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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

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
Roberto Luongo
Luongo Stops 31 As Panthers End Losing Skid
Roberto Luongo, G, FLA
7:12 AM
News: Roberto Luongo made 31 saves on 33 shots to snap a five-game losing streak Thursday with a 3-2 win over the Jackets.
Analysis: A nice turnaround for Roberto Luongo, who next will match up with his former Canucks protege Cory Schneider in New Jersey on Saturday. Despite the recent skid, fantasy owners have largely been rewarded for owning Luongo this year, as he's sporting a .920 save mark -- his best since 2011-12 with Vancouver.

Frederik Andersen
Ducks' Andersen Relieves Bryzgalov On Thursday
Frederik Andersen, G, ANA
7:09 AM
News: Frederik Andersen played the final 23 minutes of Thursday's 6-3 loss to the Sharks, stopping all eight shots he faced.
Analysis: The Ducks were counting on backup Ilya Bryzagalov to provide them with a solid outing in order to save Frederik Andersen for Friday's massive tilt with the Blackhawks, but he didn't oblige, surrendering six goals on 25 shots before getting the yank. Though he played more than anticipated Thursday, Andersen is still in line to start Friday. Expect confirmation to come down at some point in the afternoon.

Joe Thornton
Sharks' Thornton On Four-Game Streak
Joe Thornton, C, SJ
7:09 AM
News: Joe Thornton rattled off two more helpers (one on the power play) in Thursday's win over the Ducks, pushing his point streak to four games.
Analysis: Thorny may be turning 36 this year, but he still isn't showing his age. His assist rate is down a tick from last year, but he's still on pace to clear 60 points easily and approach 70.

Sam Gagner
Coyotes' Gagner Has Two Points In Win
Sam Gagner, C, ARI
7:07 AM
News: Sam Gagner scored his eighth goal of the season on the power play and added an assist Thursday in a win of the Leafs. He was plus-1, took six shots, and added two hits and a blocked shot on the night.
Analysis: Sam Gagner has rescued his season since being a healthy scratch on December 13, putting up 14 of his 24 points on the season since then. His point production remains a bit disappointing, but he may be playing his way into Arizona's future plans as they decide who will stay and who will be on the block as the trade deadline approaches. Of course, if he remains in the desert that could hurt his production further as the Coyotes probably face a significant rebuilding effort.

Oliver Ekman-Larsson
Coyotes' Ekman-Larsson Scores In Win
Oliver Ekman-Larsson, D, ARI
7:02 AM
News: Oliver Ekman-Larsson scored a shorthanded goal, his 13th of the season, Thursday in a win over the Leafs. He was plus-1 and took eight shots in the game.
Analysis: Leafs goalie Jonathan Bernier would like to have this one back, as OEL scored on a dump in from his own blue line, but they all count. While his point total on the season is a bit disappointing, Oliver Ekman-Larsson leads all defensemen in goals this year, including eight on the power play, and ranks second in shots. On a brutal Coyotes team it's tough to complain about that production.

Colin McDonald
Isles Recall McDonald
Colin McDonald, RW, NYI
6:59 AM
News: Colin McDonald was recalled from AHL Bridgeport on an emergency basis Friday.
Analysis: Colin McDonald's promotion would seem to signal that one of the team's forwards acquired an injury in Thursday's loss to the Bruins, likely putting their status in jeopardy for Saturday's game against the Red Wings. The Islanders only had 12 forwards on the active roster prior to McDonald's call-up, so there would seem to be a strong chance for the 30-year-old to break into the lineup right away if an injury is indeed in play. McDonald cracked the Isles' 23-man roster out of training camp, but only appeared in two games before he was waived in late October.

Tomas Hertl
Hertl Posts Two Helpers For Sharks
Tomas Hertl, C, SJ
6:58 AM
News: Tomas Hertl rattled off a pair of assists and went plus-1 Thursday in a win over the Ducks.
Analysis: This represents his first multi-point game in very nearly two months, dating all the way back to Dec. 4. In the 21 games between these two-point efforts, he collected just two goals and two assists. All in all, this year so far has been a far cry from last season's explosion onto the NHL scene for Tomas Hertl, who's seen his shooting rate percentage both plummet despite a relatively modest drop in ice time.

Patrick Marleau
Marleau Heating Up For Sharks
Patrick Marleau, C, SJ
6:55 AM
News: Patrick Marleau posted his second consecutive two-point game and third in the last four Thursday, picking up a goal and a power-play assist while going plus-2.
Analysis: Patrick Marleau's heated up dramatically over the last five, potting three goals to go with four assists, and four of those points have come on the man advantage. It's been a down year, but maybe the veteran forward is primed for a big second half. It's hard to keep a seven-time 30-goal man down.

Barclay Goodrow
Sharks' Goodrow Celebrates Return With Two Points
Barclay Goodrow, LW, SJ
6:53 AM
News: Barclay Goodrow celebrated his return from a brief AHL stint over the All-Star break with a goal and an assist in a win over the Ducks on Thursday.
Analysis: With just nine points to show for 32 games, Barclay Goodrow hasn't been much of a fantasy asset, though at least he's good for some hits and PIM. The points were his first since Jan. 3, with eight scoreless contests in between.

Antti Niemi
Mediocre Niemi Still Good Enough For Sharks To Win
Antti Niemi, G, SJ
6:50 AM
News: Antti Niemi allowed three goals on 28 shots, but came away with a 6-3 win over Anaheim on Thursday.
Analysis: You wouldn't think a performance like that would be enough to beat the Ducks, but Anaheim started Ilya Bryzgalov in goal, which gave Antti Niemi plenty of cushion to work with. Still, he could have finished with a much stronger line if not for giving back two goals with a 6-1 lead in the third period.

 
 
 
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