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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
Mike Fisher
Preds' Fisher Notches Two Points In Loss
Mike Fisher, C, NSH
12:57 PM
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Analysis: Mike Fisher's been a scoresheet regular of late, with seven points in his last eight games, but that's nothing new -- he's been producing offense at a terrifically steady rate since returning from the Achilles' heel injury that kept him out of action in the season's early months.

Erik Haula
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Analysis: The Finnish forward had gone five games without a point and had just a lonely goal in his last 15 games. He's got little to no fantasy value right now, but Erik Haula has been a successful scorer at the University of Minnesota and AHL Iowa, so he does have long-term upside.

Kyle Brodziak
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12:50 PM
News: Kyle Brodziak notched a goal, an assist and a plus-3 rating Thursday in a win over the Predators.
Analysis: Kyle Brodziak had managed all of three points in his prior 17 games, so this qualifies as an outlier. His middling PIM and hit totals give him some value in super-deep leagues, but that's about it.

Lars Eller
Habs' Eller Dropped To Third Line
Lars Eller, C, MON
3:50 AM
News: Lars Eller was dropped to the third line for Thursday night's win over Columbus, Hockey Inside Out reports. He had one shot on goal, one hit and finished plus-1 in 12:33 of ice time.
Analysis: Newcomer Devante Smith-Pelly was given a coveted spot as a top-six forward on the second line, forcing Lars Eller to skate with Brandon Prust and rookie Jacob De La Rose.

Brendan Gallagher
Habs' Gallagher Streaking
Brendan Gallagher, RW, MON
3:41 AM
News: Brendan Gallagher had an assist, his fourth straight game with a point, in Thursday night's 5-2 win over Columbus.
Analysis: Brendan Gallagher had been in a scoring slump until the past week or so. He's tallied six points (four goals, two assists) during his four-game run. He's a spark in the Candadiens' offense and will get his points, so fantasy players need to ride out those fallow periods. At 36 points through 61 games, he's sure to pass his career-high mark of 41 points set last season.

Claude Giroux
Flyers' Giroux Grabs Two Points
Claude Giroux, C, PHI
1:28 AM
News: Claude Giroux put up a power-play goal, a power-play assist and two penalty minutes Thursday in a 3-2 loss to Toronto.
Analysis: After a slump in which he managed just a single point in six games, Claude Giroux's now turned out two-point performances in two of his last three outings. Slumps happen, but he's still one of the best players in fantasy.

Rob Zepp
Flyers' Zepp Stumbles As Mason Returns
Rob Zepp, G, PHI
1:26 AM
News: Rob Zepp was pulled after allowing two goals on eight shots Thursday in a loss to Toronto.
Analysis: Steve Mason came on and stopped eight of nine, which ended up getting him the loss instead of Rob Zepp. WIth Mason back now, Zepp's starts will dry up, and he could be sent back to AHL Adirondack, although the Flyers could also try to demote or cut Ray Emery.

Steve Mason
Flyers' Mason Makes Relief Appearance
Steve Mason, G, PHI
1:22 AM
News: Steve Mason (knee) came on for Rob Zepp in the second period Thursday against Toronto, giving up one goal on nine shots in the loss.
Analysis: Steve Mason was the one who ended up stuck with the loss, unfortunately. Still, he looked decent as he made his return to the Flyers' net following a multi-week absence due to a knee injury. The Flyers will almost certainly turn back to Mason when they host the Rangers on Saturday.

Danny DeKeyser
Wings' DeKeyser Snaps Slump
Danny DeKeyser, D, DET
1:18 AM
News: Danny DeKeyser ended a five-game pointless skid Thursday with a pair of third-period assists and a plus-2 rating in a win over the Sharks.
Analysis: Going back further, Danny DeKeyser had just two points in the last 13 games entering play Thursday. Still, he's earned praise from the coaching staff this year, and at age 24, he still has room to develop his offensive game.

Antti Niemi
Niemi, Sharks Go Down In Third Period
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News: Antti Niemi allowed three goals on 35 shots Thursday in a loss to the Red Wings.
Analysis: He had a 2-1 lead deep into the third period, but Antti Niemi ended up allowing a pair of goals to flip the script and take the loss. At least he provided decent rate stats while taking his sixth loss in his last eight starts.

 
 
 
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