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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
Ryan Getzlaf
Ducks' Getzlaf Takes Shot To Foot
Ryan Getzlaf, C, ANA
12:53 PM
News: Ryan Getzlaf briefly left the game late in the third after blocking a shot with his left foot on Wednesday.
Analysis: He returned shortly thereafter, but keep an eye on Ryan Getzlaf's status in the next few days to see if he'll be forced to miss any time. Getzlaf leads all NHL forwards with 81 blocked shots this season.

Rickard Rakell
Ducks' Rakell Ends Goal Drought
Rickard Rakell, C, ANA
12:43 PM
News: Rickard Rakell ended a 15 game goalless streak with a second period goal in Wednesday's win over the Habs.
Analysis: He's currently playing on the Ducks' third line with Emerson Etem and new acquisition Jiri Sekac. The trio were bottom three Wednesday night in ice time for the Ducks, so don't expect their scoring to greatly improve with the limited opportunity that they're currently receiving.

Ryan Kesler
Ducks' Kesler Records Assist In Win
Ryan Kesler, C, ANA
12:34 PM
News: Ryan Kesler recorded an assist on Cam Fowler's empty-netter Wednesday night against the Habs.
Analysis: Ryan Kesler has points now in three of his last four games, so it looks like he's worked himself out of the slump that plagued him for much of February. It's probably time to start rolling him back into your lineup.

John Gibson
Gibson Leads Ducks To Win Over Habs
John Gibson, G, ANA
12:21 PM
News: John Gibson stopped 37-of-38 in his return to the Ducks net on Wednesday night.
Analysis: John Gibson's stellar play of late is a nice luxury for the Ducks to have. He's managed to win six of his past seven starts - pretty successful for a backup goalie. If Gibson can continue to stay strong in net, expect him to get a number of starts down the stretch with the Ducks probably wanting to keep number one goalie Frederik Andersen fresh for a hopefully long playoff run.

Jimmy Howard
Wings' Howard Stops 39 In Win
Jimmy Howard, G, DET
6:34 AM
News: Jimmy Howard allowed one goal on 40 shots in Wednesday's 2-1 OT win over the Rangers.
Analysis: Jimmy Howard kept his team in the game all night, and was able to squeak out a win in overtime. He's now 19-8-9 on the season, and his 2.20 GAA ranks seventh in the entire league.

Henrik Zetterberg
Wings' Zetterberg Adds Two Assists In Win
Henrik Zetterberg, LW, DET
6:33 AM
News: Henrik Zetterberg tallied two assists in Wednesday's 2-1 win over the Rangers.
Analysis: The star center set up Justin Abdelkader with a beautiful backhand pass to open the scoring in the first period, and found the score sheet again on Marek Zidlicky's overtime winner. Henrik Zetterberg now has 15 goals and 36 assists through 58 games on the year.

Cam Talbot
Rangers' Talbot Stops 29 In Loss
Cam Talbot, G, NYR
6:32 AM
News: Cam Talbot allowed two goals on 31 shots in Wednesday's 2-1 overtime loss to the Red Wings.
Analysis: Cam Talbot played well all night, and probably deserved to pick up a win, but his teammates had trouble solving Jimmy Howard at the other end of the ice. Talbot is now 13-6-4 on the year, and will continue to fill in for Henrik Lundqvist while he's out with an injury.

Dan Girardi
Rangers' Girardi Scores In Loss
Dan Girardi, D, NYR
6:31 AM
News: Dan Girardi potted his third goal of the season in Wednesday's 2-1 loss to the Red Wings.
Analysis: Dan Girardi isn't much of an offensive producer, but was able to punch home a loose puck in the crease to tie the game at one Wednesday. The Rangers outplayed the Red Wings most of the night, but ultimately fell in overtime on Marek Zidlicky's first goal as a Red Wing.

Andrew Hammond
Sens' Hammond Allows One In Win
Andrew Hammond, G, OTT
6:30 AM
News: Andrew Hammond made 35 saves in Wednesday's 3-1 win over the Jets.
Analysis: The Hamburglar continued his recent run of stellar play, allowing just one goal on the way to his sixth win of the season. The rookie now sports a 6-0-1 record, and will continue to see a ton of action as the Sens make one last push for a playoff spot in the East.

Kyle Turris
Sens' Turris Adds Goal, Assist In Win
Kyle Turris, C, OTT
6:30 AM
News: Kyle Turris tallied a goal and an assist in Wednesday's 3-1 win over the Jets.
Analysis: Kyle Turris opened the scoring with a nice wrist shot just five minutes into the first period, and the Sens never looked back. The center now has 16 goals and 29 assists on the season, but is saddled with a minus-3 rating as well.

 
 
 
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