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Right on Schedule: Action-packed Week 14

by | Rotowire.com
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Despite being several games behind the games-played pace of the rest of the league, both Boston and San Jose remain as Conference finals favorites. Fourteen teams are playing on back-to-back nights, with 11 teams playing four games this week and only one (Florida) playing just two games, there is plenty of Fantasy action to decipher. Let's get to it.

NHL schedule

Anaheim (vs. DAL, @CAL, EDM, VAN) starts off the week hosting the Stars. After a night off, they play three road games in four nights against the Northwest division. The Ducks are 2-3 thus far against Northwest teams. Having scored five or more goals in five of their last 10 team games, the busting Boston Bruins have a weak schedule (vs. WPG, MON, @CAR) ahead. Simply a prelude to a rare five-game schedule next week, once they head to Carolina, the Bruins will play six of their remaining eight January games on the road. Pick up Tuukka Rusk (9-4-1, 3 SO, 1.49 goals-against average) if available, you're going to need him next week. Left-winger Benoit Pouliot has three goals and five assists in the last eight games.

After Buffalo (@TOR, vs. TOR, @NYI) starts off the three-game week with a home-and-home against Toronto, the Sabres then head to Long Island. From there, Buffalo plays out their remaining January games (7) in white jerseys. This week, three at home for the Flames (vs. NJ, ANH, LA), next week, three away, but not a back-to-back game to be found till the ground hog shows his face. Curtis Glencross (17 goals, 12 assists) has grabbed at least one point in nine of his last 12 games. Carolina (vs. PHI, @TB, vs. BOS, @WAS) has a very busy travel week, alternating one at home, one on the road, etc… Carolina's Brandon Sutter has two goals, two assists (plus-2) in his last three games.

Considered among the Western Conference favorites, let's see how Chicago (vs. CLS, MIN, @DET, vs. SJ) handles three quality teams gunning for them. Just like Buffalo, Colorado (vs. NSH, @NSH, @DAL) starts off hosting the opening of a home-and-home with Nashville, who took the season series (4-0) in 2009-10. Here comes the Varlamov roller coaster again. Semyon Varlamov tallied two wins (0.48 GAA, SHO) last week. The Avs' week finishes against the rival Stars on Saturday night. Dallas leads the season series 2-1.

Columbus (@CHI, vs. PHO, SJ) ends their four-game West Coast swing with a stop in Chicago this Tuesday. After a couple of days to recover, they host Phoenix and San Jose to end the week. Dallas (@ANH, LA, vs. COL) takes to the road for two against division rivals (Ducks, Kings) before heading home to host the Avs. For those have not picked up Richard Bachman (6-2, 253 of 276), now may be a good time to consider it. Whilst Kari Lehtonen has been Dr. Jekyl and Mr. Hyde in his last four starts (three goals allowed in two wins, eight goals allowed in two losses), also consider Dallas plays on back-to-back nights twice next week.

Dating back to the beginning of December, Detroit (@NYI, vs. PHO, CHI) has played 13 of their last 18 games on the road. How about one more (NYI on Tuesday) before heading home? Pavel Datsyuk has really turned his season around since November 30th. Datsyuk, currently on a three-game point streak, has six goals, 17 assists over his last 19 games. Johan Franzen, who was a shadow of himself in December, has a three-game point streak (two goals, two assists). Edmonton (vs. NJ, ANH, LA), another NHL team that has been racking up the frequent flyer miles, enjoys a few days off before hosting three from home starting Wednesday. Three of the Oilers four leading scorers have a total of 59 years of life experience. Jordan Eberle (17 goals, 26 assists), Ryan Nugent-Hopkins (13 goals, 22 assists) and Taylor Hall (14 goals, 15 assists) equate into 34 percent of Edmonton's point production this season.

Florida (vs. VAN, PIT) continues their slow start to the month with a second consecutive two-game week. Los Angeles' schedule (vs. WAS, DAL, @CAL, EDM) starts off with two home games, before beginning a road trip against the Northwest division, starting with two (of 3) to end this week. Montreal (vs. STL, @BOS, vs. OTT, NYR) has one of the toughest schedules in January. Aside from playing the Penguins and Red Wings late on this month, the Canadiens visit Boston and host the Rangers this week. Nashville (@COL vs. COL, PHI) begins the week on the road, hosting the aforementioned Avs, before heading home to host Colorado and Philadelphia. When Patric Hornqvist scores (11 goals, 7 assists), the Preds are 7-1-1. The fourth year man's production has been trending downwardly since 2009-10, but has 16 career goals in January, more than any other month in his career. The home-and-home will be the first match up(s) of the season for the two teams.

New Jersey (@CAL, EDM, WPG), doing its best to stay within the elite eight of the Eastern Conference, have rebounded from an 0-2 start to 2012 by owning the Panthers (5-2) and Pens (3-1) to end last week. The Islanders (vs. DET, PHI, BUF), who started the new calendar year riding a three-game winning streak, have lost two in a row again. Being outscored 9-3 by Anaheim and Phoenix is not exactly how the Islanders wanted to head into a week they play host to Detroit, Philadelphia and Buffalo. The Rangers (vs. PHO, OTT, @TOR, MON), still atop of the NHL in points, will be at home for two this week before they finish out with two on the road. Second worst in the league for shots on goal, New York is highly dependent on their goaltending. Ottawa (@PIT, NYR, MON) plays three difficult road games. It gets worse as nine of their remaining 10 games in January are seen from the visitor's bench. Still producing like a young buck, Sergei Gonchar (2 goals, 21 assists) is enjoying a four-game point streak.

Just like Ottawa, the Flyers (@CAR, NYI, NAS) have three games on the road. The big difference is Philly's (fourth in Eastern Conference points) strength of schedule. Phoenix (@NYR, DET, CLS) is our third straight team trending the road and filling out this week's schedule. Oliver Ekman-Larsson (7 goals, 10 assists), still owned in less than (48%) half of CBS leagues, has registered three points in as many January games.

Losers of four straight games, adding insult-to-injury (Jordan Staal), the Penguins schedule is picking up as of late. Eight games in the next two weeks starts off with hosting Ottawa. Pittsburgh (vs. OTT, @WAS, FLA, TB) finishes out the week with three on the road against the Southeast division. Certainly one of the toughest schedules this week, San Jose (@MIN, WPG, CLS, CHI) hits the road for a four game road trip. Sandwiched in between two big conference matchups, the Sharks have two 'gimme' games. Dan Boyle (4 assists, plus-6, 19 SOG) has been among the more offensive defensemen in the NHL over the last seven days.

St. Louis (@MON, vs. VAN, MIN) looks to capitalize on the first of their only two road games (9 home) in the month of January, before heading back home to host the Canucks and Wild. Defenseman Alex Pietrangelo (six goals, 11 assists) has a goal, five assists -- including four power play points -- so far in 2012. Tampa (@MON, vs. VAN, MIN) has a busy week ahead, hosting three of four from home. Their only road game will be against fellow under-performing Southeast Division rival Washington.

Toronto (vs. BUF @BUF vs. NYR) has that aforementioned home-and-home with Buffalo before hosting the red hot Rangers. In conjunction with last season's series (3-3), the Leafs and Sabres have continued their tight games as each team owns a win this season. Jonas Gustavsson played in three straight starts last week, notching (88 of 94) a shutout and three wins. Tim Connolly, who had his three-game point streak snapped in the Leafs 4-3 win over Detroit, has 24 career January goals. After a win in Boston to start their four-game road trip, Vancouver (@FLA, TB, STL vs. ANH) is second in NHL points. The Canucks visit the Panthers, Lightning and Blues before heading home to host the slumping Ducks. Savor the flavor, cause after this week, the Canucks play only four games in the final 15 days of January.

The next two weeks could prove to be a momentum changer for Washington (@LA, vs. PIT, TB, vs. CAR), who plays four road and four home games over the next 14 days. But first this week. Monday they finish their two game West Coast swing against LA and head home for the Penguins, Lightning and Hurricanes. Missing defenseman Dustin Byfuglien, who missed his sixth game Saturday night with a knee injury, nine of Winnipeg's 13 games this month are on the road. The Jets are really going to miss Buff's presence in Boston. After Boston, the Jets (@BOS vs. SJ, NJ) head home for the week.

AHL quick glance

Hershey Bears (Washington Capitals): Keith Aucoin, center -- 8 goals, 50 assists in 35 games played.
Lake Erie Monsters (Colorado Avalanche): Cedrick Desjardins, goalie -- 8-5-1, 1.85 GAA in 14 games played.
Norfolk Admirals (Tampa Bay Lightning): Mark Barberio, defenseman -- 4 goals, 28 assists, 27 PIM in 34 games played.

TV Time (all games EST)

NBC Sports Network

Jan. 10: Sharks at Wild 7:30 p.m.
Jan. 11: Penguins at Capitals 7:30 p.m.
Jan. 15: Rangers at Canadiens 7:0 p.m.

NBC Sports

Jan. 14: Blackhawks at Red Wings 12:30 p.m.

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Player News
Gabriel Bourque
Preds Retain Bourque
Gabriel Bourque, LW, NSH
9:35 AM
News: Gabriel Bourque signed a one-year, $866,250 contract with Nashville on Thursday.
Analysis: The 24-year-old Gabriel Bourque, who has 220 NHL regular season games under his belt, is thus in line to reprise his bottom-six forward role with the Preds, on the heels of a 2014-15 campaign in which he notched 13 points and 10 PIM in 69 games.

Mark Barberio
Canadiens Sign Barberio To One-Year Deal
Mark Barberio, D, MON
9:08 AM
News: Mark Barberio signed a one-year, two-way contract with the Canadiens on Wednesday, Renaud Lavoie of TVA Sports reports.
Analysis: Mark Barberio will likely be given the chance in training camp to compete for a spot as the Canadiens' seventh defenseman. The 25-year-old saw ice time in 52 games for the Lightning last season, providing one goal and six assists.

Dylan Reese
Coyotes Re-Sign Reese On Two-Way Deal
Dylan Reese, D, ARI
8:54 AM
News: Dylan Reese re-signed with the Coyotes on a one-year, two-way contract Wednesday, Jason Mackey of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review reports.
Analysis: Dylan Reese, 30, has 78 career NHL appearances on his ledger, but has settled into a minor-league depth role at this point. He'll spend a second straight season in the Arizona organization after recording 10 goals and 40 points in 72 contests for AHL Portland in 2014-15.

Steven Oleksy
Penguins Add Defense Depth With Oleksy
Steven Oleksy, D, PIT
8:52 AM
News: Steven Oleksy signed a one-year, two-way contract with the Penguins on Wednesday, Alex Prewitt of the Washington Post reports.
Analysis: Though the Penguins aren't likely suffer as much depletion to their defensive depth as they noticed this past season, Steven Oleksy will provide the team with another body in the event a call-up is needed on the blue line. The 29-year-old is expected to report to AHL Scranton/Wilkes-Barre this season, after appearing in 68 games for the Capitals' minor-league affiliate in Hershey in 2014-15.

Zac Dalpe
Wild Sign Free Agent Dalpe To One-Year Deal
Zac Dalpe, C, MIN
8:47 AM
News: Zac Dalpe signed a one-year, two-way contract with the Wild on Wednesday.
Analysis: Zac Dalpe saw the ice in 21 games last season for the league-worst Sabres, but he'll have a much more difficult time cracking the lineup with Minnesota. Expect him to get cut in training camp and spent most of his campaign at AHL Iowa.

Justin Florek
Islanders Sign Florek
Justin Florek, LW, BOS
8:39 AM
News: Justin Florek signed a one-year, two-way contract with the Islanders on Thursday.
Analysis: Justin Florek, who recorded 35 points in 73 games for AHL Providence this past season, will serve as a depth forward with the Isles and if he does see NHL action this coming season, it would presumably be in a bottom-six role.

Kevin Gravel
Kings Sign D-Man Gravel To Two-Year Deal
Kevin Gravel, D, LA
8:37 AM
News: Kevin Gravel signed a two-year, two-way contract with the Kings on Wednesday.
Analysis: At 6-foot-4 and 204 pounds, Kevin Gravel offers good size on defense, but he's a long way off making any sort of impact with the Kings. He recorded six goals and 15 points in 58 games last season.

Cody Beach
Blues Re-Sign Beach
Cody Beach, RW, STL
8:34 AM
News: Cody Beach re-signed with the Blues on Wednesday on a one-year, two-way contract.
Analysis: Cody Beach racked up 210 penalty minutes in 41 games with AHL Chicago last season, while also spending six games with ECHL Alaska. The 22-year-old winger's toughness and willingness to drop the gloves may make him a fourth-line candidate for the Blues at some point down the road, but with Ryan Reaves filling that role just fine for the parent club, Beach remains blocked for the time being.

Jeremy Welsh
Blues Re-Sign Welsh To One-Year Deal
Jeremy Welsh, C, STL
8:31 AM
News: Jeremy Welsh re-signed with the Blues on Tuesday on a one-year, two-way contract.
Analysis: Jeremy Welsh was one of the more productive members of the Blues' AHL affiliate in Chicago last season, as he finished fourth on the team with 41 points. The 27-year-old will stick around with the organization in a minor-league depth role.

Pat Cannone
Blues Re-Sign Cannone On Two-Way Deal
Pat Cannone, C, STL
8:29 AM
News: Pat Cannone re-signed with the Blues on a one-year, two-way contract Wednesday.
Analysis: Pat Cannone saw time in 64 games for AHL Chicago last season, finishing second on the team with 47 points. At 28 years old and with his NHL debut still yet to arrive, Cannone doesn't have much upside at this stage of his development.

 
 
 
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