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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
Zbynek Michalek
Coyotes' Michalek Scores First Goal Of Season
Zbynek Michalek, D, ARI
12:59 PM
News: Zbynek Michalek scored his first goal of the season in Saturday's win over Anaheim.
Analysis: Zbynek Michalek now has six points in 35 games, to go with a minus-5 rating. Considering it's been five years since the 32-year-old surpassed the 20-point mark, don't expect much more offense from Michalek this season. Considering he sees almost no power-play time, Michalek doesn't provide much fantasy value outside of the deepest of leagues.

Kari Lehtonen
Stars' Lehtonen Makes 30 Saves In Win
Kari Lehtonen, G, DAL
12:28 PM
News: Kari Lehtonen made 30 saves on 33 shots in Saturday's win over the Blues.
Analysis: Kari Lehtonen is now 4-1-0 in his last six appearances, giving up 14 goals in that span. The 31-year-old is 14-8-5 on the season, with a .904 save percentage and 2.99 GAA. While he gets the call almost every night for Dallas, the Stars have allowed a whopping 113 goals-against this season, with the disastrous Oilers being the only other team to yield more. Lehtonen is a great fantasy option if you're looking for wins, but if you want solid rate stats, don't expect impressive totals from Lehtonen.

Jake Allen
Blues' Allen Gives Up Four In Loss
Jake Allen, G, STL
12:11 PM
News: Jake Allen gave up four goals on 24 shots in Saturday's loss to Dallas.
Analysis: Not the best night for Jake Allen, who has now lost three straight games, giving up a whopping 12 goals in that span. While he remains a top fantasy option with an 11-5-2 record, his .899 save percentage and 2.76 GAA is a tad alarming. While he will likely remain the starter with Brian Elliot (knee) out, expect Allen to lose a significant amount of starts once Elliot returns -- especially if the 24-year-old continues to struggle.

Calvin Pickard
Avs' Pickard Gives Up Four Goals In Loss
Calvin Pickard, G, COL
2:34 AM
News: Calvin Pickard gave up four goals on 32 shots in Saturday's loss to Chicago.
Analysis: Not the best night for the 22-year-old youngster, who had only given up one goal in his previous three games. With Semyon Varlamov (groin) having returned from IR, expect the two goalies to continue sharing starts in the near-future. With a 6-6-2 record, to go with an NHL-leading .934 save percentage and 2.21 GAA, Calvin Pickard will need to continue his stellar play if he hopes to continue seeing starts at the NHL level this season.

Corey Crawford
Hawks' Crawford Makes 23 Saves In Win
Corey Crawford, G, CHI
2:22 AM
News: Corey Crawford made 23 saves on 25 shots in Saturday's win over Colorado.
Analysis: A strong outing from Corey Crawford, who is now 1-1-1 since returning from a foot injury, allowing seven goals in that span. Now that he's back in action, he needs to be in your lineup every night he gets the nod. With a 13-6-2 record, to go with a .923 save percentage and 2.00 GAA, Crawford has been one of the best fantasy goalies this season. He's money on a Blackhawks' team that has won 12 of their past 15 games.

Brent Seabrook
Hawks' Seabrook Scores Game-Winner Vs. Avs
Brent Seabrook, D, CHI
2:09 AM
News: Brent Seabrook potted the game-winning goal Saturday against the Avalanche.
Analysis: That's six points in five games for Brent Seabrook, who now has 21 points (seven goals) in 36 games, to go with a plus-6 rating. Averaging 22:16 of ice time and playing on the power play, the 29-year-old is on track for a 45-point season. He's fantasy gold on a Hawks' team that has won 12 of their past 15 games. Keep him rolling.

Jonathan Toews
Hawks' Toews Collects Two Assists
Jonathan Toews, C, CHI
1:36 AM
News: Jonathan Toews collected a pair of assists in Saturday's win over the Avalanche.
Analysis: Jonathan Toews now has 31 points (13 goals) in 36 games, to go with a plus-11 rating. The 26-year-old has been consistent all season, never going more than two games without recording a point. On pace for another 30-goal, 70-point campaign, Toews needs to be in your lineup every night he's in action.

Patrick Kane
Hawks' Kane Pots Two Goals Saturday
Patrick Kane, RW, CHI
1:27 AM
News: Patrick Kane scored a pair of goals and added an assist in Saturday's win over Colorado.
Analysis: This kid just isn't fair. Patrick Kane now has 10 points (four goals) in his past five games, putting him at 39 points on the season -- sixth most in the NHL. With 18 goals, including an NHL-best five game-winners, Kane is on track for the first 40-goal season of his NHL career. His pure domination makes him a must-start every night.

Frederik Andersen
Ducks' Andersen Makes 28 Saves In SO Loss
Frederik Andersen, G, ANA
1:21 AM
News: Frederik Andersen made 28 saves on 29 shots in Saturday's shootout loss to the Coyotes.
Analysis: Another outstanding effort from Frederik Andersen, who was beat only once in the shootout -- a bizarre goal from Shane Doan in which his stick broke on the play, fooling the 25-year-old netminder. Andersen is now 2-0-1 in his last three starts, allowing only four goals in that span. With a 19-5-5 record on the season, Andersen is one of the best fantasy options in net. You know what to do.

Devan Dubnyk
Yotes' Dubnyk Outstanding In Win
Devan Dubnyk, G, ARI
1:10 AM
News: Devan Dubnyk stopped 35 of 36 in regulation, before denying all four Ducks' shooters in the shootout in Saturday's win over Anaheim.
Analysis: Has Devan Dubnyk stolen the starting position from the once elite Mike Smith? Has this really happened? Dubnyk has been outstanding in his last two starts, stopping 61 of 63 shots. With an 8-3-2 record, to go with a .924 save percentage and 2.52 GAA, Dubnyk has earned the recent ice time he's been given. As long as he continues to succeed, the Coyotes will continue to give him the nod. What a story.

 
 
 
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