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Week 4 schedule analysis

by | Rotowire.com
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With just 11 days remaining in the month, we decided to seek out some trends to focus on. Minnesota (NAS, CAR at CHI) will end the week on Saturday night with the first half of a home-and-home with Stanley Cup champs. But teams with very different schedules will make a bigger impact to your lineups over the next two weeks.

NHL schedule

Three of a Kind

Chicago (at FLA, at TB, MIN), Montreal (EDM, ANH, SJ) and Pittsburgh (COL, NYI, at TOR) will all play seven games over the next two weeks.

Meanwhile, Florida (CHI, BUF, TB), Nashville (at MIN, WPG, STL), Colorado (at PIT, CAR, WPG) and Columbus (NJ, TOR, ANH) all play just five games over the next 14 days.

Flush

In Flush, five teams have busy (four games) and seemingly brutal schedules. Some members of the Pacific Division (plus Winnipeg) play host to Alexander Ovechkin and the traveling Caps.

Anaheim (at TOR, at MON, at OTT, at CLS) is off to a good start and even Teemu Selanne is warming up.

Calgary (at LA, at PHX, at DAL, WAS): The Sean Monahan countdown continues. He had a power play goal and an assist in San Jose on Saturday night. Will the Flames send him back down to Juniors or keep him up? Joey MacDonald is 0-2-1 (4.25 GAA) versus the Caps.

San Jose (at DET, at BOS, at MON, at OTT: Matt Nieto continues his "progressive" additions to the stat sheet. More importantly Logan Couture (nine points in seven games) is returning to form after a down lock-out shortened season. Antti Niemi is 3-0-1 (1.98 GAA, 1 SO) in his career against the touring Caps.

Edmonton (at MON, WAS, at PHX, at LA): The Oilers are apparently on Ryan Miller’s no-trade clause, so what now? Jason LaBarbera is not a likely candidate for putting a team on his back all the way to what is now a deep run in the NHL playoffs. In the meantime, Mark Arcobello is just piling up the points in Alberta. If he is to continue his pace, it would not be a stretch for the undrafted 25-year-old who had 46 assists in 74 games with the Oklahoma City Barons. He also set a career-high with 22 goals with the Barons as well.

Winnipeg (WAS, at NAS, at DAL, at COL): However, the good news for Alberta natives is not both incumbent NHL starters fell flat on their face like the unmentioned Edmonton man. Ondrej Pavelec rebounded from a four-game losing streak with a 4-3 win over St. Louis on Friday. It's noteworthy that Pavelec's offense only scored four goals during that losing streak. However, Pavelec did not have a good campaign (1-4, 3.62 GAA) against the former division rival Capitals in last year's lock-out shortened season.

One Pair

Philadelphia (NYR, at NYI), St. Louis (VAN, at NAS) and Carolina (at MIN, at COL) are three of the five teams who play just twice this week.

Dallas (CAL, WPG): Despite having the very talented Alex Chiasson and underrated Cody Eakin, the Stars won't be a great source of points until next week when they play four games. Dan Ellis was solid against the Sharks earlier this week, but could the day-to-day Kari Lehtonen (lower-body) be back soon? By this time next week, we may need to consider whether Jack Campbell’s services will be needed.

Rangers (at PHI, at DET): A movement of excitement began when Henrik Lundqvist blanked the Caps and the Rangers power-play rose from the dead. However, Ryan Callahan's broken digit only compounds Rick Nash's (concussion) continuous absence. The hope is Carl Hagelin's return will help wash out these injuries. If the Rangers offense remains stagnant (Taylor Pyatt on the first line?), you could see highly touted winger J.T. Miller register top-six minutes this week. If so, pounce, and Jesper Fast could sneak up there as well. But either way, the Rangers won't make any splashes on your week with just two tilts.

Back-To-Back

For those in leagues with weekly lineups, you have some tough decisions to make. In addition to the Ducks, Flames, Oilers, Sharks, Blues and Jets, the following teams playing three games this week will all play games on consecutive nights at some point this week.

Vancouver (at NYI, at NJ, STL) flies home from visiting dear old friend Cory Schneider before hosting the Blues.

Toronto (ANH, at CLS, PIT) has a tough week ahead. After hosting the Ducks, they'll travel to Columbus on Friday and host the Pens on Saturday.

After opening the week with a few days off, Tampa Bay (CHI, BUF, at FLA) will tangle with the Blackhawks on Thursday, then host Buffalo on Saturday and travel to play the Panthers in a De facto road game on Sunday.

Pittsburgh will host Colorado on Monday, before back-to-back games against the Isles at home on Friday and then the aforementioned tilt with Toronto on Saturday.

The Islanders (VAN, at PIT, PHI) travel to take on the Pens before heading back to the Island to host the lackluster Flyers on Saturday.

Meanwhile, Buffalo (BOS, at FLA, at TB) and Boston (at BUF, SJ, NJ) will take different journeys after meeting each other Wednesday. Tuukka Rask's backup, Chad Johnson, will likely get the nod hosting Buffalo as the Bruins head home on Thursday to take on the Sharks. Buffalo will likely look to their backup Jhonas Enroth when they begin their Florida swing on Friday.

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Player News
Braden Holtby
Caps' Holtby Pulled In First Period Saturday
Braden Holtby, G, WAS
3/29/2015
News: Braden Holtby surrendered three goals on thirteen shots, and was pulled late in the first period of Washington's 4-3 loss to the Predators on Saturday.
Analysis: It was a poor outing for Braden Holtby, who had won four of his last five starts heading into Saturday's match against the Predators, a powerhouse in the Western Conference. The decision to pull him early in the game likely means he will be called upon to start Sunday's crucial showdown with the Metropolitan Division leading Rangers, but check before game time to confirm the start. Despite the poor performance, Holtby owns a sterling 36-19-9 record, with a 2.18 GAA and .925 save percentage, on the season.

Jonas Hiller
Flames Turn To Hiller On Sunday
Jonas Hiller, G, CGY
3/29/2015
News: Jonas Hiller will be in the net Sunday against the Predators.
Analysis: Jonas Hiller has been the forgotten man in goal of late for the Flames, but he'll have a chance to stake his claim to the No. 1 gig with a strong outing against the Predators. Coach Bob Hartley has shown a tendency to ride the hot hand this season, and with Ramo's ratios starting to flat line, opportunity knocks for Hiller, who has a 21-18-4 record and 2.44 GAA this season.

Patrick Kane
Hawks' Kane Still On Target For Return
Patrick Kane, RW, CHI
3/29/2015
News: Patrick Kane, who is out with a broken clavicle, is still on track to return by the Western Conference Finals in the Stanley Cup playoffs if the Blackhawks get that far, the Chicago Sun-Times reports.
Analysis: The original diagnosis was that Patrick Kane would miss 12 weeks that put his return by the Western Conference Finals. Blackhawks' coach Joel Quenneville though sort of left open the door that he could return earlier. Kane has recently been skating on his own so it has spurred some optimism in the Blackhawks' camp that he will return before the conference finals.

Brandon Sutter
Pens' Sutter Exits With Injury
Brandon Sutter, C, PIT
3/29/2015
News: Brandon Sutter exited Saturday's game against the Coyotes in the third period with an injury, Josh Yohe of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review reports.
Analysis: With only a few minutes left in the match, it appears unlikely that Brandon Sutter will return. He's the second player to exit for the Penguins, after defenseman Kris Letang was removed from the game in the second period following a hit into the boards. Sutter should be viewed as day-to-day heading into Sunday's match against the Sharks.

Trevor Daley
Stars' Daley Back In Saturday
Trevor Daley, D, DAL
3/29/2015
News: Trevor Daley (knee) will return to the lineup Saturday against the Canucks, Elliott Pap of the Vancouver Sun reports.
Analysis: It will be Trevor Daley's first game since March 3, when he suffered a knee injury following a hit from the Isles' Matt Martin. While his return probably comes too late to help the Stars chase down a wild-card spot in the Western Conference, Daley should bolster many fantasy rosters with postseason play underway in many leagues. Despite the missed time, Daley's 16 goals still rank him tied for third among all NHL defensemen.

Jason Garrison
Bolts Rule Out Garrison With Upper-Body Injury
Jason Garrison, D, TB
3/29/2015
News: Jason Garrison was ruled out from returning to Saturday's game against the Red Wings due to an upper-body injury, Joe Smith of the Tampa Bay Times reports.
Analysis: Jason Garrison skated just two shifts and logged 0:41 of ice time before departing. He should be considered questionable ahead of Monday's game in Montreal until the Lightning issue further word on the severity of his injury.

Markus Granlund
Flu Keep Flames' Granlund Out Of Practice
Markus Granlund, C, CGY
3/29/2015
News: Markus Granlund missed Saturday's practice due to a case of the flu.
Analysis: The illness could put Markus Granlund at missing Sunday's game against the Predators. Josh Jooris centered the Flames' third line at practice with Granlund unavailable.

Kris Letang
Pens' Letang Departs With Injury Saturday
Kris Letang, D, PIT
3/29/2015
News: Kris Letang left Saturday's game in the second period after he was hit into the end boards by the Coyotes' Shane Doan, Shelly Anderson of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reports.
Analysis: The Penguins haven't ruled Kris Letang out of the game yet, but that seems like a safe conclusion after he was unable to skate off the ice on his own. It appeared that Letang's head backed into the boards on the hit, so the blueliner will undoubtedly be evaluated for a concussion, among other possible injuries. Penguins tough guy Steve Downie quickly got in a skirmish with Doan shortly after play resumed, but that won't make up for any potential absence for Letang, who entered Saturday ranked in a tie for second among all NHL blueliners with 54 points in 68 games.

Justin Abdelkader
Wings' Abdelkader: Suspension Looming?
Justin Abdelkader, LW, DET
7:20 PM
News: Justin Abdelkader may face a suspension after a hit from behind on Tampa's Jason Garrison who left Saturday's game with an upper-body injury.
Analysis: Justin Abdelkader did get a boarding minor on the play, but other offenders have also gotten multi-game suspensions for similar hits on players in vulnerable positions. Abdelkader will be hoping the NHL sees things differently than in those other cases - his goal Saturday extended his current streak to four games and six points, including four goals (one in each game).

Alexander Steen
Blues Lose Steen After Knee-On-Knee Collision
Alexander Steen, LW, STL
7:14 PM
News: Alexander Steen left Saturday's game after playing four shifts in the first period and will not return, according to Jeremy Rutherford of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. He collided knee-on-knee with Blue Jackets' defender Cody Goloubef.
Analysis: He winced in pain and retreated to the dressing room. The Blues can ill afford to have him on the sidelines. The forward has 24 goals and 62 points in 73 games while averaging more than 20 minutes of ice time this season.

 
 
 
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