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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

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- all updated in real time. Download the CBS Fantasy App.

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Player News
Yannick Weber
Canucks' Weber Scores For Third Straight Game
Yannick Weber, D, VAN
1:07 AM
News: Yannick Weber scored for the third straight game Thursday, potting the lone Canucks' goal in a loss to the Avalanche.
Analysis: It was the second straight game Yannick Weber had scored a power-play goal, giving him three power-play tallies on the season. He's taking on an increased role with the Canucks, as indicated by his 22:09 of ice time Thursday. Playing on the top power-play unit, the 26-year-old has now recorded a power-play point in four straight games and is up to 19 points in 57 games on the season. Lining up with Dan Hamhuis on Vancouver's second defense pairing, Weber is being counted on heavily by the Canucks right now and is worth snatching up in some deeper leagues.

Kevin Shattenkirk
Blues' Shattenkirk Confirmed To Be In Saturday
Kevin Shattenkirk, D, STL
12:57 AM
News: Coach Ken Hitchcock confirmed after Friday's practice that Kevin Shattenkirk (abdominal surgery) will return to the lineup Saturday against the Blue Jackets. The Blues have officially activated him from injured reserve.
Analysis: The Blues cushioned the loss of Kevin Shattenkirk a bit by acquiring Zbynek Michalek and Robert Bortuzzo at the trade deadline, but they'll welcome the All-Star's return with open arms for the stretch run. Prior to going down with the injury, Shattenkirk ranked among the league scoring leaders from the blue line, producing eight goals and 40 points in 49 games. Expect Shattenkirk to see his usual 20-plus minutes of ice time in his first game since Feb. 1.

Lauri Korpikoski
Coyotes' Korpikoski (Mouth) Out Saturday
Lauri Korpikoski, LW, ARI
12:49 AM
News: Lauri Korpikoski (mouth) won't play Saturday against the Penguins, Sarah McLellan of the Arizona Republic reports.
Analysis: Lauri Korpikoski skipped Friday's practice due to the persistence of a swollen mouth as the result of a high stick to the face Tuesday. While he remains day-to-day with the issue, Saturday won't be his return date. Tye McGinn will likely continue to dress in his place.

Kari Lehtonen
Stars' Lehtonen Gets Start Saturday
Kari Lehtonen, G, DAL
12:49 AM
News: Kari Lehtonen will be in the crease for Saturday's game against the Oilers, Mike Heika of the Dallas Morning News reports.
Analysis: The Stars will begin a back-to-back set Friday, and with the team still trying to force its way back into the playoff picture, it's conceivable that Kari Lehtonen could get the nod again Saturday in Vancouver. However, no decision on that front will likely be made until Lehtonen takes on the Oilers in what should be a favorable matchup for the goaltender. Edmonton ranks in the bottom fifth of the league in both goals and shot attempts per game, and with Lehtonen reeling off wins in seven of his last eight games, he'll make for an easy activation Friday.

Mike Smith
Coyotes Turn To Smith In Net Saturday
Mike Smith, G, ARI
12:42 AM
News: Mike Smith will make his fifth consecutive start in net Saturday against the Penguins, Sarah McLellan of the Arizona Republic reports.
Analysis: Mike Smith has been faced with a barrage of shots recently, averaging 35 saves over the span. He's won each of the last two contests, and he'll look to make it a third Saturday. However, Smith will need to be up to the task, as he will take on a Penguins offense averaging 2.72 goals per game.

Matt Fraser
Oilers' Fraser To Play Friday
Matt Fraser, LW, EDM
12:41 AM
News: Matt Fraser (concussion) will return to the lineup Friday against the Stars.
Analysis: Matt Fraser has missed the Oilers' previous four games with the concussion, which he suffered on a hit to the head from the Leafs' Nazem Kadri in a March 17 contest. Fittingly, Kadri was handed a four-game suspension for that hit, and now Fraser will rejoin the lineup after an absence of the same length. The winger is projected to skate on the Oilers' fourth line Friday alongside Luke Gazdic and Rob Klinkhammer.

Mark Fayne
Oilers' Fayne Deemed Unavailable Friday
Mark Fayne, D, EDM
12:38 AM
News: Mark Fayne (shoulder) will not play Friday against the Stars.
Analysis: Neither Mark Fayne nor Matt Hendricks (back) will be available Friday after leaving Wednesday's 4-3 win over the Avalanche with the injuries. The Oilers called up Brandon Davidson from AHL Oklahoma City on Thursday to cover for the absence of Fayne, who has compiled eight points and a minus-21 rating over 74 games this season.

Matt Hendricks
Oilers' Hendricks Out Friday
Matt Hendricks, C, EDM
12:34 AM
News: Matt Hendricks (back) will not play Friday against the Stars.
Analysis: Matt Hendricks succumbed to the injury in Wednesday's win over the Avalanche, skating just 8:27 before leaving the contest. The winger provides toughness in the Oilers' bottom-six ranks with 205 hits and 76 PIM on the season, but his limited offense and his poor plus/minus rating doesn't make him an appealing fantasy target.

Boyd Gordon
Oilers' Gordon Out Another Game
Boyd Gordon, C, EDM
12:32 AM
News: Boyd Gordon (back) will not play Friday against the Stars.
Analysis: Though the Oilers will miss Boyd Gordon's skills in the faceoff circle, the center's absence will cause considerably fewer ripples in the fantasy realm. Gordon has tallied only 13 points in 68 games this season while primarily skating on the Oilers' fourth line.

Alex Stalock
Sharks' Stalock Starts Saturday
Alex Stalock, G, SJ
12:30 AM
News: Alex Stalock will start in net Saturday against the Flyers, Kevin Kurz of CSN Bay Area reports.
Analysis: Alex Stalock hasn't made an appearance in net since March 18, but will finally return to the net Saturday. In 17 games this season, the netminder has posted a 6-7-1 record with a 2.65 GAA and .903 save percentage. He'll receive the benefit of facing a weak offensive opponent Saturday in the Flyers, who average a middling 2.57 goals per game.

 
 
 
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