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The Week Ahead

TWA: One Month To Go

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

There is only four weeks left in the season and this is the last week before the playoffs in many pools. Best of luck to everyone.

 

Here is last week’s column in which you can see how many games each team plays the rest of the way.

 

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

 

Editor's Note: Rotoworld's partner FanDuel is hosting a one-day $25,000 fantasy hockey league for Friday’s NHL games. It's just $2 to join and first place wins $2,000. Starts Friday at 7pm ET. Enter Now!

 

Now to The Week Ahead.

 

WEEK OF MARCH 16-22

 

4 Games – Arizona, Boston, Buffalo, Montreal, St. Louis, Vancouver

 

3 Games – Anaheim, Calgary, Carolina, Chicago, Columbus, Detroit, Edmonton, Florida, Los Angeles, Minnesota, New Jersey, New York Rangers, Ottawa, Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, San Jose, Tampa Bay, Toronto, Washington, Winnipeg

 

2 Games – Colorado, Dallas, Nashville, New York Islanders

 

St. Louis plays all four games on the road.

 

Arizona, Calgary, Edmonton, Florida, Tampa Bay and Winnipeg play three games at home.

 

Boston, Columbus, Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, San Jose and Washington play three games on the road.

 

INJURIES

 

 John Klingberg is day-to-day with an upper 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

vs. Los Angeles, vs. Colorado, @ New York Rangers

 

Rested Team: vs. Colorado (Friday) @ New York Rangers (Sunday)

Tired Team: None

 

Notes

The Ducks have been more than pleased with the play of former first round pick Rickard Rakell who at 21 has slotted in nicely as the Ducks third line center behind Ryan Getzlaf and Ryan Kesler. Expect Frederik Andersen and John Gibson to battle the rest of the way for the starting job in net during the playoffs. Do not be surprised if it is Gibson. James Wisniewski returned to action on Monday and played in his first game as a Duck after he was dealt from Columbus at the deadline. Corey Perry has been dropped to the third line at times as the Ducks try to get some scoring throughout the lineup. Sami Vatanen could return this week from a leg injury.

 

ARIZONA

 

Games this week

@ Los Angeles, vs. Colorado, vs. Pittsburgh, vs. Vancouver

 

Rested Team: None

Tired Team: None

 

Notes

The Coyotes play four games including three in four nights so look for Louis Domingue to play at least once for Mike Smith. The Coyotes have to be disappointed in the newly acquired Anthony Duclair who was a healthy scratch on Tuesday for his QMJHL team, the Quebec Remparts. His coach Philippe Boucher was unhappy with his effort of late and that does not bode well for his NHL career. John Moore is getting the chance to replace Keith Yandle on the point during the power play. He is second in power play ice time in the last week to only Ekman-Larsson. GM Don Maloney has taken responsibility for the Coyotes missing the playoffs in the last three seasons.

 

BOSTON

 

Games this week

vs. Buffalo, @ Ottawa, @ Florida, @Tampa Bay

 

Rested Team: vs. Buffalo (Tuesday)

Tired Team: None

 

Notes

The Bruins play three games in four days this week as part of a four game week, so look for Tuukka Rask to play at three times with Niklas Svedberg possibly getting a start. Rask was outstanding on Tuesday as he stopped 39 shots in a 3-1 win over the surging Ottawa Senators. David Krejci (knee) has started skating again as he was on the ice before Wednesday’s practice. He should return in one-three weeks if he remains on schedule. Ryan Spooner is on a seven-game scoring streak in which he has three goals and eight points. Carl Soderberg has not scored a goal in his past 21 games and has only five assists in that span.

 

BUFFALO

 

Games this week

vs. Washington, @ Boston, vs. New Jersey, @ Nashville

 

Rested Team: None

Tired Team: @ Boston (Tuesday) @ Nashville (Saturday)

 

Notes

The Sabres play back-to-back games twice this week so Anders Lindback and Matt Hackett should split the net. Johan Larsson was moved up to the first line on Wednesday and certainly responded in a positive way with a goal and two helpers with a plus-three rating as he clicked with Tyler Ennis and Matt Moulson. The Sabres were playing the lowly Leafs but it was encouraging for the second round pick in the 2010 draft. Zach Bogosian did not miss any action after blocking a shot with his foot Saturday. He has three assists in his last five games.  Cody Hodgson continues to have a horrible season as the former 10th pick in the 2008 draft has only four goals and 11 points in 63 games with a minus-24 rating.

 

CALGARY

 

Games this week

vs. St. Louis, vs. Philadelphia, vs. Columbus

 

Rested Team: None

Tired Team: None

 

Notes

Johnny Gaudreau hit the 50 point mark on Wednesday as he scored twice in a 6-3 win over Anaheim. The rookie is just three points in arrears of Filip Forsberg for the scoring lead among those eligible for the Calder Trophy. He is  the first Flames rookie to hit the 50 point mark since Jarome Iginla did so in 1996-97. The Flames continue to play well despite the season-ending injury to Mark Giordano, their top player. They are back in the playoffs as Calgary sits seventh overall in the West, one point ahead of the ninth place Jets. Karri Ramo has started seven of the last eight games with a 4-2 record. He had one bad game on Sunday in which he gave up four goals to Ottawa in 27 minutes before he was pulled, but had given up only 11 goals in the other six contests. Jonas Hiller has backed up Ramo of late.

 

CAROLINA

 

Games this week

vs. Ottawa, @ Montreal vs. New York Rangers

 

Rested Team: None

Tired Team: None

 

Notes

Elias Lindholm gave fantasy fans a taste of his potential as he had the hat trick as well as a couple of assists in a win over Edmonton Sunday. The second-year forward was taken fifth overall in the 2013 draft and had 14 goals and 33 points in 65 games after a nine goal, 21 point rookie performance last season. He is someone to keep an eye on next season in fantasy pools. The Hurricanes are in a battle for fourth last overall in the NHL standings which would give them a 9.5 percent chance at the first overall pick. They are two points behind the Maple Leafs but have three games in hand. Jack Hillen is out with a concussion.

 

CHICAGO

 

Games this week

vs. New York Islanders, @ New York Rangers, @ Dallas

 

Rested Team: None

Tired Team: @ New York Rangers (Wednesday)

 

Notes

It’s a weird schedule in that the Blackhawks play the Islanders on Long Island Tuesday and then travel back to Chicago to face the Rangers on Wednesday. Kimmo Timonen has seen his ice time drop since he returned from a season-long problem with blood clots. He played 17:29 in his first game March 2 and in his subsequent two contests played 14:49 and 10:35. He has been getting better in practice so look for his ice time to increase. Bryan Bickell was a healthy scratch Sunday as he had only one point in his previous 12 games. He then skated alongside Brad Richards and Patrick Sharp in practice and will line up with the duo Thursday against Arizona.

 

COLORADO

 

Games this week

@ Arizona, @ Anaheim

 

Rested Team: None

Tired Team: @ Anaheim (Friday)

 

Notes

Semyon Varlamov has another groin injury and if he is unable to go, the Avalanche will go with Calvin Pickard rather than Reto Berra, as Berra is more of a stopgap goalie. Tyson Barrie has impressed this season with 11 goals and 33 assists in 65 games. He has even been a plus-five as he has become the Avs top defenseman. Gabriel Landeskog has been red hot of late with nine goals and 16 points in his last 14 games. He is chippy as well with 69 penalty minutes in 68 contests.  Jarome Iginla had his mini three game points streak halted Wednesday. He needs to get hot in order to get to the 30 goal mark for the 14th time in his NHL career as he needs eight goals in his last 14 games.

 

 

COLUMBUS

 

Games this week

@ Edmonton, @ Vancouver, @ Calgary

 

Rested Team: None

Tired Team: @ Vancouver (Thursday)

 

Notes

The Blue Jackets play three games in four nights and all in Western Canada so Curtis McElhinney could get one start in net in place of Sergei Bobrovsky. Nick Foligno sat out Tuesday’s game with an illness. He is having an outstanding season with 24 goals and 59 points to go with a plus-10 rating. He also has 23 power play points including nine goals. Cam Atkinson has only two points in his last 11 games heading into action on Thursday, but did get a power play goal Thursday. There must be a bug in the Columbus dressing room as Brandon Dubinsky and Artem Anisimov are questionable to play Thursday. Dubinsky did not play but Anisimov did. Ryan Johansen has not been a plus-player in his last 11 games and was a minus-10 during that streak.  

 

DALLAS

 

Games this week

vs. Pittsburgh, vs. Chicago

 

Rested Team: None

Tired Team: None

 

Notes

John Klingberg played on Tuesday after suffering a lower body injury and then suffered an upper body injury in the third period. The talented blueliner was a no-show at practice Wednesday. Patrik Nemeth has played 20-plus minutes in his last two games before Thursday’s game in which he played 18:39. Rich Peverley has not played since March 10, 2014 when he collapsed on the bench from a cardiac episode, so it appears that his NHL career could be over. Valeri Nichushkin (hip) could play this week. He last played on November 6. Tyler Seguin returned to action on Saturday but stated he will not be 100 percent healthy with his knee injury suffered when Dmitry Kulikov low-bridged him.

 

DETROIT

 

Games this week

@ Florida, @ Tampa Bay, vs. St. Louis

 

Rested Team: vs. St. Louis (Sunday)

Tired Team: @ Tampa Bay (Friday)

 

Notes

The Red Wings play three games in four nights so Petr Mrazek, who replaced the possibly concussed Jonas Gustavsson, could play once for Jimmy Howard.  I’ve been impressed with the play of Riley Sheahan this season and he should be a nice selection next year in most drafts. The same goes for Teemu Pulkkinen who was selected in the fourth round of the 2010 draft but was drafted that low because of injury concerns (knee) as he was a first round talent. He should be a 25-30 goal scorer at the NHL level eventually. Pavel Datsyuk is 36 but still can dazzle and score as he has 23 goals and 56 points in 55 games this season.

 

EDMONTON

 

Games this week

vs. Toronto, vs. Columbus, vs. Philadelphia

 

Rested Team: None

Tired Team: None

Notes    

The Oilers are at home for all three games this week. The Oilers are in quite the race for the chance at the first overall pick in the 2015 draft as they currently stand 29th in the NHL, three points ahead of the Buffalo Sabres and three points behind the Arizona Coyotes. In their last ten games, the Oilers have six points, the Coyotes only three while the Sabres have eight. It’s going to be quite the race. Jordan Eberle has 29 points in his last 30 games. Nail Yakupov had six shots on goal Monday and scored on one of them.

 

FLORIDA

 

Games this week

vs. Montreal, vs. Detroit, vs. Boston

 

Rested Team: vs. Montreal (Tuesday)

Tired Team: None

 

Notes

Nick Bjugstad is playing in games but is missing practice with soreness so be a wee bit careful before putting him in your lineup. Roberto Luongo is getting close to returning from a shoulder injury and could return for the Montreal game, if not sooner. The Panthers are using their third and fourth goalies in Dan Ellis and Sam Brittain as Al Montoya is also out of action with a groin injury. Dave Bolland was ready to return from an upper body injury but came down with the flu. He missed eight games before returning on Thursday. Jonathan Huberdeau is on a five game points streak in which he had two goals and eight points.

 

LOS ANGELES

 

Games this week

vs. Arizona, @ Anaheim, vs. Vancouver  

 

Rested Team: None

Tired Team: None

 

Notes

Brayden McNabb has five points in his last four games after a big three point night on Tuesday. Tanner Pearson (broken ankle) has started skating again and hopes to return to action before the end of the regular season. Alec Martinez also skated on Friday as he attempts to recover from a concussion suffered on February 9. Anze Kopitar took over the team lead in points with 52, one ahead of Jeff Carter. Jonathan Quick is not having the fantasy season most thought he would as he is 29-17-11 with a 2.32 GAA and a .914 save percentage. Last season his record was comparable as he was 27-17-4 with a 2.07 GAA and a .915 save percentage but most thought he would improve this season.

 

MINNESOTA

 

Games this week

@ Nashville, vs. Washington, vs. St. Louis

 

Rested Team: None

Tired Team: None

 

Notes

Nino Niederreiter has quietly put together a nice offensive season with 21 goals and 33 points in 66 games, giving the Wild the secondary scoring they and every team needs. Chris Stewart has four points in the five games he has played for the Wild since his trade from Buffalo. Matt Cooke (sports hernia surgery) is still three weeks away from his return to the lineup. Thomas Vanek has three goals in his last two games to give him 16 this season. Devan Dubnyk has started 25 games in a row for the Wild. He is 19-4-1 with a .937 save percentage and a 1.67 GAA with one no-decision for the Wild. Matt Dumba is a plus-14 in his last 12 games.

   

MONTREAL

           

Games this week

@ Tampa Bay, @ Florida, vs. Carolina, vs. San Jose

 

Rested Team: None

Tired Team: @ Florida (Tuesday)

 

Notes

The Canadiens play three games in four nights as part of their four game week so look for Dustin Tokarski to play once for the great Carey Price. Price is having a spectacular season as he is 37-14-4 with an eye-popping 1.93 GAA and a .935 save percentage. He is just five wins away from the Canadiens record for one season, held by Jacques Plante and Ken Dryden.  Alexei Emelin has been cleared to return from a shoulder injury after missing the last three weeks.  Lars Eller scored for the first time in 15 games on Saturday. P. A. Parenteau has recovered from his concussion but has been a healthy scratch of late before the Habs put him back in the lineup Thursday. He was a minus-one.

 

 NASHVILLE

 

Games this week

vs. Minnesota, vs. Buffalo

 

Rested Team: vs. Buffalo (Saturday)

Tired Team: None

 

Notes

The Predators won on Monday to break a six-game losing streak but they needed overtime to beat the lowly Coyotes. Nashville play only twice this week so be smart in weekly transaction leagues. Mike Santorelli has struggled since his trade from Toronto as he has only one assist in 11 games with a minus-four rating. They recalled Viktor Stalberg from the minors this week. Nashville's power play has converted only one of their last 20 chances. Mike Ribeiro leads the Predators with 54 points, one ahead of Filip Forsberg while the vastly underrated Roman Josi has 11 goals and 47 points, the tops among Nashville blueliners.  

 

NEW JERSEY

 

Games this week

vs. Pittsburgh, @ Buffalo, vs. New York Islanders

 

Rested Team: None

Tired Team: vs. New York Islanders (Saturday)

 

Notes

Dainius Zubrus scored on Tuesday and it was his first point since January 31. If he is on your fantasy team, either you gave up long ago or you need someone with a letter ‘z’ in your lineup. I was surprised that Scott Gomez remained a member of the Devils at the deadline as I thought someone would want his re-found scoring and veteran presence in their lineup. He has 27 points in 44 games this season. Martin Havlat has played only once in the last four weeks and he took his frustrations out in practice on Wednesday as he smashed his stick against the boards numerous times, breaking it into pieces. The Devils are looking for him to show that kind of passion during games.

 

NEW YORK ISLANDERS

 

Games this week

@ Chicago, @ New Jersey

 

Rested Team: @ New Jersey (Saturday)

Tired Team: None

 

Notes

The Islanders play only twice this week but it would be wrong to bench John Tavares, Kyle Okposo or Jaroslav Halak in weekly transaction pools. Johnny Boychuk was rewarded with a seven-year/$42 million contract extension on Thursday. Nick Leddy is out of action for a couple of weeks with an upper body injury. I’ve been impressed with the play of Anders Lee as he has 23 goals this season. He is now playing with Brock Nelson and Ryan Strome and is seeing plenty of power play time. The return of Okposo to the lineup after recovering from a detached retina, made Michael Grabner a healthy scratch.    

 

NEW YORK RANGERS

 

Games this week

vs. Chicago, @ Carolina, vs. Anaheim

 

Rested Team: vs. Chicago (Wednesday)

Tired Team: vs. Anaheim (Sunday)

 

Notes

Kevin Klein suffered an arm injury that will keep him on the sidelines for the next three-to-four weeks. He should return the last week of the season or at the beginning of the playoffs. The Rangers have been gifted with Cam Talbot who has made Henrik Lundqvist’s injury okay. Talbot has been sensational since the vascular injury to the neck of King Henrik as he is now 16-6-4 with a 2.23 GAA and a .924 save percentage. Lundqvist should return in 10-14 games and should be 100 percent and well rested once the playoffs begin. Martin St. Louis scored on Wednesday and it was his first point in eight games. The diminutive forward has 45 points in 66 games this season.

 

OTTAWA     

 

Games this week

@ Carolina, vs. Boston, vs. Toronto

 

Rested Team: None

Tired Team: None

 

Notes

Craig Anderson has not played well since returning from an injured hand suffered on January 21. Anderson has given up seven goals on 68 shots in two games while Andrew Hammond, who was 8-0-1 going into Thursday’s action, wallowed on the bench. His ninth win of the season on Thursday pushed his GAA to 1.49 and his save percentage to .952. Matt Puempel scored his first NHL goal of his career on Tuesday. Mike Hoffman continues to show why he should get some consideration for the Calder as he now has 24 goals this season to go with 18 assists. Erik Karlsson had two goals and an assist on Thursday and now has 17 points in his last 14 contests.   

 

PHILADELPHIA

 

Games this week

@ Vancouver, @ Calgary, @ Edmonton

 

Rested Team: None

Tired Team: None

 

Notes

The Flyers are in Western Canada all week. Michael Del Zotto was coming into his own of late but he has missed a couple of games with an upper body injury. Steve Mason called out his teammates on Tuesday, say there was no desperation and that the team did needed to give a much greater effort. I hope he is not getting into old habits and has a repeat of what happened in Columbus. R.J. Umberger was a healthy scratch on Tuesday and he has been a disappointment this season with only nine goals and 15 points. Nicklas Grossmann returned to action on Thursday after missing four games with an upper body injury.

 

PITTSBURGH

 

Games this week

@ New Jersey, @ Dallas, @ Arizona

 

Rested Team: None

Tired Team: None

 

Notes

Christian Ehrhoff has been cleared to play but the Penguins made him a healthy scratch on Thursday as he suffered a concussion on January 28, played one game on February 25 and hasn’t played since. Look for Ehrhoff to return to action on March 14. He has been a disappointment fantasy-wise this season with only three goals and 13 points in 44 games. Sidney Crosby is getting hot again as he has four goals and 12 points in his last nine games. He is two points ahead of teammate Evgeni Malkin who has 68 this season, but only one point in his last three games. Marc-Andre Fleury won his 31st game of the season on Thursday (sixth best in the NHL) and has a 2.17 GAA (also sixth best) and a .924 save percentage which is eighth best in the league/

 

ST. LOUIS

 

Games this week

@ Calgary, @ Winnipeg, @ Minnesota, @ Detroit

 

Rested Team: None

Tired Team: @ Detroit (Sunday)

 

Notes

The Blues play four games this week including three in four nights and it is likely that Brian Elliott and Jake Allen will split the net. Zbynek Michalek is getting close to playing his first game as a Blue as he partook in an optional practice Wednesday. He suffered a concussion before his trade from the Coyotes. Patrik Berglund was a healthy scratch on Thursday and the Blues may be regretting the three-year/$11.1 million deal they gave him in June. He has only eight goals and 20 points in 62 games and they could have difficulty trading him in the off-season unless they are willing to retain some salary. Vladimir Tarasenko continues to be on the fringe of Hart Trophy consideration.

 

SAN JOSE

 

Games this week

@ Winnipeg, @ Toronto, @ Montreal

 

Rested Team: None

Tired Team: None

 

Notes

Antti Niemi is making a case for himself to be re-signed by the Sharks as he has allowed only one goal on 75 shots over the last two games. He is eligible to become a UFA at the end of the season and the conventional wisdom before the start of the 2014-15 campaign was that he would leave and Alex Stalock would take over but Stalock has not had a good season. Mike Brown (leg) is unlikely to return before the end of the regular season. Matt Irwin had been hot offensively before he suffered an upper body injury and has missed the last three games.  

 

TAMPA BAY

 

Games this week

vs. Montreal, vs. Detroit, vs. Boston

 

Rested team: vs. Detroit (Friday), vs. Boston (Sunday)

Tired Team: None

 

Notes

The Lightning have some injury woes as Tuesday was not a good day for the Tampa Bay hockey team. Cedric Paquette is out 10-14 days with an upper body injury, while Ondrej Palat will miss two-three weeks with a lower body injury. Newly acquired Braydon Coburn will miss four-six weeks with a lower body injury. Steve Stamkos has 37 goals this season and that’s good for third overall in the NHL, behind only Alex Ovechkin (45) and Rick Nash (39). What is surprising is that Stamkos is only tied for 12th in points with 62.  Ben Bishop is 33-11-4 this season with a 2.32 GAA and a .915 save percentage. He is 2-0-1 in his last three starts, allowing only four goals on 76 shots.

 

TORONTO

 

Games this week

@ Edmonton, vs. San Jose, @ Ottawa

 

Rested team:  None

Tired Team: None

 

Notes

The Maple Leafs ‘suspended’ Nazeem Kadri three games for being late for practice Sunday. It really was not a suspension as they will make him a healthy scratch and continue to pay him but apparently it’s been more than just one late practice. Joffrey Lupul was benched for the first 12 minutes of the third period Wednesday. He has really struggled of late and does not have a point in his last 12 matches while being goalless since December 29. David Booth has been scoring of late as he is on a five game point streak. He has three goals and two assists in that time frame to double his point count on the season to 10.

 

VANCOUVER

 

Games this week

vs. Philadelphia, vs. Columbus, @ Los Angeles, @ Arizona

 

Rested Team: vs. Columbus (Thursday)

Tired Team: None

 

Notes

The Canucks play four games this week including three in four nights. Do not expect Ryan Miller back so look for Eddie Lack to play three games with Jacob Markstrom getting one start. Miller is still two-three weeks away from his return from a knee injury. Coach Willie Desjardins has been very pleased this season with the play of Bo Horvat. The rookie started off slowly but has made great progress of late. "He's quite a bit better," Desjardins said. "At the start, he just didn't have that tempo or the confidence, either. He wouldn't take any chances because he was afraid if he didn't score, he'd get sent down. He certainly exceeded my expectations. I didn't expect to play him late in games on faceoffs or any of those situations."

 

WASHINGTON

 

Games this week

@ Buffalo, @ Minnesota, @ Winnipeg

 

Rested team: None

Tired Team: None

 

Notes

Nicklas Backstrom leads the NHL in both assists and power play assists with 51 and 26 respectively. He has not found the back of the net in nine games but has chipped in with six assists. Linemate Alex Ovechkin continues his march to the Hart Trophy as he has a league-leading 45 goals and is plus-10 this season after a horrendous minus-35 in 2013-14. Curtis Glencross has two goals and four points in his last three games. Jay Beagle is having a nice season (at least as far as Jay Beagle goes) with 10 goals and 20 points but he is day-to-day with a shoulder injury. He gets enough time on the first line with Backstrom and Ovechkin that he could be considered in daily fantasy leagues when he is slated to play with the Dynamic Duo.

  

WINNIPEG

 

Games this week

vs. San Jose, vs. St. Louis, vs. Washington

 

Rested team: None

Tired Team: None

 

Notes

The Jets play all three games at home this week and are in quite a battle for the final playoff spot in the West. They are currently in ninth, one point behind Calgary and Los Angeles, two points in arrears of Vancouver and three behind the fifth place Minnesota Wild. Winnipeg has played one more game than all four teams but still have eight games at home compared to six on the road. Tyler Myers suffered an upper body injury on Thursday. Michael Hutchinson has made eight straight starts for the Jets and he is 3-2-2 with a no-decision, giving up 20 goals on 174 shots. Perhaps it is time to go back to Ondrej Pavelec, who played well in relief of Hutchinson on Tuesday before giving up a horrible goal to Barret Jackman from between the blueline and center with only 1:03 left in the third.

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.