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Right on Schedule: Who's hot, who's not?

by | Rotowire.com
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This week's NHL schedule features 11 teams playing four games, as more than half of the league is playing on back-to-back nights at some point. So let's get your lineups straight before you switch focus to your Valentine's Day.

NHL schedule

Spending time with those backups

Headlining those playing on back-to-back nights is Washington and San Jose. Washington, despite playing only three times this week, will technically play on back-to-back nights twice, starting with their game Monday against San Jose. All four of San Jose's games this week will occur on back-to-back nights, more on this later. Also playing on back-to-back nights will be Anaheim, Boston, Buffalo, Carolina, Chicago, Columbus, Dallas, Minnesota, Ottawa, Philadelphia, St. Louis, Toronto, Vancouver, Winnipeg.

I ain't missing you

Los Angeles, Ottawa and Philadelphia play only twice this week. The Sens go on back-to-back nights against the NHL's two Floridian teams, while the Flyers take on Sabres and Penguins from home. Meanwhile, the Kings will host the ‘Yotes and Flames. Of the three teams, only Ottawa will bounce back with four games next week.

True love plays

Anaheim (@MIN, PIT, NJ, FLA), which started out the road trip with an OTL (2-1) in Detroit, hopes to bounce back and avenge their 3-2 home loss to the Blue Jackets earlier this month. From there, the Ducks' road trip goes to slumping Minnesota. After their game with the Wild, it's time for the Ducks to take on three strong Eastern Conference teams. Will Teemu Selanne be moved before the trade deadline?

After squeaking by Nashville on Saturday, Boston (vs. NYR, @MON, WPG, MIN) enjoys a few days off. The Bruins will then host the Rangers on Tuesday and take to the road for three in a row to end the week. Bruins centers may be the reason for their lack of consistency lately. One of their key centers is David Krejci, who has one point in his last seven games.

Buffalo (vs. NJ, @PHI, vs. MON, PIT) looks to continue their new ways with four games this week. The Sabres shocked a few people, blowing out the previously mentioned Bruins 6-0 in Buffalo last Wednesday. In fact, if not for two one- goal losses, Buffalo could be 5-0 in February. We'll find out just how alert Lindy Ruff's bunch is with a four-game schedule this week. Defenseman Christian Ehrhoff is showing some spunk lately, registering a goal, an assist and two penalty-minutes in his last three games.

I'm just not sure things can get any uglier for the Hawks in February. Winless in their last eight games, Chicago (@NSH, NYR, CLS, vs. STL), has been outscored 24-10 in their five regulation losses this month. Granted, all five games has been a part of an eight-game road trip, but that road trip continues this week. The once favored Blackhawks now find themselves heading to the Music City and Manhattan with absolutely no steam. Literally adding injury to insult, two of Chicago's defenseman Niklas Hjarlmarsson (concussion) and Steven Montador (upper-body) are dealing with injuries.

As their schedule has heated up Dallas (@DET, vs. CAL, @PHO, vs. NSH) has shown flickers of youth, for good or ill. A disheartening OTL to Buffalo on Friday leaves them 11th in a very tight Western Conference race heading into their home game with the Kings. Including tonight's game with Los Angeles (seventh, 63 points), the Stars will need to start notching a few two-point nights against those they're battling for conference position. Perhaps Detroit is out of reach, but Nashville, Phoenix and Calgary all currently sit within 11 points of Dallas. Loui Eriksson finally broke the snide and registered his first point of the second half last Friday. Alex Goligoski had a productive week (11.5 points going into Sunday night) for CBS Fantasy owners. Kari Lehtonen had to be pulled halfway through back-to-back starts.

Minnesota (vs. ANH, WPG, @STL, vs. BOS), much like Dallas and Chicago, has found the month of February to be damning to their playoff-cause. Unlike the Stars and Blackhawks, the problem with Minnesota is they simply never had the offensive threats to get back to good in the first place. Our case-in-point is a 3-1 home loss to Columbus this past Saturday night. Niklas Backstrom (1-3-1, .911 save percentage, SHO) has started five consecutive games, but should get a break at some point this week.

After starting out February on a three-game losing streak, Montreal (vs. CAR, BOS, @BUF, vs. NJ) has seemingly found their groove. The Habs head into the week with a four-game winning streak capped off by ruining (5-0) Mats Sundin's jersey night in Toronto last Saturday. Montreal is outscoring their opponents 15-4 during this win streak. As long as players like Max Pacioretty (four goals in the last 34 minutes of ice time) keep producing, they have a good chance to extend it against this week's inconsistent opponents.

San Jose (@WAS, TB, CAR, DET) takes the cake of ugliest schedule over the next two weeks. Starting with this Sunday night in St. Louis, the Sharks head out on a nine-game road trip. Technically they have two back-to-back games this week, with the first coming on Monday and then a back-to-back set against the Southeast Division's Lightning and Hurricanes. They then close out the week with the Red Wings at 12:30 p.m. (EST) on NBC. San Jose backup, Thomas Greiss is 3-0-1, with a .942 save percentage in four starts since the beginning of the new calendar year.

It's been almost a month since Vancouver (vs. PHO, COL, TOR, @EDM) lost in regulation. Another team heavily dependent upon the one-goal win, the Canucks are 3-0-2 this month and have outscored their opponents 17-14 in that span. This week's schedule may suggest an offensive boost or two, as Vancouver is 8-1 against their opponents over the next seven days, outscoring those teams 36-16 in their previous contests. Just be mindful that Henrik Sedin has been playing through an ankle injury.

Up until the offensive showdown with Pittsburgh this past Saturday, Winnipeg (vs. NYI, @MIN, vs. BOS, COL) has been teetering on the one-goal decisions all month. Now .500 on the month heading into a very busy week, it appears the Jets most offensive weapon is warming up. Although he missed the end of December and all of January due to injury, it's a good sign when Dustin Byfuglien (two goals, two assists in last two games) has points in consecutive games.

Team of the Week

St. Louis (@CLS, vs. NYI, MIN, @ CHI), enjoying the month of February, is playing four games this week. Winners in four of their five February games, the Blues have preferred the one-goal win variety lately. Outscoring their opponents 12-9 in the month of the groundhog, St. Louis is getting the job done and is firmly planted within the top five of the conference. T.J. Oshie is on the rise again as well, three points in his last two games.

TV Time (all games EST)

Feb. 13: Sharks at Capitals; 7:30 p.m. on NBCSports Network
Feb. 14: Ducks at Wild; 7:30 p.m. on NBCSports Network
Feb. 15: Bruins at Canadiens; 7:30 p.m. on NBCSports Network
Feb. 19: Devils at Canadiens; 6 p.m. on NBCSports Network

Regional games on NBC Sunday

Feb. 19: Penguins at Sabres; 12:30
Feb. 19: Blues at Blackhawks; 12:30
Feb. 19: Sharks at Red Wings; 12:30
Feb. 19: Bruins at Wild; 3:30

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
Anthony Peluso
Jets Move Peluso To IR
Anthony Peluso, RW, WPG
12:49 AM
News: Anthony Peluso (upper body) was placed on injured reserve Thursday.
Analysis: Anthony Peluso was moved to IR to make roster room for Evander Kane (knee), who will return to the lineup Thursday. Since Peluso first sustained the injury a week ago during practice, he's already missed the seven-day minimum required for every IR stint and will be immediately eligible to return when healthy.

Anze Kopitar
Kings' Kopitar Expected Out Again Thursday
Anze Kopitar, C, LA
12:45 AM
News: Anze Kopitar (upper body) didn't take part in line rushes during morning skate and is expected to be scratched Thursday against the Penguins, Jon Rosen of LA Kings Insider reports.
Analysis: Along with fellow injured forwards Trevor Lewis and Marian Gaborik, Anze Kopitar remained on the ice for extra work following the morning session, suggesting he's not yet ready to return. While Kopitar will miss his second straight game, the cap-strapped Kings were fortunate enough to be granted an emergency recall Thursday to ice a healthy 20 skaters, an option that wasn't available to them Tuesday against the Flyers.

Brooks Laich
Caps' Laich Possible For Saturday
Brooks Laich, C, WAS
12:38 AM
News: Coach Barry Trotz said Brooks Laich (upper body) could possibly play Saturday against the Lightning, Alex Prewitt of the Washington Post reports.
Analysis: The Capitals planned to place Brooks Laich on injured reserve last week, but ended up reversing course and keeping him on the roster as a scratch for each of the last four games. He's been doing some activity on his own in preparation for a return, but if he's unable to fully practice Friday, it would seem likely that the Capitals rule him out for a fifth straight contest.

Patrick Maroon
Ducks' Maroon Progressing Well
Patrick Maroon, LW, ANA
12:26 AM
News: Patrick Maroon (knee) is recovering faster than anticipated from his MCL sprain and could play at some point during the Ducks' current four-game road trip, Eric Stephens of the Orange County Register reports.
Analysis: Patrick Maroon suffered the injury Oct. 14 and was expected to miss four weeks, but a return over the next few days would mean that he was able to cut that projected recovery timetable in half. The winger won't be an option for Thursday's game in St. Louis, but coach Bruce Boudreau indicated there's a good chance the winger will be available for Friday in Dallas or Sunday in Colorado. Maroon was previously deployed on the Ducks' first line prior to suffering the injury, but there's no guarantee he'll reclaim that role was activated from IR. Since Maroon has been out, all of Devante Smith-Pelly, Dany Heatley and Matt Beleskey have seen time on the top trio with Ryan Getzlaf and Corey Perry, and it's unclear if Boudreau will end up permanently settling on a player anytime soon.

Daniel Briere
Avs' Briere Healthy Scratched Thursday
Daniel Briere, C, COL
12:19 AM
News: Daniel Briere will be a healthy scratch Thursday against the Islanders, Mike Chambers of the Denver Post reports.
Analysis: The 37-year-old Daniel Briere will be replaced in the lineup by Dennis Everberg, who was recalled from AHL Lake Erie on Wednesday. It's unclear whether the demotion to the press box will be a permanent one for Briere, as it will likely depend on how well the rookie Everberg meshes Thursday with John Mitchell and Alex Tanguay on the third line. Briere has two goals and three points over 10 games with the Avs on the season.

Nate Guenin
Avs' Guenin Rejoins Lineup
Nate Guenin, D, COL
12:16 AM
News: Nate Guenin will rejoin the Avs' lineup Thursday against the Islanders, Mike Chambers of the Denver Post reports.
Analysis: Zach Redmond has emerged as coach Patrick Roy's preferred replacement option for Ryan Wilson (shoulder) on the third pairing, but Nate Guenin will now receive the opportunity to make an impression of his own. Guenin hasn't played since Oct. 18 and hasn't provided a point in his four games this season.

Semyon Varlamov
Avs' Varlamov To Start Thursday
Semyon Varlamov, G, COL
12:11 AM
News: Semyon Varlamov is set to make the start in goal Thursday against the Islanders, Mike Chambers of the Denver Post reports.
Analysis: Semyon Varlamov has helped the Avs come away with at least a point in his last five starts, but is still sitting on a losing record (1-2-3) for the season. He'll have a good shot at evening his record against the Islanders, who have struggled defensively for most of the season.

Jesse Winchester
Avs' Winchester Appears To Have Suffered Setback
Jesse Winchester, C, COL
12:06 AM
News: Jesse Winchester appears to have suffered a setback in his recovery from a concussion, Mike Chambers of the Denver Post reports.
Analysis: After taking contact in practices earlier this week, Jesse Winchester was donning an orange non-contact sweater at Thursday's morning skate, a sign that he's noticed a downgrade in his recovery. The fact that the Avs haven't shut down his on-ice activities entirely offers some encouragement, but it no longer looks as though Winchester will be activated in the coming days.

Josh Jooris
Flames' Jooris To Be Healthy Scratch Friday
Josh Jooris, C, CGY
12:02 AM
News: Josh Jooris will be a healthy scratch for Friday's game against the Predators, Randy Sportak of the Calgary Sun reports.
Analysis: Josh Jooris has been quiet since recording a goal in his NHL debut, with his move to the bottom line likely contributing to his lack of impact. Brian McGrattan is expected to take his spot in the lineup Friday.

Mark Fistric
Ducks' Fistric Leaves With Upper-Body Injury
Mark Fistric, D, ANA
10/30/2014
News: Coach Bruce Boudreau said Mark Fistric wasn't close to returning after leaving Thursday's contest with an upper body injury, Eric Stephens of the Orange County Register reports.
Analysis: Mark Fistric's status for Friday's game is questionable at this point, which could open the door for Josh Manson to make his NHL debut. The team may reveal more information on the situation in the future, but for now Fistric should be considered day-to-day.

 
 
 
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