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Week 8 schedule analysis

by | Rotowire.com
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Every team in the NHL will play at least three games next week and 12 teams are playing four. Perhaps it's the two-week perspective that will truly give you the man advantage as the month comes to an end, so be sure to check out games next week. In the meantime, like last week, back-to-back games can come into focus as a natural advantage. But the biggest change from last week to this week is the amount of teams (one-third of the league) playing an extreme (2 or 4 games) schedule.

NHL schedule

*Bold indicates b2b (back-to-back) occurrence

Four Aces

Anaheim (at PIT, NJ, TB, at PHX) has a funky schedule considering it's chock-full of tough teams with a history of inconsistency thus far. However the Ducks' ability to stay consistent this season is in question all of a sudden now too as their East Coast swing comes to an end on Monday in Pittsburgh. Nonetheless, Ryan Getzlaf is back and all bets on Anaheim continuing on north, not south in the standings.

Loui Eriksson has six points in five games since coming back. Outside of their tilt with St. Louis at home, Boston (at CAR, at NYR, STL, CAR) has a few cupcake games if you ask us.

Alleged cupcakes, Carolina (BOS, at DET, at BOS, OTT) has got the Eastern Conference champions twice in this week. Drayson Bowman is warming and could be moving up the depth charts.

Detroit (NAS, CAR, OTT, at BUF) could still be without the services of Daniel Alfredsson (groin) when the Sens come marching in, you just never can tell with injuries like this to 40-year-olds. One night later, currently losers of five straight (all overtime/shootout losses), Detroit will play in Buffalo. Johan Franzen has two goals and five assists since returning to the lineup three games ago.

Ottawa (at PHI, MIN, at DET, at CAR) has the most intriguing schedule with two b2b occurrences, allowing for a pair of games for both Craig Anderson and Robin Lehner. It's important to note, Anderson was due to start this Sunday, meaning back-to-back games this past weekend. So it's likely to be Lehner in Philly, then Anderson against Minny.

Pittsburgh's (ANH, at WAS, NYI, at MTL) schedule should get progressively easier, but watch out for the scorcher (Anaheim) to start out the week on Monday night. Even with James Neal back, the Pens are struggling (one goal scored in four of each of their last 5 games) to find the back of net, but how long could it possibly continue?

One Pair

Teams with two games on the docket have never been your best odds. But in case you're in a jam, here's your analysis on teams playing just two tilts.

Dallas (NYR, at STL) will host the warming Rangers and will likely go to St. Louis and sing the blues. Some good news about a slow week is that Ray Whitney looks to be nearing a return.

Edmonton (CLS, FLA) is a solid bet from a schedule standpoint, especially because Marian Gaborik is missing from the mix. Ilya Bryzgalov is on his way to Alberta by way of Oklahoma (AHL). He should join practice Monday. Cue Devyn Dubnyk's resurrection? He got a win on Saturday. Also, Oscar Klefbom is headed back to AHL.

The Phoenix Coyotes (COL, ANH) are the ugly duckling of the week, with two difficult draws. At least Martin Hanzal is continuing his production. Lauri Korpikoski logged a goal and two assists in Saturday's win over Tampa Bay, and Connor Murphy is on the way up?

San Jose (TB, NJ) has the Lightning in the middle of a West Coast swing and then the hapless but developing Devils.

Three of a Kind

Both Columbus (at EDM, at CAL, at VAN) and Florida (at VAN, at EDM, at CAL) will take the "Canadian swing." Let's see what other trends are available for some of the teams playing three tilts this week.

Hold

Calgary (at WPG, CLS, FLA) has a low-strength of schedule, can they cash in?

Los Angeles (TB, NJ, COL) has two East Coast teams living out of their suitcases, then the Avs. Jonathan Quick is bothered by his groin, so could be an interesting week as Ben Scrivens continues to man the crease.

Montreal (MIN, at WAS, PIT) should have a low-scoring affair with the Wild, but anything goes when they take on the Caps and Pens. David Desharnais returned to the lineup on Friday after being a healthy scratch last week and won Friday's tilt. The Lars Eller show is underway again, as Eller has two goals and two assists in his last four games. Max Pacioretty seems to be gearing up for one of his classic streaks - you heard it here first.

Philadelphia (OTT, BUF, NYI) will play all three from home against three Eastern Conference cellar dwellers. Your choice to determine whether their own dweller status, or their solid play in three of their last four games is more prevalent.

Toronto (NYI, NAS, WAS) plays three from home as well, how ‘bout that? More important is Toronto's struggles lately. No fear, John-Michael Liles is headed back to AHL after looking pretty in the press box for a few weeks and Tyler Bozak is on the way back? Hmm…Well, at least Nikolai Kulemin is on the board finally.

Vancouver (FLA, CLS, CHI) has two "gimmes" and the Blackhawks, plan accordingly. Even if you're not a Jannik Hansen owner, his return could mean Alexander Burrows owners get a big boost this week as Burrows lined up with the Sedin twins during practice this past weekend.

Fold

Despite spending two days on the road and three games against teams with a combined record of 40-13-8, Colorado's (CHI, at PHX, at LA) biggest problem is not their schedule, but Matt Duchene's questionable status rolling into the week.

New Jersey (at ANH, at LA, at SJ) probably has the toughest schedule of all 30 NHL teams. Despite resurgence of Martin Brodeur and Jaromir Jagr's two goals during the Devils 4-1 win over the slumping Pens, SELL, SELL, SELL, at least for the week pending.

You and the Rangers (BOS, at DAL, at NAS) could get Rick Nash back as early as Tuesday night against the Bruins. At this point, it appears Cam Talbot has settled in nicely and become a viable handcuff option for those interested Henrik Lundqvist owners. However, the Rangers take their show back out on the road for barbecue sauce and steers.

At 6-1 for the month of November, we really do like Minnesota (at MTL, at OTT, at WPG). And while their schedule is not tough and their goalie situation makes amends for their low-scoring touch, something about b2b games in Montreal and Ottawa leaves us hesitant. Charlie Coyle scored his second goal of the season on Friday against Florida.

Tampa Bay (at LA, at SJ, at ANH) will play LA and San Jose before heading back to SoCal for a game that Anaheim is likely looking forward to after last week's 5-1 shellacking. Stay diligent as Ben Bishop (collarbone) is considered day-to-day. Anders Lindback anyone? Also, Steven Stamkos's replacement J.T. Brown is getting third line minutes and scored his first NHL goal in a 6-3 loss on Saturday.

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Player News
Taylor Chorney
Pens Reassign Chorney
Taylor Chorney, D, PIT
7:41 AM
News: Taylor Chorney was reassigned to AHL Wilkes-Barre Scranton on Wednesday.
Analysis: Taylor Chorney was one of three players that was reassigned to the minors Wednesday, joining Jeff Zatkoff and Dominik Uher. It likely signals that the three players that were isolated from the team the last two games out of concern that they might be dealing with the mumps -- Steve Downie, Brandon Sutter, and Thomas Greiss -- have tested negative for the virus. Official word on their status should come when the team resumes practicing Friday. Chorney had averaged just 5:32 of ice time over his two contests.

Jeff Zatkoff
Pens Reassign Zatkoff
Jeff Zatkoff, G, PIT
7:37 AM
News: Jeff Zatkoff was reassigned to AHL Wilkes-Barre/Scranton on Wednesday.
Analysis: Jeff Zatkoff's reassignment perhaps hints that Thomas Greiss tested negative for the mumps, which had forced him to isolate himself from the team for the past two games. Zatkoff had taken over backup duties during that time, very nearly leading the Penguins' to a comeback victory over the Lightning on Tuesday. He'll rank as the organization's first call-up option if Marc-Andre Fleury or Thomas Greiss are forced to miss future action.

John Curry
Wild's Curry Gets Reassigned
John Curry, G, MIN
7:28 AM
News: John Curry was reassigned to AHL Iowa on Wednesday.
Analysis: John Curry was an emergency call-up prior to Tuesday's game after Niklas Backstrom came down with an illness and was unavailable. It sounds like the Wild expect Backstrom to be back at full health coming out of the Christmas break, so Curry will head back to the minors, where he's been sharing goaltending duties with Johan Gustafsson this season.

Victor Hedman
Bolts' Hedman Snaps Scoring Slump
Victor Hedman, D, TB
12/24/2014
News: Victor Hedman registered an assist in Tuesday's 4-3 win over the Penguins.
Analysis: Victor Hedman also chipped in with a season-high six blocked shots, though he did bear some responsibility for a miscue that resulted in one Pittsburgh goal. In any case, the Bolts value Hedman primarily for his abilities on the offensive end, which haven't been readily evident of late. The assist snapped a streak of six games without a point for Hedman.

Steven Stamkos
Production Slowing In December For Bolts' Stamkos
Steven Stamkos, C, TB
12/24/2014
News: Steven Stamkos has recorded only three goals and an assist over his last nine contests.
Analysis: That level of production over that span of time certainly doesn't provide any reason for fantasy owners to sound the alarm, but it still represents the most significant dry spell of the season for Steven Stamkos. Perhaps unsurprisingly, the Bolts have gone just 3-5-1 in those contests, though a slump of some extent was probably due to occur after the team's attack torched opponents over the season's first two months. The Tampa offense still looks like one of the league's strongest units in spite of its recent downturn in productivity, and Stamkos remains the lynchpin. Stay patient with the 24-year-old, as his resume of three 90-point campaigns suggest order will restore itself eventually.

Zach Redmond
Avs' Redmond Nabs Fourth Goal
Zach Redmond, D, COL
12/24/2014
News: Zach Redmond tallied his fourth goal of the season in Tuesday's 5-0 win over the Blues.
Analysis: Though he didn't enter the season with a regular role on the Avs' blue line, Zach Redmond has proven to be a suitable replacement for both Brad Stuart and now Ryan Wilson. With 10 points and a plus-5 rating over 23 games, Redmond offers more offensive upside than the typical third-pairing defenseman, making him legitimately interesting in deeper formats.

Martin Brodeur
Blues' Brodeur Perfect In Relief
Martin Brodeur, G, STL
12/24/2014
News: Martin Brodeur stopped all 10 shots he faced while playing the final period of Tuesday's loss to the Avalanche.
Analysis: Martin Brodeur's strong showing was largely ineffectual with the Avs already holding a 5-0 lead at the time of his entry into the game for the struggling Jake Allen. Neither Blues goalie is playing well at the moment, and while Allen will have a longer leash than Brodeur, there should be room for the 42-year-old to see a steady dosage of work until Brian Elliott (knee) returns.

Erik Johnson
Avs' Johnson Gets Goal In Third Straight
Erik Johnson, D, COL
12/24/2014
News: Erik Johnson netted his first game-winning goal of the season in Tuesday's 5-0 triumph over the Blues.
Analysis: Not only was Erik Johnson able to get some revenge of the team that formerly drafted him with the No. 1 overall draft choice, but he also extended his goal streak to three games. The 26-year-old has been one of the few positives to emerge out of a grim season thus far for the Avalanche, as his nine goals and 19 points have him on his way to eclipse his previous career bests of 10 and 39, respectively, in those categories.

Brad Stuart
Avs' Stuart Assists Twice Tuesday
Brad Stuart, D, COL
12/24/2014
News: Brad Stuart picked up two assists in Tuesday's 5-0 win over the Blues.
Analysis: The two helpers marked the first points in 18 games on the season for Brad Stuart, who offers his most value to the Avalanche on his own end of the ice. The 35-year-old blueliner won't blow you away with his hit or block totals either, making him mostly a non-entity in the fantasy game.

Steve Downie
No Mumps Update Until Friday For Pens' Downie
Steve Downie, RW, PIT
12/24/2014
News: The results of Steve Downie's tests for the mumps won't be available until Friday.
Analysis: With the NHL observing a three-day break in the schedule for the holidays, the status of Steve Downie, Brandon Sutter, and Thomas Greiss will remain shrouded in mystery until the Pens reconvene for practice. Downie has already missed the team's previous two games as a precaution.

 
 
 
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