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Week 1 schedule analysis

Rotowire.com
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We now return to your regularly scheduled programming of the Schedule Analysis. After an abbreviated campaign last season and an eternity of a summer, the landscape of the NHL has changed. Set aside last season's stats that are skewed and hard to analyze. Set aside all the normal variables, such as players with new sweaters, new lines, new coaches and the always useless trends of preseason standings.

This summer's realignment brings the most mysterious of obstacles. We won't profess to know how this is going to play out, but we're all in this together. With that out of the way, let's get back to basics and go from there.

Three of a Kind: Nine of the 30 NHL teams have three tilts on the docket this week. Of those 27 games in total, 18 will be on the road. Not one team playing three games this week will be exclusively from home.

Anaheim (@COL, @MIN, @WPG) started off last season's campaign with a bang. Teemu Selanne (two assists) and Daniel Winnnik each netted a pair of goals in the opening game versus Vancouver. The Canucks (@SJ, EDM, @CAL), Buffalo (@DET, OTT, @PIT), Calgary (@WAS, @CLS, VAN), Detroit (BUF, @CAR, @BOS), Philadelphia (TOR, @MON, @CAR) and Toronto (@MTL, @PHI, OTT) will all spend the week in road jerseys.

Washington (@CHI*, CAL, @DAL) and Winnipeg (@EDM, LA, ANH) have the most interestingly consistent schedules, lacing up nearly every other day. While it's feasible Braden Holtby and Ondrej Pavelec COULD play all three this week, percentages suggest even number one goalies will be eased into the new season like your star closer.

Two for 20: Aside from the Rangers one (nine game road trip to start the year) game this week, the rest of the NHL will play two tilts this week.

After the stabilizing Phoenix (NYR, @SJ) franchise hosts the aforementioned Rangers, six of their next seven will be on the road. Carolina (DET, PHI) starts with two, but ends up one of the busiest NHL franchises, contesting nine games in the first 15 days. Ottawa (@BUF, @TOR) begins a six-game road trip against Atlantic (pfft, weird) division rivals.

Back-to-Back: While the slow week allows you to gear up and shake the rust, 11 teams are playing on back-to-back days. This not only means your goalie management will need to be in mid-season form, but you could see a few number one goalies dethroned. Let's give you an idea of what we mean.

Both Anaheim and Los Angeles will play in Minnesota and Winnipeg on consecutive nights. Calgary plays back-to-back games on the road in Washington and Columbus to begin the season Thursday. Nashville will play in St. Louis and Colorado on consecutive nights. Buffalo will host Ottawa on Friday then travel to Pittsburgh on Saturday. Detroit, who hosts Buffalo on Wednesday, visits Carolina and Boston on Friday and Saturday night. Columbus will host Calgary on Friday then travel to play the Islanders on Saturday night. Vancouver will host Edmonton then visit Calgary. Toronto spends opening night in Montreal, followed up by travelling to Philadelphia. Philadelphia will be in Montreal, then Carolina the next night. Ottawa is in Buffalo, then Toronto the next night. New Jersey will travel to Pittsburgh, and then host Isles in Jersey. The Isles then head home for Columbus on the following night.

Low Percentage: Although, 5-1 (22 GF, 15 GA) the preseason record looks pretty nifty, Tampa (@BOS, @CHI) travels to play last year's Stanley Cup runner up and winner in the same week.

High Percentage: First of all, we usually exclude Devan Dubnyk from any good fantasy news out of Edmonton, but his combined career stats (7-4-3, 2.88 GAA in 15 starts) against this week's opponents are not too shabby.

Based solely on preseason efforts, we like the schedules of Dallas (FLA, WAS) and Edmonton (WPG, @VAN) for the most offensive punch of the opening week. After the offseason/preseason these two teams have had, look for the youngest legs and most creative coaches to come out of the gate running. But if I were you, I wouldn't count on either team playing any defense.

TV Time

The season begins on a slow, six-day week beginning Tuesday. For your viewing pleasure, the Stanley Cup champion Blackhawks will host the Capitals on NBCSports Network.

TUE OCT. 1, Caps @ Blackhawks NBCS

WED OCT. 2, Sabres @ Red Wings NBCS

SAT OCT. 5, Red Wings @ Bruins NHLN

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Player News
Tom Gilbert
Habs' Gilbert Scores First NHL Playoff Goal
Tom Gilbert, D, MON
12:27 PM
News: Tom Gilbert scored his first career NHL playoff goal in Friday's Game 5 loss to Ottawa.
Analysis: While it was a nice milestone for Tom Gilbert, the Habs are in trouble, having lost two straight games. The 32-year-old isn't a big offensive producer, having registered just one point in these playoffs, but he's logging decent minutes and has posted a 45-point season in his past. Don't expect many more goals, but he does play on the second power-play unit, so he could rack up a few more points if the Habs make it out of the first round.

Mika Zibanejad
Sens' Zibanejad Dishes Out Two Assists In Game 5
Mika Zibanejad, C, OTT
12:15 PM
News: Mika Zibanejad contributed a pair of helpers in Friday's Game 5 win over Montreal.
Analysis: It was the second multi-point outing of the playoffs for Mika Zibanejad, who has collected four points in five games. Trailing the Canadiens 3-2 in their first-round series, the Senators will be looking to Zibanejad's line of Bobby Ryan and Milan Michalek to have another strong showing in Sunday's Game 6 in Ottawa. With Ryan snapping a 16-game goalless drought Friday, Zibanejad's production could increase by association if Ryan is able to parlay the effort into something more.

Mike Hoffman
Sens' Hoffman Collects Two Assists
Mike Hoffman, LW, OTT
12:10 PM
News: Mike Hoffman collected a pair of assists in Friday's Game 5 win over Montreal.
Analysis: After scoring the game-winner in Game 4, Mike Hoffman stepped up his offensive involvement again Friday. Over the last two games, the 25-year-old has fired off seven shots on goal and recorded three points to help the Sens fend off elimination. Hoffman will try to keep the wave of production going Sunday, when the Senators will take on the Canadiens in Game 6 at the Canadian Tire Center.

Matt Cooke
Wild's Cooke Comes Off Bench
Matt Cooke, LW, MIN
9:33 AM
News: Matt Cooke replaced Sean Bergenheim in Friday's Game 5 win over St. Louis and had two shots on goal and four hits in 10:30 of ice time.
Analysis: Matt Cooke and Bergenheim may continue to swap places between the bench and the fourth line the rest of the series.

Vladimir Tarasenko
Tarasenko The Whole Of The Blues' Attack In Game 5
Vladimir Tarasenko, RW, STL
9:22 AM
News: Vladimir Tarasenko scored the first goal of Friday's Game 5 against the Wild, but it would represent the entirety of the Blues' output in the 4-1 defeat.
Analysis: Vladimir Tarasenko has absolutely feasted on the Wild during the past six games, with the first of those contests coming in the regular-season finale April 11. During that span, the Russian sniper has netted an absurd seven goals and two assists, including the winning tallies in Games 2 and 4. Even if the Blues -- who trail 3-2 in the series -- end up exiting the postseason after one round, those who selected Tarasenko in pool play have probably received sufficient return on their investment.

Jamie McGinn
Avs' McGinn Expects To Be Ready For Camp
Jamie McGinn, LW, COL
8:55 AM
News: Jamie McGinn (back) is expected to be 100 percent healthy for the start of training camp in the fall, Mike Chambers of the Denver Post reports.
Analysis: Jamie McGinn, who underwent season-ending back surgery in December, said he recently endured a setback in his recovery, but it's not something significant enough to challenge his availability for the start of the 2015-16 campaign. The back injury limited McGinn to just 19 games this season, during which he produced four goals, two assists, and a minus-9 rating.

Gabriel Landeskog
Avs' Landeskog Undergoes Wrist Surgery
Gabriel Landeskog, LW, COL
8:50 AM
News: Gabriel Landeskog recently underwent offseason wrist surgery, the Denver Post reports.
Analysis: Gabriel Landeskog, who was still wearing a cast as of Friday, will not be able to play for Sweden during May's World Championships as a result of the procedure. The winger is expected to be healthy for training camp and ready to reprise his top-six role for the Avalanche. He finished the recently completed season with 23 goals, 59 points, and a minus-2 rating over 82 games.

Petr Mrazek
Wings' Mrazek Will Start Saturday
Petr Mrazek, G, DET
8:38 AM
News: Petr Mrazek will be in net for Saturday's Game 5 against Tampa Bay, MLive.com's Ansar Khan reports.
Analysis: Petr Mrazek will look to rebound from his relatively poor performance in Game 4 of the series, in which he allowed three goals on 29 shots. It appears the Red Wings are committed to riding Mrazek for the duration of the series, with longtime No. 1 netminder Jimmy Howard taking a back seat.

Calvin de Haan
Isles' De Haan Questionable For Game 6
Calvin de Haan, D, NYI
8:33 AM
News: De Haan (shoulder) is questionable for Saturday's Game 6 versus the Capitals, Newsday's Arthur Staple reports.
Analysis: It won't be a huge loss if Calvin de Haan isn't able to suit up on Saturday, as he's often been a healthy scratch for the Islanders throughout the 2014-2015 campaign. The team will confirm his status prior to puck drop on Saturday. If de Haan is unable to go, look for Ryan Pulock to assume his spot in the lineup.

Erik Condra
Condra Tallies One Of Five Sens Goals In Game 5
Erik Condra, RW, OTT
8:30 AM
News: Erik Condra netted his first goal of the postseason in Friday's Game 5 victory over the Canadiens.
Analysis: Erik Condra finished the evening with three shot attempts and a plus-2 rating. His upside is capped by his standing on the Senators' third line along with a lack of power-play time, but the team values the supplemental offense he's capable of providing in limited minutes.

 
 
 
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