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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
Scott Laughton
Concussion Confirmed For Flyers' Laughton
Scott Laughton, C, PHI
12:59 AM
News: Scott Laughton confirmed Thursday that he's been dealing with a concussion, Tim Panaccio of CSN Philadelphia reports.
Analysis: Scott Laughton has been cleared to resume skating, but likely needs to pass more tests before he's able to absorb contact. He'll sit for a fifth straight game Thursday against the Jets.

Ryan Suter
Wild's Suter Confirmed To Play Thursday
Ryan Suter, D, MIN
12:50 AM
News: Coach Mike Yeo confirmed Ryan Suter (lower body) would play Thursday against the Flames, Michael Russo of the Minneapolis Star Tribune reports.
Analysis: The injury prevented Ryan Suter from taking part in Wednesday's practice, but he was back on the ice for Thursday's morning skate to verify his availability for the game. Suter has seen his offensive contributions tail off a bit this season, particularly as a goal scorer, but he still paces the NHL with an average of 29:37 TOI per game.

Jhonas Enroth
Sabres' Enroth Wants All Four Road Starts
Jhonas Enroth, G, BUF
12:45 AM
News: Jhonas Enroth wants to start all four of the team's upcoming road games, reports Mike Harrington of The Buffalo News.
Analysis: With Michal Neuvirth (lower body) sidelined, Jhonas Enroth is the undisputed No. 1 goalie with Matt Hackett serving as the backup. Enroth wants to start all the games, including back-to-back Thursday and Friday against Edmonton and Vancouver. Head coach Ted Nolan isn't ready to just hand Enroth the starts, however, saying: "... we want a lot of things. We want some wins, too." Reading between the lines, it basically means that he's happy to give Enroth the starts, but only if he starts winning games. Enroth has not won a game since Dec. 27 and the Sabres are winless in January. It's a good bet Hackett will see some action at some point on the road trip.

Erik Cole
Stars' Cole (Upper Body) Expected To Sit Thursday
Erik Cole, RW, DAL
12:41 AM
News: Erik Cole (upper body) is expected to sit out Thursday's game against the Senators, Mike Heika of the Dallas Morning News reports.
Analysis: Erik Cole indicated that he felt good after participating in Wednesday's practice, but the Stars will exercise a little precaution and keep him out for a second straight game. In addition to the upper-body injury, he has battled a cold recently, which probably has him running at less-than-optimal health at the moment.

Andre Benoit
Sabres Scratch Benoit Against Oilers
Andre Benoit, D, BUF
12:40 AM
News: Andre Benoit will be a healthy scratch Thursday against the Oilers, reports Mike Harrington of The Buffalo News.
Analysis: Despite the team's struggles, the Sabres will keep the same lineup they had against Calgary. Andre Benoit, who has six points in 33 games, will be a healthy scratch alongside Nikita Zadorov. The 31-year-old has served as a depth defenseman for much of the season. He provides some offensive value when he plays, but the team's forwards are struggling, so chances are few and far between. Zadorov will likely dress Friday against Vancouver while Benoit's status is TBD.

Stu Bickel
Wild Reassign Bickel
Stu Bickel, D, MIN
12:34 AM
News: Stu Bickel was reassigned to AHL Iowa on Thursday, Chad Graff of the St. Paul Pioneer Press reports.
Analysis: He'll be replaced by Matt Dumba, who was recalled from Iowa in a corresponding move. Stu Bickel's stint with the parent club lasted just three days, with the blueliner serving as a healthy scratch in the Wild's lone game during that time.

Matt Dumba
Wild Recall Dumba From Minors
Matt Dumba, D, MIN
12:32 AM
News: Matt Dumba was recalled from AHL Iowa on Thursday, Chad Graff of the St. Paul Pioneer Press reports.
Analysis: Matt Dumba joined the Wild for Thursday's morning practice in Calgary, where the blueliner grew up. Coach Mike Yeo wouldn't say whether or not Dumba would enter the lineup in front of his hometown crowd, but it seems likely that he'd replace Christian Folin if that materializes.

Dwight King
Kings' King Productive Wednesday
Dwight King, LW, LA
12:29 AM
News: Dwight King finished Wednesday's 4-3 win against the Blackhawks with a plus-2 rating and an assist.
Analysis: This was an impressive showing from Dwight King, a player who rarely makes waves in the fantasy realm. Apparent is King's energy on the ice but he shouldn't draw a serious look among fantasy hockey pickups unless he can start to establish any kind of offensive rhythm.

Joffrey Lupul
Leafs' Lupul (Lower Body) Activated From IR
Joffrey Lupul, RW, TOR
12:20 AM
News: Joffrey Lupul (lower body) was activated from injured reserve Thursday.
Analysis: The Leafs were labeling Joffrey Lupul as a game-time decision for Thursday's game against the Coyotes, but his activation from IR and the subsequent demotion of Josh Leivo to AHL Toronto suggests the team fully intends to have Lupul available. Injuries have been his undoing throughout his career, but Lupul has been productive in the 26 games he's skated this season, netting nine goals and eight assists.

Marian Gaborik
Kings' Gaborik Collects Assist Wednesday
Marian Gaborik, RW, LA
12:15 AM
News: Marian Gaborik picked up an assist in Wednesday's 4-3 win over the Blackhawks.
Analysis: Marian Gaborik has helpers in consecutive games. He is best known for putting shots on goal, though he's been relatively idle in that department with only four shots in his last three contests. Gaborik is generally a safe option at the forward spot.

 
 
 
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