The Week Ahead

The Race in the West

Updated On: October 4, 2018, 4:04 pm ET

There is not much of a playoff race in the Eastern Conference as the eighth place Boston Bruins lead Florida by five points although the Panthers do have a game in hand. The Bruins have been hot of late with a 7-2-1 record in their last 10 games while the Panthers are 3-6-1 in their last 10.

 

The situation in the West is completely different as the Canucks hold down eighth place, two behind both Calgary and Winnipeg and four ahead of Colorado.  Dallas, Minnesota and the defending Stanley Cup champion Los Angeles Kings are another point back.

 

The West is heading for quite the showdown as the season approaches the two-thirds mark.  It should be interesting.

 

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 $20,000 Fantasy Hockey league for Friday night's NHL games. It's just $2 to join and first prize is $2,000. Starts Friday at 7pm ET. Here's the FanDuel link.

 

Now to The Week Ahead.

 

WEEK OF FEBRUARY 9-15

 

4 Games- Arizona, Chicago, Edmonton, Florida, Minnesota, San Jose, Vancouver

 

3 Games – Anaheim, Calgary, Columbus, Dallas, Los Angeles, Montreal, Nashville, New Jersey, New York Islanders, New York Rangers, Ottawa, Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, St. Louis, Tampa Bay, Toronto, Washington, Winnipeg

 

 

2 Games – Boston, Buffalo, Carolina, Colorado, Detroit

 

 

Chicago plays all four games at home.

 

Edmonton plays all four games on the road.

 

Minnesota, Montreal, Nashville, the New York Islanders and San Jose play three games at home.

 

The New York Rangers, Philadelphia, Vancouver and Washington play three games on the road.

 

INJURIES

 

Henrik Lundqvist is out at least a month with a neck 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

@ Florida, @ Arizona, vs. Washington

 

Rested Team: vs. Washington (Sunday)

Tired Team: None

 

Notes

Eric Brewer returned to the lineup this past week after missing two months with a foot injury. While he does not have much fantasy value, he gives the Ducks another veteran rearguard on their blueline. The Ducks have been going with Frederik Andersen as current backup Ilya Bryzgalov has not played well when called upon. Bryzgalov is 1-3-0 and that’s been the best part of his game as he has a horrendous GAA of 4.68 with an equally as bad save percentage of .832. John Gibson made the team out of training camp but a groin injury halted his season and he has been playing in Norfolk since returning to action. Gibson is 5-3-2 with a 2.28 GAA and a .928 save percentage in the AHL. He could be recalled shortly. Ryan Getzlaf has 52 points in 50 games this season and has to be considered in any Hart Trophy talk but missed Thursday’s game when he suffered a lower body injury during the pre-game warmups.

 

ARIZONA

 

Games this week

@ Chicago, @ St. Louis, vs. San Jose, vs. New York Rangers

 

Rested Team: @ Chicago (Monday)

Tired Team: @ St. Louis (Tuesday), vs. New York Rangers (Saturday)

 

Notes

Keith Yandle whose name has been bandied about in trade talks, is on a four game points streak and is now tied for fourth all-time in points by defenseman for the franchise. Oliver Ekman-Larsson continues to score goals at a great pace as he has 15 this season including three in his last four games.  Mike Smith has played okay since January 15 despite a 2-4-3 record but he has had a couple of clunkers in that span, giving up five on January 31 on only 20 shots. He gave up six on the 20th but did face 51 Chicago shots. Aside from that, he has given up 14 goals in the other seven outings, stopping 191 shots. Sam Gagner has two goals and five points in his last seven games. 

  

BOSTON

 

Games this week

vs. Dallas, @ Vancouver

 

Rested Team: None

Tired Team: None

 

Notes

The Bruins only play twice this week. Milan Lucic is heating up again with two goals and three assists in his last four games. He leads the Bruins with 71 penalty minutes. Boston has been a great plus/minus team the last few years but this season has been different with only two players over plus-10. One is Brad Marchand who is plus-12 but not too many poolies would guess that the other player (at plus-16) is Kevan Miller. Patrice Bergeron, a perennial top plus/minus player, is only at plus-five this season. Daniel Paille is upset that he has only a goal and seven assists in 51 games. All his fantasy owners feel the same way.

 

BUFFALO

 

Games this week

vs. Ottawa, vs. Philadelphia

 

Rested Team: None

Tired Team: None

 

Notes

The Sabres play only twice and with the worst record in the NHL, there is really no reason that any should be in your lineup in weekly transaction pools. Nikita Zadorov was a healthy scratch on Thursday as coach Ted Nolan thinks that he is standing around too much. Maybe a game or two in the press box will get him going. Marcus Foligno broke his hand in a fight on December 21 and is starting to partake in contact drills so his return should be imminent. Michal Neuvirth returned from a lower body injury and is backing up Jhonas Enroth once again as Matthew Hackett was sent to the minors. Matt Moulson halted a 16 game goalless drought on Tuesday 

 

CALGARY

 

Games this week

@ San Jose, @ Los Angeles, vs. Vancouver

 

Rested Team: vs. Vancouver (Saturday)

Tired Team: None

 

Notes

The Flames blueliners have been scoring at a great pace but it took until Wednesday for Kris Russell to find the back of the net for the first time this season. Dennis Wideman leads the way with 12 goals, while Mark Giordano has 11 and T.J. Brodie has eight. Mason Raymond was in a horrible slump but has two goals in two games. He had only one goal from October 19 to January 31. Brandon Bollig leads the Flames in penalty minutes with 47. Jonas Hiller is having a nice season in net for the Flames as he is 17-14-2 with a 2.31 GAA and a .915 save percentage. Not too bad considering he was a low pick in most drafts, if he went at all.

 

CAROLINA

 

Games this week

vs. Anaheim, @ Minnesota

 

Rested Team: None

Tired Team: None

 

Notes

The Hurricanes are in a similar boat this week to Buffalo in that they only play twice and they really do not have anyone worth playing in weekly transaction leagues. Cam Ward has played in three of the last four games after Anton Khudobin started six games in a row and seven of eight. Alexander Semin scored his second of the season, so thus far it has cost the Hurricanes $3.5 million per goal this season. Eric Staal has played well since moving to the left wing to accommodate the return of his brother Jordan to the lineup. Brett Bellemore is the only Hurricane with a plus rating heading into action Thursday at plus-two.

 

CHICAGO

 

Games this week

vs. Arizona, vs. Vancouver, vs. New Jersey, vs. Pittsburgh

 

Rested Team: None

Tired Team: vs. Arizona (Monday)

 

Notes

The Blackhawks play all four games at home this week and although they do not play three games in four nights, nevertheless, Antti Raanta should play once for Corey Crawford. Daniel Carcillo was a healthy scratch Tuesday as he was activated after sitting out a six game suspension. Keep an eye on defenseman David Rundblad who has bounced around from St. Louis to Ottawa to the Coyotes and finally to Chicago after being the 17th overall pick in 2009. He has three goals and 10 points in 30 games with a plus-15 rating. Patrick Kane is pointless in his last two games but had five goals and six assists in his previous seven games.

 

COLORADO

 

Games this week

vs. New York Rangers, vs. Dallas

 

Rested Team: vs. Dallas (Saturday)

Tired Team: None

 

Notes

Tyson Barrie missed Thursday’s game against Detroit with a hip injury, allowing Stefan Elliott to make his seasonal debut. Barrie leads the Avs with 25 assists. For all the complaints that Jarome Iginla was done earlier in the season, he certainly has bounced back as he leads the Avs in goals with 16 and is second to only Alex Tanguay in points with 33. Look for a big comeback season in 2015-16 from Nathan MacKinnon who has only nine goals and 29 points in 52 games. Cody McLeod hit the 100 penalty minute mark and is well ahead of Gabriel Landeskog who is second on the Avalanche with 46.

 

COLUMBUS

 

Games this week

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

 

Rested Team: None

Tired Team: @ New York Islanders (Saturday)

 

Notes

Ryan Murray picked up an assist in his first game back since November 1 last season and is worth looking at in keeper leagues as he was drafted second overall in the 2012 Draft. The Blue Jackets currently have nine defensemen on the team so Jordan Leopold is seeing some time at forward.  Kevin Connauton is also seeing fourth line action and played with Mark Letestu and Jared Boll on Tuesday. Letestu is slated to become a UFA at the end of the season and he could be dealt before or at the trade deadline, if the two sides cannot agree on a new contract. Ryan Johansen has only two points (both goals) in his last six games.

 

DALLAS

 

Games this week

@ Boston, vs. Florida, @ Colorado

 

Rested Team: vs. Florida (Friday)

Tired Team: @ Colorado (Saturday)

 

Notes

The Stars sent back up goalie Anders Lindback to the minors for a conditioning stint and brought up Jussi Rynnas. Kari Lehtonen continues to be the number one netminder in Dallas. Erik Cole scored in his return to action after he missed three games with an upper body injury. Antoine Roussel has only a goal and an assist in his last 11 games. He does have 13 penalty minutes, raising his total to 97 with nine coming in his last three games. John Klingberg has 25 points including nine goals in 37 games to lead all Stars defensemen. He has been especially hot in his last 10 games with five goals and 12 points.

 

DETROIT

 

Games this week

@ Pittsburgh, vs. Winnipeg

 

Rested Team: None

Tired Team: None

 

Notes

If you picked up Petr Mrazek when the Red Wings recalled him, you made a nice pickup as he is 12-4-1 this season with a 2.50 GAA and a .912 save percentage. It may not last much longer with Jonas Gustavsson just recalled and Jimmy Howard due back this week. Justin Abdelkader now has 12 goals this season with four on the power play. Johan Franzen has missed his last 11 games with a concussion and there is no timetable for his return. Jonathan Ericsson and Kyle Quincey lead the Red Wings with 45 penalty minutes while Abdelkader and Tomas Jurco are tied for top spot with a plus-eight rating.

 

EDMONTON

 

Games this week

@ New Jersey, @ New York Islanders, @ Montreal, @ Ottawa

 

Rested Team: None

Tired Team: @ New York Islanders (Tuesday)

Notes

The Oilers play all four games on the road, including three in four nights, so expect to see Viktor Fasth split the net with Ben Scrivens. Fasth has played in five of the Oilers last seven games and is 3-2 in that span, giving up 14 goals on 153 shots. They are in the midst of a six game road trip that finishes in Winnipeg on February 16. Taylor Hall returned from a leg injury on Monday only to re-injure it and now he once again is day-to-day. Benoit Pouliot took a puck off his foot on Monday and missed Wednesday’s game as well. Jordan Eberle has 33 points in 51 games this season but has five goals and eight points in his last 10 contests.

 

FLORIDA

 

Games this week

vs. Anaheim, @ Minnesota, @ Dallas, vs. St. Louis

 

Rested Team: None

Tired Team: @ Dallas (Friday)

 

Notes

The Panthers play three games in four nights as part of its four game week. Roberto Luongo should see most of the action but Al Montoya could start one game. Luongo beat the Kings on Thursday for only his second win in the last nine games. Brandon Pirri is red hot with six goals and an assist in his past seven games. The amazing thing is that he has not scored more than one goal in any game after going the previous 15 games with nary a goal.  Brad Boyes has four assists in his last five games and now has 10 goals and 24 points in 47 matches.

 

LOS ANGELES

 

Games this week

@ Columbus, vs. Calgary, vs. Washington

 

Rested Team: None

Tired Team: None

 

Notes

Jonathan Quick has certainly been a major reason why the Kings are struggling this season to make the playoffs as he is 17-15-10 with a 2.52 GAA and a .909 save percentage. The Kings are technically 12th in the West although they are tied for 10th in points with 54. Quick had off-season wrist surgery and that may be the reason he is having an off-year. Drew Doughty said that the Kings are not panicking, but are now five points out of a playoff spot and lose all the tie-breakers thus far as they have lost 10 of their last 12. Kyle Clifford and Jarret Stoll lead the team in penalty minutes with 50.

 

MINNESOTA

 

Games this week

vs. Vancouver, @ Winnipeg, vs. Florida, vs. Carolina

 

Rested Team: None

Tired Team: @ Winnipeg (Tuesday)

 

Notes

Devan Dubnyk has been outstanding since his trade from Arizona last month and has been a major reason the Wild have put themselves back in the playoff race as he is 6-1 with three shutouts while giving up only 11 goals in the seven contests. Minnesota plays three games in four nights as part of their four game week so Dubnyk should play at least three times with Darcy Kuemper or Niklas Backstrom seeing one game. Matt Cooke may need season-ending sports hernia surgery. Jason Zucker has been a pleasant surprise with 18 goals this season, although he has only five helpers. Ryan Suter played without missing a game, despite a lower body injury.    

 

MONTREAL

           

Games this week

vs. Philadelphia, vs. Edmonton, vs. Toronto

 

Rested Team: None

Tired Team: None

 

Notes

The Canadiens play 23 games in the next six weeks including four back-to-back sets of games so do not be surprised if Dustin Tokarski starts to see more action in goal with Carey Price getting extra time off.  Price was named the first star of the week as he was 3-0 with a pair of shutouts and a .980 save percentage. Coach Michel Therrien reunited Max Pacioretty with David Desharnais on Tuesday and it worked out beautifully as Desharnais lit the lamp and added an assist in a 3-2 loss to lowly Buffalo.  Alex Galchenyuk is second in Montreal scoring to Pacioretty as Galchenyuk has 34 points including 15 goals.

  

NASHVILLE

 

Games this week

vs. Tampa Bay, vs. Winnipeg, vs. New Jersey

 

Rested Team: None

Tired Team: vs. New Jersey (Saturday)

 

Notes

Pekka Rinne returned to action on Thursday after missing over three weeks of action with a knee injury and although he gave up four goals on only 25 shots, the Predators have to be thrilled that their netminder is back. He is 27-9-2 with a 2.02 GAA and a .929 save percentage. It’s hard to believe that he still leads the NHL in wins despite missing the three-plus weeks and his save percentage and GAA are both second best in the NHL. Seth Jones continues to sparkle of late as he has two goals and seven points in his last 10 games. He is going to be a star. Mike Fisher was held scoreless on Thursday but had six goals and 11 points in his previous nine games.

 

NEW JERSEY

 

Games this week

vs. Edmonton, @ Chicago, @ Nashville

 

Rested Team: @ Nashville (Saturday)

Tired Team: None

 

Notes

Michael Cammalleri has 17 goals including seven that have been game winners, to tie Alex Ovechkin, Matt Beleskey and Oliver Ekman-Larsson for the NHL lead. Cory Schneider continues to impress on a bad New Jersey team as his peripherals of a 2.33 GAA and .922 save percentage show him to be much better than his 18-19-5 record. Backup Keith Kinkaid gave up one goal to Florida on January 31, impressing Lou Lamoriello. Eric Gelinas continues to be a healthy scratch and has played only twice in the 2015 calendar year.  Adam Henrique’s 28 points are tops on the Devils this season, one ahead of Jaromir Jagr.

 

NEW YORK ISLANDERS

 

Games this week

vs. Edmonton, vs. Toronto, vs. Columbus

 

Rested Team: vs. Edmonton (Tuesday), vs. Columbus (Saturday)

Tired Team: None

 

Notes

Lubomir Visnovsky was a healthy scratch on Thursday but he still could be recovering from an upper body injury that kept him out of action from January 4-30. Anders Lee has been seeing some time on the top line with John Tavares and Josh Bailey as Kyle Okposo is out of action with a detached retina. Tavares had a great month of January and was rewarded by being named the second star as he had eight goals and eight assists in 12 games. The Islanders have the worst penalty killing team in the NHL as they are at 72.9 percent, even worse than the Sabres who are at 74.1 percent efficiency. Matt Martin has 78 penalty minutes to lead the Isles and has surprised many with seven goals.

 

NEW YORK RANGERS

 

Games this week

@ Toronto, @ Colorado, @ Arizona

 

Rested Team: None

Tired Team: @ Arizona (Saturday)

 

Notes

The Rangers are on the road for all three games this week. Henrik Lundqvist missed Thursday’s game with a sore neck and Cam Talbot played well enough in relief to get the win over the Bruins. Rick Nash is tied for the goal scoring lead with Alex Ovechkin as both have 32. Kevin Klein is still leading all Rangers blueliners with eight goals and 18 points, one point ahead of Ryan McDonagh.  Klein and Nash are tied with a plus-20 rating. Ryan Malone passed through waivers and is no longer a member of the Rangers. J.T. Miller has been a healthy scratch in three of the last four games. Late note: Pick up Cam Talbot as Lundqvist is out at least a month with the neck injury.

 

OTTAWA     

 

Games this week

@ Buffalo, vs. Pittsburgh, vs. Edmonton

 

Rested Team: vs. Pittsburgh (Thursday)

Tired Team: None

 

Notes

Chris Phillips set a Senators franchise record by playing in his 1,179th game, passing Daniel Alfredsson. Craig Anderson is out with a hand injury but faced some shots on goal in practice on Wednesday so he is nearing a return. Robin Lehner has played in his place and is 1-3 in his last four starts, giving up 10 goals on 124 shots. He is 7-10-2 this season with a 3.03 GAA and a .904 save percentage and that’s nothing to write home about. Alex Chiasson is out with an undisclosed injury that has forced him to miss the last three games. Eric Gryba has 72 penalty minutes in 48 games and has seven assists. If you are looking for a defenseman with penalty minutes, Gryba could be your man.  

 

PHILADELPHIA

 

Games this week

@ Montreal, @ Columbus, @ Buffalo

 

Rested Team: None

Tired Team: None

 

Notes

Steve Mason’s five game winning streak came to an end on Thursday as the Islanders needed seven rounds of the shootout to beat the Flyers. Mason is 11-12-7 this season with a very good 2.30 GAA and an equally as good .925 save percentage. Claude Giroux has been slumping of late with only two goals and four points in his last nine games. Linemate Jakub Voracek has been slightly better with six assists in nine games. Scott Laughton returned to the Flyers lineup on Thursday after missing seven games with a concussion. Kimmo Timonen is slated to skate at practice on Friday and still thinks he can play this season as he has been out all season with blood clots in his lungs and legs.

 

PITTSBURGH

 

Games this week

vs. Detroit, @ Ottawa, @ Chicago

 

Rested Team: None

Tired Team: @ Ottawa (Thursday)

 

Notes

Kris Letang has pushed his way into the Norris Trophy conversation as he has a goal and 13 assists in his last nine games. He has 40 points in 45 games and is second in points among blueliners as Mark Giordano has 43. David Perron has seven goals and 10 points in 13 games since the Oilers dealt him to Pittsburgh. Evgeni Malkin returned to action on Wednesday and potted his 12th of the season. Mark Arcobello got the great gig of playing alongside Malkin and Patric Hornqvist on Wednesday and chipped in with an assist. His fantasy value will jump immensely if he can remain there. Blake Comeau could return to the lineup this week as he has been out since December 22 with an injured wrist.   

 

ST. LOUIS

 

Games this week

vs. Arizona, @ Tampa Bay, @ Florida

 

Rested Team: vs. Arizona (Tuesday)

Tired Team: None

 

Notes

You have to love the play of Vladimir Tarasenko who scored his 27th of the season on Thursday. The talented winger now has 52 points which is tied for sixth best in the NHL. His plus-26 rating is fourth best in the NHL. While Jake Allen’s 2.49 GAA and .906 are run of the mill, his record of 15-5-2 is impressive. He has shown a huge improvement of late as he has won his last four games, giving up five goals on 86 shots. Brian Elliott is still getting the majority of starts but Allen is giving the Blues a good reason to go with a goaltending split. Patrik Berglund came into the NHL with high hopes for poolies but the 26-year-old has never found his place although he did come close four seasons ago as a 22-year-old with 22 goals and 52 points. He has only six goals and 16 points this season as he is now a bottom six forward for the Blues.

 

SAN JOSE

 

Games this week

vs. Calgary, vs. Washington, @ Arizona, vs. Tampa Bay

 

Rested Team: None

Tired Team: None

 

Notes

The Sharks play four games this week but not three in four nights, or even on back-to-back nights. Nevertheless, look for Alex Stalock to split the net with Antti Niemi. Niemi is 22-11-6 this season with a .915 save percentage and a 2.51 GAA.  Melker Karlsson continues to find the back of the net as the rookie has nine goals this season in 24 games. He chips in elsewhere in fantasy hockey as well as he is a plus-seven. Andrew Desjardins leads the Sharks in penalty minutes with 50 while Marc-Edouard Vlasic is a plus-15 this season. Brent Burns leads all San Jose blueliners with 11 goals and 39 points.   

 

TAMPA BAY

 

Games this week

@ Nashville, vs. St. Louis, @ San Jose

 

Rested team: None

Tired Team: None

 

Notes

Andrei Vasilevskiy’s outstanding play in the minors this season forced the Lightning to waive Evgeni Nabokov this past week and he will now back up Ben Bishop in the Tampa Bay net. Vasilevskiy stopped 33 of 36 shots on Thursday to push his record to 4-1 with a 2.01 GAA and a .932 save percentage. He will likely see action when the Lightning have back-to-back games and an occasional start here and there but don’t look for a lot of time in goal this season unless Bishop gets hurt. Cedric Paquette was the NHL’s second star of the week with five goals in three games. Brenden Morrow leads the Lightning with 45 penalty minutes while Tyler Johnson is three points clear of Steve Stamkos with 51 points. 

 

TORONTO

 

Games this week

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

 

Rested team:  None

Tired Team: None

 

Notes

The Maple Leafs continue to slump and are now in consideration for the Connor McDavid sweepstakes as they head closer and closer to the NHL basement. Toronto has not won in their last 10 games but did manage a point as they sent the January 28 game against New Jersey into a shootout before losing. Phil Kessel has only a goal and an assist in the last 10 with a minus-eight rating while linemate James van Riemsdyk isn’t much better with two goals and three points in the same span, but with a minus-10 rating. Everyone seems to be available as the trade deadline nears but I don’t think the Leafs will give up Morgan Rielly at this stage of his career.  

 

VANCOUVER

 

Games this week

@ Minnesota, @ Chicago, vs. Boston, @ Calgary

 

Rested Team: None

Tired Team: @ Calgary (Saturday)

 

Notes

The Canucks play four games this week including three games in four nights. Eddie Lack will likely get one start with Ryan Miller corralling the remainder of the action. Miller is 1-4 in his last five starts as he has given up 16 goals on 127 shots. He should turn things around but is on a downward slide at the moment. Radim Vrbata hit the 20 goal mark on Thursday and he is the only member of the Canucks who has been scoring this season as Nick Bonino and Alex Burrows are next in goals with 11. Derek Dorsett is leading the Canucks in penalty minutes with 118 and has chipped in with five goals and 14 points. Alexander Edler is a plus-five this season after going an NHL worse minus-39 last season.

 

WASHINGTON

 

Games this week

@ San Jose, @ Los Angeles, @ Anaheim

 

Rested team: None

Tired Team: @ Anaheim (Sunday)

 

Notes

The Capitals are in California all week as they play three games. Mike Green’s name is being bandied about in trade rumors but GM Brian MacLellan said that it won’t be for draft picks as that would send the wrong message to the team. Nicklas Backstrom was held scoreless on Thursday but had three goals and 12 points in his previous eight games. Aaron Volpatti played in his first game of the season on Tuesday after missing the first four months recovering from off-season neck surgery. He has no fantasy value. Braden Holtby continues to play well this season with a 2.14 GAA and a .925 save percentage as well as a 25-10-9 record. Tom Wilson has 92 penalty minutes, including 15 in his last seven games.

  

WINNIPEG

 

Games this week

vs. Minnesota, @ Nashville, @ Detroit

 

Rested team: vs. Minnesota (Tuesday)

Tired Team: None

 

Notes

The Evander Kane story keeps on getting more interesting as time goes on and I would not be surprised if he was dealt elsewhere before the start of next season, if not sooner. He was placed on the injured reserve list with an undisclosed injury but the winger skipped Tuesday’s game after he was involved in an altercation with teammate Dustin Byfuglien and others that afternoon. Byfuglien moved back to forward on Tuesday with Kane unavailable (benched is more like it) and played alongside Mark Scheifele and Mathieu Perreault. Scheifele has not found the back of the net in his last 11 games. Byfuglien has 101 penalty minutes to lead the feisty Jets.


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