Week 9 (Nov. 30-Dec. 6)
Teams playing four games: Anaheim, Colorado, Columbus, Detroit, Florida, Nashville, Ottawa, Tampa Bay, Toronto
Teams playing three games: Atlanta, Boston, Buffalo, Calgary, Chicago, Dallas, Los Angeles, Minnesota, Montreal, New Jersey, N.Y. Islanders, Pittsburgh, San Jose, St. Louis, Vancouver, Washington
Teams playing two games: Carolina, Edmonton, N.Y. Islanders, Philadelphia, Phoenix
New Jersey Devils: Tough break -- literally -- for forward David Clarkson. He will miss 4-6 weeks after suffering a fractured ankle on Friday as a result of stopping a slap shot from Zdeno Chara. Clarkson has been one of the surprise stories in Fantasy since he is off to such a great start under first-year coach Jacques Lemaire ... Defenseman Johnny Oduya (lower body) is expected to practice Monday, but he remains a risky start for Week 9 ... Zach Parise has scored a goal in eight of his last 10 games. He has nine goals and six assists during a career-high 10-game point streak ... Patrik Elias is finally up to his old tricks after missing the first month recovering from groin surgery. Elias has three goals and seven assists in his last six games. He has three multi-point games in that span.
N.Y. Islanders: It seems all it took was a benching from coach Scott Gordon to get second-year center Josh Bailey on a roll. He has scored in four of his last six games since Gordon benched the 2008 first-round pick on Nov. 13 against Carolina.
N.Y. Rangers: Defenseman Wade Redden could be out until late in Week 9 with a shoulder injury. It's best to keep him reserved for the upcoming scoring period. Prospect Bobby Sanguinetti is up from Hartford of the AHL to fill in for Redden ... Ales Kotalik was back in the lineup on Friday against the Lightning after missing one game with a chest injury. It's safe to keep him active in Fantasy.
Philadelphia Flyers: Danny Briere returned from a two-game suspension on Saturday against Atlanta, so it is safe to keep him active in Fantasy.
Pittsburgh Penguins: The Penguins got some huge news on Saturday when defensemen Alex Goligoski (lower body) and Kris Letang (shoulder) returned to the lineup against the Rangers. Fantasy owners should feel free to start both players for Week 9. They are viable Fantasy starts when healthy.
Favorable matchup: New Jersey (VAN, TB, DET). The Devils have been very good at home lately. They went 6-0 at the Prudential Center in November and averaged 3.67 goals per game in that span.
Unfavorable matchup: Pittsburgh (@NYR, COL, CHI). The Penguins have their work cut out for them in Week 9 as they might have to face three of the NHL's top goalies in Henrik Lundqvist, Craig Anderson and Cristobal Huet.
|1.||Brian Elliott, G, OTT||20|
|2.||Anton Stralman, D, CLB||18|
|3.||Niklas Hagman, LW, TOR||17|
|4.||Tuukka Rask, G, BOS||13|
|5.||Stephane Robidas, D, DAL||11|
|6.||Filip Kuba, D, OTT||10|
|7.||Tobias Enstrom, D, ATL||9|
|8.||Kristian Huselius, LW, CLB||9|
|9.||Nathan Horton, C, FLA||8|
|10.||Maxim Afinogenov, RW, ATL||8|
Boston Bruins: It didn't take Milan Lucic long to make his way back to injured reserve. Lucic will miss at least a month with a sprained ankle suffered Wednesday against the Wild. The injury happened just four games after Lucic returned from a broken finger that kept him sidelined more than a month ... Goalie Tim Thomas finally returned to action on Saturday against the Senators after missing more than a week with a sore right hand. It's safe to start him for Week 9. Backup Tuukka Rask was 4-1-1 in Thomas' absence ... Center Marc Savard has two assists but no goals in his first three games back after missing 15 games with a broken left foot.
Buffalo Sabres: Defenseman Craig Rivet is day to day with an ankle/knee injury. Coach Lindy Ruff said the injury is not as serious as first thought, but Rivet is still not a recommended Fantasy option for Week 9 ... Center Tim Connolly totaled two goals and two assists on Friday against the Flyers. He snapped a 12-game scoring slump. Connolly also had just two points in his previous six games. He leads Buffalo with 21 points.
Montreal Canadiens: Defenseman Jaroslav Spacek is day to day with a foot injury. He is wearing a protective boot on his injured foot ... Center Scott Gomez was hoping to return from a groin injury on Saturday against the Capitals, but he was unable to play. Gomez is on the verge of returning, but there remains some risk to starting him in Week 9 ... Andrei Kostitsyn is on crutches with an undisclosed lower-body injury, so he is looking like a risky start for Week 9. The injury comes at a bad time since Kostitsyn had a four-game point streak since moving to the top line with Tomas Plekanec and Mike Cammalleri ... The Canadiens acquired Benoit Pouliot in a trade with Minnesota. They are really hoping to jump start Pouliot's career. He was taken fourth overall by the Wild in the 2005 NHL draft, but he has developed very slowly.
Ottawa Senators: Goalie Pascal Leclaire will miss about a month of action recovering from a broken cheekbone. Leclaire sustained the injury as he was hit by an errant puck on the bench. He wasn't playing that game because of a lower-body injury. Brian Elliott will now serve as the Senators' starting goalie ... Enforcer Chris Neil is expected to miss two weeks with a knee injury, so keep him reserved through Week 9 ... Center Mike Fisher returned to action on Saturday against the Bruins after missing two games with an undisclosed injury. It's safe to keep him active for Week 9 ... Left wing Milan Michalek has scored in four of his last six games and leads Ottawa with 11 scores ... Defenseman Erik Karlsson is back up in the NHL after being sent to Binghamton (AHL) to work on his game. Karlsson had 11 assists in 12 games for Binghamton and Ottawa is hoping he can translate that same kind of success to the NHL. The pressure is on the 2008 first-round pick.
Toronto Maple Leafs: Goalie Vesa Toskala is back on injured reserve, but this time with a groin injury. He missed time in October because of a knee ailment. Jonas Gustavsson will continue to start in Toskala's absence ... Defenseman Mike Komisarek, who has been out since Nov. 10 with a quad injury, is expected to return either Monday against the Sabres or Tuesday against the Canadiens' Niklas Hagman's recent play has prompted some teams to call the Maple Leafs and inquire about a trade for the veteran forward. Hagman, who leads Toronto with 13 goals, has scored twice in each of his last two games and has seven goals in his last six games. It will be interesting to see if the Maple Leafs choose to trade the Finnish forward ... Trying to jump start Jason Blake's season, coach Ron Wilson has demoted the left winger to the fourth line. Wilson used a similar move (benching Blake) last season to snap the one-time 40-goal scorer out of a slump, and it worked as Blake totaled 53 points in his last 59 games. Here is hoping that lightning strikes twice.
Favorable matchup: Buffalo (@TOR, MON, NYR). The Sabres play three teams in the bottom half of the league for defense in Week 9. All three opponents are allowing 2.84 or more goals per game.
Unfavorable matchup: Ottawa (@SJ, @LA, @PHO, @ANA). The Senators do have a four-game slate in Week 9; however, all four games are on the road. Ottawa is 28th in road GFA (2.14) and could stay near the bottom of the league since they face a pair of top 10 defenses in San Jose and Phoenix.
|1.||Joe Pavelski, C, Sharks||56|
|2.||Jamie Langenbrunner, RW, Devils||61|
|3.||Jean-Sebastien Giguere, G, Ducks||23|
|4.||Tim Connolly, C, Sabres||47|
|5.||Stephen Weiss, C, Panthers||34|
|6.||James Wisniewski, D, Ducks||43|
|7.||Nik Antropov, C, Thrashers||50|
|8.||Anton Stralman, D, Blue Jackets||47|
|9.||Patrice Bergeron, C, Bruins||51|
|10.||Jose Theodore, G, Capitals||18|
Atlanta Thrashers: Ilya Kovalchuk gave the Atlanta coaching staff a scare on Friday against Carolina after he rolled on the ice in pain following a collision with Niclas Wallin. Kovalchuk limped off the ice but returned later to score his 14th goal. Kovalchuk is still not 100 percent recovered from a broken foot but you can't tell from his numbers. It's safe to keep him active for Week 9 ... Maxim Afinogenov has seven goals and 15 points in his last 11 games ... Defenseman Tobias Enstrom has seven points and a plus-7 rating in his last five games.
Carolina Hurricanes: Center Eric Staal is back in the lineup after missing 10 games with an upper-body injury. He is a safe play Week 9 ... Goalie Cam Ward (leg) is hoping to return by the end of the upcoming scoring period, but he is still not a recommended start. But now is the time to start adding him in Fantasy.
Florida Panthers: Cory Stillman could miss up to a month with a knee injury. Fortunately, he won't need to have surgery ... The Panthers have sent struggling defenseman Ville Koistinen to Rochester of the AHL after he cleared waivers. Koistinen was one of the team's key offseason signings and was expected to provide an offensive presence from the blue line. Unfortunately, Koistinen spent most of his time as a fourth-line forward and still struggled to put points on the board. It didn't help his cause that 2009 first-round pick Dmitry Kulikov, who scored twice on Friday against the Maple Leafs, made the team out of training camp as the team's sixth blueliner ... First-line center Stephen Weiss has three goals and six assists in his last eight games.
Tampa Bay Lightning: Defenseman Mattias Ohlund remains day to day with a foot injury, although it is believed he is close to playing ... Defenseman Kurtis Foster has three goals and two assists in his last four games, accounting for all his points in 14 appearances this season ... Martin St. Louis has a pair of three-assist performances during a six-game point streak. He has two goals and eight assists in all during that span.
Washington Capitals: Alexander Semin (wrist) is not on the team's current road trip that ends Monday in Carolina. The earliest Semin might play is at home on Thursday against the Panthers, but he is still a risky start for Week 9.
Favorable matchup: Washington (@CAR, FLA, @PHI). Up on the Week 9 docket for the Capitals are two teams in the bottom five for defense -- Carolina (3.56 GAA) and Florida (3.17 GAA). Washington is also averaging 5.50 goals per game against Florida and 4.50 goals against Philadelphia.
Unfavorable matchup: Carolina (WAS, VAN). The Hurricanes are home for a pair of games in Week 9, but they don't face a team allowing more than 2.84 goals per game. Carolina is also averaging only 2.77 goals per game at the RBC Center.
Chicago Blackhawks: Goalie Cristobal Huet had his seven-game win streak snapped on Friday against the Ducks. Huet has been outstanding in November with a 7-2-0 record and 2.10 GAA. He has emerged as a low-end No. 1 Fantasy goalie ... Right wing Marian Hossa finally made his season debut on Wednesday against the Sharks after sitting out nearly the first two months of the season recovering from shoulder surgery. Hossa made a spectacular Chicago debut with two goals and is a must-start option again heading into Week 9.
Columbus Blue Jackets: Kristian Huselius has been on top of his game in November. He has five goals and nine points in eight games. He had those same totals in 12 October games. Huselius did miss some time recently with an arm injury, but he has bounced back and is playing at 100 percent.
Detroit Red Wings: Defenseman Niklas Kronwall will miss 4-8 weeks with a sprained ligament in his left knee. Jonathan Ericsson and Brad Stuart could benefit from Kronwall's absence ... Injured forward Johan Franzen, who is expected to miss most of the season recovering from knee surgery, is hoping to play in the Olympics. However, Franzen admitted he will need to play at least five games with the Red Wings before even considering suiting up for Team Sweden ... A lot of the Red Wings' supporting cast is mired in scoring slumps. Todd Bertuzzi has no points in six games and only nine points in 24 games. Tomas Holmstrom has no points in seven games and only one goal in his last 11 appearances. Finally, Ville Leino is still struggling despite a move to a line with Henrik Zetterberg. He has only three points in his last 19 games.
Nashville Predators: Goalie Pekka Rinne had a seven-game win streak snapped on Friday against the Blues. He has lost just twice in his last 13 appearances and has been as good in November as Cristobal Huet. Rinne is 7-2-0 with a 2.18 GAA in nine outings ... David Legwand is enjoying life as the team's second-line center. He has four goals and five assists in his last eight games.
St. Louis Blues: Forward Paul Kariya ended a 15-game scoreless drought with his fifth goal of the season on Friday against Nashville ... Defenseman Erik Johnson has increased his team-leading point total to 17 with a five-game point streak (two goals, three assists).
Favorable matchup: Columbus (STL, @CHI, TOR, COL). It could be an interesting week for the Blue Jackets since they face a pair of top five defenses to being Week 9, but then wrap up against two teams in the bottom 10 for defense.
Unfavorable matchup: St. Louis (@CLB, @SJ, @LA). The Blues rank 11th in road GFA (2.89), but have scored a combined two goals against San Jose and Los Angeles this season. They have yet to face Columbus.
Calgary Flames: Injured forward Rene Bourque (undisclosed) skated on Friday morning and is expected to play within the next week. Still, Bourque remains an injury-risk start for the upcoming scoring period because he could be a little rusty once he is back in the lineup ... Olli Jokinen has continued his season turnaround in November. He is up to two goals and 11 points in his last 12 games.
Colorado Avalanche: Milan Hejduk injured his knee on Friday against the Wild. The team is awaiting news on the extent of the damage, but Hejduk could end up as a risky start for Week 9 and maybe longer than that ... The Avalanche have placed defenseman Tom Preissing on waivers. Since returning from knee surgery in mid-November, Preissing has played just four games and Colorado has been looking to dump his salary since they have a pretty stable blue line ... Despite allowing 17 goals in his last four games, coach Joe Sacco is not worried about goalie Craig Anderson wearing down and has been pleased with his effort. Although, Anderson is taking a plunge down the Fantasy rankings due to a poor November and is playing more like a No. 2 Fantasy goalie.
Edmonton Oilers: Edmonton received some unpleasant news Friday when it was revealed that top-line forward Ales Hemsky would miss the rest of the season due to shoulder surgery. It's also a tough loss for Fantasy owners, who lose a high-end option ... Goalie Nikolai Khabibulin has been placed on injured reserve with a sore back, but there is a chance he returns in Week 9. Still, he is an injury-risk start.
Minnesota Wild: The Wild placed both right wing Martin Havlat (hamstring) and defenseman Brent Burns (concussion) on injured reserve Friday. Burns is unlikely to play in Week 9, but there is a chance Havlat will be in uniform. He still remains an injury-risk start ... Chuck Kobasew moved to the team's top line on Friday against the Avalanche because Antti Miettinen was still out with the flu. Kobasew responded with a hat trick playing alongside Mikko Koivu and Andrew Brunette.
Vancouver Canucks: Pavol Demitra, who has been out all season following shoulder surgery, has resumed skating on his own, but he is at least a month away from playing in a game ... Defenseman Alexander Edler has three assists and a plus-5 rating in his last four games. Vancouver is really hoping he is ready to turn the corner ... Alexandre Burrows could also be emerging from a scoring slump with four points in his last four games ... Ryan Kesler hasn't scored in nine games. But he does have eight assists in that span, so at least he is providing something for Fantasy owners.
Favorable matchup: Colorado (@TB, @FLA, @PIT, @CLB). The Avalanche hit the road for four games in Week 9, but it is not such a bad thing. Colorado is 14th in road GFA (2.63) and will face two of the worst defenses in the NHL -- Florida (3.17 GAA) and Columbus (3.46 GAA) -- in the upcoming scoring period.
Unfavorable matchup: Calgary (@NSH, @PHO, @SJ). The Flames are a top 10 offense on the road (2.92), but they will definitely be tested in Week 9 as all three of their opponents rank in the top 10 for defense. The Flames' opponents are allowing 2.59 goal or less per game.
Anaheim Ducks: Joffrey Lupul has been bothered by back spasms all season and he is finally getting a chance to rest. There is no timetable for Lupul's return despite his day to day status. Keep him reserved for Week 9 ... Goalie Jean-Sebastien Giguere is on a three-game winning streak. In that span, he has one shutout, a .960 save percentage and 1.30 GAA. He is trying to separate himself from Jonas Hiller and become the Ducks' top goalie again ... Defenseman Nick Boynton, who was a healthy scratch at times in October, is making the most of his time now that he is in the team's blue-line rotation. Boynton has one goal and four assists in his last eight games ... Corey Perry has extended his career-long point streak to 17 games. He has nine goals and 14 assists in that span.
Dallas Stars: Brenden Morrow is trying to emerge from his November slump. He has two goals and one assist during a three-game point streak after totaling only one goal and no assists in his previous 10 games. It should help Morrow that he has been moved back to a scoring line with Mike Ribeiro.
Los Angeles Kings: Center Jarret Stoll returned to the lineup on Saturday against Chicago after missing two games with a lower-body injury ... Ryan Smyth (upper body) will skate on Monday, but he is still not expected to return until mid-December ... Teddy Purcell has already been bumped off the team's top line after two games. Alexander Frolov has once again been promoted alongside Anze Kopitar and Justin Williams ... Due to a rash of injuries, the Kings chose to sign 2009 first-round pick Brayden Schenn to a one-day amateur tryout. While he impressed coach Terry Murray in a game against the Canucks, the Kings aren't ready to promote Schenn on a full-time basis and he has been shipped back to his junior club.
Phoenix Coyotes: While the Coyotes recalled one of their 2008 first-round picks -- Mikkel Boedker -- from San Antonio of the AHL on Friday, they lost another one -- Viktor Tikhonov -- to Russia. The Coyotes have loaned the struggling forward to the KHL, meaning Tikhonov can't play in the NHL until next season. He is the second 2008 first-round pick in the last few weeks to jump to the KHL. The other was Blue Jackets forward Nikita Filatov ... Defenseman Ed Jovanovski returned to the lineup on Wednesday against the Oilers after missing eight games with a lower-body injury. Unfortunately, he left Friday's game against Dallas with another lower-body injury and is back on the day-to-day watch.
San Jose Sharks: Patrick Marleau had his third career hat trick on Friday against the Oilers and set a franchise record with his 35th career multi-goal game ... Center Joe Thornton had three more assists Friday and is up to 29 on the season. He also has three goals and 11 assists during a seven-game point streak ... Ryane Clowe's awful start to the season is a distant memory. After scoring Friday, he now has five goals and 15 points in his last 14 games ... Forward Devin Setoguchi (leg) is skating and traveling with the team, but he remains a risky start for Week 9 ... There is hope defenseman Rob Blake (upper body) will return within the next week, but if he is not back by Sunday against the Canucks, then he is still an injury-risk start for Week 9. But now is a good time to start adding him in Fantasy.
Favorable matchup: Anaheim (LA, @DAL, @MIN, OTT). The Ducks don't face a defense ranked higher than 15th in Week 9. Each team is allowing 2.78 or more goals per game.
Unfavorable matchup: Phoenix (CGY, OTT). The Coyotes have just two games in Week 9, and if you think playing on home ice is a comfort, it is not. Phoenix is 20th in home GFA (2.69), and they face two top 15 defenses in the upcoming scoring period.
Do you have a question for our Fantasy staff? You can e-mail us at DMFantasyPucks@cbs.com. Be sure to put Attn: Fantasy Pucks in the subject field. Please include your full name, hometown and state.