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Right on Schedule: Examining all angles for an edge

by | Rotowire.com
  •  

Yes, the trade deadline will pass on Monday and it's time to focus in on the six weeks remaining in the regular season. Though the deadline will take most of the attention on Monday, the only two games on the docket should not be a disappointment.

DAILY BREAKDOWN

CHI @ MIN - After the Sunday night showdown with Phoenix, Chicago heads to Minnesota for a hugely important match with Minnesota. The Wild are currently sixth (72 points) in the Western Conference while Chicago's, 70 points is good for ninth place. Corey Crawford and Niklas Backstrom, arguably two of the top five fantasy goalies in 2010-11 campaign, should put on a great show for the VERSUS broadcast. Chicago leads this season series 2-1.

DET @ L.A. - It may surprise you to read that the Kings (8-2 in GF/GA) are the only team to have given Detroit troubles thus far this season. The Red Wings may be without top-six winger Johan Franzen, who is due to head back to Detroit, where their first-born is expected to be delivered. Perhaps this is what Franzen (five assists in last 12 games) needs as he's been quiet since his explosive five-goal performance on the February 2. The Kings, who have a 8-1-3 February record, will put their three-game winning streak up against Detroit. Los Angeles leads this season series 2-0

No other action Monday,2.28.2011

CLB @ VAN - Scroll through the history of the Blue Jackets and you're hard-pressed to find a bigger game in their franchise history. Battered and bruised, Vancouver will host a Columbus team just three points (four spots) out of the final playoff spot in the Western Conference. One of just five straight road games against conference opponents, the Columbus Blue Jackets will sink or swim with their season starting in Vancouver on Tuesday. The Canucks are attempting to get healthy; last week they watched Sami Salo notch his first goal of the season. The simple fact of the matter is more than a few forwards are slumping currently. Ryan Kesler (two points in last seven games) is cold, and Alexandre Burrows, fresh off a 10-game point streak looks to be headed there as well. Though Mason Raymond has shown signs of awakening, the problem is consistency. Raymond, who had eight points in four February games that he managed a point. The other eight games he was just plain pointless. Did Columbus miss out on McCabe and upgrading their goalie situation? Vancouver leads this season series 1-0-1.

Other action Tuesday, 3.1.2011" |NYI@WAS|DAL@PHO|NAS@EDM|MON@ATL|CAL@STL|BUF@NYR|BOS@OTT|COL@SJ|FLA@CAR

CGY @ CHI - As mentioned before, Chicago is on the outside looking into the tight halls of the Western Conference. By the time the resurgent Flames come into town, their showdown with Minnesota will have already set in. Regardless of the outcome against the Wild, the Windy City's defending champs should take control of this game. Will the Blackhawks tie this season series and be permanently revived by the return of head coach Joel Quenville? A three-goal shutout of Nashville surely suggests such a movement. The Flames lead this season series 2-1.

Other action Wednesday, 3.2.2011: DET@ANH|TB@NJ|MIN @ NYI|PIT@TOR

STL @ WAS - With two squads capable of an offensive explosion and both with questionable goaltending situations currently, this should be a seesaw game. Despite a 2-3 record since last week's big trade, St. Louis has been carrying a much bigger stick. The three losses are more reflective of Ty Conklin's (see More Notes) performance as of late. Back-up rookie Ben Bishop stood in between the pipes against Edmonton and drew his first shutout (5-0) over the hapless Oilers. Todd Ford was called up from the AHL as Semyon Varlamov is currently day-to-day with a knee injury. The Caps look to Michal Neuvirth (19-10, 2.54 GAA) to take the goalie reigns from here on out. One streaky team meets another, as the Capitals (3-1 last week) will look to take hold of their playoff contention. Washington handily (4-1) took the only other meeting of this season series.

Other action on Thursday 3.3.2011: OTT@ATL|TB@BOS|BUF@CAR|MON@FLA|PHO@LA MIN@NYR|NAS@VAN|TOR@PHI|CLB@EDM| STL@WAS|DET@SJ

CLB @ CGY - Calgary was 13-3-5 heading into their Sunday night match up with St. Louis. Columbus, who has played Calgary tight (1-1-1) all season, is on a very important road-trip. There are very few distinct advantages to weigh out in this series, so perhaps basics, like face-offs (95-82 Columbus) will be the difference. Blue Jackets rookie left-winger Matt Calvert is showing signs of offensive spark (hat trick against Phoenix), having scored 13 points in 20 games since his call-up to the big show. The Flames have their own left-winger on a mission, as Niklas Hagman passed through waivers last week. He responded with this sweet move against the Sharks

Other action Friday, 3.4.2011: |CAR@CHI|NYR@OTT|PIT@NJ|DAL@ANH

DAL @ SJ - Flip the calendar back a month and it was San Jose near the cellar of the Pacific, waiting to arise from their simmer. Dallas had a steady hold of first place in the division, and only a Brad Richards drama to deal with. Since then, Dallas has lost 10 of their last 15 games, and traded away their future for the next few seasons. Sure, Alex Goligoski registered his first-goal in an important win against Nashville, but the Stars are just not as fluid without James Neal and the aforementioned concussed Richards in the lineup. San Jose went 11-2 in February and have won 14 of its last seventeen games since snapping their six-game losing streak in January. Thanks to early-season struggles, Antti Niemi's numbers (.919 SV%, 2.43 GAA) look fairly pedestrian. Don't be fooled, Niemi, who has been the definition of backbone, has started every Sharks game since January 15th. Going 14-2-1 in the last six weeks, with four games at home this week, it would behoove head coach Todd McLellan to grant Niemi a rest here soon. Don't be surprised if McLellan gives backup Carter Hutton his first NHL start this week. San Jose, is out-shooting Dallas this season 115-90 and leading the season series (1-0-2) with four points.

Other action Saturday, 3.5.2011: BUF@PHI|CHI@TOR|EDM@COL|DET@PHO|MON@TB|STL@NYI|VAN@LA|PIT@BOS|FLA@ATL

PHI @ NYR - NHL on NBC returns this week with a fine rivalry. Perhaps being spiteful of Al Montoya's success on Long Island, the Rangers picked up former Isles-legend-to-be-hopeful, defenseman Bryan McCabe. McCabe (30 points in 53 games with FLA) will gel the young-core of Rangers blue-liners suited to anchor the Broadway Blues for years to come. It's their forwards that are concerning all of a sudden, as Marian Gaborik (concussion) is day-to-day, and Ruslan Fedetenko is back to mending. Not even five minutes into his return (4:55 of TOI) against the Capitals, Fedetenko may have re-injured his shoulder. The Flyers will be a week separated from a 4-1 loss to Craig Anderson and the Ottawa Senators of all teams. The Flyers matched the Rangers, by adding defenseman Nick Boynton off of waivers from Chicago. Additionally, defenseman, Chris Pronger (24 points in 46 games) is still listed as day-to-day. Philadelphia takes a commanding 4-0 series lead into Manhattan.

Other action Sunday, 3.6.2011: BUF@MIN|WAS@FLA|NAS@CAL|VAN@ANH|NJ@NYI

TEAM(S) TO FOCUS ON

Detroit Red Wings: I hate to say it -Jimmy Howard on both of my fantasy teams- but I think Andrew Fiorentino may be right. Howard, though already a 30-win goalie this season, has shown (four of more goals allowed 15 times) signs of inefficiency this season. Luckily for my fantasy teams, the Red Wings are a mere $600,000 under the cap, and likely to not make any moves. Most position player gaps have been filled by return from injury like Mike Modano. Detroit heads out West for pretty big road trip.

Combined 6-4-1 record this week against: @L.A.,ANH, S.J., PHO

New York Islanders: As I hesitantly sneered on last week's column, Al Montoya has filled the gap left by oft-injured Rick DiPietro, further sparking an Isles team who won nine of 14 games for the month of February. Montoya, has been solid, despite a 3-2 loss to the Caps this past Saturday, in seven games played, Montoya has stopped 274 of 296 shots behind a very shaky defense on the Island. More interestingly, I picked up 2 PIM and an assist this week thanks to the American born goalie. Mark Streit has resumed non-contact practice and Travis Hamonic (owned by 20% of CBS owners) has been a big part of the Islanders resurgence in February. Hamonic has scored three goals, eight assists and 62 PIM in the last 14 games. As for The Islanders attendance issues, they apparently have an old-school resolution for that. Free tickets to the rematch with the Penguins!

Combined 2-4 record this week against: @ WAS, vs. MIN, STL, NJ

Columbus Blue Jackets

Playing an enormous schedule that could have an impact on team morale for the rest of the season, Columbus has its hands full. Their 3-3-2 combined record against their three opponents makes for a very nervous week in Ohio's state capital. Columbus did claim Buffalo waiver-wire drop defenseman, Craig Rivet, who had three points in 23 games with the Sabres. If the Jackets are to pick up a few wins this week, it will take a boost from the power play unit, who is 3-25 this season against these three Northwest division teams.

Combined 3-3-2 record this week against: @VAN, EDM, CAL

MORE NOTES

Nine teams will play four games in the next seven days ... Daily league-kids will look for goalie-points with back-ups in Buffalo, Calgary, Chicago, Detroit, Florida, Minnesota, New York (Islanders), New York (Rangers) and Vancouver ... Back-up goalie points from Ty Conklin (St. Louis), Pascal Leclaire (Ottawa) and Curtis McElhinney (Tampa Bay) will be hard to come by as all three were placed on waivers this past weekend. Droppers beware of who may claim ... The Capitals haven't won more than five games in a month since November. Washington has claimed Kings reject Marco Sturm perhaps in hopes that Ovechkin and Semin can awaken his skills one last time ... What's this? By the time this article publishes, John-Michael Liles may be donning a different sweater. Early this season, Liles (39 points) was the d-man every fantasy owner needed, on the scoreboard, every night. Since December 3rd, Liles has registered only 16 of his 39 points. Since the trade that Peter Stastny labeled an organization setback, more-importantly, since his minus-6 against Calgary, Liles has six points in the last five games. If Liles does get traded to the right team, you could see combustion. Either way, Liles plays before Mike Green ... Speaking of Green, weekly owners have a decision to make as he is headed to Calgary for a death in the family ... Looking for a right-winger? Aside from a resurrected Craig Anderson, Ottawa right-wingers are something of a hot commodity right now. Erik Condra scored his first NHL goal, while Bobby Butler (after scoring five goals in as many games) has gone two games without a goal.

NATIONALLY TELEVISED SCHEDULE IN EST

VERSUS Feb. 28 -- Chicago at Minnesota, 8:00
VERSUS Mar 1 -- Buffalo at NY Rangers, 7:00
VERSUS Mar 2 -- Pittsburgh at Toronto, 7:00
NBC Mar 6 -- Philadelphia@ NY Rangers, 12:30

Get player news notifications, manage your team and check scores
- all updated in real time. Download the CBS Fantasy App.

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Player News
Paul Stastny
Blues' Stastny (Upper Body) Out Saturday
Paul Stastny, C, STL
11/1/2014
News: Paul Stastny (upper body) will miss Saturday's game, NHL.com's Lou Korac reports.
Analysis: Paul Stastny suffered the injury Oct. 18 against the Coyotes and hasn't returned to action since. He appeared to be on track for Thursday's contest, but was ruled out in a game-time decision and now will miss Saturday as well.

Trevor Lewis
Kings Activate Lewis
Trevor Lewis, C, LA
2:45 PM
News: Trevor Lewis (upper body) has been activated from injured reserve, Helene Elliot of the LA Times reports.
Analysis: After missing the Kings' last nine games with an upper body injury, Trevor Lewis is expected to return to the team's lineup when they take on the Red Wings on Saturday night. Lewis will resume his role as a center in the Kings' bottom-six upon his return.

David Backes
Blues' Backes Questionable for Saturday's Game
David Backes, C, STL
2:06 PM
News: David Backes is questionable for the Blues' Saturday night match up with the Avalanche, Jeremy Rutherford of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports.
Analysis: David Backes is still recovering from a concussion he sustained on Tuesday night. The team will see how Backes feels tomorrow morning before making a decision on whether or not the veteran winger will suit up for the game.

Cedric Paquette
Lightning Re-assign Paquette to Syracuse
Cedric Paquette, C, TB
1:23 PM
News: The Lightning re-assigned Cedric Paquette to their AHL affiliate the Syracuse Crunch on Friday, Erik Erlendsson of The Tampa Tribune reports.
Analysis: Cedric Paquette was called up to provide some depth for the team while Ryan Callahan dealt with an injury. With Callahan expected to return for the Lightning's match up with the Capitals tomorrow night, the team no longer has a need for the young center on their NHL roster.

Michael Raffl
Four Goals In Three Games For Flyers' Raffl
Michael Raffl, LW, PHI
12:48 PM
News: Michael Raffl found the back of the net for the third consecutive game in Thursday's loss to the Lightning.
Analysis: He's got four goals on nine shots over that three-game span and six markers on the year. Michael Raffl's sky-high shooting percentage says this luck is bound to balance out, but it's hard to ignore the offensive contributions he's made early on here. The Flyers' offense has awoken, and that should only help Raffl, so he's worth a speculative add at minimum.

Jared Spurgeon
Wild's Spurgeon Exits Early Thursday
Jared Spurgeon, D, MIN
12:47 PM
News: Jared Spurgeon left Thursday's win over San Jose in the third period with an undisclosed injury after taking a hard check, the Associated Press reports.
Analysis: Between the illness that's rummaging through the locker room and injuries, the Wild are could be down four blueliners if Jared Spurgeon's injury is something to worry about. Before departing, Spurgeon skated 22:31 and had six shots on goal, but no points.

Jakub Voracek
Four Straight Two-Point Games For Flyers' Voracek
Jakub Voracek, RW, PHI
12:45 PM
News: Jakub Voracek scored a goal and added an assist Thursday against Tampa Bay, giving him two points for the fourth consecutive game.
Analysis: Yep, that's called being red-hot. Jakub Voracek has only failed to hit the scoresheet one time so far this year, and with an impressive 15 points in 10 games, it's looking like he could blow last year's career-best 62 points out of the water. He's always had point-per-game talent.

Claude Giroux
Giroux Racking Assists For Flyers
Claude Giroux, C, PHI
12:44 PM
News: Claude Giroux picked up two more assists Thursday against the Lightning, giving him 11 in just 10 games this season.
Analysis: He's also scored a pair of goals, but Claude Giroux's made his presence felt as a distributor the most. With a sparkling 47 shots on goal over 10 games, Giroux should see his scoring rate rise as his luck balances out, as his shooting percentage is less than half its career norm right now.

Ray Emery
Emery Allows Four As Flyers Fall
Ray Emery, G, PHI
12:41 PM
News: Ray Emery was scored upon four times among 32 shots in Thursday's loss to the Lightning.
Analysis: Not the shiniest outing for Ray Emery, who'd been undefeated in regulation over his first five starts of the year. Steve Mason has been abhorrent so far, so Emery has a chance to carve out a bigger role, but outings like Thursday's won't help his case.

Jonathan Toews
Toews Delivers Two Goals for 'Hawks
Jonathan Toews, C, CHI
12:38 PM
News: Jonathan Toews scored his third and fourth goals of the year Thursday in a shootout win over the Senators.
Analysis: He'd been off to a bit of a quiet start, so it's nice to see Jonathan Toews break out with his second multi-point game of the season. We know the talent is there, so assuming he stays healthy enough to play 80 games, Toews could quite conceivably exceed 70 points for the second time in his career.

 
 
 
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