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Right on Schedule: Eriksson's Star on the rise

by | Rotowire.com
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Of the four teams playing only twice this week, it seems Niklas Backstrom (3-2-2) and the Minnesota Wild (3-2-3) have the least favorable Fantasy setup, drawing only two games with Anaheim (4-2) and Detroit (5-1).

Tyler Seguin (3 goals, 6 assists, plus-7) has two goals and two assists in his last two games but Boston's week is compact. The Bruins' (3-5) week consists of a traditional home-and-home series with the Canadiens.

The NHL's only unbeaten team, Washington (7-0), plays only two games in Edmonton and Vancouver.

Meanwhile, division cellar-dwelling Calgary (2-4-1) has Colorado (6-2-0) and St. Louis (4-4-0).

The Grid

GP = Games Played
B2B = Back-to-Back games
H = Home
A = Away
GPNW = Games Played Next Week

NHL schedule

Play Like the Lotto (playing four games)

Florida (4-3) hits the road for the first three of four games this week. They announced this past Saturday that the personnel would be a bit different. Vancouver Canucks get: LW David Booth (A, minus-6), C Steve Reinprecht and a (2013) third-round draft pick. Florida Panthers get: Marco Sturm (0 points, minus-5) and Mikael Samuelsson (1 G, 2 A, plus-1). Later that night, Jose Theodore left the game (DTD) with a “cramping” issue and watched on as Jacob Markstrom earned his first NHL win, 4-2 over the Islanders. Is Kris Veesterg (4 G, 4 A, plus-2 ) available in your FA pool? He seems to be jostling himself of slumps quicker.

Columbus, the league's worst team (0-7-1), has arguably the hardest (vs. DET @BUF, CHI vs. ANH) four-game week ahead.

Ottawa, flip-flops (@CAR vs. FLA @NYR vs. TOR) during a four-game week.

Outside of Northeast-leading Toronto (5-1-1), Philadelphia enjoys a favorable schedule against Montreal (1-4-2), Winnipeg (2-4-1) and Carolina (3-3-2).

Anaheim heads to the heart of the country for four games (@CHI, MIN, NSH, CLS).

While Edmonton enjoys three games at home this week, all four Oilers' games (vs. VAN, WAS, @COL, vs. STL) look to be demanding on either goalie they may start. The NKOTB team of Hockey is fresh off a 2-0 win over travel team, the New York Rangers.

Call me a schmuck, but a draft oversight cost me Jack Johnson (3, 2, plus-4) in a deal for Semyon Varlamov. Varlamov (3-2, .936 save percentage) snagged me a shootout win (4 GA) in the goalie column Saturday. Then I called myself a schmuck as I watched Johnson break a tightly played scoreless game between the Stars and Kings. This kind of behavior could go on all season ... is there a Fantasy pill for buyer's remorse? Los Angeles (5-1-1) plays host to New Jersey, before three white jersey nights with Dallas, Phoenix, Colorado.

After a two-goal performance in Saturday's 5-4 loss to Toronto, Travis Moen (one assist) now has four goals on 12 shots in seven games. The third line nine-year veteran, entering his fourth season with the Habs is nearly halfway to breaking his career-best (11) for goals in a season. With Michael Cammalleri (two goals in five games) and the amazing Max Pacioretty (second in NHL SOG) ahead of Moen, he likely will not see an increase in ice time. Montreal will look to change their luck with three of their four at home, including the aforementioned home-and-home against Boston.

Reading Between the Lines (playing three games)

Can you imagine if James Neal (first in NHL SOG) and Jamie Benn (2 G, 5 A, plus-5) were still playing for the same team? Both Pittsburgh (@NYI vs. NYI @TOR) and Dallas (@PHO, vs. LA NJ) head into the week hoping to cement their positions as conference leaders. Although Los Angeles (5-1-1) snapped his five-game point streak, Stars leader Loui Eriksson (5 G, 2 A, plus-4) may be awakening. Mike Ribeiro (six points in 8 games) is starting off a lot like last year. Even back up, Andrew Raycroft looked good in the loss to Jonathan Quick (3 SO's in a row) and Anze Kopitar (4 G, 6 A, plus-5). If Kari Lehtonen's (6-0) back holds up for another full campaign, they may keep the steam until April.

Tobias Enstrom (G, 3 A) is officially out-producing Dustin Byfuglien (G, 2 A). Was someone saying something about switching Buff back to right-wing? Anything to get this high-draftee going. After beating (2-1) visitor Pittsburgh last week, a big risk and big reward situations is still awaiting for Ondrej Pavelec. Pavelec has a difficult (vs. NYR @PHI, TB) schedule, as his under-whelming win-less Jets offense (0-3-1) is on the road. If anyone is going to take over for this Winnipeg squad, it needs to initiated by their goalie. Later that night Pavelec (two goals on five shots) was yanked in the first period of Saturday's game against Carolina. Would this be happening in Quebec? Chris Mason anyone?

Truly, it gives me a headache trying to gauge who on a team of young Blues will take the reins of leadership. I have already stashed T.J. Oshie (G, 3 A), Patrik Berglund (2 G, 2 A) and Alex Steen (3 G, 3 A) with late draft-picks and it's beginning to yield a few points. Alex Steen has a point in six of his eight games this season. But it was Matt D'Agostini (4 G, A, plus-7) who invaded the slot for an O.T. game-winner against Carolina this past Friday. Oshie scored his first goal of the season as St. Louis 4-2 in Philadelphia the following night. St. Louis endures a three-game road-trip against the mediocre Canucks, Flames and Oilers.

A goal, three assists and 11 shots on goal isn't exactly living up to the hype for Matt Duchene. But the Avs may have staying power nonetheless. Kyle Quincey (G, 3 A, 25 SOG) continues his productive way return to the lineup. The Avs have an interesting (@CGY, vs. EDM, LA) schedule ahead.

San Jose's Logan Couture scored his first goal in a 4-2 road win against Boston. Will Joe Pavelski, two goals, two assists, plus-4 in the last two games, continue his uptick on the road versus the Predators, Red Wings and Islanders?

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Player News
Adam Clendening
Canucks' Clendening To Debut Sunday
Adam Clendening, D, VAN
2/1/2015
News: Adam Clendening will make his Canucks debut Sunday against the Wild, Elliott Pap of the Vancouver Sun reports.
Analysis: The Canucks were motivated to acquire the young blueliner from the Blackhawks. after Kevin Bieksa (hand) was ruled out for 6-to-8 weeks. Adam Clendening will immediately assume a spot on the club's third pairing, joining Luca Sbisa. While he won't eat up all of Bieksa's 21:16 average TOI, Clendening should slot in on the second power-play unit, displacing Yannick Weber. The rearguard lacks much experience at the NHL level, but did show a dash of offensive potential during his four-game stint with the Blackhawks earlier in the season, tallying a goal and an assist.

Derek Dorsett
Canucks' Dorsett Returns To Practice
Derek Dorsett, RW, VAN
2/1/2015
News: Derek Dorsett (neck) took part in Saturday's practice, Jon Abbott of TSN Radio Vancouver reports.
Analysis: Derek Dorsett appeared to be a full participant in his first practice since suffering the injury Wednesday against the Ducks, taking part in battle drills with the team's other healthy skaters. Coach Willie Desjardins indicated Dorsett will be a possible lineup option for Sunday's game against the Wild, but his status likely won't be known until the Canucks hold pregame warmups.

Alex Tanguay
Bruised Hand Knocks Avs' Tanguay Out Of Practice
Alex Tanguay, LW, COL
2/1/2015
News: Alex Tanguay missed Saturday's practice due to a bruised hand, Mike Chambers of the Denver Post reports.
Analysis: Alex Tanguay suffered the injury in Friday's game against Nashville, when a slap shot from Seth Jones ricocheted off his hand. He is expected to resume practicing with the team Monday, which would put him on track to play Tuesday against the Stars.

Martin Hanzal
Coyotes' Hanzal Has Upper-Body Injury
Martin Hanzal, C, ARI
2/1/2015
News: The Coyotes announced prior to Saturday's game against the Senators that Martin Hanzal is day-to-day with an upper-body injury, Sarah McLellan of the Arizona Republic reports.
Analysis: Martin Hanzal's injury was deemed "minor" by coach Dave Tippett on Friday, and the day-to-day designation would seem to verify that's indeed the case. The Coyotes will check in on his condition Sunday morning before deciding if he'll be available for the matinee with the Canadiens.

Colin McDonald
Isles Reassign McDonald
Colin McDonald, RW, NYI
2/1/2015
News: Colin McDonald was reassigned to AHL Bridgeport prior to Saturday's game against the Red Wings, Arthur Staple of Newsday reports.
Analysis: Colin McDonald was strictly considered an emergency option Saturday while Casey Cizikas contended with a foot injury. After Cizikas was able to skate during the warmup without incident, McDonald's services were no longer needed by the Islanders.

Tyler Kennedy
Sharks' Kennedy Gets In A Skate Saturday
Tyler Kennedy, C, SJ
2/1/2015
News: Tyler Kennedy (lower body) was able to take part in Saturday's morning skate, but won't be a lineup option for the Sharks' tilt with the Blackhawks, David Pollak of the San Jose Mercury News reports.
Analysis: Tyler Kennedy is reportedly dealing with muscle spasms in the lower-body injury, the fourth unique ailment he's had to deal with this season. The winger declined to put an estimate on a potential return date, but if he continues to practice without much pain over the next couple of days, he could be ready to go for Monday's match against Edmonton.

Nikita Nikitin
Oilers' Nikitin Ruled Out 4-6 Weeks
Nikita Nikitin, D, EDM
2/1/2015
News: Nikita Nikitin (shoulder) was officially ruled out for 4-to-6 weeks Saturday, Jack Michaels of the Oilers Radio Network reports.
Analysis: The Oilers will more than likely place Nikita Nikitin on injured reserve in the coming days while he contends with the long-term injury. His absence should go relatively unnoticed in the fantasy realm, as eight points and a minus-9 rating in 34 games don't exactly scream "roster me." Keith Aulie looks to be Niktin's primary replacement on the Oilers' third defensive pairing.

Ben Scrivens
Oilers' Scrivens Garners Nod Saturday
Ben Scrivens, G, EDM
2/1/2015
News: Ben Scrivens will be in the cage for Saturday's game against the Flames, Jack Michaels of the Oilers Radio Network reports.
Analysis: After a capable showing Thursday against the Sabres during which he allowed two goals on 20 shots, Ben Scrivens will earn a second consecutive nod. The Oilers have been playing better hockey since the calendar turned to 2015, but it's still difficult to count on Scrivens for wins against the NHL's elite teams, and even middle-of-the-pack squads like the Flames. Scrivens' value is further hindered by the Oilers seemingly adopting a timeshare in goal, as Viktor Fasth has kept his name salient in the battle for starting duties.

Brett Ritchie
Stars' Ritchie To Sit Again Saturday
Brett Ritchie, RW, DAL
2/1/2015
News: Brett Ritchie will be held out of Saturday's game against the Coyotes while he continues to nurse an undisclosed injury, Mike Heika of the Dallas Morning News reports.
Analysis: While the Stars decided to activate Brett Ritchie from injured reserve Wednesday, his unavailability in the team's subsequent two games suggests he's not feeling 100 percent just yet. His next chance to play will come Tuesday against the Avalanche.

Erik Cole
Stars' Cole Out Again Saturday
Erik Cole, RW, DAL
2/1/2015
News: Erik Cole (upper body) will not play Saturday against the Jets, Mike Heika of the Dallas Morning News reports.
Analysis: Erik Cole will miss his third straight game due to the injury. He's been able to practice the last few days, so he'll remain in the day-to-day camp for the time being, with a return to action perhaps coming next week.

 
 
 
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