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Right on Schedule: Gear up for a big week

by | Rotowire.com
  •  

With only eight of the 30 NHL teams playing four games this week, you might think it's going to be a slow week. Not so fast sir or madam. The remainder of the 22 teams will all play three games and 17 teams will play on back-to-back nights at one point. So with a very small variable, how can we gain at least a small edge over our opponent?

Ah, deadline time!

NHL schedule

Headed for the links

Probably the most gawked team in the NHL right now, Columbus' futility has the Blue Jackets at the storm's eye of the NHL trading deadline. The Columbus Dispatch reported a few of the key reactions. "It's extremely tough," left winger R.J. Umberger went on to elaborate. "A guy like Rick Nash being all over the news. Whether it's true, if it happens or doesn't happen, it affects our team because he is this organization. When you think Columbus Blue Jackets, you think Rick Nash. It's tough." Meanwhile, GM Scott Howson told The Dispatch something a bit more generic. "We're going to do whatever it takes to make our team better." If goalie(s) Steve Mason or Curtis Sanford are moved, look for pup Allen York to get more playing time. Another trading tool, defenseman, James Wisniewski is considered day-to-day after pulling a groin. To top things off, Columbus (vs. SJ, COL, @PIT) has a dirty schedule this week.

Edmonton's Ales Hemsky (4 goals, 20 assists) wants a long-term deal. With so many young guns to begin locking up on this squad, would it be a smart investment? You betcha! Hemsky is the iron man of this team, having played 534 straight games since joining the Oilers. Needless to say, this is the kind of attitude you want around a bunch of young kids. But, if the offer is right, GM Steve Tambellini could pull the trigger on just about anyone, including struggling tender Nikolai Khabibulin. Left-winger Ben Eager has two goals, an assist, seven penalty minutes and seven hits over his last three games. Edmonton (@CAL, vs. PHI, PHO) will play two of three from home.

With their most appealing trade-bait, Tuomo Ruttu, sidelined (upper-body) beyond the trading deadline, Carolina will most likely push the press on their intent to re-sign Ruttu. But how will that change the suitors of the 28-year-old? Defenseman Jaroslav Spacek (seven points in 22 games) is possibly on the move before the deadline as well. Left-winger Jiri Tlusty (14 goals, 11 assists) has a point in every one of his seven games (plus-7) this month. The Hurricanes (vs. WAS, ANH, FLA) will host three this week, including two divisional games starting with Washington on NBCS Monday.

Nearing what Buffalo spent on Ville Leino's (four goals, 13 assists, -6) six-year contract this past summer, are the Sabres' medical expenses this season. Though Leino has shown some spark (especially since moving to a younger second line unit) as of late, could the Fin be out as quick as he came in? Buffalo (vs. NYI, BOS, @NYR) hosts two of three.

Big schedule

We knew it was coming and for Blackhawks fans, it came in the nick of time. Chicago used a 4-2 win over the heavily favored Rangers to catapult themselves back into coherence. After losing their first six games (all on the road) in February, Chicago bounced back and outscored their opponents 10-3 to end their eight-game road trip on a high note. Hell, even Corey Crawford (2-0, .944) came around this week. Defenseman Brent Seabrook, averaging 26-plus minutes of ice time per game, has two goals and three assists in his last seven games. The Blackhawks (vs. DET, DAL, @LA, ANA) hope to continue their feeling with two at home and then two more on the road.

In what has been a very busy February, Dallas (4-4-2) has barely kept their head above water with .500 hockey. Things will begin to settle for the Stars after this week, but first they must get through some difficult teams including another back-to-back schedule. Dallas is 0-8-2 on the second night of back-to-back games. Jamie Benn missed both games this past weekend with a leg laceration and is listed as day-to-day. The Stars (@MON, CHI, vs. MIN, VAN) hit the road for two, then home for two more.

Fresh off welcoming center Dominic Moore (assist, four shots on goal in debut) to the team, San Jose may not be done with trade deadline. With right-winger Martin Havlat (hamstring) is expected to return in time for the playoffs, the Sharks may look to solidify their goaltending situation as Antti Niemi has been suspect in the month of February (1-3-1, .862) and rookie Thomas Greiss may not be ready to lead this team to a Cup. The Sharks (@CLS, TOR, NSH, MIN) will play four on the road.

It took all week, but that offensive Vancouver explosion we talked about in the schedule analysis last week did come against Toronto in the form of 6-2 win. More buzz-worthy was the arrival of Chris Tanev, 22-year-old defenseman. Tanev, who played 18-plus minutes in place of the injured Keith Ballard, registered 14 assists in 34 regular season AHL games with the Chicago Wolves. The Canucks (@NSH, DET, NJ, DAL) take to the road for a brutal schedule.

Truly more applicable to "headed for the links," the Islanders are just playing with the emotions of their fans. John Tavares (24 goals, 34 assists) and P.A. Parenteau (12 goals, 41 assists) are doing all they can to provide a glimmer of hope for the Nassau Coliseum faithful, but this team hasn't felt a winning streak since mid-January. Defenseman Travis Hamonic (nose) has resumed skating and Kevin Poulin (won 4-3 over Carolina Saturday) is up from AHL Bridgeport while Evgeni Nabokov (flu) gets better. The Islanders (vs. OTT, @BUF, vs. NYR, @OTT) will continue the audition of their trading chips (i.e. Steve Staios) with an alternating home-and-road schedule, including two with Ottawa.

Ottawa (seventh in the Eastern Conference) on the other hand, has quietly taken control of their playoff-life, going 3-0-1 and outscoring (17-9) their last four opponents heavily. Neither are Fantasy-applicable, but a few former first-round players are contributing to the confidence as of late. Defenseman Brian Lee registered his first multi-point effort and center Jim O'Brien scored his first NHL goal last week against the Panthers. The Senators (@NYI, vs. WAS, BOS, NYI), as previously mentioned will take on the indecisive Isles twice this week.

Also more applicable to headed for the tee, general manager Stevie Y [Yzerman] has made it clear, his team (11th in conference) will not be buyers. After trading veteran role players like Dominic Moore and Pavel Kubina, there's not a lot to say about their playoff chances. Though I'm sure Martin St. Louis (18 goals, 34 assists), Vincent Lecavalier (21 goals, 25 assists) and Steven Stamkos (40 goals, 27 assists) feel differently. To top it off, the Lightning (vs. ANH, @WPG, PIT, NJ) host Anaheim then hit the road for three this week.

Warding off division rivals Tampa Bay and Winnipeg is Dale Hunter and his barely breathing Washington Capitals. The good news is defenseman Mike Green returned last week and played 14-plus minutes in a 2-1 loss to the aforementioned Lightning. With Nicklas Backstrom (concussion symptoms) still out and Keith Aucoin having been ineffective in five NHL games, the Caps (averaging 2.22 goals scored per game) need an offensive jolt. Though their playoff chances won't be clear until well after the deadline, the Capitals (@CAR, OTT, vs. MON, @TOR) hope to have a great week on the road with the personnel they currently have.

Gearing Up

No, Chris Pronger won't be back, but the Philadelphia Flyers (@WPG, EDM, CAL) have added two veteran defensemen, Nicklas Grossman (Dallas) and Pavel Kubina (Tampa Bay) to offset that. Left-winger James van Riemsdyk returned from a concussion with three hits and an assist. Recently recalled left-winger Eric Wellwood has a goal and two assists in his first four games this season. Having given up four draft picks -- and AHL forward Jon Kalinski -- in the last three days, regardless of their teetering goal-tender situation, I think it's safe to say Philly is pushing for a cup run now. The Flyers (@WPG, EDM, CAL) have three on the road this week.

The St. Louis Blues' plan to add "from within" is seemingly working. Not only is David Perron (10 points in last seven games) as hot as anyone in the league, but he's awakening players like T.J. Oshie and Patrik Berglund. Add in the unbreakable tandem of Jaroslav Halak and Brian Elliott, and one of the league's top scoring defenseman in Alex Pietrangelo, yep, the St. Louis is finally playing the right tune at the right time. The Blues (vs. BOS, @NSH, WPG) have a fairly tough road ahead of them after hosting the defending Stanley Cup champion Bruins.

Some Others

Pittsburgh's Jordan Staal may catch up to more productive brother Eric very soon. Jordan (four goals, two assists since returning five games ago) logged 16.5 CBS Fantasy points last week. The Penguins (vs. NYR, TB, CLS) will play three this week. Prior to publishing, word is Matt Duchene (24 points in 39 games) will return (knee) to the Avalanche (vs. LA, @CLS, DET) lineup this Sunday, lining up with Paul Stastny and Milan Hejduk. Montreal's (vs. DAL, @WAS, FLA) Tomas Kaberle has a goal and an assist in his last three games. New Jersey's (@TOR, vs. VAN, TB) Adam Henrique (four points in his last four games) is back to his productive ways. Minnesota's (@FLA, DAL, vs. SJ) Mikko Koivu (undisclosed) is day-to-day. Detroit's (@CHI, vs. VAN, COL) Jimmy Howard (broken finger) is expected to start this Tuesday against Chicago.

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Player News
Kyle Palmieri
Ducks' Palmieri Notches Assist In Loss
Kyle Palmieri, RW, ANA
6:36 AM
News: Kyle Palmieri registered an assist and five hits in Saturday's Game 4 loss to the Blackhawks.
Analysis: Kyle Palmieri often found himself near the Blackhawks' crease, but was unable to capitalize on it until he got a stick on the puck before it led to an eventual goal by teammate Emerson Etem. The 24-year-old winger has a goal and three assists in his 13 postseason matches.

Ryan Kesler
Ducks' Kesler Pots Goal In Defeat
Ryan Kesler, C, ANA
6:33 AM
News: Ryan Kesler netted a goal and fired off three shots in his 27:16 of ice time in Saturday's Game 4 double-overtime loss to the Blackhawks.
Analysis: Ryan Kesler has been mostly effective this series in limiting the impact of Jonathan Toews, even though the Blackhawks center did record two points in Game 4. However, Kesler at least mitigated the damage by scoring his first point of the series, while kicking off a string of three unanswered goals in a 37-second span. The Ducks wouldn't be able to parlay that third-period surge into a victory, but their fortunes could change when the series shifts to Anaheim on Monday for Game 5.

Emerson Etem
Ducks' Etem Pots Goal In Game 4
Emerson Etem, RW, ANA
6:30 AM
News: Emerson Etem cleaned up a Francois Beauchemin shot attempt to score the Ducks' first goal of the match in an eventual 5-4 double-overtime loss to the Blackhawks in Saturday's Game 4.
Analysis: Emerson Etem now has three goals in the postseason, despite missing two games of the previous series against Calgary as a healthy scratch. It appears coach Bruce Boudreau values Etem's energy more than Tomas Fleischmann's experience at this stage in the playoffs, so don't expect a switch to be made for Game 5.

Francois Beauchemin
Ducks' Beauchemin Sets Up Goal In Game 4
Francois Beauchemin, D, ANA
6:26 AM
News: Francois Beauchemin registered an assist, three shots on goal, and four blocks in Saturday's Game 4 loss to the Blackhawks.
Analysis: It's the 27th career postseason helper for Francois Beauchemin, who tied Scott Niedermayer for first among defensemen in franchise history. The set up for Emerson Etem allowed Beauchemin to atone for his miscue earlier in the game that allowed the Blackhawks' Brandon Saad to pot the game's first goal.

Frederik Andersen
Ducks, Andersen Fall In Double OT In Game 4
Frederik Andersen, G, ANA
6:24 AM
News: Frederik Andersen stopped 35 of 40 shots in the Ducks' Game 4 double-overtime loss to the Blackhawks.
Analysis: Frederik Andersen was lucky the Ducks stayed alive in this game as long as they did, since he provided one of his weaker performances of the postseason. He was trailing 3-1 in the third period before his mates picked him up with three unanswered goals in the span of 37 seconds to give the team a 4-3 lead. However, Andersen couldn't close the door on the road, as Patrick Kane notched the equalizer later in the period before Antoine Vermette tallied the game-winner 5:37 into the second overtime. Andersen's .875 save percentage on the night was his lowest mark of the postseason and his worse since April 8 against the Stars.

Corey Crawford
Crawford, Blackhawks Score Double OT Win In Game 4
Corey Crawford, G, CHI
6:20 AM
News: Corey Crawford denied 47 of 51 shots as the Blackhawks pulled out a 5-4 double-overtime victory over the Ducks in Saturday's Game 4.
Analysis: Corey Crawford looked like he would cruise to a fairly comfortable victory when Brent Seabrook's goal gave the team a 3-1 cushion with a little over 12 minutes remaining in the match, but that wouldn't be the case. The Ducks then responded with three unanswered goals in 37 seconds to take the lead, quieting the rapid United Center crowd. Instead of pulling the goalie in favor of Scott Darling, coach Joel Quenneville stuck with Crawford, and then watched as he made several key saves while the Blackhawks sent the game to overtime. He would continue to shine in the extra 25:37 of action, stopping all 21 shots he faced in that span before Antoine Vermette notched the game-winner. Despite the bumpy outing, look for Crawford to be back in the crease for Monday's Game 5 in Anaheim.

Teuvo Teravainen
Hawks' Teravainen Back In Lineup For Game 4
Teuvo Teravainen, LW, CHI
5/23/2015
News: Teuvo Teravainen, who was a healthy scratch for Game 3 in the Stanley Cup Western Conference Finals, will be in the lineup for Game 4 against the Duck, ESPN Chicago reports.
Analysis: Both Teuvo Teravainen and Antoine Vermette were healthy scratches for Game 3. The lack of offense in the 2-1 loss in Game 3 gave Hawks' coach Joel Quenneville a change of mind for Game 4. Teravainen and Vermette rejoined Patrick Sharp on the Blackhawks' third line during the team's morning skate at the United Center on Saturday.

Antoine Vermette
Hawks' Vermette Back In Lineup For Game 4
Antoine Vermette, C, CHI
5/23/2015
News: Antoine Vermette, who was a healthy scratch for Game 3 in the Stanley Cup Western Conference Finals, will be in the lineup for Game 4 on Saturday night against the Ducks, ESPN Chicago reports.
Analysis: Both Antoine Vermette and Teuvo Teravainen were healthy scratches for Game 3. The lack of offense in the 2-1 loss in Game 3 gave Hawks' coach Joel Quenneville a change of mind for Game 4. Teravainen and Vermette rejoined Patrick Sharp on the Blackhawks' third line during the team's morning skate at the United Center on Saturday.

Derick Brassard
Rangers' Brassard Earns Power-Play Assist
Derick Brassard, C, NYR
5/23/2015
News: Derick Brassard picked up a power-play assist in Friday's Game 4 victory over the Lightning.
Analysis: Derick Brassard has been a steady producer for the Rangers throughout their playoff run, never going more than one game without recording a point. Collectively, he's accrued six goals and five assists across 16 contests and three rounds, which has made him a serviceable selection for those in postseason pools.

Carl Hagelin
Rangers' Hagelin Gathers Assist In Game 4
Carl Hagelin, LW, NYR
5/23/2015
News: Carl Hagelin was credited with an assist on Rick Nash's first-period goal in Friday's 5-1 triumph over the Lightning.
Analysis: Carl Hagelin had been held off the score sheet in the Rangers' previous nine games before collecting the helper Friday. The elusive winger can occasionally present matchup problems for the opposition, but that likely won't be the case often against the Lightning, who don't count team speed as one of their weaknesses.

 
 
 
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