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Evgeni Malkin
AP
The Week Ahead

Merry Christmas!!

by Michael Finewax
Updated On: December 20, 2019, 12:05 pm ET

Merry Christmas, Happy Chanukah and Happy Holidays for whatever you celebrate at this time!!

The NHL takes off three days, December 24-26 for the holidays so it is a light schedule this week and there are no three games in four nights this week.

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 DECEMBER 23-29

3 Games – Arizona, Boston, Buffalo, Calgary, Carolina, Chicago, Colorado, Columbus, Florida, Los Angeles, Minnesota, Montreal, Nashville, New Jersey, New York Islanders, New York Rangers, Philadelphia, St. Louis, Tampa Bay, Toronto, Vancouver, Vegas, Washington, Winnipeg

2 Games - Anaheim, Dallas, Detroit, Edmonton, Ottawa, Pittsburgh, San Jose

Tampa Bay plays three games at home.

Montreal plays three games on the road.

INJURIES

Ottawa goaltender Anders Nilsson is on injured reserve with a concussion. (Click here to see the rest of the injury list.)

ANAHEIM

Games this week

vs. Vegas, vs. Philadelphia

Tired: None

Rested: vs. Philadelphia (Sunday)

Notes

The injuries are piling up for the Ducks this week. Derek Grant suffered an acronmio-clavicular joint sprain Tuesday and will be out of action for four-six weeks.  Troy Terry is expected to miss the next 10 weeks with a broken bone beneath his knee cap and Jacob Larsson is day-to-day with an upper body injury. Max Jones and Isac Lundestrom have been recalled from the minors. Sam Steel, the Ducks first round pick in 2016, has been playing the wing on the top-two lines but has found playing his natural position of center on the third unit, a better fit. Rickard Rakell has two goals and six points in his last six games.

ARIZONA

Games this week

@ Nashville, @ Vegas, vs. Dallas

Tired: @ Nashville (Monday)

Rested: @ Vegas (Saturday)

Notes

The Coyotes swung a huge deal this week when they acquired Taylor Hall from New Jersey, along with Blake Speers in exchange for prospects Nick Merkley, Nate Schnarr, Kevin Bahl, a conditional first-round pick in 2020 (top-three protected) and a conditional third round pick in 2021. Hall started his Coyotes career with Phil Kessel and Christian Dvorak as his linemates and had a pair of points in his first two games with Arizona. Conor Garland is day-to-day with an upper-body injury and was not in the lineup Thursday. Vinnie Hinostroza saw his three-game points streak end on Thursday despite the Coyotes scoring five times.

 

BOSTON

Games this week

vs. Washington, @ Buffalo, vs. Buffalo

Tired: None

Rested: None

Notes

The Bruins play a home-and-home series against Buffalo after Christmas and look for Zdeno Chara, who has gotten into a pair of fights in the last week, to add to his penalty minute totals. Boston has been slumping of late as they are 1-4-3 in their last eight games after starting the season 20-3-5. Charlie Coyle was seeing some second line time with Jake DeBrusk and David Krejci but was centering the third line Thursday with Danton Heinen re-taking his spot on the line. Coyle did snap a seven-game pointless drought Thursday with an assist. Tuukka Rask has been struggling of late, giving up 16 goals in his last five starts since December 5. He is 0-2-3 and has faced only 130 shots.

BUFFALO

Games this week

@ Ottawa, vs. Boston, @ Boston

Tired: None

Rested: None

Notes

The Sabres play a home-and-home divisional series against Boston this week. Buffalo has been in only two fights this season as Curtis Lazar and Jimmy Vesey have their fighting majors. Jack Eichel missed Thursday’s game with an upper-body injury, although he did manage to give it a go in the pregame warmup. Eichel had a 17-game points streak that ended with him not being able to go on Thursday per NHL rules.  He was the third star of the week with five goals and a helper in three games. The Sabres sent Casey Mittelstadt to the minors Sunday after they had made him a healthy scratch in three of his previous four games. It is the best move for his development as he was averaging less than 13 minutes a game and he needs to play a lot.

CALGARY

Games this week

@ Minnesota, @ Edmonton, vs. Vancouver

Tired: @ Minnesota (Monday)

Rested: vs. Vancouver (Sunday)

Notes

The Flames have lost three in a row (0-2-1) after winning seven straight games. Johnny Gaudreau seems to be snapping out of his tough start to the season as he has four goals and six points in his last five games. He started the year with only six goals and 17 assists in his first 31 contests after a 99-point campaign last season. Sam Bennett returned to the Calgary lineup Tuesday after missing a month of action with an upper-body injury. He has only three goals and five points in 22 games but adds plenty of feistiness to the lineup. Sean Monahan has not picked up a point in his last three games after being on an eight-game scoring streak.

CAROLINA

Games this week

@ Toronto, @ New York Rangers, vs. Washington

Tired: None

Rested: None

Notes

James Reimer has been hot of late as he has won six of his last seven starts in the last month. He has given up only 11 goals in the seven games with a couple of shutouts on 222 shots as he has given the Hurricanes outstanding goaltending. He is now splitting the net with Petr Mrazek and is a big part of the Hurricanes 22-11-2 start to the season. Justin Williams has been skating on his own the last three-four weeks and the UFA could return to the Hurricanes where he was a major figure last season, if he decides to play. Dougie Hamilton continues to have the best start of the season in his career as the defenseman has 12 goals and 34 points in 35 games. His career best in points in 50, set in the 2016-17 season and he looks like he is going to smash that mark. Teuvo Teravainen has eight assists in his last six games.

CHICAGO

Games this week

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

Tired: None

Rested: None

Notes

The Blackhawks are in the basement of the Central Division but it is not the fault of Patrick Kane who had another big night Thursday with a four-point performance in a 4-1 win over Winnipeg. The winger has 19 goals and 44 points and is eighth overall in NHL scoring. Brandon Saad is day-to-day after suffering an ankle injury Thursday. Brent Seabrook sat out Thursday with an undisclosed injury. The Blackhawks welcomed Duncan Keith back to the lineup Wednesday after he missed nine games with a groin injury. Jonathan Toews has been held pointless the last two games after getting a couple of goals and seven assists in his previous five games. Toews had a career-high 81 points last season but has only 24 in 36 contests to date.

COLORADO

Games this week

@ Vegas, vs. Minnesota, @ Dallas

Tired: @ Dallas (Saturday)

Rested: @ Vegas (Monday)

Notes

Cale Makar has missed six games with an upper-body injury but could return to the lineup this week. He remains second on the Avalanche in points with 28, 25 behind Nathan MacKinnon who is on a seven-game points streak. The Avs have received great production from a couple of forwards who were not with Colorado last season, Joonas Donskoi and Andre Burakovsky. The duo have combined for 26 goals and 51 points, giving the Avs great secondary scoring. Toss in Nazem Kadri in an off-season trade from Toronto and Colorado did quite well in the off-season. Erik Johnson returned on Thursday after missing almost a month with an upper-body injury.

COLUMBUS

Games this week

@ New York Islanders, @ Washington, vs. Chicago

Tired: None

Rested: None

Notes

Oliver Bjorkstrand has four goals and six points in his last six games. Cam Atkinson is day-to-day after he suffered a lower-body injury on Thursday. Gustav Nyquist has taken over the team lead in scoring with 25 points. He is on a four-game points streak with a goal and five helpers. Zach Werenski returned to action Tuesday after missing only 17 days when it was thought he would be out for four weeks. The defenseman quickly returned to form on Thursday with a goal and an assist. The Blue Jackets still have yet to get a win from their backup goaltender Elvis Merzlikins who is 0-4-3 but Joonas Korpisalo has been solid in net with a 15-10-3 mark to go with a 2.62 GAA and a .909 save percentage.

DALLAS

Games this week

vs. Colorado, @ Arizona

Tired: None

Rested: vs. Colorado (Saturday)

Notes

The Stars are nicely entrenched in third place in the Central with 44 points after a 4-3 overtime win over Tampa Bay Thursday. Tyler Seguin is on a four-game points streak with a couple of goals and three assists. He has 28 points thus far in 36 games which is a bit disappointing. The Stars continue to get great goaltending and that is a huge reason why they are doing so well. Anton Khudobin is 8-5-1 with a 2.32 GAA and a .929 save percentage, while starter Ben Bishop is better at 12-7-3 with a 2.07 GAA and a .933 save percentage. Miro Heiskanen continues to lead the Dallas blueline in goals and points with seven and 21 respectively. John Klingberg, the former top dog on the blueline, has only two goals and 12 points in 29 games this season.

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.