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Right on Schedule: Give us a break!

by | Rotowire.com
  •  

Did you hear that? That collective sigh from the RotoWire Hockey Staff and Fantasy team owners everywhere relaxing for the first time since September. The All-Star Break brings a respite not quite as lengthy as Christmas Break to the Capitol Hill but effectively comparable in spirit. With 16 teams playing twice this week on only three game days this week, how will you set your rosters this week? While some of the teams on this list could easily be seen as an easy 'W', many teams may look to rest a goalie or a semi-healed talent, so let's have a gander at their position heading into the break.

BOS this week: @LA, vs. FLA (3-1 last week)

Milan Lucic scored twice in last Saturday's pummeling of the struggling Craig Anderson and the Colorado Avalanche. Boston (27-14-7) blue-liners have scored 14 goals in their last 11 games. Boston is a league best (+41) in GF/GA, 15-5-4 on the road, finish their quick trip out West against Los Angeles. Then head home to host the Panthers.

1st in the Northeast +3

CAL this week: vs.NAS, STL (2-1-1 last week)

Perhaps separating themselves from Edmonton, or still attempting to remain in the playoff hunt, here come the Calgary Flames. The Flames (22-21-6), overwhelmed in a very tight conference, were having a very mediocre (3-4-3) month. But since their embarrassing 6-0 home loss to the Wild last week, the Flames managed to come away with wins against the Stars and Canucks.

4th in the Northwest -18

CAR this week: vs TOR, @NYI (1-3 last week)

The 'Canes (23-19-6) will host the Maple Leafs, then head to Long Island this week. These will not be back to back, so Cam Ward could get both starts. They of course enjoy some time at home before becoming gracious hosts of the NHL All-Star Game.

4th in the Southeast -11

COL this week: vs. STL, PHO (1-2 last week)

WOW!!! "Peter The Great" making a comeback? He may be worth the pick-up in a deep league. So far this month, the Avs (24-18-6) are 2-1 in three games against Conference favorites, Vancouver and Detroit. As for the rest of the month, the Avs have managed just a 2-4-1 record against teams like The Islanders and a 5-1 loss to Nashville. It's going to be a long break if they don't take at least one game this week.

2nd in the Northwest -12

DAL this week: @VAN, vs. EDM (2-1 last week)

After winning eight road games in a row, Dallas (29-14-5) blows it in Calgary of all places. As strong as this team can look at times, there just is not enough leadership on the blue-line or certainty in ownership to remain confident they will continue their success as the second half begins.

1st in the Pacific +6

EDM this week: @PHO, DAL 5th (0-3 last week)

In a battle with New Jersey for quickest to the golf course, Edmonton’s (14-25-7) brass can at least take solace in the experience their kids are experiencing together. With Shawn Horcoff (knee) back, if the Oilers can get the goalie situation figured out, I wouldn't rule out a strong second half from these young legs. Then again, anything would be an improvement.

5th in the Northwest -21

FLA this week: @NYR, BOS (0-0-3 last week)

After tossing them out for fantasy uselessness earlier this season, it appears Florida (21-20-5) may have the most attention all of a sudden. Yes, it’s almost time to drop your back-up goalie or young-spec winger in hopes that Scott Clemmensen will bring you a fruitful second half. But more intriguing is the hockey the Panthers have been playing. After going 3-0-0 two weeks ago and 0-0-3 this past week Florida is gaining steam. Regardless of what occurs this week, several young players (i.e.Dmitry Kulikov) will get a chance to shine in the second half.

5th in the Southeast -16

LA this week: vs. BOS, SJ (1-3 last week)

If only the Kings could play all their games on Saturdays. Los Angeles (25-22-1) is 12-2-1 this season on Saturday. That is the good news. Including 3-1 this month on the sixth day of the week, but it’s every other day of the week that seems to be a problem (0-7) in January. Having lost 10 of their last 13, the Kings could very well find themselves in second to last place in the Western Conference as we head into the All-Star Break.

5th in the Pacific -12

NAS this week:@CAL, VAN (2-1 last week)

Nashville (26-15-6) will play three games in four nights on the road, including this past Sunday’s trip to Edmonton. They're on a two-game winning streak, and strong fundamental hockey has them hanging in the Central. Few teams in the league need two wins from their schedule more than the Preds this week.

2nd in the Central -6

NYI this week: @PIT, vs. CAR (1-2 last week)

There's a phenomenon going on for the New York Islanders (15-24-7), let's call 'em the M&M boys of the blue line. Milan Jurcina joined Mark Streit, Mike Mottau and Mark Eaton on the Isles injured reserve list this week. Jurcina, who began to show some spark last week, is now gone for two-to-four weeks with an upper-body injury. From the book of literal, adding insult to injury, the goalie-thirsty Islanders who placed a claim on KHL reject, Evgeni Nabokov, were reportedly snubbed by the unemployed Nabokov. In other news, RW Kyle Okposo had his first point of the season in a 5-2 win over Buffalo.

4th in the Atlantic -30

NYR this week: @WAS, vs. FLA (2-2 last week)

Fresh off a 3-2 S/O win over Atlanta, the Rangers are one of the stronger teams ravaged by injury, hoping the All-Star Break brings health and good fortune. Mats Zuccarrello (3 SO goals) continues to impress, and the last three-years of playing young defenseman is finally paying off. In the shadow of constant adversity, they have managed a respectable first half (28-19-3), even with a quiet Marian Gaborik. Either way, sooner or later, the Rangers will have to decide if they are a contender or pretender.

3rd in the Atlantic -8

PHO this week: vs. EDM, @ COL (1-3 last week)

Going into last week, the Coyotes (24-16-9) had really looked alive in the month of January. Carrying a 7-3-2 record into All-Star week, a complimenting mix of youth, veterans and role players has some heads turning. Looking past the Oilers, the Coyotes look to gain a little more momentum by beating Colorado for the second time this month.
3rd in the Pacific -6

STL this week: @COL, CAL (1-1-1 last week)

Next to Ottawa, the surprising St. Louis Blues (22-18-7) are the coldest team in Hockey. No team in the league needs two wins more than St. Louis. Granted, the Blues have had a tough schedule in January as every opponent has been arguably a quality team. Sure, T.J. Oshie is back, and the team is excited about David Backes joining Alex Steen on the first line. Bottom line, with a 7-10-4 record on the road, nothing short of two shutout wins by Jaroslav Halak will send this team to the break feeling good after the start they had.

4th in the Central -13

TOR this week: @CAR, TB (1-2 last week)

Maple Leafs fans were expecting a little more than 19-23-5, that is about the only surety in Toronto. Mike Komisarek is all over TMZ after reportedly hitting a woman in Los Angeles, and from one week to the next Francois Beauchemin and Tomas Kaberle are the targets of trade talk. Currently 12 points out of the final playoff spot in the Eastern Conference, do-or-die time is approaching for the Leafs.

4th in the Northeast -18

VAN this week: vs. DAL, NAS (0-1-3 last week)

Regardless of what a winless week may suggest, the only thing that can slow down the Canucks (29-10-9) is the All-Star Break. Even with Kevin Bieska (black eye) leaving Saturday's game against the Flames, Sami Salo is near return. Despite an uncharacteristic 0-1-3 last week, the only question mark heading into the break for Vancouver fans is will the Sedin's end up as opponents for the All-Star Game? Vancouver finishes the first half with two at Rogers Arena, where they have only been beaten three times in 22 games.

1st in the Northwest +12

WAS this week: vs. NYR, @ATL (3-0-1 last week)

It's not been a pretty month for the Washington Capitals. After beating the Penguins on New Year's Day, the Caps (27-14-8) were then shutout by the Lightning twice, and mustered only one win in two weeks against the Panthers. A weak schedule last week certainly helped, and even Alexander Ovechkin got in on the action. Ovechkin, had his first multi-goal game of the year since October 30th, netting three-goals (one EN) this past Saturday against the host Maple Leafs.

2nd in the Southeast -3

Finally, a pair in Columbus?

Columbus has rarely been known for its production on the point. With the Mike Commodore saga finally over, there's buzz in a Blue Jackets uniform, and if someone beat you to Kyle Cumiskey, check your FA for two Columbus names. Grant Clitsome (five points in five games) and Fedor Tyutin (11 points in his last 13 games).

Nationally Televised Action in EST (4-3 record this season)

VERSUS Jan. 24 -- NY Rangers at Washington, 7:30 PREDICTION: Rangers 5-3

VERSUS 25 -- Montreal at Philadelphia, 7:30 PREDICTION: 3-2 Philadelphia

VERSUS 26 -- New Jersey at Detroit, 7:30 PREDICTION: Detroit 4-3

VERSUS 28 -- NHL All-Star Player Fantasy Draft Powered by Cisco, 8:00

VERSUS 29 -- Honda NHL Skills Competition, 7:00

VERSUS 30 -- NHL All-Star Game Presented by Discover, 4:00

Full Schedule Grid

Team Away Home Total
Boston 1 1 2
Carolina 1 1 2
Calgary 0 2 2
Colorado 0 2 2
Dallas 1 1 2
Edmonton 2 0 2
Florida 2 0 2
Los Angeles 0 2 2
Nashville 2 0 2
N.Y. Islanders 1 1 2
N.Y. Rangers 1 1 2
Phoenix 1 1 2
St. Louis 2 0 2
Toronto 2 0 2
Vancouver 0 2 2
Washington 1 1 2
Anaheim 1 0 1
Atlanta 0 1 1
Buffalo 1 0 1
Chicago 0 1 1
Columbus 0 1 1
Detroit 0 1 1
Minnesota 0 1 1
Montreal 1 0 1
New Jersey 1 0 1
Ottawa 0 1 1
Philadelphia 0 1 1
Pittsburgh 0 1 1
San Jose 1 0 1
Tampa Bay 0 1 1

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- all updated in real time. Download the CBS Fantasy App.

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Player News
Antoine Roussel
Stars' Roussel Tallies Empty-Net Goal
Antoine Roussel, LW, DAL
5:49 AM
News: Antoine Roussel potted an empty-net goal -- his seventh marker of the season -- in Wednesday's 2-0 win over the Canucks.
Analysis: The Stars' resident pest now has 16 points and 50 shots to go with his 62 PIMS, making him relevant in nearly all formats that count PIM this season. Antoine Roussel has four points in his last four games after being held off the scoresheet for the previous six, so owners may want to get him back in their lineups if they haven't done so already.

Kari Lehtonen
Stars' Lehtonen Pitches Shutout Wednesday
Kari Lehtonen, G, DAL
5:40 AM
News: Kari Lehtonen stopped all 27 shots in a 2-0 shutout win over the Canucks on Wednesday. It was his second shutout of the season.
Analysis: The goose egg improves Kari Lehtonen's record to 12-7-5 on the year, although his numbers (2.97 GAA, .906 save percentage) are slightly worse than his career averages of 2.68 and .914. He's still one of the more talented goalies in the league and has a shot at becoming a top-10 fantasy netminder if the Stars can find a way to play well more consistently as the first half of the season winds down.

Eddie Lack
Canucks' Lack Allows One Goal In Loss
Eddie Lack, G, VAN
5:35 AM
News: Eddie Lack turned aside 28 of 29 shots but came away the loser as the Stars blanked the Canucks 2-0 on Wednesday. The second goal was an empty netter.
Analysis: Eddie Lack has been mediocre in relief of Ryan Miller this season, posting a 2-4-2 record with a 2.59 GAA and .916 GAA in 11 appearances. He was solid enough to deserve the win in this one, but the Stars' Kari Lehtonen's 27-save shutout thwarted all the Canucks' attempts at providing goal support for the Swede.

David Desharnais
Habs' Desharnais Adjusting
David Desharnais, C, MON
3:36 AM
News: David Desharnais, who was dropped to the third line recently, has a goal and two assists in the last two games.
Analysis: David Desharnais is adjusting to his new linemates, centering Brandon Prust and P.A. Parenteau for the time being. At some point, when Lars Eller returns from an upper-body injury, the lines may be tweaked again.

Taylor Hall
Oilers' Hall In Midst Of Cold Spell
Taylor Hall, LW, EDM
12:43 AM
News: Taylor Hall has tallied just one point in the Oilers' last seven games.
Analysis: Taylor Hall hasn't seen his shot attempts take a dramatic dip during the scoring drought, but if he's not finding the back of the net with regularity, the Oilers are in a serious trouble. It shouldn't come as much of a surprise that with Hall slumping, the Oilers haven't mustered more than two goals in any match during that seven-game stretch. The burden of carrying the Oilers for the past five seasons clearly seems to be weighing down Hall, whose name has been starting to show up in trade rumors more frequently of late.

Reilly Smith
Bruins' Smith Producing Steadily
Reilly Smith, RW, BOS
12:34 AM
News: Reilly Smith netted a goal in Tuesday's shootout loss to the Predators.
Analysis: After a meager start to the season, Reilly Smith has really clicked since joining Brad Marchand and Patrice Bergeron on the top trio, tallying four goals and two assists over the last five games. Smith's recent surge in production could make it tough on coach Claude Julien to break up the trio once David Krejci (groin) returns, which could happen as soon as Wednesday's game against the Wild.

Chris Thorburn
Jets' Thorburn Scores Goal In Win
Chris Thorburn, RW, WPG
12:30 AM
News: Chris Thorburn scored his second goal of the season in Tuesday's victory over the Sabres.
Analysis: As his two points in 31 games would suggest, Chris Thorburn isn't someone the Jets are looking to for offense most nights. Instead, he'll carry most of his value as a grinder on the checking line and a leader in the locker room.

Carl Hagelin
Rangers' Hagelin Bags Goal Tuesday
Carl Hagelin, LW, NYR
12:25 AM
News: Carl Hagelin tallied his seventh goal of the season in Tuesday's 5-2 victory over the Oilers.
Analysis: Carl Hagelin has notched goals in back-to-back contests, giving him 13 points in 29 contests this season. However, he's currently skating on the third line with Kevin Hayes and Lee Stempniak, a role that won't afford him much more than 15 minutes per night. He's a solid depth scorer for the Rangers, but fantasy owners can likely do better.

Josh Harding
No Timetable For Harding's Return From MS Setback
Josh Harding, G, MIN
12:21 AM
News: Josh Harding has yet to return to practice with Iowa teammates since being hospitalized for dehydration after playing two periods for AHL Iowa on Dec. 6, the St. Paul Pioneer Press reports. The dehydration episode was related to his multiple sclerosis.
Analysis: There's no timetable for his return and it sounds like this could be a significant setback to his multiple sclerosis issues.

Bryce Salvador
Devils' Salvador Still Not Skating
Bryce Salvador, D, NJ
12:11 AM
News: Bryce Salvador (lower body) has yet to resume skating since landing on injured reserve Nov. 17, Tom Gulitti of The Record reports.
Analysis: Bryce Salvador suggested that he's making progress, but he has yet to show anything tangible that would indicate as much. The 38-year-old is in the final year of his contract with the Devils and could be headed for retirement once the season concludes.

 
 
 
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