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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
Travis Hamonic
Islanders' Hamonic Out Thursday
Travis Hamonic, D, NYI
8:54 AM
News: Travis Hamonic will not play in Thursday's game against the Bruins due to an upper body injury, Newsday's Arthur Staple reports.
Analysis: The extent of Travis Hamonic's injury is uncertain, but he is considered day-to-day with the setback. Lubomir Visnovsky will enter the lineup in Hamonic's place.

Chad Johnson
Islanders' Johnson Gets The Nod Thursday
Chad Johnson, G, NYI
8:51 AM
News: Chad Johnson will be in goal for Thursday's game against the Bruins.
Analysis: Fellow goaltender Jaroslav Halak was lit up for five goals in two periods in the Islanders' last game, so Chad Johnson will get the start against his former team Thursday night. Johnson gave up three goals but picked up the victory in his lone other start this season.

Alex Goligoski
Stars' Goligoski Returns To Practice
Alex Goligoski, D, DAL
8:39 AM
News: Alex Goligoski (ear) returned to practice Thursday, Mark Stepneski of the Stars' website reports.
Analysis: Alex Goligoski was able to get back on the ice Thursday after taking a day off to give his lacerated ear a chance to heal. It seems likely he will be good to go for the Stars' next game Friday against the Devils.

Martin Havlat
Devils' Havlat Sits Out Practice Thursday
Martin Havlat, RW, NJ
8:29 AM
News: Martin Havlat did not take part in Thursday's practice, The Ledger reports.
Analysis: The reason for Martin Havlat's absence was not provided, so it puts into question his availability for the Devils' next game Friday. Expect an update on his status prior to the beginning of Friday's matchup with the Stars.

Niklas Svedberg
Bruins' Svedberg Expected To Start Thursday
Niklas Svedberg, G, BOS
8:17 AM
News: Niklas Svedberg is expected to be between the pipes Thursday's game against the Islanders.
Analysis: Niklas Svedberg was the first goalie off the ice following Thursday's morning skate, which puts him on track to start Thursday night. Svedberg has shined in limited action this season, posting a 0.91 GAA by giving up just two goals in 132:18 TOI.

Jordin Tootoo
Devils' Tootoo Will Miss Next Two Games
Jordin Tootoo, RW, NJ
8:00 AM
News: Jordin Tootoo (foot) will not play in the Devils' next two games Friday and Saturday, Rich Chere of The Star-Ledger reports.
Analysis: GM Lou Lamoriello would not reveal the results of the X-rays taken of Jordin Tootoo's foot, but he did rule Tootoo out for both of the Devils' games this weekend. It's not clear if Tootoo will miss further action beyond Saturday's game, but his next opportunity to take the ice will come Tuesday in Pittsburgh.

Mike Green
Caps' Green Rolling To Start Campaign
Mike Green, D, WAS
7:36 AM
News: Mike Green found the back of the net in Wednesday's loss to the Oilers.
Analysis: Mike Green has looked like the high-scoring blueliner of yore in the early stages of the season, as he's already posted three goals and three assists over five games. Injuries are a perpetual concern for the blueliner, but when he's healthy, few defensemen in the league offer as much offensive upside.

Nikita Nikitin
Oilers' Nikitin Nets Game-Winner
Nikita Nikitin, D, EDM
7:32 AM
News: Nikita Nikitin scored the game-winning goal in Wednesday's 3-2 win over the Capitals.
Analysis: Nikita Nikitin's power-play marker with 3:52 remaining in the second period gave him his first goal and second point of the season. The Oilers won't usually count on Nikitin for much on the offensive end, as his size and physicality on defense are the primary reasons Edmonton signed him to a two-year deal in the offseason.

Justin Schultz
Oilers' Schultz Bags Goal In Victory
Justin Schultz, D, EDM
7:27 AM
News: Justin Schultz scored his second goal of the season in Wednesday's 3-2 victory over the Capitals.
Analysis: The 24-year-old has now found the twine in consecutive games, after managing only one point in his first five contests. Justin Schultz is still prone to lapses on his own end -- he let the Caps' Alex Ovechkin glide by him easily in the third period for what was nearly the game-tying score -- but he's far and away the Oilers' top scoring threat from the blue line.

Leon Draisaitl
Oilers' Draisaitl Assists In Loss
Leon Draisaitl, C, EDM
7:23 AM
News: Leon Draisaitl picked up an assist in Wednesday's 3-2 victory over the Capitals.
Analysis: Though Wednesday represented one of the better showings of his brief career, Leon Draisaitl, 18, hasn't adjusted well to the jump from juniors to the NHL. Working as the club's second- or third-line center, Draisaitl has accumulated just two points, 11 shots and a minus-5 rating over seven games. Unless he heats up over his next two outings, Draisaitl may be forced to head back to the WHL once his nine-game trial period comes to a conclusion.

 
 
 
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