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Right on Schedule: Full slates push Fantasy races

by | Rotowire.com
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Some of you owners with maximums and minimums on the mind definitely need to dissect the next 14 days carefully. With only two full weeks left in the season, a quick glance at the remaining schedule shows us 14 NHL teams are playing a full (four-game) schedule this week. Furthermore, 17 teams are playing four games next week, so it's certainly imperative to insert only the best players on your roster. Here it begins - the light at the end of the tunnel.

NHL schedule

Hanging On

Toronto (@BOS vs. NYI @NJ vs. NYR): The Leafs have merely a mathematical hope of making the playoffs. But the Jekyl-side of James Reimer (2-0 63-65) has appeared the past two games against Tampa Bay and Ottawa and has Maple Leafs loyal clammering about more than just mathematics. Toronto has games on back-to-back nights on two occurrences this week.

San Jose (vs. ANH @LA vs. BOS vs. PHO): With a tough road of fellow playoff-hungry conference rivals in their schedule, oddly enough, only Boston looks like an appealing game. Center Tommy Wingels has missed three straight games with an undisclosed upper-body injury while veteran right-winger Martin Havlat returned to the scoring sheet in a big way. Havlat grabbed two goals in just his second game back during the Sharks 3-2 win over Detroit.

Buffalo (@ TB vs. MON @NYR vs. MIN): The Sabres have been one of the most consistent teams since the trading deadline, causing a ruckus in their conference playoff hunt. Having lost two straight going into Sunday, this week's four-game schedule could put an end to that ruckus. Tyler Ennis has 15 points (seven goals, eight assists) in his last 16 games.

Los Angeles (vs. SJ vs. STL vs. BOS): Most concerning for Kings fans should be that their team will play San Jose (series tied 1-1-1) three times in the final three weeks. Right-winger Dustin Brown has not been the same since whispers of a possible trade began before the deadline. Despite being kept quiet in a 4-2 win over Nashville on St. Patrick's Day, the veteran winger has six goals and 11 assists in his last 13 games. Additionally, Brown has been a plus-9 for the Kings, who are tied for eighth in the conference headed into Sunday's action.

Tampa Bay (vs. BUF vs. EDM vs. NYI): After a showdown with the Sabres, the Lightning has a fairly low strength of schedule this week. Let's face it, though, even their GM started paying more attention to their AHL affiliate after the trading deadline. If the Lightning make the playoffs, I'll fly there for their first home game. At least the future looks good for Tampa Bay as the aforementioned Norfolk Admirals have won an AHL-record 17 straight games. What a number!

Calgary (@COL @MIN @DAL): Regardless of the fact that the Flames have half an army of role players on the injured reserve, they're hanging tough. Defenseman Mark Giordano (three goals, five assists in nine March games) appears to be heating up just in the nick of time and Lee Stempniak returned Sunday from an ankle injury.

Winnipeg (@PIT @WAS @NSH): Winnipeg had a commanding 5-2 win over Dallas, but as mentioned last week, they'll need to rely on Ondrej Pavelec, who has been less-than-stellar on the road.

Washington (@DET @PHI vs. WPG vs. MIN): If the Caps can survive the first half of their week, the second half may provide them with some breathing room on the eighth and final spot in the East. Mike Green is back, and Roman Hamrlik is back to street clothes.

Dallas (vs. PHO vs. VAN vs. CAL): Currently first in the Pacific has the Stars ranked third in the West. This can change quickly as the Stars will face three strong teams from home this week. Loui Eriksson (15 points in his last 11 games) is finally burning bright. Despite a 4-1 loss to Chicago, Kari Lehtonen is 8-1-1 in his last his last 10 starts.

Easy Pickings

Minnesota (vs. VAN vs. CAL @BUF @WAS): By far the team to pick on, players taking on the Wild could be considered easy fantasy points this week. Going into Sunday's action with Carolina, Minnesota is being outscored 32-14 in nine March games. All four of Minnesota's opponents this week have something to fight for and may bloody an already beat up Twin Cities squad. Mikko Koivu is still day-to-day for Monday's game against Vancouver. Meanwhilte, Wild.com is reporting Niklas Backstrom (groin) is nearing a return to action.

Columbus (vs. CHI vs. CAR vs. EDM): After starting out the month 5-0 and hanging tough with St. Louis and Vancouver, the Blue Jackets have lost four in a row heading into their Sunday match up with Calgary. Columbus heads home for three straight.

Losing Steam

New York Rangers (vs. NJ vs. DET vs. BUF @TOR): Losers of two in a row, the MSG faithful have their Stanley Cup contending boys at home for a busy, three of four at home. Rangers captain Ryan Callahan is back from injury and Mats Zuccarello is back from Connecticut of the AHL. Zuccarello scored the team's lone-goal in their loss to Colorado this past weekend.

Vancouver (@MIN @ CHI @ DAL @ COL): After squeaking out a 4-3 win over Columbus, no one is quite sure where to seed the Canucks. Let's see if four games away from home can help straighten the ship. Once again, talk around the British Columbia ice hockey club is to replace Roberto Luongo with Cory Schneider. Schneider (two assists this season) is 9-1-1 in his sporadic spot starts since the December 29. Defenseman Alexander Edler has three goals and an assist in his last five games. Left-winger Chris Higgins has two goals, seven assists in his last nine games and is currently riding a five-game point scoring streak.

Boston (vs. TOR @SJ @LA @ANH): Same goes here for the Bruins, who after hosting the hungry Leafs, will head out West for three games. Right-wingers Rich Peverley (torn MCL in right knee) has resumed skating, while deadline pickup Brian Rolston has a goal and an assist in last two games.

Building Momentum

Pittsburgh (vs. WPG vs. NSH @OTT vs. NJ): Though Sidney Crosby (17 points in 11 games this season) has yet to find the back of the net since coming back three games ago, he has notched five assists since Thursday. Pittsburgh has not lost in regulation since a 6-2 loss to Buffalo on Feb. 19.

Ottawa (vs. NJ @MON vs. PIT): As if Boston wasn't playing bad enough for the Sens to take over the lead in the Northeast Division, Ottawa can also attribute their new-found divisional lead to their GM Bryan Murray. In hindsight, they may turn out to have completed the most underrated trade in quite some time. Traded from St. Louis due to a traffic jam for a mere second-round draft pick (2012), goalie Ben Bishop (3-1-2) has been everything he was at the AHL level. The Sens are gearing up for a deep run this year with a rookie goalie that may have the chops to get it done. Last week the Canadian (TOR, MON) rivalry, this week a few east coast visitors for Bishop.

St. Louis (@ANH @LA @PHO): The Blues are the first team to eclipse 100 points in the 2011-12 campaign. How they handle this road-trip against those clawing to make the playoffs could make for an interesting week. Left-winger Jaden Schwartz made the most of first NHL shot on goal, scoring during his debut this past weekend. The St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports a bit of good new on the horizon as Jason Arnott (general soreness) should return to the Blues' lineup this week, possibly Wednesday against Anaheim. Andy McDonald began treatment for his injured shoulder and did some off-ice stick-handling drills.

Your CBS Stream

Still no return date for New Jersey's Travis Zajac (Achilles). Nashville's Paul Gaustad (upper body) did not play Sunday against the Ducks. Rene Bourque had a goal and five shots on net, Aaron Palushaj scored his first NHL goal and defenseman Andrei Markov played a season-high 21:49 of ice time in a losing cause as the Canadiens fell to Isles in a 3-2 shootout. Preds forward Colin Wilson was a healthy scratch for two games this past weekend. Taylor Hall (concussion) missed Sunday's night's game against Phoenix.

TV Time (all games in EST)

March 19: Devils at Rangers, 7:30 p.m., NBC Sports

March 20: Coyotes at Stars, 8 p.m., NBC Sports

March 21: Red Wings at Rangers, 7:30, NBC Sports

March 25: Wild at Caps, 5 p.m., NBC Sports

March 25: Predators at Blackhawks, 7:30 p.m., NBC Sports

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
Craig Anderson
Sens' Anderson Will Start Friday
Craig Anderson, G, OTT
4/25/2015
News: Craig Anderson will be between the pipes for Friday's Game 5 against the Canadiens, TSN 1200's Gord Wilson reports.
Analysis: It's hardly a surprise, as Craig Anderson was phenomenal in Game 4, turning away all of the 28 shots he faced en route to a shut out. He'll likely need to turn in a similar performance on Friday in order to give the Senators a chance to gain some ground in their series with the Habs', in which they currently trail three games to one.

Jake Allen
Blues' Allen Will Start Friday
Jake Allen, G, STL
4/25/2015
News: Jake Allen will be between the pipes for Friday's Game 5 against the Wild, Lou Korac of NHL.com reports.
Analysis: Jake Allen didn't have to do too much in Game 4, as Minnesota only managed to fire a total of 18 shots on goal. However, he was still solid, turning away 17 of the 18 shots he faced. He'll look to build on that strong performance on Friday.

Jori Lehtera
Blues' Lehtera (Undisclosed) Out For Game 5
Jori Lehtera, C, STL
6:10 PM
News: Jori Lehtera (undisclosed) did not take the ice for pregame warmups ahead of Friday's Game 5 and is not expected to skate as a result, Lou Korac of NHL.com reports.
Analysis: Jori Lehtera was game-time decision but ultimately will stay off the ice for Game 5. His next opportunity to compete will be in Game 6 on Sunday.

Mats Zuccarello
Rangers' Zuccarello (Undisclosed) Will Not Return
Mats Zuccarello, RW, NYR
5:18 PM
News: Mats Zuccarello (undisclosed) will not return to Friday's Game 5 against the Penguins.
Analysis: Mats Zuccarello should be considered day-to-day moving forward until the Rangers shed some light on what exactly the 27-year-old is dealing with after getting hit in the head with a puck in the first period Friday. His next opportunity to play will be in the potential Game 6 on Sunday, or in the second round.

Mathieu Perreault
Jets' Perreault Played Through Injury In Playoffs
Mathieu Perreault, C, WPG
4:18 PM
News: Mathieu Perreault played with a high ankle sprain and ripped ligaments in his hand in the Jets' playoff series against the Ducks, 680 CJOB Sports reports.
Analysis: It's certainly admirable Mathieu Perreault was able to suit up while so banged up, especially considering he was able to register two assists in the three games he was able to play in in the series. He should be ready for the beginning of next season.

Carey Price
Habs' Price Will Start Friday
Carey Price, G, MON
3:54 PM
News: Carey Price will be in the crease for Friday's Game 5 against Ottawa, Stu Cowan of The Montreal Gazette reports.
Analysis: The Vezina Trophy finalist will look to build on his excellent Game 4 performance, in which he turned away 31 of the 32 shots he faced. Carey Price and the Canadiens' will look to close out their series with the Senators on home ice in Game 5 on Friday.

Bryan Little
Jets' Little Played With A Dislocated Rib
Bryan Little, C, WPG
3:41 PM
News: Bryan Little played with a dislocated rib in the Jets' playoff series against the Ducks, 680 CJOB Sports reports.
Analysis: Bryan Little finishes the 2014-2015 campaign having registered 24 goals and 28 assists in 70 games with the Jets this season. He should be ready for the start of next season.

Dustin Byfuglien
Jets' Byfuglien Played With A Dislocated Rib
Dustin Byfuglien, D, WPG
3:21 PM
News: Dustin Byfuglien played with a dislocated rib in the Jets' playoff series against the Ducks, 680 CJOB Sports reports.
Analysis: The fact that Dustin Byfuglien was nursing an injury during Winnipeg's series against Anaheim leads one to wonder if it affected his play, as he only managed to tally one point in the series after registering 45 points during the regular season. He should be ready for the beginning of next season.

Marc-Andre Fleury
Pens' Fleury Will Start Friday
Marc-Andre Fleury, G, PIT
2:36 PM
News: Marc-Andre Fleury will be between the pipes for Friday's Game 5 against the Rangers, Newsday's Steve Zipay reports.
Analysis: Despite playing pretty solid, Marc-Andre Fleury has lost three of four games to the Rangers thus far in the Penguins' opening series. He'll need some help from his offense in Game 5 for the Penguins to avoid elimination on Friday.

Henrik Lundqvist
Rangers' Lundqvist Will Start Friday
Henrik Lundqvist, G, NYR
2:30 PM
News: Henrik Lundqvist will be in net for Friday's Game 5 against the Penguins, Steve Zipay of Newsday reports.
Analysis: Henrik Lundqvist was excellent in Game 4, allowing just one goal on 23 shots en route to a 2-1 OT victory. He'll look to build on that great performance in Friday's Game 5.

 
 
 
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