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Week 18 schedule analysis

by | Rotowire.com
  •  
NHL schedule

*B2B (Back-to-Back) occurrences in bold

Flush

The following seven teams will provide you with the most pack for your punch, as they have four games on the docket.

On the surface, it appears as though Boston (at NYI, FLA, MTL, EDM) has one of the easiest schedules on paper this week. Forgetting their combined 0-3 record against the Isles and Canadiens, the Bruins also have eight games over the final two weeks prior to the Olympic break. Jordan Caron (back), Dougie Hamilton (concussion), Jarome Iginla and Zdeno Chara all returned in their own ways on Saturday.

You don’t need a quick glance at Buffalo’s (at PIT, WAS, at PHX, at COL) schedule to know it’s too late for the team to turn things around in time for a playoff push. However, that’s not going to stop the Sabres from breaking a lot of hearts, fantasy or otherwise. Christian Ehrhoff and Tyler Ennis are picking up the pace, while Cody Hodgson is the only constant. Ville Leino (upper body) and Drew Stafford (upper body) left Saturday’s game ... shocker.

Columbus (at CAR, OTT, WAS, FLA) is fully aware of Buffalo’s heart-breaking abilities. On paper, we like the Jackets’ chances of starting a new winning streak. Sergei Bobrovsky was one of six starting goalies pulled Saturday night; perhaps it’s an isolated incident. Mark Letestu and Derek MacKenzie continued their production despite the loss.

Los Angeles (at SJS, at PHX, PIT, PHI) starts the week with b2b games on the road before heading home for contests against two teams on a west coast swing. The Kings’ offense is really letting Jonathan Quick (3-4-2,2.11 GAA) down since he returned from the IR on January 4.

Montreal (CAR, at BOS, TBL, WIN) has two winnable tilts at the beginning and end of the week and three of four from home to boot. Despite their four-game losing streak, the Canadiens are unbeaten (combined 3-0-2) in regulation against this week’s opponents. Carey Price was one of the shamed on Saturday night, and it’s becoming a bit of a habit, having been pulled in two of his last three outings. Price has given up 48 goals (3.42 GAA) in his last 14 starts.

San Jose (LOS, at EDM, at CGY, CHI) has the inside-out version of Montreal’s schedule, with its easiest (5-0 against the Oilers and Flames) two games in the middle of the week on a b2b Alberta swing. While Tommy Wingels has a goal and three assists in his last four games, it’s Joe Pavelski (seven goals, three assists in his last five games) who is truly driving the Sharks’ latest winning streak.

Washington (at BUF, at CBJ, at DET, DET) has been some sort of strange fantasy experiment. Additionally, the Caps will battle the even stranger Red Wings in a non-traditional home-and-home slate to end the week. Mikhail Grabovski (leg) did not play on Saturday, while Alexander Ovechkin (groin) did. Nicklas Backstrom is cold, but could Martin Erat’s inevitable exit (we expect this week) finally shake this team up? Apparently Braden Holtby took the reins last week, not Michal Neuvirth. Casey Wellman (23 points in 37 games with AHL Hershey) was recalled in light of the injuries to Ovi and Grabovski.

One Pair

While the Rangers (at NYI, NYI) organization is surrounded by excitement in light of the Stadium Series, the team is not only strapped with the dreaded two-game slate this week, but a mere three games next week. For what it’s worth, the Rangers are a combined 5-15 on the power play in three games (1-2) against the Islanders this season.

Three of a Kind

No, none of this week’s Three of a Kind candidates were yanked on Saturday night. Despite having just three tilts scheduled this week, these teams will have b2b occurrences and no trend is in sight.

Carolina (CBJ, at MTL, STL) has two games in the first two nights this week, then takes off until Friday. Anton Khudobin has yet to yield more than three goals in a game this season. However, he’s played on b2b occurrences twice this month and won’t likely do again this week. Justin Peters should get a start.

Chicago (at CGY, at VAN, SJS) plays on b2b nights starting Tuesday. Corey Crawford hasn’t played since January 22, and his career GAA (2.83) against the Flames suggests Antti Raanta will play in Calgary, with Crawford drawing the Canucks.

New Jersey (at STL, at DAL, at NSHdoes the southern swing on b2b nights beginning Thursday. Cory Schneider has certainly been coming on strong (eight goals allowed in seven games) since the turn of the calendar. One of those performances includes a 1-0 shutout over the Stars. Considering Schneider has allowed three goals in just 20 career minutes of ice time against the Preds, we like Martin Brodeur in Nashville.

Nashville (at WIN, NJD, at STL) will play just once until Friday, then host the Devils and travel to St. Louis on b2b nights. Carter Hutton is quietly on a four-game winning streak, while Devan Dubnyk has given up nine goals in two games with Nashville. Expect to see Dubnyk against the Devils and Hutton in St. Louis.

St. Louis (NJD, at CAR, NSH) won’t have much of an upper-hand against the Preds, as they’ll be on the back-half of a b2b occurrence as well. Despite a 7-1 loss to New Jersey this past Tuesday, Jaroslav Halak has been solid (5-1) in January, while Brian Elliott is winless in his last three games after winning 12 of his 14 previous starts. Look for Elliott against Carolina and Halak (1.71 career GAA against the Predators) against Nashville.

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Player News
John Tavares
Isles' Tavares Nets Game-Winner In Overtime
John Tavares, C, NYI
4/20/2015
News: John Tavares scored the game-winning goal 15 seconds into overtime in Sunday's Game 3 win over the Capitals.
Analysis: After being limited to just two shots on goal combined in the first two games of the series, John Tavares rounded back into form with four tries on net, and played the hero for the Isles in Game 3. He's collected a point in each of the three games and will need to continue that kind of production in order to grab a 3-1 series lead in Long Island on Tuesday.

Jaroslav Halak
Isles' Halak Allows One In Win
Jaroslav Halak, G, NYI
4/20/2015
News: Jaroslav Halak stopped 24 of 25 shots in Sunday's Game 3 win over the Capitals.
Analysis: He wasn't tested as heavily as in Friday's Game 2, but it was a much better outing for Jaroslav Halak as he's now held the Caps to a single goal in two of the three games of the series. Braden Holtby was superb on the other end, so Halak will have to keep up this level of play in order to maintain the series lead before heading back to Washington.

Nicklas Backstrom
Caps' Backstrom Nets Goal In Loss
Nicklas Backstrom, C, WAS
4/20/2015
News: Nicklas Backstrom scored his second goal of the playoffs in Sunday's Game 3 overtime loss to the Islanders.
Analysis: Nicklas Backstrom temporarily appeared as though he might be the hero in this one as he tied it up with just over six minutes remaining in regulation, but the comeback fell short as the Isles struck early in overtime. Goal-scoring wasn't a regular asset of his game -- with his last regular season tally coming on Feb. 19 -- but the 27-year-old has exploded for four points, including two goals, in the past two games of the series.

Braden Holtby
Caps' Holtby Stops 40 In Loss
Braden Holtby, G, WAS
4/20/2015
News: Braden Holtby allowed two goals on 42 shots in Sunday's 2-1 overtime Game 3 loss to the Islanders.
Analysis: Following a shaky Game 1 and then a bout with an illness that forced him out of the second game, Braden Holtby was much better in this one but suffered the tough-luck loss as he allowed a goal just 15 seconds into overtime. The 40 saves were a season high for Holtby, but his mates mustered just 25 shots on the other end, so he'll have to be on top of his game again Tuesday in order to tie the series back up before heading back to the nation's capital.

Teuvo Teravainen
Hawks' Teravainen Healthy Scratch Sunday Game 3
Teuvo Teravainen, LW, CHI
4/20/2015
News: Teuvo Teravainen, who skated in both Games 1 and 2 against the Predators, was a healthy scratch for Game 3 on Sunday, ESPN Chicago reports.
Analysis: Teuvo Teravainen hasn't looked bad in the first two games, recording an assist in Wednesday's 4-3 double-overtime win over the Predators in Game 1. However, it appears coach Joel Quenneville opted to go with more experience for Game 3, as Antoine Vermette will return from the press box to replace Teravainen in the Blackhawks' bottom-six ranks.

Paul Martin
Pens' Martin Picks Up Assist In Game 2
Paul Martin, D, PIT
2:45 PM
News: Paul Martin was credited with an assist in Saturday's Game 2 win over the Rangers.
Analysis: Paul Martin typically doesn't see much involvement, but he's been able to come away with three assists in his last five games dating back to the regular season. With several Pens defensemen banged up at the moment, Martin's minutes have been on the rise, so the counting stats could continue to trickle in.

Cam Fowler
Ducks' Fowler Gets PP Assist In Game 2
Cam Fowler, D, ANA
2:43 PM
News: Cam Fowler recorded a power-play assist in Saturday's Game 2 win over the Jets.
Analysis: The assist came when Cam Fowler's shot attempt deflected off Patrick Maroon's body about halfway through the third period. It was Fowler's first point since March 28.

Chris Wagner
Ducks' Wagner Sidelined
Chris Wagner, RW, ANA
2:34 PM
News: Chris Wagner (upper body) is not with the Ducks on their road trip to Winnipeg, Helene Elliott of the L.A. Times reports.
Analysis: It's safe to rule Chris Wagner out for Monday's game against the Jets and unless he subsequently joins the team on the road, we won't see the winger back before Friday's schedule home game.

Kyle Quincey
Wings' Quincey Picks Up Assist Saturday
Kyle Quincey, D, DET
2:29 PM
News: Kyle Quincey assisted on the Red Wings' lone goal in Saturday's 5-1 Game 2 loss to the Lightning.
Analysis: After finishing the regular season with just 18 points across 73 games, Kyle Quincey has tallied assists in both of the Red Wings' first two playoff games. Still, don't count on the production continuing, as he mostly profiles as a stay-at-home type on the blue line.

Kevin Klein
Rangers' Klein Still Out
Kevin Klein, D, NYR
2:26 PM
News: Kevin Klein (arm) will not play Monday against the Penguins, Steve Zipay of Newsday reports.
Analysis: Kevin Klein is on the the road with the Rangers, who also take on the Penguins in Pittsburgh on Wednesday, so at the moment at least, the blueliner can't be ruled out for that contest.

 
 
 
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