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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
Carter Ashton
Suspension Over For Leafs' Ashton
Carter Ashton, RW, TOR
12:54 AM
News: Carter Ashton has completed his 20-game suspension for violating the league's performance enhancing substances protocol and has been reinstated onto the Leafs' active roster, James Mirtle of The Globe and Mail reports. He will now head to AHL Toronto for a conditioning stint, according to David Alter of MapleLeafs.com.
Analysis: Since he hasn't been able to play since early November, Carter Ashton will likely spend multiple games on the assignment before he's called back up to the parent club. Ashton had largely served as a healthy scratch for the Leafs prior to his suspension, making just six appearances on the season. He'll likely see limited duty again once he rejoins the Leafs.

Henrik Lundqvist
Rangers To Start Lundqvist On Saturday
Henrik Lundqvist, G, NYR
12:49 AM
News: Henrik Lundqvist will be between the pipes Saturday against the Hurricanes.
Analysis: Coach Alain Vigneault is expected to split the starts between Henrik Lundqvist and Cam Talbot for the team's weekend back-to-back, but that plan could change if King Henrik submits a dominant outing Saturday. Given that Lundqvist is riding a four-game winning streak and will be facing a Carolina squad that ranks second-last in the league with 21 points, he should be viewed as one of the better goalie plays on the Saturday slate.

Jordie Benn
Stars Rule Out Jordie Benn For Friday
Jordie Benn, D, DAL
12:45 AM
News: Jordie Benn (illness) has been ruled out from playing Friday against the Flames, Mike Heika of the Dallas Morning News reports.
Analysis: Jordie Benn was participated in the Stars' morning skate Friday, but coach Lindy Ruff decided to err on the side of caution and give him another day to recover from the illness. Jamie Oleksiak will join the lineup in Benn's stead.

Christian Ehrhoff
Pens' Ehrhoff Has Lower-Body Injury
Christian Ehrhoff, D, PIT
12:39 AM
News: Coach Mike Johnston said Friday that Christian Ehrhoff was suffering from a lower-body injury and remains under evaluation, Seth Rorabaugh of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reports.
Analysis: With the extent of Christian Ehrhoff's injury unknown at this time, the blueliner's status remains in limbo for Saturday's game against the Panthers. Brian Dumoulin would likely draw into the lineup Saturday in the event Ehrhoff is deemed unavailable.

Tuukka Rask
Bruins To Start Rask On Friday
Tuukka Rask, G, BOS
12:36 AM
News: Tuukka Rask will be in the crease for the Bruins on Friday in Winnipeg, Ken Wiebe of the Winnipeg Sun reports.
Analysis: Since Tuukka Rask received the night off in the Bruins' last game Wednesday against the Wild, he'll slot back into the net in search of putting an end to his three-game losing streak. He's been a victim of some poor offensive support in the last two games of that stretch, as he's stopped 67-of-71 shots (.943 save percentage) in shootout defeats to the Senators and Predators. He'll oppose the Jets' Michael Hutchinson in Friday's tilt.

Jeff Schultz
Kings Call Up Schultz On Friday
Jeff Schultz, D, LA
12:29 AM
News: Jeff Schultz was recalled from AHL Manchester on Friday, Jon Rosen of LA Kings Insider reports.
Analysis: The Kings promoted Jeff Schultz in the wake of the hand injury suffered by Robyn Regehr on Thursday, which will sideline him for two-to-three weeks. Jamie McBain is expected to assume a regular spot in the Kings' lineup during that time, while Schultz figures to serve primarily as the team's seventh blueliner.

Robyn Regehr
Kings' Regehr On IR, Ruled Out 2-3 Weeks
Robyn Regehr, D, LA
12:26 AM
News: Robyn Regehr's upper-body injury is related to his hand and will keep him out for two-to-three weeks, NHL.com's Curtis Zupke reports. The Kings placed him on injured reserve Friday.
Analysis: Robyn Regehr suffered the injury in the second period of Thursday's victory over the Blues, likely when he collided with Paul Stastny. It's the second noteworthy injury Regehr has dealt with this season, as he previously missed just over a week in November with an undisclosed ailment. Jamie McBain figures to assume a regular spot on the Kings' defense while Regehr is sidelined.

Cam Talbot
Rangers Ink Talbot To One-Year Extension
Cam Talbot, G, NYR
12:18 AM
News: Cam Talbot signed a one-year, $1.45 million extension with the Rangers on Friday, Larry Brooks of the New York Post reports.
Analysis: The new deal will keep Cam Talbot under contract through the end of the 2015-16 campaign. It was an easy decision for the Rangers to retain Talbot for another year, as he's performed as one of the league's best backups since taking the reins of the role last season. Over his 28 career regular-season appearances (25 starts), Talbot is 14-9-0 with a 1.80 GAA, .936 save percentage, and five shutouts.

Mirco Mueller
Sharks' Mueller To Participate In World Juniors
Mirco Mueller, D, SJ
12:14 AM
News: Mirco Mueller is expected to leave the Sharks in the coming days to play for Team Sweden in the World Junior Championships, CSN Bay Area's Kevin Kurz reports.
Analysis: The tournament will run from Dec. 26 through Jan. 5, so look for Mirco Mueller to return to the Sharks at the end of the competition or when his team is eliminated. The 19-year-old has been a healthy scratch in six of the Sharks' last nine games, so he'll likely benefit from picking up more regular ice time during the tournament.

Ryan Getzlaf
Ducks' Getzlaf Scores Twice In Loss
Ryan Getzlaf, C, ANA
12/19/2014
News: Ryan Getzlaf scored both of the Ducks' goals in a blowout loss to Ottawa Friday.
Analysis: Ryan Getzlaf has been a monster lately, recording five goals and 18 points in his last 11 games. He is sporting a five-game point streak and has put up six multi-point outings in his last 11 games. The 29-year-old now sits fourth in NHL scoring with 37 points and is leading a Ducks' team that sits atop the Western Conference with 49 points. Getzlaf is an automatic roll every night.

 
 
 
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