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Right on Schedule: Calm before the storm

by | Rotowire.com
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It was the night before Christmas, not a creature was stirring, not even a mouse. In fact, buckle up, because this week's Fantasy results will be played out by the end of Friday night, so choose wisely.

A dozen NHL teams will play only two games and not one team will play four times this week. Instead of hoping for Santa to heal some of the NHL's concussed stars, perhaps a strange schedule can give you a competitive edge out there.

NHL schedule

Buffalo: Before an 8-3 defeat at the hands of Pittsburgh last week, Buffalo (@OTT, TOR) played host to Ottawa and Toronto. This week, they'll take to the road versus the same two teams. From there, the Sabres play four games in six nights to end the calendar year, including a third matchup in three weeks with Ottawa on New Year's Eve.

Fire or Ice: Headed into Sunday's match up with Chicago, Calgary still has an opportunity to put together a solid December record. After going 4-1-2 in their first seven games this month, the Flames lost three very tight road games last week, including a 2-1 loss to Nashville. Next week, Calgary looks for a little revenge as they play Nashville on New Year's Eve. As for this week, Calgary (vs. MIN, DET @VAN) plays host to several strong Western Conference teams before finishing 2011 on the road.

What have you done for me lately?: Arguably the NHL's most consistent (12-4-1) team over the last six weeks, Chicago (@PIT vs. MON) has a light week. Puzzling, as it's with little thanks to Corey Crawford, who hasn't seen action since December 5. Ray Emery has seemingly taken over the job for now, winning six of his seven December starts (goals-against average of 1.93 and save percentage of .933).

Home for the holidays: They won't be easy games, but Colorado (vs. PHI, STL, TB) and Dallas (vs. ANH, PHI, NSH) will not be required to travel at all this week. How will being home all week prior to the Christmas break affect their play? Meanwhile, Columbus (@NSH) gets a much needed one-game week.

Traveling Red Wings: After beating up on the leaderless Kings (@TOR vs. ANH @SJ) this past Saturday, the last two weeks of December are the prime example of what Detroit (@EDM, VAN, CAL) has been griping about during the fuss of realignment. Playing seven games (five on the road) in the next 12 days, six of them will be on back-to-back nights.

Leading the pack: Minnesota (7-1-2) follows in Detroit's footsteps with nearly the exact same itinerary this week. After losing 2-1 in a shootout to the Islanders, do the Wild (@VAN, CAL, EDM) have enough fire power to maintain the top position in the NHL through Christmas?

Estranged fresh slate: The good news? With Jacques Martin out and Randy Cunneyworth (interim rest of the season) in, there's hope Montreal's spiraling ways has hit rock bottom. The bad news? Although the Canadiens are headed out on the road where they seem to be more in control these days (8-6-1), unfortunately, it will be against three (@BOS, CHI, WPG) of the NHL's hotter teams.

Gifts under the tree: Both Ottawa (vs. BUF, FLA @CAR) and Phoenix (@FLA, CAR vs. STL) test out their new toys with very similar schedules. After some bad blood between forward Kyle Turris and Coyotes general manager Don Maloney, the Senators acquired Turris from Phoenix on Saturday for defenseman David Rundblad and a second-round draft pick. Also noteworthy, Ottawa, which plays host to this year's All-Star Game, will unveil yet another Christmas gift for its fans next week. A $5-million video scoreboard that will feature two 360-degree LED rings over the ice at Scotiabank Place.

Flying confidently: Boasting the best road record in the NHL, Philadelphia (12-3-1) has won eight of its last 10 games. They'll need that kind of road-warrior confidence as they have a difficult schedule (@COL, DAL, NYR) this week.

Blue calm before the storm: St. Louis (7-1-2) enjoys a two-game week, or at least they better enjoy it. Next week (vs. DAL, @DET, vs. NSH, @DET) could be the ugliest schedule for any NHL team all season, which includes two games at Joe Louis Arena in one week!

Cruising Canucks: Mason Raymond (three goals, three assists in seven games) has been consistent since coming back and Alexandre Burrows has four points (two goals, two assists) in his last two games. Since a 5-1 home loss to Chicago on November 16th, Vancouver (10-3) has been in complete control, outscoring opponents 50-24 in that span.

Got Versus?

(All times Eastern)

Dec. 19: Anaheim at Dallas 8 p.m.
Dec. 20: Chicago at Pittsburgh 7:30 p.m.
Dec. 21: Philadelphia at Dallas 7:30 p.m.

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
Adam Pardy
Pardy Scores Lone Jets' Goal In Game 2 Loss
Adam Pardy, D, WPG
12:07 PM
News: Adam Pardy scored the lone Winnipeg goal in Saturday's Game 2 loss to the Ducks.
Analysis: It was Adam Pardy's first career playoff goal and his first goal overall since Jan. 26 2011, ending a 172 game drought. While he logged 17:32 of ice time in the loss, don't expect much more offense from Pardy, as the stay-at-home blueliner notched just nine points in 55 regular-season games this year.

Jonas Hiller
Flames' Hiller To Start Sunday
Jonas Hiller, G, CGY
12:38 AM
News: Jonas Hiller will be between the pipes for Game 3 of the Flames' playoff series against the Canucks, Roger Millions of Sportsnet reports.
Analysis: Despite being pulled in Game 2 after allowing three goals on 29 shots, the Flames will once again turn to Jonas Hiller for Game 3 of the series. If he continues to struggle, Calgary may have to consider giving Karri Ramo a shot in net in Game 4.

Scott Darling
Hawks' Darling To Start Sunday
Scott Darling, G, CHI
12:20 AM
News: Scott Darling will be between the pipes for Game 3 on Sunday against the Predators, Mark Lazerus of The Chicago Sun-Times reports.
Analysis: It isn't a huge surprise, as Corey Crawford has struggled in back-to-back starts, allowing nine goals on 47 shots over that span. Scott Darling, on the other hand, was phenomenal in relief of Crawford in Game 1 of the series, turning away every one of Nashville's 42 shots en route to a 4-3 double-overtime victory. He'll look to build on that outstanding performance on Sunday.

Mathieu Perreault
Jets' Perreault (Lower Body) Game Time Decision
Mathieu Perreault, C, WPG
12:14 AM
News: Mathieu Perreault (lower body) skated Saturday morning and is considered a game-time decision for Game 2 against the Ducks, Eric Stephens of the Orange County Register reports.
Analysis: Mathieu Perreault is still recovering from a lower body injury he sustained on Apr. 9. Although he's reportedly close to returning to the Jets' lineup, he may have to wait until Game 3 on Monday to do so, as he remains a true game-time decision for Saturday's Game 2. The Jets will provide an update on his status prior to puck drop on Saturday.

Matt Cooke
Wild's Cooke To Play Saturday
Matt Cooke, LW, MIN
12:05 AM
News: Matt Cooke will suit up on Saturday for Game 2 of the Wild's first-round playoff matchup with St. Louis, Chad Graff of the St. Paul Pioneer Press reports.
Analysis: Matt Cooke hasn't played since Feb. 1, and has been plagued by injury for much of the season. He leads the Wild in career playoff games (103), and will add a veteran presence to Minnesota's lineup.

Patrick Maroon
Ducks' Maroon Productive In Game 2 Win
Patrick Maroon, LW, ANA
4/18/2015
News: Patrick Maroon was productive in Saturday's Game 2 win over the Jets, scoring a goal, dishing out seven hits and firing four shots on goal.
Analysis: Patrick Maroon has recorded a point in each of the Ducks' first two playoff games, helping them grab a 2-0 series lead over the Jets. Skating on the top line with Ryan Getzlaf and Corey Perry, expect the 26-year-old to continue to put up points alongside two of the best players in the game. Maroon's also seeing some decent power play time, which was seen Saturday when he redirected a Cam Fowler shot past goaltender Ondrej Pavelec. He may be streaky, but if he's skating in the Ducks' top six, he's got enough offensive talent to find twine.

Jakob Silfverberg
Silfverberg's Late Goal Gives Ducks Game 2 Win
Jakob Silfverberg, RW, ANA
4/18/2015
News: Jakob Silfverberg scored the game-winning goal with 20 seconds left in regulation Saturday against Winnipeg in Game 2 of their first-round series.
Analysis: Another clutch performance from Jakob Silfverberg, who has scored the game-winning goal in two of the Ducks' past three victories. Skating on the third line, the 24-year-old is a great depth scorer behind the likes of Ryan Getzlaf, Corey Perry and Ryan Kesler. If the Ducks continue to get production from their bottom-six, they could definitely make a deep playoff run.

Frederik Andersen
Ducks' Andersen Stops 28 Shots In Game 2 Win
Frederik Andersen, G, ANA
4/18/2015
News: Frederik Andersen stopped 28 of 29 shots in Saturday's Game 2 win over the Jets.
Analysis: Frederik Andersen has had a strong start to the playoffs, stopping 53 of 56 shots and helping the Ducks grab a 2-0 series lead over the Jets. He's been counted on all season long for Anaheim, so as long as he doesn't go through a terrible slump, fantasy owners shouldn't have to worry about youngster John Gibson (upper body) stealing his gig. If Andersen can keep up his strong play, the Ducks are likely in for a lengthy playoff run.

Ondrej Pavelec
Jets' Pavelec Outstanding In Game 2 Loss
Ondrej Pavelec, G, WPG
4/18/2015
News: Ondrej Pavelec stopped 37 of 39 shots in Saturday's Game 2 loss to the Ducks.
Analysis: A fantastic bounce-back effort from Ondrej Pavelec, who beaten for four goals in Thursday's playoff opener. While Pavelec was great Saturday, the Ducks are now up 2-0 in the series and have looked like the better team. With Game 3 set to take place in Winnipeg Monday, look for Pavelec to put up another strong performance in front of what's sure to be an electric home crowd.

Derek Stepan
Rangers' Stepan Delivers Two Points In Game 2 Loss
Derek Stepan, C, NYR
4/18/2015
News: Derek Stepan scored his first goal of the playoffs and had an assist in Saturday's Game 2 loss to Pittsburgh.
Analysis: A good night for Derek Stepan, who was held pointless in Thursday's playoff opener. While the series is now tied 1-1, Stepan has looked dangerous in both contests, firing nine shots on goal. The second-line center is a big piece of the puzzle in New York and will need to continue to deliver if the Rangers hope to make a deep postseason run.

 
 
 
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