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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
Craig Anderson
Sens' Anderson Will Start Friday
Craig Anderson, G, OTT
12:29 AM
News: Craig Anderson will be between the pipes for Friday's Game 5 against the Canadiens, TSN 1200's Gord Wilson reports.
Analysis: It's hardly a surprise, as Craig Anderson was phenomenal in Game 4, turning away all of the 28 shots he faced en route to a shut out. He'll likely need to turn in a similar performance on Friday in order to give the Senators a chance to gain some ground in their series with the Habs', in which they currently trail three games to one.

Jake Allen
Blues' Allen Will Start Friday
Jake Allen, G, STL
12:14 AM
News: Jake Allen will be between the pipes for Friday's Game 5 against the Wild, Lou Korac of NHL.com reports.
Analysis: Jake Allen didn't have to do too much in Game 4, as Minnesota only managed to fire a total of 18 shots on goal. However, he was still solid, turning away 17 of the 18 shots he faced. He'll look to build on that strong performance on Friday.

Jean-Gabriel Pageau
Sens' Pageau (Lower Body) Listed As Day-To-Day
Jean-Gabriel Pageau, C, OTT
4/24/2015
News: Jean-Gabriel Pageau is considered day-to-day after prematurely exiting Friday's Game 5 against the Canadiens with an apparent lower-body injury, Ken Warren of the Ottawa Citizen reports.
Analysis: Jean-Gabriel Pageau attempted to block a puck Friday but ultimately paid the price and is now in danger of missing Game 6. Until the Senators say otherwise, Pageau is in line to be a game-time decision ahead of Sunday's contest.

Clarke MacArthur
Sens' MacArthur (Lower Body) Exits Early Friday
Clarke MacArthur, LW, OTT
4/24/2015
News: Clarke MacArthur will not return to Friday's Game 5 against the Canadiens after suffering a lower-body injury.
Analysis: Clarke MacArthur should be considered day-to-day moving forward. With the severity of his injury still unclear, his next opportunity to skate will be in the potential Game 6 on Sunday.

Jori Lehtera
Blues' Lehtera (Undisclosed) Out For Game 5
Jori Lehtera, C, STL
4/24/2015
News: Jori Lehtera (undisclosed) did not take the ice for pregame warmups ahead of Friday's Game 5 and is not expected to skate as a result, Lou Korac of NHL.com reports.
Analysis: Jori Lehtera was a game-time decision but ultimately will stay off the ice for Game 5. His next opportunity to compete will be in Game 6 on Sunday.

Mats Zuccarello
Rangers' Zuccarello (Undisclosed) Will Not Return
Mats Zuccarello, RW, NYR
4/24/2015
News: Mats Zuccarello (undisclosed) will not return to Friday's Game 5 against the Penguins.
Analysis: Mats Zuccarello should be considered day-to-day moving forward until the Rangers shed some light on what exactly the 27-year-old is dealing with after getting hit in the head with a puck in the first period Friday. His next opportunity to play will be in the potential Game 6 on Sunday, or in the second round.

Mathieu Perreault
Jets' Perreault Played Through Injury In Playoffs
Mathieu Perreault, C, WPG
4/24/2015
News: Mathieu Perreault played with a high ankle sprain and ripped ligaments in his hand in the Jets' playoff series against the Ducks, 680 CJOB Sports reports.
Analysis: It's certainly admirable Mathieu Perreault was able to suit up while so banged up, especially considering he was able to register two assists in the three games he was able to play in in the series. He should be ready for the beginning of next season.

Carey Price
Habs' Price Will Start Friday
Carey Price, G, MON
4/24/2015
News: Carey Price will be in the crease for Friday's Game 5 against Ottawa, Stu Cowan of The Montreal Gazette reports.
Analysis: The Vezina Trophy finalist will look to build on his excellent Game 4 performance, in which he turned away 31 of the 32 shots he faced. Carey Price and the Canadiens will look to close out their series with the Senators on home ice in Game 5 on Friday.

Bryan Little
Jets' Little Played With A Dislocated Rib
Bryan Little, C, WPG
4/24/2015
News: Bryan Little played with a dislocated rib in the Jets' playoff series against the Ducks, 680 CJOB Sports reports.
Analysis: Bryan Little finishes the 2014-2015 campaign having registered 24 goals and 28 assists in 70 games with the Jets this season. He should be ready for the start of next season.

Dustin Byfuglien
Jets' Byfuglien Played With A Dislocated Rib
Dustin Byfuglien, D, WPG
4/24/2015
News: Dustin Byfuglien played with a dislocated rib in the Jets' playoff series against the Ducks, 680 CJOB Sports reports.
Analysis: The fact that Dustin Byfuglien was nursing an injury during Winnipeg's series against Anaheim leads one to wonder if it affected his play, as he only managed to tally one point in the series after registering 45 points during the regular season. He should be ready for the beginning of next season.

 
 
 
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