washington, Winnipeg

 

3 Games – Anaheim, Arizona, Boston, Calgary, Carolina, Chicago, Colorado, Columbus, Dallas, Detroit, Florida, Los Angeles, Minnesota, New Jersey, New York Islanders, Ottawa, Pittsburgh, St. Louis, Tampa Bay

 

2 Games - San Jose, Toronto, Vancouver

 

 

Edmonton plays all four games on the road.

 

Arizona, Buffalo, Detroit, Minnesota, the New York Rangers and Washington play three games at home.

 

Calgary, Chicago, Nashville and Winnipeg play three games on the road.

 

 

INJURIES

 

Bobby Ryan suffered an upper body injury Thursday and is day-to-day. (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. Calgary, @ Arizona, vs. Chicago

Rested Team: None

Tired Team: @ Arizona (Wednesday)

 

Notes

The Ducks play three games in four nights as part of a four game week on the road. Anton Khudobin should get at least one start with Frederik Andersen likely getting the other two games between the pipes. It amazes me that the Ducks cannot gain any traction in the West. They have so much talent but are a minus-14 in goal differential. Rickard Rakell has four points in four games since moving up to the first line. Frederik Andersen has been mediocre of late, giving up a pair of four goal games before being pulled on Tuesday after surrendering three goals on only 10 shots. John Gibson could be looming on the horizon if Andersen does not get things together.

 

ARIZONA

 

Games this week

vs. Anaheim, vs. Calgary, vs. Ottawa

 

Rested Team: vs. Anaheim (Wednesday)

Tired Team: vs. Ottawa (Saturday)

 

Notes

The Coyotes play three games in four nights so look for Anders Lindback to get a start in goal. Mike Smith should get the other two starts. He is 7-5-1 with a 3.10 GAA and a .901 save percentage as he is in a slump once again. He is no better than a bottom second goalie in deep pools and likely is no better than a reserve in shallower pools. Martin Hanzal has been an offensive juggernaut this season with four goals and 18 points in 17 games. If he can stay healthy all season (and that is a huge if) he could get 70-plus points. His career high is only 40 points and he hasn’t played in more than 65 games since 2009-10. The rookies are doing well for the Coyotes as Max Domi has 16 points while Anthony Duclair has 12.

 

BOSTON

 

Games this week

@ Toronto, @ Detroit, vs. New York Rangers

Rested Team: None

Tired Team: None

 

Notes

Monday’s matchup with Toronto is the back end of a home-and-home series against the Maple Leafs so tempers could flare. Brad Marchand, Zac Rinaldo, Ryan Spooner and Adam McQuaid lead the Bruins in penalty minutes but they may have a hard time finding an opponent as the Maple Leafs do not fight this season. Marchand was practicing alongside Patrice Bergeron and Jimmy Hayes on Wednesday.  Dennis Seidenberg picked up a couple of assists in his third game of the season as he has returned from back surgery done in September. Tuukka Rask continues to struggle with a 5-7-1 record to go with a 3.18 GAA and a .890 save percentage. Do not be surprised if Jonas Gustavsson sees more action in the immediate future.

 

BUFFALO

 

Games this week

vs. St. Louis, vs. Nashville, vs. Carolina, @ Nashville

 

Rested Team: None

Tired Team: None

 

Notes

The Sabres and the Predators play twice this week so look for Josh Gorges to get into a fight if any Predators are willing and able. The Sabres also play four times this week including three games in four nights. While Robin Lehner is getting close to a return, look for Chad Johnson and Linus Ullmark to split the net. Evander Kane returned to action on Thursday after missing 10 games with a knee injury. He lined up with Jack Eichel and Sam Reinhart which should eventually be an outstanding line. Reinhart is someone to keep an eye on, especially in keeper leagues. Rasmus Ristolainen has a minus-five rating but the just turned 21-year-old defenseman sure has a lot of offensive punch with four goals and 12 points this season.

 

CALGARY

 

Games this week

@ Anaheim, @ Arizona, @ San Jose

 

Rested Team: None

Tired Team: @ San Jose (Saturday)

 

Notes

 Johnny Gaudreau had an assist on Wednesday to break a four game pointless streak. He has four goals and 18 points in 20 games thus far. You have to like the play of Sam Bennett who should get consideration for the Calder Trophy. Sean Monahan has six goals and 14 points with four goals and eight points in his last 10 games. Kari Ramo has started the last nine games in a row for the Flames and is 5-4 with a 2.90 GAA and a .904 save percentage. It looks like Jonas Hiller could return to the net once he recovers from his hip injury. Don’t expect the same season from Jiri Hudler as he had 76 points last season and has only 13 in 20 games in 2015-16.

 

CAROLINA

 

Games this week

@ Philadelphia, vs. Edmonton, @ Buffalo               

 

Rested Team: None

Tired Team: None

 

Notes

Justin Faulk is amazing. He has a power play goal in each of the first six weeks of the season but has not scored one this week although he still has a couple of games remaining. The funny thing is that he has not scored at even strength this season. Some real bad plus/minuses on the Hurricanes thus far as the recently demoted Brock McGinn is minus-11, while Faulk is minus-12 and Ron Hainsey is minus-15. Congratulations to defenseman Noah Hanifin who scored the first goal of his NHL career on Monday. He is starting to see first power play time alongside Faulk and that will help him and poolies.

 

CHICAGO

 

Games this week

@ San Jose, @ Anaheim, @ Los Angeles

 

Rested Team: None

Tired Team: @ Los Angeles (Saturday)

 

Notes

The Blackhawks play all three in California as they continue their road trip. Chicago plays three games in four nights so look for Corey Crawford to get a couple of starts with Scott Darling in the nets for one. Teuvo Teravainen will miss a couple of games with an upper body injury. He has been a bit of a disappointment for poolies as he has only four goals and nine points in 18 games. Patrick Kane has been terrific for his owners. Lots of poolies were afraid to take him in the first round because of his off-ice problems and he became a huge bargain as he went late in the second or early in the third round in most pools. He leads the NHL in scoring with 30 points.

 

COLORADO

 

Games this week

 @ Winnipeg, vs. Ottawa, vs. Winnipeg

 

Rested Team: vs. Ottawa (Wednesday), vs. Winnipeg (Saturday)

Tired Team: None

 

Notes

The Avalanche play the Jets twice this week so there could be a fight or two. Look for Cody McLeod to partake in a fight or two if the situation arises. Matt Duchene's name is being bandied about in trade rumors but the center has disregarded the talk and has been red-hot of late with seven goals and 13 points in his last nine games. Mikhail Grigorenko took advantage of a two-game suspension to Gabriel Landeskog and has a goal and four assists in his last four games after starting the season with two helpers in 12 games. Reto Berra had been terrific for the Avs in place of the injured Semyon Varlamov but has given up four goals in each of his last two games.

 

COLUMBUS

 

Games this week

@ New Jersey, vs. Pittsburgh, @ St. Louis

 

Rested Team: None

Tired Team: @ St. Louis (Friday)

 

Notes

The Blue Jackets play three games in four nights. Sergei Bobrovsky should get two starts with Curtis McElhinney picking up one. Bobrovsky got off to a bad start this season but has really turned things around of late as he is 6-1 in his last seven starts with a 1.72 GAA and a .935 save percentage. That’s more like the Bobrovsky of his Vezina Trophy season and not the goalie over the last couple of seasons. Brandon Saad has been everything the Blue Jackets had hoped for when they traded for him in the off-season. The former Blackhawk has 13 points in 19 games thus far. Gregory Campbell led the Jackets with 27 penalty minutes.

 

DALLAS

 

Games this week

vs. Ottawa, vs. Vancouver, @ Minnesota

 

Rested Team: None

Tired Team: None  

 

Notes

The Stars play three games in four nights. Antti Niemi should get a start with Kari Lehtonen getting the call twice.  Lehtonen has been great this season as he has been pushed by Niemi and also getting some time off to rest as Niemi has been the best backup the Stars have had during Lehtonen’s reign. Lehtonen is 9-1-0 this season with a 2.34 GAA and a .923 save percentage. John Klingberg has been great on the blueline as well with 22 points in 20 games. The Swedish blueliners in the Olympic Games (if the NHL goes) will be sensational with Klingberg, Erik Karlsson, Oliver Ekman-Larsson and Victor Hedman leading the way. Valeri Nichushkin is starting to come on again, even on the fourth line as he has a goal and an assist in his last two games.

 

DETROIT

 

Games this week

vs. Boston, vs. Edmonton, vs. Florida

 

Rested Team: None 

Tired Team: None

 

Notes

It looks like the career of Johan Franzen may be in jeopardy as he was placed on the long-term injured reserve with a concussion. He has played only twice this season after missing 77 of 164 games over the last two seasons. Brad Richards is ready to return to action after being out a month with back woes. Pavel Datsyuk has returned and while he has only one assist in four games, he does have 11 shots on goal. Pick him up in pools if available. Niklas Kronwall has only seven assists with nary a goal in 19 games. He is also a minus-seven so his fantasy value is almost negligible. Petr Mrazek could be the number one goalie in Detroit by Christmas.

 

EDMONTON

 

Games this week

@ Washington, @ Carolina, @ Detroit, @ Pittsburgh

 

Rested Team: None   

Tired Team: None

Notes    

The Oilers are on the road for all four this week and play three games in four nights. It would not surprise me if Anders Nilsson and Cam Talbot share the net this week. Taylor Hall has 21 points in 19 games and certainly looks like the player the Oilers thought they were getting when he went first overall in 2010. Leon Draisaitl continues to impress with six goals and 14 points in nine games since his recall from the minors. He’s not going back. Connor McDavid could be back in a couple of months rather than three or four as the break in his collarbone was apparently clean. That’s great news for Oilers fans as well as linemate Nail Yakupov who has only one assist in six games since the injury.

 

FLORIDA

 

Games this week

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

 

Rested Team: None

Tired Team: None

 

Notes

Aleksander Barkov returned to action and scored on Thursday ending a three game pointless streak. He has seven points in nine games this season. Vincent Trocheck took full advantage of Barkov’s injury as he had five goals and seven points in Barkov’s 10 game absence but is now back on the third line. Dmitry Kulikov suffered a knee injury that will not require surgery but will keep him out of game action for the next two-four weeks.  Shawn Thornton leads the Panthers with 35 penalty minutes with Jaromir Jagr continues to amaze at the age of 43 as he leads Florida in points with 15.

 

LOS ANGELES

 

Games this week

@ Florida, @ Tampa Bay, vs. Chicago

 

Rested Team: vs. Chicago (Saturday)

Tired Team: None

 

Notes

Christian Ehrhoff has been a bit of a disappointment for the Kings with only five points in 15 games as well as being healthy scratch on a few occasions. Tyler Toffoli has been a stud for the Kings with 10 goals and 17 points. He is tied with linemate Jeff Carter in points and leads in goals. The third member of the line Milan Lucic, is tied for third with 11 points. The Kings need Anze Kopitar to start producing as his seven points in 18 games is seventh on the Kings, below that of defenseman Drew Doughty (11) and Jake Muzzin (8). Only two assists in 18 games is not going to cut it but it would help if usual linemate Marian Gaborik would have more than two goals and four points this season.

 

MINNESOTA

 

Games this week

vs. Vancouver, vs. Winnipeg, vs. Dallas

 

Rested Team: None

Tired Team: None

 

Notes

The Wild are home for all three and play them over four days so Darcy Kuemper could get a start in place of Devan Dubnyk. Dubnyk has good numbers (10-5-2/2.64/.906) but not even close to last season’s career year.  Jason Zucker is out with a lower-body injury suffered on Thursday as he needed help getting off the ice. Marco Scandella is slated to go on injured reserve with a lower body injury.  After an off-season last year in which he had 48 points including 14 goals in 80 games, Mikko Koivu has certainly turned things around this season with four goals and 17 points in 18 games to lead the Wild.

 

MONTREAL

           

Games this week

@ New York Rangers, @ New Jersey, vs. New Jersey

 

Rested Team: None

Tired Team: None

 

Notes

The Habs play three contests in four nights so look for Carey Price and Mike Condon, to split the net. Montreal also plays the Devils in a pair of games this week. If there are any fisticuffs, expect to see P.K. Subban or Nathan Beaulieu pick up some minutes. The Canadiens are getting balanced scoring with six players having 15 or more points in 20 games and another four in double digits. Max Pacioretty leads in goals with 10 and points with 19. Subban has 16 assists but only one goal. It looks like the Alexander Semin experiment is a bust. After a nice start, Semin has been a healthy scratch in eight of the last 10 games.

 

 NASHVILLE

 

Games this week

@ New York Rangers, @ Buffalo, @ Philadelphia, vs. Buffalo

 

Rested Team: None

Tired Team: None

 

Notes

The Predators play four games this week including three games in four nights. Pekka Rinne could start all four but if not Carter Hutton will be between the pipes once. The Predators also play the Sabres twice this week so Barret Jackman and Mike Fisher could add to their penalty minute totals. Neal leads the team with nine goals and 15 points and is on a four game points streak while defenseman Roman Josi second in points with 13. Filip Forsberg has been a bit of a disappointment with only two goals and 11 points in 17 games.

 

NEW JERSEY

 

Games this week

vs. Columbus vs. Montreal, @ Montreal

 

Rested Team: None

Tired Team: None

 

Notes

The Devils play three games in four nights and Keith Kinkaid should see action between the pipes once with Cory Schneider getting the other two starts. The Devils play the Canadiens twice so Jordin Tootoo should see some action and possibly get into a fight or two. Tootoo leads with 37 minutes and is a team worst minus-13. Patrik Elias could and I repeat, could play this week for the first time all season as he has recovered from a knee injury. Hard to believe but former Pittsburgh Penguin and enforcer Bobby Farnham has three goals this season, tied with Sidney Crosby. Mike Cammalleri is dealing with an illness. He leads the Devils in points with 18 in 18 games.

 

NEW YORK ISLANDERS

 

Games this week

vs. Philadelphia, @ Florida, @ Tampa Bay

 

Rested Team: None

Tired Team: None

 

Notes

The Islanders play three games in four nights so look for Thomas Greiss to play once with Jaroslav Halak seeing action in the remaining two games. Travis Hamonic asked to be traded in the summer to a Western Canada team for personal reasons and it’s just coming out now. He is a top-two defenseman in real hockey but not in fantasy. He would love to go to Winnipeg near his hometown of St. Malo but would be happy playing in Western Canada as well. Nick Leddy has yet to score and has only five assists in 17 games. Leddy, Anders Lee and Kyle Okposo are the only Islanders who are minus players in the early going.

 

NEW YORK RANGERS

 

Games this week

vs. Nashville, vs. Montreal, @ Boston, vs. Philadelphia

 

Rested Team: None

Tired Team: None

 

Notes

The Rangers play four times this week including three in four days. Henrik Lundqvist should start three games with Antti Raanta picking up one start. This could be Dan Boyle’s final NHL season as the 39-year-old is missing his family. He is finishing off a two-year deal and he might have had trouble getting a new contract anyway. Mats Zuccarello was the second star of the week with two goals and seven points in four games. He is having a great season with nine goals and 18 points to lead the Rangers, five points in front of Derick Brassard. Oscar Lindberg got off to an amazingly fast start but has cooled down of late with one assist in five games.

 

OTTAWA     

 

Games this week

@ Dallas, @ Colorado, @ Arizona   

 

Rested Team: @ Arizona (Saturday)

Tired Team: @ Colorado (Wednesday)

 

Notes

The Senators are on the road for all three games this week. Bobby Ryan could be out of action after suffering an apparent shoulder injury Thursday. The game was not kind to the Senators as Patrick Wiercioch may have suffered a concussion. Erik Karlsson is on fire with all five of his goals and four assists in his last five games to give him 21 points on the season. Ryan is the leading forward in scoring with 17 points, one ahead of Mark Stone and Kyle Turris. Chris Neil has 39 penalty minutes, 11 ahead of Zack Smith and 12 up on Mark Borowiecki.

 

PHILADELPHIA

 

Games this week

 vs. Carolina, @ New York Islanders, vs. Nashville, @ New York Rangers

 

Rested Team: None

Tired Team: None

 

Notes

The Flyers play four games including three in four nights so Michal Neuvirth should get at least one start with Steve Mason getting at least two. They likely will share the net. Michael Del Zotto has two assists in his last three games after getting only one in his first 16. He is a minus-10 this season so his fantasy value is less than zero. Keep an eye on defenseman Shayne Gostisbehere as the rookie is seeing first power play time with the injury to Mark Streit. He scored on the pp on Tuesday and has two points in three games. Claude Giroux is the only Flyer with double digit points as he has 13. Jakub Voracek finally scored his first of the season.    

 

PITTSBURGH

 

Games this week

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

 

Rested Team: None

Tired Team: None

 

Notes

The Penguins play three games in four nights so expect to see Jeff Zatkoff play once for Marc-Andre Fleury. Fleury has been great this season with a 10-6-0 mark to go with a 2.14 GAA and a .927 save percentage. Kris Letang has been improving offensively of late with seven assists in his last eight games but is also a minus-seven in those games. He has a goal and 10 assists in 19 games with a minus-11 rating. Sidney Crosby has only one even strength goal this season and that happened on Thursday. He has three on the season and has 10 points in 19 games. Sergei Plotnikov has only two assists in 13 games this season after being one of the top sleeper picks heading into drafts this season.

 

ST. LOUIS

 

Games this week

@ Buffalo, @ Pittsburgh, vs. Columbus

 

Rested Team: vs. Columbus (Saturday)

Tired Team: None

 

Notes

Vladimir Tarasenko is one of the top fantasy players and is showing that last season's 73 point effort was no fluke as he has 12 goals and 20 points in 19 games. Kevin Shattenkirk is back and is on a four game points streak in which he has two goals and five points. Paul Stastny skated with his teammates for the first time in five weeks on Thursday as he is recovering from a broken right foot but he needs to heal fully before he can return to the lineup. Jake Allen continues to play the majority of the games, relegating Brian Elliott to spectator status. Colton Parayko has missed the last two games with a lower body injury.   

SAN JOSE

 

Games this week

vs. Chicago, vs. Calgary

 

Rested Team: vs. Calgary (Saturday)

Tired Team: None

 

Notes

Martin Jones seems to be back on track as he has won his last four games to push his record to 10-5 with a 2.09 GAA and a .925 save percentage. He certainly is keeping Alex Stalock on the bench except to give him some rest as Stalock has appeared in only five games this season with four of them being starts. Patrick Marleau is one point shy of the magical 1,000 point mark for his career and he should be there by the end of the week. Joe Pavelski continues to lead the Sharks in points with 18, four ahead of Joe Thornton, Joel Ward and Brent Burns. Brenden Dillon and Mike Brown lead with 27 penalty minutes apiece.

 

TAMPA BAY

 

Games this week

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

 

Rested team: None

Tired Team: None

 

Notes

The Lightning play three games in four nights so expect to see Andrei Vasilevskiy play once with Ben Bishop getting the call in goal on two occasions. Valtteri Filppula broke a five game pointless streak Thursday with a goal and an assist and now has two goals and nine points in 21 games. Ryan Callahan missed Thursday’s game with a lower body injury but he had been struggling mightily before that as he had only a goal and no assists his previous 13 games. He started the season off fine with three goals and five points in seven games but he should not be in your lineup at this time.

 

TORONTO

 

Games this week

vs. Boston, vs. Washington  

 

Rested team:  vs. Washington (Saturday)

Tired Team: @ Boston (Saturday)

 

Notes

The Leafs play the Bruins in the back half of a home-and-home series. There may not be any rough stuff as the Maple Leafs have yet to engage in a fight this season. It sure is a far cry from the Brian Burke teams of a few years ago when truculence was the order of the day. Coach Mike Babcock could be the coach of the year the way he has Toronto playing of late. Nazem Kadri is still snake-bitten as he has only one goal on 81 shots but he is certainly playing on all 200 feet of the ice. Peter Holland was benched by Babcock for four games and it certainly struck home as he has two goals and six points in his last four including all four assists on the power play along with one goal.

 

VANCOUVER

 

Games this week

@ Minnesota, @ Dallas

 

Rested Team: None

Tired Team: None

 

Notes

The Canucks are struggling and Radim Vrbata is really having trouble as he is not playing very much with the Sedin twins and has only three goals and eight points in 19 games with a minus-11 rating. He also missed Wednesday’s game with an undisclosed injury. Vancouver would probably be better off to start playing their youth more often. They are doing poorly in overtime and should get their speedy skaters like Jared McCann on the ice rather than their aging veterans. Jannik Hansen has five goals and 11 points in 20 games. Alexander Edler has four goals which is half of the Canucks total on the blueline.    

 

WASHINGTON

 

Games this week

vs. Edmonton, vs. Winnipeg, vs. Tampa Bay, @ Toronto

 

Rested team: None

Tired Team: @ Toronto (Saturday)

 

Notes

The Capitals play three games in four nights as part of a four game week, so it’s likely that Philipp Grubauer will get a start with Braden Holtby getting three starts. Holtby has been a stud once again with a 10-4 record to go with a 1.94 GAA and a .922 save percentage. Alex Ovechkin broke the record for the all-time lead among Russian-born players with Sergei Fedorov in goals as he scored his 484th on Thursday. Nicklas Backstrom is back centering the first line between Ovechkin and T.J. Oshie. Evgeny Kuznetsov moved to the second unit alongside Marcus Johansson and Andre Burakovsky. Johansson has only three goals and eight points this season. Justin Williams is fourth in scoring with 14 points in 18 games. He has only one minor penalty.

 

WINNIPEG

 

Games this week

vs. Colorado, @ Washington, @ Minnesota, @ Colorado

 

Rested team: None

Tired Team: @ Colorado (Saturday)

 

Notes

The Jets play four times this week including three in four so look for Ondrej Pavelec and Michael Hutchinson to split the net.  Highly regarded rookie Nic Petan was sent to the minors after scoring only once in 14 games. He needs the ice time in the AHL rather than just sitting on the bench or worse, in the press box as a healthy scratch. Drew Stafford finally broke out on Wednesday as he snapped an 11 game pointless streak with a couple of goals and an assist in addition to eight shots on goal. Andrew Ladd has been slumping of late with no points in his last three games. He is also a minus-five in his last nine contests.

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.