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Week 5 schedule analysis

by | Rotowire.com
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Of the total 88 games on the docket this week, 19 -- denoted in orange on the grid -- of the 30 NHL franchises will play on back-to-back nights this week. With a good portion of the NHL playing sporadically over the next two weeks, your best bet for phantom points will be backup goaltenders. Let's find out why.

NHL schedule

Four Aces

All five teams playing four tilts this week will play them clumped together.

Chicago (at MIN, OTT, at WPG, CAL) has one of the tougher but opportunistic schedules for fantasy owners with two games at home and away, both on back-to-back occurrences at beginning and end of the week. Pittsburgh (at CAR, BOS, CLS, at CLS) will visit the 'Canes on Monday then host Boston on Wednesday before a traditional home-and-home with the Blue Jackets.

Carefully place your bets as the remaining three intertwine.

The very inconsistent Dallas Stars (at BUF, at MON, COL, at OTT) play on back-to-back nights in Buffalo and Montreal to start the week, before heading home to host the Avs and traveling north again to Ontario. Kari Lehtonen is back, no pun intended, but the cautious Lindy Ruff will likely turn to Dan Ellis for two starts this week. The good news fantasy-wise is this team of players seems determined to be a diversely robust bunch, regardless of their team's record. Jamie Benn, Tyler Seguin and Alex Chiasson have a combined 12 goals, 18 assists in 27 games. However, a combined plus-1 translates into their 4-5 team record headed into Saturday night. Also, Valeri Nichushkin quietly returned after being a healthy scratch. He could get top-six minutes if he can just find the confidence, as we just don't see it happening with Erik Cole and Shawn Horcoff. Either way, we're buying if impatient annual re-drafters are selling.

Montreal (at NYR, DAL, at MIN, at COL) will play all four games on back-to-back occurrences, starting with Rangers at Madison Square Garden on Monday night and hosting the Stars on Tuesday. From there, it's off to Minnesota and Colorado on Friday and Saturday night. Lars Eller has cooled off, but Brian Gionta and Tomas Plekanec are warming up and have combined for 11 points over their last four games. As for Carey Price, his career numbers suggest nods against the Rangers and Wild, so look for Peter Budaj in the other two games.

Head coach Alain Vigneault seems to be following some sort of manual for coaching 101, alternating unproductive wingers as healthy scratches. Only the Rangers (MON, at NYI, BUF, CAR) have continued in their offensive struggles. More disappointing news as Henrik Lundqvist (day-to-day) has been out with an undisclosed nagging injury. Although most tabbed Cam Talbot's NHL debut versus the Flyers a solid success, the goalie didn't seem ready for the speed of the NHL game, often times being out of position, but was graced by the goalie gods. If Talbot doesn't improve on Saturday in Detroit and King Henrik is not back by Monday's tilt, you could see another Rangers goalie make his NHL debut, Jason Missiaen. Some good news as Chris Kreider registered a point in his first game this season and J.T. Miller netted what was to be the game-tying goal, until it was disallowed. It makes no sense, but it seems these kids could truly spark the sleeping monster of the NHL, the Rangers offense.

Three of a Kind

Eleven remaining teams play on a b2b occurrences this week and we've placed their   gamble value on strength of opponent, road/home ratio, as well as probable goalie personnel. The back-to-back occurrence appears in bold, along with a quick trend.

Hold

Los Angeles (at PHX, SJ, NAS): Jonathan Quick (2.55 GAA) has a career record of 9-5-4 against the Sharks.

Islanders (NYR, at OTT, BOS): Pierre-Marc Bouchard is beginning to string together good games for his owners.

St. Louis (WPG, at FLA, at TB): T.J. Oshie has been consistent, holding a point in three straight.

Tampa Bay (at NJ, at CAR, STL): Steven Stamkos has 52 points in 52 career games against this week's opponents, so more consistency is headed your way.

Fold

Boston (at PIT, ANH, at NYI): Although he'll likely only play one of the two back-to-back games, Tuukka Rask is 1-5 (3.34 GAA) in his career against the Pens and Ducks.

Detroit (at VAN, at CAL, at EDM): Sluggish offense meets road trip, usually not a successful remedy.

Philadelphia (ANH, WAS, at NJ): Has scored just 13 goals this season.

Washington (at VAN, at PHI, FLA): The week could go either way for the definition of mediocre (5-5, 30 GF/GA) NHL hockey.

Meanwhile, Minnesota (CHI, MON, NJ), Carolina (PIT, TB, at NYR) and New Jersey (TB, PHI, at MIN) have enough problems, even without playing on back-to-back nights this week. Josh Harding was your number one man, as was Cam Ward and Cory Schneider, respectively. All three now seem headed to the IR or at least nagged by injury. It's very likely Martin Brodeur, Anton Khudobin and Niklas Backstrom will all take back their crease for the time being. Also, Minnie has called up the talents of Johan Gustafsson, who was 2-0 with a 1.99 GAA with the Iowa Wild of the AHL. This could be more than a depth move when it's all said and done and that's all we're saying about that.

One Pair- The following seven teams have the dreaded two-game schedule. Let's find out who's worth holding (more favorable schedule) and who you'll be folding (less favorable schedule).

Hold

Edmonton (TOR, DET)

San Jose (at LA, PHX)

Fold

Nashville (at PHX, at LA)

Winnipeg (at STL, CHI)

Leaving the remaining three playing on back-to-back nights:

Columbus (at PIT, PIT) gets the best bang for their buck with two games, but can you trust them against the Penguins, much less on back-to-back nights? Colorado (at DAL, MON) also is playing both games on Friday and Saturday night. Their opponents have a pedestrian 10-9 record combined record. Florida (STL, at WAS) faces two very explosive offenses, but the only question is will they show up?

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Player News
Lars Eller
Habs' Eller Done With Lower-Body Injury
Lars Eller, C, MON
2/2/2015
News: Lars Eller suffered a lower-body injury in Sunday's game against the Coyotes and will not return, Dave Stubbs of the Montreal Gazette reports.
Analysis: Lars Eller returned to the bench after suffering the injury, but it must have been worse than he first thought, as he will now sit for the remainder of Sunday's tilt. His next chance to return will come Tuesday against the Sabres, and he should receive an updated status at some point prior to the opening faceoff.

Scott Hannan
Sharks' Hannan Misses Practice Sunday
Scott Hannan, D, SJ
2/2/2015
News: Scott Hannan did not skate in practice Sunday, Kevin Kurz of CSN Bay Area reports.
Analysis: It's unclear when exactly Scott Hannan's injury occurred, assuming that is the case, but he reportedly still could play tomorrow. Over 38 games this season, the blueliner has recorded just one point.

Devan Dubnyk
Wild's Dubnyk Gets The Start Sunday
Devan Dubnyk, G, MIN
2/2/2015
News: Devan Dubnyk will start in net against the Canucks on Sunday according to the Wild's telecast.
Analysis: Devan Dubnyk is coming off a great outing in which he stopped all of the 30 shots he faced en route to a 1-0 win over the Flames. He will look to find that magic again Sunday as the Wild wrap up a three-game road trip.

Derek Dorsett
Canucks' Dorsett (Neck) Playing Sunday
Derek Dorsett, RW, VAN
2/2/2015
News: Derek Dorsett (neck) is in the lineup Sunday against the Wild.
Analysis: Derek Dorsett took part in Saturday's practice, making it a decent bet he would return to the lineup. That is indeed the case, as he will look to add to his 14-point total he carries into the contest.

Johnny Boychuk
Isles' Trying To Sign Boychuk
Johnny Boychuk, D, NYI
2:39 PM
News: The Islanders and Johnny Boychuk have begun negotiations on a new contract, according to the Islanders Point Blank.
Analysis: These negotiations aren't expected to end anytime soon but where once it looked unlikely that Johnny Boychuk would end up re-signing with the Islanders, now it may be unlikely that he leaves. The Isles have also received inquiries if they would be interested in trading Boychuk should these negotiations break down, but that seems highly improbable at this time.

Tye McGinn
Sharks' McGinn (Undisclosed) Misses Practice
Tye McGinn, LW, SJ
1:08 PM
News: Tye McGinn (undisclosed) did not skate in Sunday's practice, Kevin Kurz of CSN Bay Area reports.
Analysis: Tye McGinn exited Saturday's contest against the Blackhawks in the first period and did not return due to the injury. His status for Monday's game against the Oilers appears to be in doubt, which could leave the door open for Daniil Tarasov to make his NHL debut.

Dustin Byfuglien
Jets' Byfuglien Collects 14 PIM In Loss
Dustin Byfuglien, D, WPG
12:54 PM
News: Dustin Byfuglien picked up 14 PIM in Saturday's loss to the Stars.
Analysis: Dustin Byfuglien is contributing in almost every fantasy category, racking up 12 goals, 33 points, 97 PIM, 152 shots on goal, and a plus-8 rating in 51 games this season. Averaging a whopping 23:05 of ice time, Big Buff is a great fantasy play in almost all formats. Keep him rolling.

Tyler Seguin
Stars' Seguin Cashes In On Power Play
Tyler Seguin, C, DAL
12:42 PM
News: Tyler Seguin dished out three power-play assists and had a game-high nine shots on goal in Saturday's win over Winnipeg.
Analysis: Tyler Seguin's superior season continues, as his 56 points are second-most in the league, while his 204 shots on goal are next to only Alexander Ovechkin. On pace for 90 points, Seguin is an automatic roll whenever he's in action.

John Klingberg
Stars' Klingberg Records Three PP Points In Win
John Klingberg, D, DAL
12:33 PM
News: John Klingberg recorded a goal and two assists on the power play and added an even-strength tally in Saturday's win over Winnipeg.
Analysis: What a monster night for the 22-year-old, who logged 22:23 of ice time, including a whopping 7:17 of man advantage time. He's got five goals and 11 points in his last eight games, giving him 24 points in 35 games on the season. This rising stud has had seven multi-point outings this season and is playing on the top power-play unit with Tyler Seguin and Jamie Benn. Do you really need any more reasons to grab him off the waiver wire? Snag him while you can, as he's the real deal.

Curtis McElhinney
Blue Jackets' McElhinney Takes Loss
Curtis McElhinney, G, CLB
12:24 PM
News: Curtis McElhinney was beaten by the Lightning on Saturday, giving up three goals on 34 shots in a 3-1 loss.
Analysis: Curtis McElhinney has now surrendered three goals in each of his last three starts, managing a single win against Washington. Columbus has had a rotten go of it this season, with a plethora of injuries to key players like Brandon Dubinsky, Nathan Horton and -- on multiple occasions -- workhorse netminder Sergei Bobrovsky, who is currently sidelined for another three-to-five weeks with a groin ailment. McElhinney has never appeared in more than 28 games in a season during his seven-year NHL career, so it'll be interesting to see how he holds up if coach Todd Richards keeps turning to him in Bobrovsky's absence. As of now, he's carrying a 5-8-1 record, a 3.00 GAA and a .907 save percentage through 18 appearances.

 
 
 
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