Loading scores...
The Week Ahead

Heading down the stretch

by Michael Finewax
Updated On: February 28, 2020, 12:53 pm ET

The big story of the week was David Ayres playing net as the emergency goaltender for the Carolina Hurricanes on Saturday in Toronto. It gave hockey a presence around the world, that certainly did not come with the trade deadline.

There has been a lot of talk that the NHL should change its ruling about the use of emergency goaltenders, but I think it gives the league a good feeling. For something that has happened only a couple of time since the start of expansion, it’s a good thing and not a bad thing for the NHL.

Don’t change it!

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.

NBC’s coverage of the 2019-20 NHL season continues this weekend with three Sunday games, including Philadelphia and the New York Rangers who square off at 12:00 p.m. ET on NBC.  The Washington Capitals take on the Minnesota Wild at 8:00 PM ET on NBCSN and the action continues on NBCSN at 10:30 PM ET as the Vegas Golden Knights host the Los Angeles Kings. You can watch the game online and on the NBC Sports app by clicking here!

WEEK OF MARCH 2-8

4 Games – Anaheim, Chicago, Colorado, Edmonton, Minnesota, Nashville, Pittsburgh, San Jose, Tampa Bay

3 Games –Boston, Buffalo, Calgary, Carolina, Columbus, Dallas, Detroit, Montreal, New Jersey, New York Islanders, New York Rangers, Ottawa, Philadelphia, St. Louis, Toronto, Vancouver, Vegas, Washington

2 Games – Arizona, Florida, Los Angeles, Winnipeg

San Jose plays all four games on the road.

Calgary, Chicago, Detroit, the New York Rangers, Pittsburgh and Vancouver play three games at home.

Carolina, Colorado, Columbus, Edmonton, Minnesota, Montreal, St. Louis and Toronto play three games on the road.

INJURIES

Jake Muzzin is out four weeks with a broken hand. (Click here to see the rest of the injury list.)

ANAHEIM

Games this week

@ Chicago, @ Colorado, vs. Toronto, vs. Minnesota

Tired: @ Colorado (Wednesday)

Rested: vs. Toronto (Friday) vs. Minnesota (Sunday)

Notes

The Ducks play four games this week including three games in four nights. John Gibson should get three starts with Ryan Miller getting one start. Anaheim was busy at and near the trade deadline as they picked up Alex Andersson from the Bruins along with David Backes and a 2020 first-round pick, for Ondrej Kase. The Ducks also acquired Danton Heinen for Nick Ritchie and received Sonny Milano in exchange for Devin Shore. Anaheim dealt Derek Grant to the Flyers in exchange for Kyle Criscuolo and a 2020 fourth-round selection. Milano had a pair of goals in his first game with Anaheim, playing with Rickard Rakell and Ryan Getzlaf on the top line. Hampus Lindholm suffered an upper-body injury Tuesday and is day-to-day.

ARIZONA

Games this week

@ Vancouver, @ Calgary

Tired: None

Rested: None

Notes

The Coyotes only play twice this week as they begin a Western Canada swing. Arizona was not very busy at the deadline, making a small deal in which they acquired Markus Hannikainen from Columbus for a seventh-round pick. The Coyotes welcomed back Darcy Kuemper Tuesday as he missed almost 10 weeks of action with a lower-body injury. Kuemper, who was the best goalie in the NHL before his injury in the opinions of many pundits, gave up two goals on 26 shots in a 2-1 loss to Florida. Jason Demers is getting closer to returning as he has been out since February 1 with an oblique muscle injury. Jakob Chychrun has a lower-body injury and he could be out this week as well, after suffering the injury a week ago.  

BOSTON

Games this week

@ Tampa Bay, @ Florida, vs. Tampa Bay

Tired: None

Rested: None

Notes

The Bruins play their arch divisional rival Tampa Bay twice this week as both teams are battling for the top spot in both the Atlantic Division and the NHL. If there are any fisticuffs, look for Brad Marchand and/or the newly acquired Nick Ritchie, to add to their penalty minute count. The Bruins made a couple of trades with Anaheim, getting Ritchie for Danton Heinen after picking up Ondrej Kase for Alex Andersson, David Backes and a first-round pick in June. Kase played Thursday for the first time in almost three weeks as he has been suffering from an illness. Kase and Ritchie were centered by David Krejci Thursday on the Bruins second line. Tuukka Rask has given up 10 goals in 106:14 minutes over his last two starts. Needless to say, the Bruins lost both.

BUFFALO

Games this week

@ Winnipeg, vs. Pittsburgh, @ Philadelphia

Tired: None

Rested: None

Notes

The Sabres made a couple of moves on Monday as they picked up Wayne Simmonds from New Jersey for a conditional fifth-round pick in 2021 and then dealt Evan Rodrigues and Conor Sheary to Pittsburgh for Dominik Kahun. Kahun will make his Sabres debut Friday February 28 in Las Vegas while Simmonds was held off the scoresheet in his Buffalo debut in Colorado. Kahun is slated to play on the second unit with Marcus Johansson and Jimmy Vesey while Simmonds will play alongside Jeff Skinner and Curtis Lazar on the third line. Linus Ullmark has resumed on-ice workouts as he attempts to return from a lower-body injury that has kept him out of the lineup since January 28.

CALGARY

Games this week

vs. Columbus, vs. Arizona, vs. Vegas

Tired: None

Rested: None

Notes

The Flames return home after playing all four games last week on the road. The Flames picked up defenseman Erik Gustafsson from Chicago for a conditional third round pick in 2020 and also acquired defenseman Derek Forbort from the Kings with a fourth-round pick going to Los Angeles. The Flames finally got some good news as Mark Giordano returned to the lineup Thursday after missing 10 games. Noah Hanifin saw his four-game points streak end Thursday in an overtime loss to Nashville. Mikael Backlund has 15 goals and 41 points in 65 games this season but he has been red-hot of late with seven goals and 12 points in his last seven contests. The line of Backlund between Matthew Tkachuk and Andrew Mangiapane have been carrying the Flames of late.

CAROLINA

Games this week

@ Philadelphia, @ New York Islanders, @ Pittsburgh

Tired: None

Rested: @ Philadelphia (Thursday)

Notes

The Hurricanes play three road games in four nights and will play Petr Mrazek (if healthy although that is doubtful) twice with Alex Nedeljkovic seeing the crease once. Should Mrazek not play, Nedeljkovic will go twice with Anton Forsberg playing once. The Hurricanes were the busiest team on Monday as they picked up Vincent Trocheck from Florida with Erik Haula, Lucas Wallmark and a couple of prospects in Chris Priskie and Eetu Luostarinen going the other way. They then picked up a couple of defensemen as Sami Vatanen is coming to Carolina for Janne Kuokkanen, Frederik Claesson and a conditional fourth round pick while Brady Skjei comes from the Rangers for a first-round pick. The Hurricanes lost Mrazek, James Reimer and Brett Pesce in Saturday’s game against Toronto, the game that was made famous by David Ayres picking up the win in the Carolina net.

CHICAGO

Games this week

vs. Anaheim, vs. Edmonton, @ Detroit, vs. St. Louis

Tired: @ Detroit (Friday)

Rested: None

Notes

The Blackhawks play four games this week including three in four nights. They should use Corey Crawford three times with the newly-acquired Malcolm Subban playing once. Subban became a Blackhawk Monday, as Robin Lehner went to Vegas while Slava Demin and a second-round pick are going to Chicago. The Blackhawks dealt defenseman Erik Gustafsson to Calgary for a conditional third-round pick in June. Dominik Kulabik is having a fabulous rookie season as he leads all first-year players with 29 goals, following his hat trick against the Lightning Thursday. Patrick Kane is on a seven-game points streak with three goals and 10 points in the seven contests.

COLORADO

Games this week

@ Detroit, vs. Anaheim, @ Calgary, @ San Jose

Tired: None

Rested: vs. Anaheim (Wednesday), @ San Jose (Sunday)

Notes

The Avalanche were fairly quiet at the deadline, picking up Vladislav Namestnikov from Ottawa for a fourth-round pick in 2021, as well as goaltender Michael Hutchinson from Toronto with Calle Rosen going the other way. With the Hutchinson move, the Avs sent Hunter Miska back to the minors. Miska was up due to the injury to Philipp Grubauer, as Pavel Francouz has taken over as the starter. Andre Burakovsky should see action this week as he has been out with an upper-body ailment. Tyson Jost has been a major disappointment this season as he was expected to take a big step forward. The 10th pick in the 2016 Draft has only five goals and 17 points in 59 games.

COLUMBUS

Games this week

@ Calgary, @ Edmonton, @ Vancouver

Tired: @ Vancouver (Sunday)

Rested: None

Notes

The Blue Jackets are in Western Canada all week. Columbus has been struggling of late as they finally broke an eight-game losing streak with a 4-3 win over Ottawa but got back into their losing ways Tuesday in a 5-4 loss to Minnesota. The Blue Jackets are 1-4-5 in their last 10 games and are just two points up on Carolina and the New York Rangers with both teams having games in hand. The Blue Jackets sent Sonny Milano to Anaheim for Devin Shore. It appears that Josh Anderson may not return this season as he has been out since December 14 with a shoulder injury. Elvis Merzlikins was injured Monday and Joonas Korpisalo saw his first game action since December 29 but coach John Tortorella decided not to start him Tuesday as he is coming off a knee injury.        

DALLAS

Games this week

vs. Edmonton, @ Nashville, vs. Nashville

Tired: None

Rested: vs. Edmonton (Tuesday)

Notes

The Stars play a home-and-home series with Nashville this week and if there is any rough stuff Corey Perry or Jamie Oleksiak are likely to be involved. Dallas did nothing at the trade deadline and will head into the post-season with a lineup they are happy with. I thought they would try to deal for some scoring but apparently not. The Stars still do not have anyone hitting the 20-goal plateau as Jamie Benn and Denis Gurianov each have 19. Anton Khudobin was great on Tuesday, stopping 41 shots in a 4-1 over Carolina. Khudobin is one of the best backup netminders in the NHL and is more than capable should Ben Bishop go down with an injury.

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.