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Week 11 schedule analysis

by | Rotowire.com
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It's finally here -- no, not Christmas, but arguably the NHL's busiest schedule of the season so far. With every team playing three or more games this week, there's a ton of schedule data to analyze. As usual, Schedule Analysis will focus on the teams with the most opportunity for Fantasy points.

NHL schedule

B2B (Back-to-Back) occurrences in bold

Four Aces

Carolina (at VAN, at EDM, at CAL, at PHX) embarks on a five game road trip starting Monday. The 'Canes will take a tour of Canada starting in Vancouver before ending the week in Phoenix. After a strange strike-shortened campaign, the Zack Boychuck experience is off to a solid start in Carolina, again! We expect to see Cam Ward against a tougher Canucks squad and Justin Peters against the Oilers. As always, feel confident about your starting goalies by keeping up with RotoWire's Starting Goalies Grid.

Columbus (at PIT, NJD, at NYR, STL) has a hellacious schedule, despite being a team that has won three of their last four. Like the Hurricanes, Columbus begins the week with a b2b occurrence. Looks like Jared Boll (foot) suffered a setback. What kind of week would it be this season without a Matt Calvert (upper-body) and James Wisniekski (upper-body) injury report?

Calgary (BOS, CAR, at BUF, at NYR) plays their first two from home before heading East for their b2b occurrence. Reto Berra holds the upper-hand in his standoff with Karri Ramo after Saturday night's 2-1 win over rival Edmonton, but neither goalie inspires any kind of confidence. Nonetheless, the Flames are like many in the Western Conference, successful (5-2-2) against the Eastern Conference. Joe Colborne (illness) should be back the lineup. Though he'll wreck your plus/minus, Matt Stajan is warming up.

Detroit (at FLA, at TBL, PIT, TBL) plays their first two from the road before hosting the Penguins and Lightning, who they see twice this week. Good thing Jonas Gustavsson has been solid, as Jimmy Howard is going to need him this week.

Like the Flames, Edmonton (CAR, BOS, at VAN, at ANH) plays their first two in their home arena. No surprise Devan Dubnyk gave up six goals to Phoenix last week with Ilya Bryzgalov (concussion) firmly planted on the IR. Jason LaBarbera anyone? Well, now hold up a second, Richard Bachman (groin) could be nearing a return. Keep in mind the former prized prospect of the Stars is likely to head to Oklahoma City for conditioning first. Jeff Petry left Saturday's game with an apparent head injury.

Montreal (LOS, at PHI, at NYI, FLA) plays four this week, then their schedule dwindles to three next week, before getting an entire week off until the 28th. It's an important stretch for the NHL's hottest team, without a doubt. Tomas Plekanec is warming again. No question here about Carey Price and Peter Budaj's value with the Isles and Panthers ahead.

The Islanders (at ANA, at SJS, at PHX, MTL) finish their West coast trip and host the aforementioned Canadiens. Let's be honest, if you're strapping hopes on Isles' goaltenders for points this season, it may be time to abandon ship on the goalie category altogether or make a trade. Kevin Poulin and Anders Nilsson have been taking turns playing pass the cooties while Evgeni Nabokov (groin) continues to deal with his injury.

Despite this week's big schedule, Ottawa (PHI, at BUF, BUF, LOS) is the only team slated to play eight games over the next 14 days. Robin Lehner owners rejoice! As you'll notice, the Sens and Sabres head off in a home-and-home over a three-night stretch.

After a big 6-3 win over Detroit, it seemed Philadelphia (at OTT, at CHI, MTL, at WAS) was no longer an easy win against the big dogs. Despite their three road games this week, as far as we're concerned, there's only one big dog on the schedule. And that's what concerns us. Well there's more that concerns us, actually. Vincent Lecavalier (back spasms) is doubtful for Monday's games with the Sens and Steve Mason was torched by Tyler Seguin on Saturday night. Ray Emery could see two starts this week.

Tampa Bay (at WAS, DET, at NJD, at DET) also has three on the road, including a second tilt with the Red Wings to end the week in the Motor City. Anders Lindback was solid in Saturday's 2-1 loss to Winnipeg. It's unlikely for Ben Bishop to see the Red Wings twice in one week. Then again, Lindback could end up with Thursday's start and Bishop on Saturday. Watch carefully on this slippery slope. It's no help to your points now, but perhaps Steven Stamkos' February 6 date of return could help you reel in a trade.

Back-to-Back Jacks

In Back-to-Back Jacks this week, we have two teams not only playing four tilts this week, but both on B2B occurrences, and Toronto is your constant variable between them.

Chicago (at DAL, PHI -at TOR, LOS) has a fairly favorable schedule on their hands. Nikolai Khabibulin is still a "way" from returning to the ice, so Corey Crawford and Antti Raanta will certainly get their fair share this week. Kris Versteeg didn't bust out like we thought last week, but he's remained solid since his return to the Windy City.

Los Angeles (at MTL, at TOR- at OTT, at CHI) begins and ends a four-game road trip this week. They certainly received good play from Martin Jones (2-0, 0.97) since his call up. Ben Scrivens should be nice and rested when he draws the matchup against his former Leafs squad, so expect Jones in net against the Canadiens. As for the remaining two games, while Scrivens has shown terrific durability since Jonathan Quick's groin injury, head coach Darryl Sutter will likely want him fresh for Chicago, so expect Jones in net against the Sens the night before.

Three of a Kind

In Three of a Kind this week, we have four different teams who will likely have four very different outcomes.

Minnesota (at ANA, at SJS, at COL) has one of the strongest opponent schedules and all three are on the road. Don't get us wrong, we love Josh Harding, but nine of his 15 wins have come against the weaker Eastern Conference. The more experienced Niklas Backstrom is likely to draw the Sharks on Thursday as Harding was due to face the Sharks on Sunday. Backstrom has an unsightly 6-12-3 (3.07 GAA) career record against San Jose.

New Jersey (at CBJ, at PIT, TBL) travels for two of their three, but we like the Devils' steam as they are coming off a 4-3 overtime win against the Rangers. Checking line forward Tim Sestito logged his first two points of the season in Saturday's win over the Rangers. Jaromir Jagr and Travis Zajac woke up from their slumber in the same game and Eric Gelinas (nine special team's points this season) is proving his worth on the power play.

Pittsburgh (CBJ, NJD, at DET) has won seven of their last 10 contests. Not only were we wrong about Pascal Dupuis breaking out against the Isles last week, he joins Brooks Orpik (concussion) and Evgeni Malkin (lower-body) on the mending list for the streaking Pens. Making things worse, the red hot James Neal is likely to face a suspension from Saturday's tussle after kneeing Brad Marchand in the head. Jayson Megna anyone?

As we mentioned in Back-to-Back Jacks, Toronto (LOS, at STL, CHI) gets the Blackhawks and Kings on the front and back end of games on b2b nights. What we didn't mention is the Leafs will see them on a back-to-back occurrence of their own. Yes, we cringed as well. Phil Kessell keeps chugging along, despite reports of an undisclosed injury. Unlike Joffrey Lupul (groin), who may return this week. As long as Jonathan Bernier and James Reimer don't start painting the town with Rob Ford, we think the Leafs will endure a very tough schedule this week.

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Player News
Nathan MacKinnon
Avs' MacKinnon Dishes Out Two Assists
Nathan MacKinnon, C, COL
12:53 PM
News: Nathan MacKinnon dished out a pair of helpers in Friday's win over Nashville.
Analysis: The two points snapped a three-game scoring drought for Nathan MacKinnon, who now has nine goals and 29 points in 50 games. While he's been held off the scoresheet in seven of his last nine games, the Avs are playing good hockey right now, picking up at least one point in six of their last seven games. MacKinnon's only 19, so we wouldn't give up on him just yet this season. His whopping 152 shots on goal indicate more goals are on the way. Patience is a virtue.

Mike Ribeiro
Preds' Ribeiro Piles On PIM
Mike Ribeiro, C, NSH
12:39 PM
News: Mike Ribeiro took a break from scoring Friday, racking up 22 PIM in a loss to Colorado.
Analysis: While Mike Ribeiro has 43 points (33 assists) in 48 games this season, he is also now among the league's top-100 PIM leaders. Producing at basically a point-per-game pace and sporting a steady plus-15 rating, Ribeiro is worth owning in most formats.

Marek Mazanec
Preds' Mazanec Gives Up Two Goals In Loss
Marek Mazanec, G, NSH
12:35 PM
News: Marek Mazanec gave up two goals on 27 shots in Friday's loss to Colorado.
Analysis: It was a good effort from Marek Mazanec, who got no offensive support in the shutout loss. It was the first start of the season for the 23-year-old, who had been giving way to Carter Hutton in Pekka Rinne's (knee) absence. Considering Hutton has given up seven goals in his last two starts, Mazanec could be worth a temporary pick-up until Rinne returns.

Semyon Varlamov
Avs' Varlamov Makes 23 Saves, Blanks Predators
Semyon Varlamov, G, COL
12:24 PM
News: Semyon Varlamov stopped all 23 shots he faced in Friday's shutout win over Nashville.
Analysis: A perfect outing for the workhorse, who has started 14 of the Avs' past 15 games. Semyon Varlamov is now 13-10-7 on the season with a .922 save percentage and 2.62 GAA. He's delivered some consistency play of late, allowing more than three goals just once in his last 10 appearances. Considering he's starting almost every game for an Avs team that has picked up at least one point in six of their last seven games, Varlamov is a great own in almost all formats.

Ryan Miller
Canucks` Miller Topples Former Team
Ryan Miller, G, VAN
8:06 AM
News: Ryan Miller turned aside 20 of 22 shots in a 5-2 win over the Sabres on Friday. It was the first time facing his former team.
Analysis: Both goals came off the stick of Chris Stewart, one of the players in the deal that shipped Ryan Miller out of Buffalo last March. Miller is now up to 24 wins to go with a .917 save percentage and 2.32 GAA this year, and will continue to be influential in Vancouver`s push to the playoffs in the final 35 games of the campaign.

Maxime Talbot
Avs Talbot Finds Net Friday
Maxime Talbot, C, COL
7:38 AM
News: Maxime Talbot potted his fourth goal of the season in Friday's 3-0 triumph over the Predators.
Analysis: The tally went down as Maxime Talbot's first game-winner of the season. As a fixture in the Avs' bottom six, scoring opportunities are rare for Talbot, and he typically doesn't deliver an overwhelming amount of hits or PIM to compensate for it.

James Reimer
Leafs Turn To Reimer For Saturday Start
James Reimer, G, TOR
7:36 AM
News: James Reimer will be between the pipes for Saturday's match against the Flyers, Jonas Siegel of TSN Radio 1050 reports.
Analysis: Though regular starting goalie Jonathan Bernier's final numbers weren't terrible in the Leafs' last game against the Coyotes, he allowed a couple of inexcusable goals in the outing. As a result, Toronto will turn to James Reimer in an attempt to bust their ongoing losing skid, which sits at eight games. With a 3.32 GAA and .906 save percentage over 19 appearances, Reimer has been quite unreliable as a streaming option, and his career numbers in six outings against the Flyers (2-3-0, 3.11 GAA, .904 save percentage) don't inspire much confidence, either.

Chris Stewart
Two More Tallies For Sabres` Stewart
Chris Stewart, RW, BUF
7:35 AM
News: Chris Stewart found the back of the net twice in Friday`s 5-2 loss to the Canucks.
Analysis: Chris Stewart has just 18 points in 48 games this year, but it`s important to note that eight of those -- including four goals -- have come in the last nine contests. Is the 27-year-old motivated by the potential of being moved out of the barren wasteland that is Buffalo prior to the March 2 trade deadline? We`re not sure, but Stewart`s recent production certainly garners attention. Keep an eye on him, and don`t be afraid to pull the trigger if and when he gets traded -- as his value would instantly spike if he gets a shot to play for literally any team other than the Sabres.

Gabriel Landeskog
Avs' Landeskog Tallies Goal In Win
Gabriel Landeskog, LW, COL
7:29 AM
News: Gabriel Landeskog found the back of the net for his 10th goal of the season in Friday's defeat of the Predators.
Analysis: Gabriel Landeskog has now locked up his third career 30-point campaign, but the Avs undoubtedly expected more from him at this juncture. He hasn't been helped by a career-worst 6.9 shooting percentage, so with a little more puck luck in the second half, it's conceivable that Landeskog could make a run in the second half to justify his draft day sticker price.

Nathan Horton
Jackets' Horton Shows Some Improvement
Nathan Horton, RW, CLB
7:29 AM
News: Nathan Horton (back) was in Columbus on Thursday to speak to the front office, and hasn't yet given up on the possibility of playing again, the Columbus Dispatch reports. "There's been some progress there. He is feeling a little better," president of hockey operations John Davidson said. "I don't know what that means in the big picture, but he's better now than he was earlier this season. His whole attitude was different — better — than the last time we saw him."
Analysis: Nathan Horton may yet have to undergo career-ending back surgery, and he's not going to be a factor for the Blue Jackets this season in any case, but this is the first remotely good news on Horton in months. Expect his hockey future to become clearer in the offseason.

 
 
 
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