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Right on Schedule: Who should you drop this week?

by | Rotowire.com
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With just six weeks remaining in the season, while we're seeing some teams trending in the wrong direction, no team in the league is more than 11 points from a playoff spot. With that being said, there are 50 NHL games to plan for this week, so let's get to it.

Rare Bird

The rare bird is our team with five games in 7 nights, good for fantasy owners, or is it?

Vancouver (MIN, STL @PHX, @LA, @COL) - The Canucks have five games, but all against tough teams. Alexandre Burrows finally broke his goal scoring drought of 10 games, but still the Canucks could not muster much else and were beat 5-2 by Detroit. David Booth can't catch a break, or can he? Poor choice of words - he left Saturday's game against Detroit with a lower body injury. Zack Kassian (back) missed all of Saturday night's game and is considered day-to-day. GOALIE IDEAS: The week for Cory Schneider and Roberto Luongo owners will get interesting. You should see Schneider in Minnesota on Monday. Luongo would take on the Blues on Tuesday. Depending on how they play in those home games will most likely determine who plays two of three on the road. PREDICTED WEEKLY RECORD: 2-3

Four Of A Kind

All teams playing four or more games (for good or ill) this week and their latest goalie news for their back-to-back occurrence.

For Good

Los Angeles (PHX, PHX, DAL, VAN) and the Rangers (CAR, @NJ, FLA, WAS) play almost exclusively at home against weak opponents. Don't question it, just go with it.

Anaheim (SJ, CHI, DET, DET): The Ducks play four from home (11-1-0) this week, including two with Detroit on Friday and Sunday. Saku Koivu ended a three-game pointless streak Saturday. GOALIE IDEAS: Although the 2-1 loss to St. Louis on Saturday was anything but damaging, it certainly allows for Viktor Fasth to get back into the pipes as coach Boudreau is clearly going with the hot hand. After Hiller's loss, it's Fasth's turn to earn and burn. But Fasth has beaten Chicago this season. Monitor this one closely, but if we had to guess, Fasth gets that Chicago start on Wednesday.

Colorado (CHI, DAL, @DAL, VAN): No, it doesn't look pretty on the surface, but after the Chicago game (the team they beat handily last week), you've got a Stars squad showing its kinks and the Canucks. The Avs are 8-4-1 at home and we think it's going to be a good week for those in Denver. Matt Duchene is really beginning to heat up. GOALIE IDEAS: Considering Semyon Varlamov is one of just two NHL goalies to beat the ‘Hawks in regulation this season, so he's likely to get the nod. In fact, after Jean-Sebastien Giguere's showing against the Wild, he will likely only play the road game in Dallas this Saturday.

Calgary (@DAL, @NAS, @CLS, STL): Although they're on the road (3-6-2) for the first three games this week, Calgary is finally on our go list. Calgary has manhandled Dallas this season and also beat Columbus. Our only worry will be the Blues, when they're at home. Michael Cammalleri is a no brainer this week with four goals and four assists in four games this season against this week's opponents. Lee Stempniak is your back-up plan. GOALIE IDEAS: Miikka Kiprusoff is a winner of two (Nashville, Detroit) straight, but he can't do it alone, at least not this week. The Flames will probably give Nashville another look in Joey MacDonald, then back to Kiprusoff in Columbus.

Winnipeg (BOS, WAS, WAS, TB): The Jets have won three in a row and seven of their last 10. Although their schedule shows weakness in three of four games, all four of them will be from home, where the Jets (6-6-0) simply have not gotten it done. Continued production from sleepers like Kyle Wellwood (goal, 3 assists in last three games) and Antti Miettinen (two goals last two games) will be needed and most likely had. More importantly will be the return of Tobias Enstrom who is expected back sometime this week. GOALIE IDEAS: Ondrej Pavelec is 4-0-1 in his last five starts. Eddie Pasqual is up as Al Montoya aggravated a lower-body injury this past week.

For Ill (likely to lose the majority of their games)

Dallas (CAL, @COL, @LA, COL): The Stars were on this list prior to getting manhandled by Chicago. Regardless of whether head coach Glen Gulutzan can use this 8-1 loss to his advantage, they just don't have the talent moving forward. Add in Dallas's issues with the second half of b2b games, so look for them to get torched by the Kings. The other three games are intermittent shows of success by Jaromir Jagr, Jamie Benn (played against Chicago) and Cody Eakin dragged down by a young blue-liner core earning their stripes this season. GOALIE IDEAS: There's a solid chance you'll see Richard Bachman take two games this week. As for the b2b, it's likely you'll see Bachman against the Avs Wednesday and Kari Lehtonen in Los Angeles Thursday.

Florida (@CAR, @NYR, @NJ @NYI): There are very few certainties in this league of parity, but the Panthers as opponents are usually one that will benefit fantasy owners. No, they're not the same team as last season, but perhaps four on the road will turn them into the David versus Goliath. Last season, the Panthers were an amazing 11-4-3 versus this week's opponents. GOALIE IDEAS: Both Jacob Markstrom and Scott Clemmensen have been pedestrian as of late. Look for Markstrom to start the week in Carolina and end it in Long Island.

Tampa Bay (PHI, @TOR, @OTT, @WPG): Two more young forward for the Lightning have popped up. Ondrej Palat scored his first career goal in his seventh career game and Tyler Johnson had a goal and an assist in just his second career NHL game. GOALIE IDEAS: Despite a rollercoaster record in March, Anders Lindback seems to have regained his confidence. Mathieu Garon won over Carolina Saturday night. That being said, Garon has a career 5-1-0 (1.60 GAA) record against the Jets franchise, so look for Lindback on Saturday against the Sens.

Islanders (OTT, MON, PIT, FLA): Most teams enjoy the thought of a four game homestand. It seems the Islanders (5-8-2 at home) have already checked into the Barclay Center. GOALIE IDEAS: Kevin Poulin looks good (10-for-11) in replacing Evgeni Nabokov against the Pens last Sunday. Look for Nabokov to play against the Canadiens (2-0, 2.92 GAA this season) and Poulin to get thrown to the wolves, whoops, we mean, Pens.

Washington (@PIT, @WPG, @WPG, @NYR): We don't see any one of the Caps' opponents this week struggling, and you may want to make their opponents your focal point, especially the streaking Jets. GOALIE IDEAS: Career numbers suggest Michal Neuvirth has had a bit more success against the Jets, but that won't stop head coach Oates from playing his number one goalie Braden Holtby the next night against the same team.

Three's Company

Breaking down teams playing three games or less with a tilted schedule.

Montreal (BUF, @NYI, BUF) and Nashville (@CLS, CAL, CLS) have juicy schedules and players from their teams should be considered over other three game players.

Minnesota (@VAN, @DET, SJ): Devin Setoguchi is certainly looking good. Six goals, two assists in 8 games this month. More importantly, 10 of his 17 points this season have come on the road, he should continue. Also Pierre-Marc Bouchard has three points in two games since returning from being a healthy scratch.

Pittsburgh (WAS, @NYI, PHI): No definitive word on Kris Letang's official injury, who some are reporting as a lower-body one; others say it's a wrist or hand issue. Consider him day-to-day for now. Good thing Beau Bennett is making waves floating between the Pens' second and third lines. He has two goals, five assists in his last 10 games. Also keep an eye on Dustin Jeffrey who is soaking up Evgeni Malkin's (upper-body) minutes and had two assists on Saturday against the Rangers.

San Jose (@ANH, @EDM, @MIN): Brent Burns has two goals and three assists since returning to the lineup three games ago. San Jose is just 1-2 in that span. Burns and company hit the road this week, including a tilt in Burns' old stomping grounds. Dan Boyle (four goals, five assists in 11 games) is another Sharks defenseman who enjoys playing in Minnesota. As for Thomas Greiss, it looks like he'll miss most of their current five-game road trip. Alex Stalock is Antti Niemi's backup.

St. Louis (@VAN, @EDM, @CAL): Although he should be considered day-to-day, T.J. Oshie (ribs) was placed on the injured reserve Saturday. Alex Pietrangelo (flu) is considered day-to-day as well. In his first game back in over a month, Vladimir Tarasenko (concussion) played in 12-plus minutes and had an assist. Jake Allen is riding high, but the Blues Northwest division road trip could change that quick. With Jaroslav Halak rebounding from losses to Los Angeles and Anaheim, it's possible we could see Allen, and then Halak and Brian Elliott each starting a game this week.

Toronto (TB, @BUF, BOS): Phil Kessel has four goals and seven assists during his current four-game point streak. Nazem Kadri broke a three game pointless streak with two assists against Winnipeg. The same game, Joffrey Lupul scored his first two goals of the season. James Reimer is likely to get the start at home against the Lightning on Tuesday. Though Ben Scrivens was pulled after two periods against the Jets on Saturday, expect to see him in Buffalo (1.53 GAA in two games) Sabres on Wednesday.

Twos and Threes to Bench

If you could take schedules for Chicago (@COL, @ANH), Edmonton (SJ, STL) and Philadelphia (@TB, PIT) and combine them for your players, you'd be in great shape. But each of these teams' players will likely yield you very few results. Here are a few others to consider benching this week.

Carolina (@NYR, FLA, NJ): Though neither impact you owners, we like Carolina's pick up of Adam Hall, but cringe at the thought of veteran defenseman Joe Corvo (lower-body) missing time. We know, it looks like a favorable schedule, but something does not sit right. At most the ‘Canes will take out the Panthers and even that is questionable.

Detroit (MIN, @ANH, @ANH): With Kyle Quincey (upper-body) out indefinitely, Jakub Kindl's ice time will increase. Kindl leads the team with a plus-14 rating and has eight points. Damien Brunner has been held without a goal for nine straight games. The Red Wings will host the Wild then head to LaLa land for the rest of the week. We think this will cause a continuance of their fuzzy season.

Phoenix (@LA, @LA, VAN): The Coyotes have a short but compact week. After playing in Los Angeles on back-to-back nights starting Monday, they host Vancouver on Thursday and take the rest of the week off; look elsewhere for production.

OTHER NEWS AND NOTES: Martin Brodeur is expected to return to practice by the middle of next week. Ville Leino (hip) had an assist in nearly 16 minutes of ice time in his season debut.

TV Time (all games in EST)

MAR 18 - Flyers @ Lightning 7:30 NBCSports
MAR 19 - Capitals @ Penguins 7:30 NBCSports
MAR 20 - Wild @ Red Wings 7:30 NBCSports
MAR 20 - Stars @ Avalanche 9:30 NHLNetwork
MAR 21 - Devils @ Hurricanes 7:00 NHLNetwork
MAR 22 - Penguins @ Islanders 7:00 NHLNetwork
MAR 22 - Red Wings @ Ducks 10:00 NHLNetwork
MAR 23 - Canucks @ Kings 4:00 NHLNetwork
MAR 23 - Bruins @ Maple Leafs 7:00 NHLNetwork
MAR 24 - Flyers @ Penguins 7:30 NBCSports

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Player News
Patrik Berglund
Blues' Berglund Scores In Loss
Patrik Berglund, C, STL
12:47 AM
News: Patrik Berglund scored his fourth goal of the year Saturday in a loss San Jose. He was plus-1 with two shots and two hits on the night.
Analysis: Patrik Berglund's offensive output has been disappointing this year with just 11 points in 32 games, although he has never been a big scorer. Regardless trade rumours surround the veteran Swede and how he responds could provide a boost to his owners.

Steve Ott
Blues' Ott Nets First Of Season
Steve Ott, C, STL
12:42 AM
News: Steve Ott scored his first goal of the season Saturday in a loss to San Jose on his only shot of the game. He added seven hits in 13:46 of ice time in the game.
Analysis: Steve Ott is a veteran role player and penalty killer at this stage in his career, so offensive contributions aren't what the Blues are expecting from him. Fantasy owners should look at him the same way.

Keith Yandle
Coyotes' Yandle Picks Up Helper In Loss
Keith Yandle, D, ARI
12:38 AM
News: Keith Yandle picked up an assist Saturday in a loss to the Kings. He took one shot, registered two PIM, and blocked two shots on the night.
Analysis: Keith Yandle's 21 points rank him 11th among defensemen as he once again shows he is among the top offensive defensemen in the NHL. He has picked up five points in his last eight games.

Jannik Hansen
Hansen (Undisclosed) Expected To Play Monday
Jannik Hansen, RW, VAN
12:36 AM
News: Coach Willie Desjardins indicated Jannik Hansen (undisclosed) should be able to play Monday against the Coyotes.
Analysis: Jannik Hansen collapsed on the bench in the second period of Sunday's game. He and spent the night in the hospital and didn't skate Sunday morning, both for precautionary reasons. However, it appears as though the reasoning behind the collapse was minor, and he should be fine moving forward.

Mike Brown
Sharks' Brown Out 6-8 Weeks With Broken Fibula
Mike Brown, RW, SJ
12:25 AM
News: Mike Brown has a broken right fibula and will miss six-to-eight weeks from the time of the fracture on Dec. 9, Kevin Kurz of CSN Bay Area reports.
Analysis: Mike Brown was placed on injured reserve the day after the injury, indicating it was severe. Now that the injury has been revealed as a broken fibula, the timetable has been set at six-to-eight weeks, scheduling his return for late January or early February

Teddy Purcell
Oilers' Purcell Picks Up Three Points In Loss
Teddy Purcell, RW, EDM
12/21/2014
News: Teddy Purcell scored a goal and dished out a pair of assists in Sunday's 6-5 loss to the Stars.
Analysis: Teddy Purcell snapped a three game drought without a point with his highest output of the season as the 29-year-old is up to 17 points (five goals) through 34 games. He'll likely end up somewhere around the 30-point barrier but should only be considered in deeper formats.

Taylor Hall
Oilers' Hall Picks Up Three Points
Taylor Hall, LW, EDM
12/21/2014
News: Taylor Hall potted two goals and added an assist in Sunday's 6-5 loss to the Stars.
Analysis: Taylor Hall had been slumping with just one point in his last eight contests, but broke out with his best effort of the season. The 23-year-old is up to 10 goals and 11 assists through 28 games as his numbers have dipped from his 80 point output from a year ago.

Mark Arcobello
Oilers' Arcobello Pots Two
Mark Arcobello, C, EDM
12/21/2014
News: Mark Arcobello notched a pair of goals in Sunday's 6-5 loss to the Stars.
Analysis: Mark Arcobello snapped a streak of nine straight games without a point with his second multi-point game of the season. He's got seven goals and 11 points, and while the 26-year-old will likely surpass his career-high of 18 points, he doesn't have much value for fantasy purposes.

Ben Scrivens
Oilers' Scrivens Picks Up Another Loss
Ben Scrivens, G, EDM
12/21/2014
News: Ben Scrivens made 40 saves but allowed five goals in Sunday's 6-5 shootout loss to the Stars.
Analysis: Ben Scrivens now has suffered through five consecutive defeats, allowing nine goals in the last two. His defense hasn't helped the 28-year-old as he's faced 119 shots in the last three games and should probably be avoided as both he and the team struggle through the season.

Tyler Seguin
Stars' Seguin Scores Twice In Win
Tyler Seguin, C, DAL
12/21/2014
News: Tyler Seguin scored two third period goals and added an assist in Sunday's 6-5 win over the Oilers.
Analysis: Tyler Seguin added to his league leading total with his 24th and 25th goals of the season. The 22-year-old also pulled into a tie for first in the NHL in points with 42 and should be counted on every night.

 
 
 
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