Week 23 (March 22-28)
Teams playing four games: Calgary, Colorado, Columbus, Detroit, Los Angeles, Montreal, New Jersey, Ottawa, Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, San Jose
Teams playing three games: Anaheim, Atlanta, Boston, Buffalo, Carolina, Chicago, Dallas, Edmonton, Florida, Minnesota, Nashville, N.Y. Islanders, N.Y. Rangers, Phoenix, St. Louis, Tampa Bay, Toronto, Vancouver, Washington
Teams playing two games: None
New Jersey Devils: Brian Rolston, who returned to the lineup Saturday against the Blues after missing one game with an injury, moved onto a line with Patrik Elias and Ilya Kovalchuk. It didn't help his scoring drought, which reached five games without a point. Rolston also has only three goals in his last 25 appearances ... Kovalchuk isn't faring much better as of late. He has gone four games without a point -- his longest slump of the season. Kovalchuk did leave the team on Sunday to be with his wife, who was giving birth via caesarian section, but he is expected to play on Tuesday against the Blue Jackets.
N.Y. Islanders: Goalie Dwayne Roloson made it through Saturday's 1-0 loss to the Kings despite being bowled into by teammate Mark Streit. However, he said he would be evaluated for possible head or neck injuries when the team returns to New York. The Islanders are already down goalie Rick DiPietro, who is still on an indefinite leave with a knee injury. If Roloson has to miss time, then Martin Biron will be asked to step up during Week 23.
N.Y. Rangers: Coach John Tortorella has opted to separate linemates Vaclav Prospal and Marian Gaborik, as he said the duo "stink right now." ... Tortorella also said he is not moving Brandon Dubinsky back to the middle of the ice despite him having success centering a line with Gaborik and Prospal earlier this season. Tortorella feels Dubinsky is better served on the wing.
Philadelphia Flyers: Philadelphia can't catch a break in net. After losing starting goalie Ray Emery to a season-ending hip injury, Michael Leighton -- Emery's replacement -- suffered a high-ankle sprain that should keep him out until the playoffs. Brian Boucher is expected to do the heavy lifting in net, unless Philadelphia makes a roster move.
Pittsburgh Penguins: Evgeni Malkin returned to the lineup on Saturday against the Hurricanes after missing two games with a foot injury. Make sure to activate the Olympian for Week 23.
Favorable matchup: Pittsburgh (@DET, @WAS, PHI, TOR). Pittsburgh has had success scoring against its Week 23 Eastern Conference foes. The Penguins average 3.50 or more goals against Washington, Philadelphia and Toronto.
Unfavorable matchup: New Jersey (CLB, NYR, @MON, @PHI). The Devils have scored once in their last two games, and they could have trouble breaking out of their slump in Week 23. New Jersey is averaging 2.60 or fewer goals against New York, Montreal and Philadelphia. It is also averaging 2.56 goals against Western Conference opponents.
Boston Bruins: Defenseman Zdeno Chara has gone seven games without a point and has one in his last nine games.
Buffalo Sabres: Jochen Hecht has a point in six of his last seven games (three goals, four assists). His 17 goals are his highest total since a career-best 22 scores in 2007-08 ... Defenseman Tyler Myers has two goals and six assists in his last six games. He has also been even or better in six of his last seven contests (plus-10). The Calder Trophy candidate has 10 goals, 40 points and a plus-12 rating in 70 games. That's unheard of production from a rookie blueliner.
Montreal Canadiens: Coach Jacques Martin expects to have Mike Cammalleri (knee) and defenseman Marc-Andre Bergeron (knee) back in the lineup during Week 23. Both players could return as early as Monday against the Senators, but Cammalleri looks more on track for Wednesday against Buffalo ... Unfortunately, the prognosis is not as good for defenseman Paul Mara, who has opted for season-ending shoulder surgery. Mara, who signed a one-year deal in the offseason, has played his last game with Montreal since the Canadiens have no intentions of bringing him back ... Scott Gomez and Brian Gionta, both Olympic snubs, have benefitted from the two-week rest. Gionta has seven goals and nine points in his last nine games, while Gomez has two goals and seven points in that span ... Benoit Pouliot has points in six of his last seven games (two goals, five assists) ... It seems Jaroslav Halak has become the Habs' De facto No. 1 goalie by racking up 13 out of a possible 14 points in his last seven appearances. Carey Price, who was widely considered the future in net for Montreal, might be on his way out of town after the season concludes.
Ottawa Senators: Milan Michalek is day to day with a left leg injury suffered on Thursday against the Thrashers. Defenseman Filip Kuba is also back on the injured list with a lower-body injury that has nagged him the last few weeks.
Toronto Maple Leafs: Luca Caputi is day to day with the flu. He has one goal and five points in nine games since coming to Toronto at the trade deadline ... Goalie Jonas Gustavsson is 5-0-0 since coach Ron Wilson put him in a rotation with goalie Jean-Sebastien Giguere.
Favorable matchup: Ottawa (@MON, PHI, @BUF, FLA). It might be tough to get behind a team that has lost five straight games and eight of nine since the Olympic break. However, Week 23 could serve as a turning point for the Senators. Ottawa is averaging 3.00 or more goals against Montreal, Philadelphia and Buffalo. The Panthers have also slipped into the bottom half of the league in defense, allowing 2.83 goals per game (19th).
Unfavorable matchup: Montreal (OTT, @BUF, FLA, NJ). The only team Montreal is averaging more than 2.20 goals against is Florida, and it still is averaging just 2.67 goals against the Panthers.
|1.||Brian Elliott, G, Senators||39|
|2.||Jussi Jokinen, LW, Hurricanes||69|
|3.||Lee Stempniak, RW, Coyotes||23|
|4.||Pekka Rinne, G, Predators||61|
|5.||Alexander Edler, D, Canucks||56|
|6.||Alexander Frolov, LW, Kings||50|
|7.||Alexei Kovalev, RW, Senators||52|
|8.||Alexei Ponikarovsky, LW, Penguins||50|
|9.||Alexander Steen, C, Blues||20|
|10.||Sami Salo, D, Canucks||41|
Atlanta Thrashers: Center Nik Antropov has totaled five goals and three assists in his last four games ... Defenseman Tobias Enstrom has five assists during a four-game point streak after going six games without a point ... Colby Armstrong has managed consecutive two-score games to bring his season goal total to 15.
Carolina Hurricanes: Goalie Manny Legace went down with a lower-body injury on Saturday against Pittsburgh. If he has to miss extended time, then Justin Peters will get most of the work in net ... Goalie Cam Ward, who has been out since Feb. 3 with a back problem, has made positive progress since the second week of March and might return in the final weeks. However, he is still too risky for Week 23 ... Defenseman Jamie McBain has one goal and three assists in three games since making his NHL debut on March 16. He has begun to see regular power-play time because of his strong offensive effort.
Florida Panthers: Nathan Horton returned to the lineup on Thursday against the Coyotes for the first time since breaking his leg on Jan. 21. He tallied a pair of assists, so feel free to put him back in Fantasy lineups.
Tampa Bay Lightning: Ryan Malone is out until at least early April following knee surgery ... Alex Tanguay was a healthy scratch for the second time this season on Saturday against the Capitals. He has no goals in his last 14 games and one in his last 21. Tanguay has been a huge free-agent disappointment in 2009-10 ... Zenon Konopka returned Saturday after missing seven games with back spasms. He wasted little time showing he was healthy, getting into his league-high 25th fight. Konopka also leads the NHL with 207 PIM ... Vincent Lecavalier has looked very good coming out of the Olympic break. He has a goal in six of his last nine games (seven total).
Washington Capitals: Two-time MVP Alex Ovechkin scored the game winner on Saturday against the Lightning in his first game back since sitting out two for a suspension. It's safe to keep him active rolling into Week 23 ... Goalie Jose Theodore is 16-0-2 in his last 18 games.
Favorable matchup: Carolina (@TB, WAS, ATL). The Hurricanes are averaging 3.60 or more goals against Washington and Atlanta. Carolina also gets to face the league's 22nd ranked defense -- Tampa Bay (3.00 GAA).
Unfavorable matchup: Florida (@TOR, @MON, @OTT). The Panthers sit 25th in road scoring, averaging 2.29 goals per game. It doesn't help Florida's cause that it isn't averaging more than 3.00 goals against any of its Week 23 opponents.
Chicago Blackhawks: It was a tough week for the Blackhawks. Not only did they learn defenseman Brian Campbell could miss up to two months with a broken clavicle, but fellow defenseman Brent Seabrook went down Wednesday with an upper-body injury. He is being listed as day to day and did practice on Friday, but coach Joel Quenneville expects him to miss some time. Seabrook is a risky play for Week 23. The Blackhawks are also down blueliner Kim Johnsson, who is day to day with a upper-body injury ... Cristobal Huet has recovered from the flu and is once again ready for active duty.
Columbus Blue Jackets: Kristian Huselius had three goals and five assists during a three-game point streak before being shut out on Saturday against the Predators. He has been on a roll since the calendar hit 2010. Huselius has nine goals and 29 points in his last 26 games.
Detroit Red Wings: Daniel Cleary is day to day with a groin injury ... Goalie Jimmy Howard has started 18 straight games and is showing no signs of fatigue. He has seven wins in 10 March starts.
Nashville Predators: Goalie Pekka Rinne has three shutouts in his last four wins. He has all of his career 13 shutouts since Dec. 1, 2008 ... Martin Erat has points in 10 of his last 12 games (two goals, 10 assists) ... Center Jason Arnott is day to day with an eye injury. Arnott left Saturday's game against the Blue Jackets with less than three minutes remaining with a cut above his left eye that needed stitches. However, he is a low-risk start for Week 23.
St. Louis Blues: Alexander Steen has moved into a tie for the team lead with 21 goals. He has been on a roll since the Olympic break. Steen has six goals, 12 points and a plus-5 rating in his last nine games.
Favorable matchup: St. Louis (@DET, LA, EDM). The Blues are averaging 3.00 or more goals against each of their Week 23 opponents.
Unfavorable matchup: Nashville (DAL, PHO, DET). Nashville doesn't have to leave home ice in Week 23, but that necessarily isn't a good thing. The Predators are just 22nd in home scoring (2.74 GFG). Nashville isn't scoring more than 2.25 goals against any of its Week 23 opponents.
Calgary Flames: Defenseman Mark Giordano is having his best defensive month of the season. He is up to a season-high plus-10 rating in nine March games. He also has one goal and three assists in that span.
Colorado Avalanche: Brandon Yip, who hurt his shoulder on March 1, is back up on skates. However, his timetable to return was 4-6 weeks, so we don't expect to see the rookie during Week 23 ... Milan Hejduk has scored 20 goals for 10 straight seasons ... Paul Stastny has a nine-game point streak since the Olympic break. He has five goals and 11 assists in that span ... Chris Stewart has six goals and five assists during a six-game point streak.
Edmonton Oilers: Prospect Jordan Eberle has posted two goals and five points in his first two games since being called up from his junior team to Springfield of the AHL. In 11 career AHL games, Eberle has five goals and 14 points. There is a reason why he is considered one of the best prospects in hockey ... Goalie Devan Dubnyk finally recorded his first career NHL win on Friday against the Red Wings. It took 14 appearances, but the 23-year-old netminder finally broke his losing streak ... Since Sam Gagner has been battling a knee injury, he has been moved to the fourth line as Edmonton hopes he can regain his confidence.
Minnesota Wild: Goalie Wade Dubielewicz has been reassigned to Houston of the AHL, so that means goalie Niklas Backstrom is once again healthy. Consider him a low-risk start for Week 23 ... Minnesota has three 20-goal scorers for the first time in team history. Guillaume Latendresse leads the team with 25 goals, and he is followed by Mikko Koivu and Andrew Brunette.
Vancouver Canucks: Mikael Samuelsson, who was recently promoted to the top line after a serious post-Olympic run, will now be sidelined 2-3 weeks with an upper-body injury. Alex Burrows has since been promoted back to the top line with Daniel Sedin and Henrik Sedin.
Favorable matchup: Vancouver (@EDM, ANA, @SJ). The Northwest Division has no overwhelming favorable matchups in Week 23, so Vancouver gets the nod since it faces two teams -- Anaheim (3.00 GAA) and Edmonton (3.41) -- ranked in the bottom 10 for defense.
Unfavorable matchup: Colorado (@LA, LA, @PHO, @SJ). The Oilers don't have a favorable schedule either, but that is like shooting fish in a barrel. The Avalanche is averaging 2.33 or fewer goals against Los Angeles and Phoenix, while San Jose is seventh in defense (2.55 GAA).
Anaheim Ducks: Defenseman James Wisniewski has been suspended eight games for a hit on Blackhawks blueliner Brent Seabrook. He won't be eligible to play until April 3 at Los Angeles ... Center Ryan Getzlaf missed only one game after re-aggravating an ankle injury he sustained before the Olympic break. It appears safe to keep him active in all Fantasy formats ... Saku Koivu has two goals and six points during a three-game point streak ... Defenseman Lubomir Visnovsky has five goals and six points in his last six games ... Joffrey Lupul is back up on skates, but he remains on an indefinite leave with a back injury.
Dallas Stars: Mike Riberio has three goals and three assists in his last four games ... Jamie Benn has three goals and two assists in his last six outings ... Brad Richards has four goals and six assists in his last seven games.
Los Angeles Kings: Center Jeff Halpern, who has struggled after coming over in a deadline deal from Tampa Bay, was moved to the second line on Saturday against the Islanders. He centered a line with Alexander Frolov and Justin Williams. Coach Terry Murray is hoping to spark Halpern's game since he played with a lot of aggressive scorers in Tampa Bay and Dallas.
Phoenix Coyotes: Defenseman Mathieu Schneider is beginning to provide the boost Phoenix was hoping for when they picked him up at the trade deadline. He has three assists in his last two games and is plus-4 in four games since making his Coyotes debut ... Lee Stempniak continues to exceed expectations since his arrival in the desert. He has produced a nine-game point streak, which features nine goals, 12 points and a plus-9 rating. He also has three power-play scores.
San Jose Sharks: Goalie Evgeni Nabokov has been mired in a bit of a slump since the Olympic break. He allowed 26 goals in his first eight appearances. He went 3-5-0 with a 3.52 GAA in that span. However, coach Todd McLellan has no plans to give his netminder much rest down the stretch as he doesn't want him to be rusty come playoff time.
Favorable matchup: Los Angeles (COL, @COL, @STL, DAL). The Kings are averaging 3.00 or more goals against each of its Week 23 opponents.
Unfavorable matchup: Phoenix (@CHI, @NSH, COL). The Coyotes not only face two top 10 defenses -- Chicago (2.44 GAA) and Colorado (2.57) -- but they are averaging 2.67 or fewer goals against each Week 23 opponent.
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