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Week 12 schedule analysis

by | Rotowire.com
  •  

With a slow holiday week (84) on the horizon, it will be important to grab as many points available to you this week. Let's get to it…

NHL schedule

Regional Rivals

In Regional Rivals, we focus on six teams playing a geographical rival in consecutive games. The fair assumption is the usage of both goaltenders under these circumstances, but always keep an eye on the goalie grid for definitive starting information.

Dallas Stars vs. Colorado Avalanche (Avalanche lead season series 1-0-1)

Penalties have not been a huge factor (averaging eight per game) thus far, leaving special teams with little impact as the Stars have the only power play goal on six attempts by each team. The first game will be on Monday night in Denver with the fourth out of five (January 27th) total matchups on the year coming the next night. Peter Stastny and Matt Duchene have two goals apiece while Tyler Seguin and Rich Peverly each have a goal and two assists in each of the first two games. Jan Hejda returned on Saturday to the tune of 25-minutes of TOI.

Columbus Blue Jackets vs. Philadelphia Flyers (Flyers lead all-time series 6-2-5)

This will be the first meetings of the season for the two teams who haven't met since the 2011-12 season, when things looked a lot different for both squads. With Philly back in an offensive funk they need Sean Couturier (personal) back. Courturier, who was questionable heading into Sunday's action, should be back for this series. It looks like Marian Gaborik could return this week, perhaps that's why Jack Skille was reassigned to AHL Springfield. Mike McKenna hasn't been all that bad while Curtis McElhinney is day-to-day.

Boston Bruins vs. Buffalo Sabres (Bruins lead season series 1-0)

There doesn't need to be a ton of previous action for this one to get heated, but since you asked, the Bruins took a convincing 5-2 win over Buffalo in late-October. Milan Lucic and Torey Krug each had a pair of goals on Ryan Miller in the win. Once again, these two teams are a bit different this time around, with the B's racking up the hospital bills and the Sabres under a new staff. As you've likely heard, Shawn Thornton won't participate. After Jarome Iginla appeared to have dislocated his finger in a fight with Ryan Kesler on Saturday, he returned the next period. We question if that adrenaline makes it through to the next game. Tuukka Rask was pulled in Saturday's loss to Vancouver. Reilly Smith netted two more goals (Boston's only) on Saturday. Cody Hodgson's (lower body) reports are just as encouraging.

Three of a Kind

Aside from Philadelphia, we examine four teams playing not only three games this week, but just two games next week.

After Tuesday's tilt with Anaheim, Detroit (ANA, CGY, at TOR) has a fairly favorable schedule. Nobody tell that to the Red Wings who have lost four straight (including two to Florida) and five of 7 to start the month of December. Already missing Henrik Zetterberg (herniated disc), things are just getting worse in Detroit. Stephen Weiss (groin) is out. Justin Abdelkader is going through concussion protocol as of Sunday morning. Jimmy Howard (knee) is out reportedly 2-to-4 weeks. Petr Mrazek and Jonas Gustavsson will hold down the fort.

Los Angeles (EDM, SJS, COL) is 6-0 this month heading into Sunday afternoon's action. If in fact they survive victorious against the Blackhawks, they'll likely remain perfect against an Oilers squad and two more very tough Conference foes. When Jeff Carter posts five points over a two-game period, you know things are rolling for the Kings. Dwight King is also streaking at the moment. Collin Fraser (concussion) was placed on IR while Trevor Lewis (lower body) returned from it on Saturday. At the moment, Martin Jones is outplaying Ben Scrivens and could get two starts this week.

Winners of their first four games this month, Montreal (PHX, at STL, at NSH) mocked our confidence in them last week, yielding a six-goal loss to the Kings. After the Canadiens host Florida on Sunday and the Yotes on Tuesday, their schedule gets sketchy schedule wise. Two road games and then an entire week off for an eventual five-game road trip that won't bring the Habs back until well after the New Year. To be fair, Carey Price bounced back from the demoralizing loss against the Islanders on Saturday night.

Four Aces

Aside from the Stars and Avalanche, this week Four Aces will highlight the schedules of six teams playing 4 games this week, including one team, who drops down to just one game Christmas week.

The Ottawa Senators (STL, at NJD, FLA, PHX) have been the very definition of inconsistent in the month of December. Having yet to win-or-lose more than one game in a row, their schedule suggests they may continue their inconsistencies. We wouldn't worry too much about Craig Anderson being pulled against the Kings on Saturday, as Los Angeles has been pelting masked men lately. Either way Robin Lehner will certainly be needed this week. Marc Methot (illness) did not play against the Kings, nor did Chris Phillips (foot).

The rich get richer as Pittsburgh (TOR, at NYR, MIN, CGY), who has won three in a row and eight out of their last 9 games, face three mediocre teams and Minnesota. By the way, when they do face the Wild, feel free to re-insert the talents of James Neal into your lineup. We know you've been counting the days. Looks like Deryk Engelland may join Thornton. Evgeni Malkin's (lower body) and Kris Letang's (upper body) injuries have allowed Jussi Jokinen to log more power play time. Malkin is due for tests Sunday and Letang is unknown.

Winners of three straight, St. Louis (at OTT, SJS, MTL, at EDM) seems to be back on track after stumbling a bit at the beginning of December. While we're not sure of their chances against San Jose (0-2, 5/12 GF/GA), the rest of St. Louis' opponents don't have a fighter's chance. Chris Porter (11 points in 19 games with Chicago of the AHL) is back with the Blues, after being waived last month. Vladimir Sobotka left Saturday's game with an upper body injury while Vladimir Tarasenko is showing more consistency.

Heading into Saturday's dismantling of the Blackhawks, Toronto (at PIT, FLA, PHX, DET) had lost four of their first 6 games this month. With the Leafs facing three of four teams for the first time this season, there's even more uncertainty. Mason Raymond, Joffrey Lupul and Peter Holland combined for 11 points against Chicago. Jerry D'Amigo also had a goal and an assist in the win over Chicago. D'Amigo had compiled five goals and three assists in 19 games with the Marlies. David Clarkson has been suspended and will miss the b2b occurrence. Carter Ashton was reassigned to the Marlies in favor of Troy Bodie. Bodie has three goals and an assist in 9 AHL games and two assists through 10 intermittent games with the Leafs.

A first glance at the Vancouver Canucks (at MIN, at DAL, at CHI, WIN) schedule suggests they may get tagged this week. However, the Canucks are heating things up (7-0) in December, and while they'll face some tough Central division teams under even tougher circumstances, neither previous loss (2-1 losses to Stars, Blackhawks) to these teams is a cause for concern. With that being said, Canucks players are a liability next week as John Tortorella's squad plays only one game in the coming holiday week. Mike Santorelli continues to pay dividends for those owners who bought low.

While the Winnipeg Jets (at CBJ, at BUF, FLA, at VAN) have enjoyed (8-3-1) their contests with Eastern Conference folks like any other Western Conference team, they lost to Florida and have yet to play the Jackets or the Sabres. Missing Evander Kane and Zach Bogosian, the status on Matt Halischuk (upper-body) is reportedly "more than day-to-day". The Winnipeg Sun reports this may open the door for Eric O'Dell (28 points in 27 games with St. John's). At least Blake Wheeler has picked up the pace.

Three's Are Wild

In Three's Are Wild, we'll analyze the schedule of the six remaining teams with b2b occurrences, despite playing three games (or-less) this week.

At the center of it all is Anaheim (at DET, at NJD, at NYI), who play five of their remaining 7 games this month on the road. Teemu Selanne's (illness) has been anything but predictable this season. Daniel Winnik perhaps gave him the cold. At least Winnik has been producing as of late.

Yes, it's true, teams with a two game schedule are never a good bet but Carolina's (WAS, at TBL) goalies will be an interesting play this week with both games landing on a b2b occurrence. In particular, the Canes have a 2-0 series (7-3, GF/GA) lead against the Washington Capitals. Should be very interesting to see who draws what team with Justin Peters outplaying Cam Ward and Anton Khudobin inching ever-so-close to the three man circus.

While Florida (at TOR, at OTT, at WIN) enjoyed a 5-2 win over the Jets earlier this month, there's no reason to expect a good week out of the Panthers. They're 0-2 against the Sens and Tim Thomas (lower body) is on the shelf for the third time this season. Dylan Olsen is starting to really string them together.

New Jersey (OTT, ANA, at WAS), who lost on their first four chances of this campaign, is as solid a wager (5-0) as any team on b2b nights over the last four weeks. Cory Schneider currently finds himself on the wrong end of a time share again, this time with the ageless Martin Brodeur. Brodeur, who seems favored recently, has a 1.88 career GAA against the Ducks, and a 2.29 career mark against the Caps. If Brodeur's career trend against Anaheim doesn't hold up, the momentum of this time share could change if the slumping (0-2-1 over last three games) Schneider can post a stand up performance against Washington.

Losers in 13 of their last 15 games, the Islanders (TBL, at NYR, ANA) are 0-2 against this week's opponents. The Isles are 1-6 on b2b occurrences this season compounding their problems when they face a superior Ducks squad. Casey Cizikas (jaw) did not play on Saturday.

Despite some recent goaltender struggles and Friday's 3-2 shootout loss to Florida, Washington (at PHI, at CAR, NJD) has won five of their last seven contests. It could be a long week for the Caps who are once again in the thick of a goalie mess. Michal Neuvirth performed admirably with the Hershey Bears (AHL) Saturday night. In the meantime, Phillipp Grubauer outplayed Braden Holtby last week.

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Player News
Reilly Smith
Bruins Hope To Sign Smith Soon
Reilly Smith, RW, BOS
9:26 AM
News: GM Peter Chiarelli hopes to have a new deal with Reilly Smith done before training camp starts on Thursday, the Bruins' official site reports.
Analysis: The same applies to fellow restricted free agent Torey Krug, though given the team's current salary cap situation, the Bruins may need to make a trade in order to complete new deals with the duo. In any case, once he's re-signed, Reilly Smith remains on track to serve as a top-six forward for the B's, on the heels of a 2013-14 season in which he notched 20 goals and 51 points in 82 games.

Torey Krug
Bruins Working To Sign Krug
Torey Krug, D, BOS
9:19 AM
News: GM Peter Chiarelli hopes to complete a new deal with Torey Krug before training camp starts on Thursday, the Bruins' official site reports.
Analysis: The same applies to fellow restricted free agent Reilly Smith, though given the Bruins' current salary cap situation, the team may need to make a deal in order engineer new deals with the duo. In any case, Torey Krug -- who notched 40 points in 79 games last season -- remains in the team's long-term plans, and we'd expect him to be officially back in the fold before too long.

Jonathan Quick
Kings' Quick Still On Schedule After Surgery
Jonathan Quick, G, LA
8:28 AM
News: Jonathan Quick (wrist) hasn't had any setbacks in his recovery and has begun to face shots as part of his rehab work, the Los Angeles Times reports.
Analysis: Jonathan Quick may not make it back for any preseason games but the Kings don't seem overly concerned with their veteran netminder. Backup Martin Jones might see a heavier workload in the early going as Quick comes back up to speed but there doesn't appear to be anything here that would impact Quick's spot in your draft day plans.

Milan Lucic
Bruins' Lucic (Wrist) Will Be Limited In Camp
Milan Lucic, LW, BOS
9/15/2014
News: Milan Lucic (wrist) will remain limited during training camp, ESPN reports. "It's getting better," Lucic said. "Obviously it was a long summer, having to be in a cast for 12 weeks. I feel like I've turned a corner on it the last week, week and a half. Still working hard to get it up to 100 percent."
Analysis: Milan Lucic continues to work toward building strength in the wrist since injuring it during Game 1 of the Bruins' second-round series against the Canadiens. He said he plays to be cautious in camp, which should enable him to be at full strength when the regular season begins. "Every time you have surgery, it never really goes back to 100 percent," Lucic said. "But you hope that you can get back to a point where you were feeling as good as before the surgery. For myself, just trying to get mentally healthy and get that out of the way, the mental part of it. That part of it is a big part of it to overcome, as far as shooting and just pushing and just all that type of stuff. It's a lot of hard work when you get injured to get to 100 percent, and that's your main goal is to try to get there."

Carl Gunnarsson
Blues' Gunnerson (Hip) Skates With Team
Carl Gunnarsson, D, STL
9/15/2014
News: Carl Gunnarsson skated with the team for the first time Tuesday, skating for 10-15 minutes, Jeremy Rutherford of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports.
Analysis: Carl Gunnarsson underwent surgery in the offseason to repair a hip flexor injury, and his most recent step is encouraging in regards to his readiness for training camp.

Troy Grosenick
Grosenick Stops 30 For SJ In Scrimmage Loss
Troy Grosenick, G, SJ
9/15/2014
News: Troy Grosenick got the start in the Sharks' second prospect scrimmage against Anaheim. He stopped 30 of 32 shots in a 2-0 loss.
Analysis: Troy Grosenick will start the year with AHL Worcester and will battle J.P. Anderson for minutes in net there. Should an injury occur or should San Jose trade Antti Niemi — there's been much speculation on that front — the battle for minutes between Anderson and Grosenick would gain significance as it's not 100% clear who is third in line on the depth chart. For now, his significance to most fantasy formats is nil, though Sunday's performance is a step toward being number three on for the Sharks.

Hunter Shinkaruk
Canucks' Shinkaruk Strikes In Penticton
Hunter Shinkaruk, C, VAN
9/14/2014
News: Hunter Shinkaruk scored twice in Sunday's 5-4 OT loss to the Jets in the Young Stars Classic tournament.
Analysis: Hunter Shinkaruk was credited with a game-high eight shots on goal, and now has three points (two goals, one assist) in two tournament games. The 19-year-old tallied his second goal of the game with just 39 seconds remaining in regulation, tying the game at four and sending it to overtime. Shinkaruk will need to keep up this level of play if he hopes to make the Canucks' roster out of training camp.

Ryan Strome
Isles' Strome Could Start Season In The AHL
Ryan Strome, C, NYI
9/14/2014
News: Ryan Strome could begin the season in the AHL, according to Newsday.
Analysis: The reason for this has nothing to do with Ryan Strome's play but he could be caught in a numbers game as the Isles are deep at forward but only Strome and Anders Lee can be sent to the AHL without passing through waivers. Now a trade is always a possibility also. The Isles could always move a forward to a team (Boston, Chicago) that is having salary cap problems and may want to deal a defenseman. Strome could also end up on the top line with John Tavares and Kyle Okposo. Islanders training camp should be an interesting one.

Brenden Dillon
Dillon Without A Deal In Dallas
Brenden Dillon, D, DAL
9/14/2014
News: Brenden Dillon, a restricted free agent, still has not signed a contract with Dallas and Dallas GM Jim Nill says that little progress has been made recently, according to Mark Stepneski of NHL.com.
Analysis: A late contract signing, even if Brenden Dillon misses some of camp, shouldn't effect Dillon's fantasy value. They're likely to have a deal done by opening night and Dillon figures to be a prominent part of Dallas' very young defense. One hitch for the team, making it better to get a deal done sooner than later, is that Dillon will still have to clear immigration after signing, meaning that he'll be ineligible to play or practice for a few days after signing.

Cody Eakin
Eakin Still Un-signed In Dallas
Cody Eakin, C, DAL
9/14/2014
News: Cody Eakin, a restricted free agent, is still without a contract in Dallas and Dallas GM Jim Nill said Friday that little progress has been made toward a new deal, according to Mark Stepneski of NHL.com.
Analysis: Cody Eakin figures to get a good role on the Stars third line and a deal is likely to get worked out before opening night, but the time frame is worrisome as far as Eakin getting to camp on time. As Nill points out, Eakin can't play for a few days after a deal is signed because he'll still have to sort out immigration after the deal is put in place. Could be an issue for the team, but a late contract signing isn't likely to effect Eakin's fantasy value.

 
 
 
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