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Week 27 schedule analysis

by | Rotowire.com
  •  

*GRS= Games Remaining this Season

**B2B= Back-to-Back

NHL schedule

Four of a Kind

With more than half (16) of the league playing four games this week, there's just one team playing four games without a b2b occurrence.

Anaheim (WIN, EDM, NSH, at EDM) has a wonderfully easy schedule and no b2b occurrences. With their playoff hopes locked up, does head coach Bruce Boudreau start giving Jonas Hiller a bit of a break down the stretch? Frederik Andersen proved to be trustworthy in Saturday's win over Vancouver and Hampus Lindholm received a maintenance night off.

Eights Are Wild

The following 8 teams not only play four games with a b2b occurrence this week, but have four games remaining in the final week of the season as well.

Buffalo (NJD, at STL, at DET, at PHI) has acombined record of 1-5-1 against this week's opponents. Zemgus Girgensons (lower body) returned to the lineup on Saturday. Matt Hackett has been up and down like the rest of his team.

Carolina (at OTT, at PIT, DAL, NJD) has a combined record of 3-5-1 against this week's opponents. Andrei Loktionov (three goals, three assists in his last six games) has been impressing head coach Kirk Muller and the FA pool rankings.

Columbus (COL, at PHI, CHI, NYI) has a combined record of 4-4 against this week's opponents. Artem Anisimov snapped an eight-game point drought on Saturday. Sergei Bobrovsky was well enough to serve as back-up on Saturday, so head coach Todd Richards will likely resume regularly scheduled goaltending this week, though Curtis McElhinney should still get a start this week.

Colorado (at CBJ, NYR, at STL, PIT) has a combined record of 2-4 against this week's opponents. Matt Duchene (knee) left Saturday's game against the Sharks and underwent an MRI on Sunday.

Dallas (at WAS, at CAR, at TBL, at FLA) has a combined record of 2-2 against this week's opponents. Erik Cole (upper body) did not play in Saturday's win. Ryan Garbutt has three goals in last two games.

Ottawa (CAR, NYI, MTL, at NYR) has a combined record of 2-4-3 against this week's opponents. Craig Anderson returned to the lineup and had one of his on-nights (46 of 49 shots) on Saturday.

Philadelphia (at STL, CBJ, at BOS, BUF) has a combined record of 5-3 against this week's opponents. Steve Downie (head) took part in practice on Saturday but is being treated like a concussion case.

St. Louis (PHI, BUF, COL, at CHI) has acombined record of 7-2 against this week's opponents. Alexander Steen has three goals and four assists during his current four-game point streak.

Back-to-Back Jacks

In Back-to-Back Jacks, we have two teams playing four games all on back-to-back occurrences.

Despite a lot of frequent flyer miles, New Jersey (FLA, at BUF, WAS, at CAR) has an advantageous schedule. Three of four of their opponents already have their eyes on next season's training camp. More importantly, it appears both Martin Brodeur and Cory Schneider will be needed with two b2b occurrences. Eric Gelinas, who has been playing forward, played nearly four minutes of power-play time in Thursday's loss. Stephen Gionta left Saturday's game with an undisclosed injury. The Devils are 10-5-4 when playing games on consecutive nights.

Much like New Jersey, the Islanders (FLA, at OTT, WAS, at CBJ) have a weaker schedule consisting of two in Uniondale and two on the road. Unlike New Jersey, they simply don't have the netminder arsenal to consider for such an occurrence. Ironically enough, Anders Nilsson made 23 saves in a 2-1 win over New Jersey on Saturday. After going 0-6-1 on the back half of b2b games, the Islanders are a respectable 5-3 in their last eight games occurring on consecutive nights.

Three of a Kind

The following six teams have just six games remaining in the regular season.

Can't believe we're saying this, but Chicago (MIN, at CBJ, STL) is limping to the finish line. Marian Hossa hasn't missed a beat.

Detroit (BOS, BUF, at MTL) has two of three at home, but all are division rivals with an agenda of some sort. Justin Abdelkader (leg) practiced on Saturday and was considered day-to-day on Sunday. Gustav Nyquist has really been a contributor.

Montreal (at TBL, at OTT, DET) is one of the hotter teams as we enter the final 14 days of play and Max Pacioretty (11 points over his last 10 games), Thomas Vanek (10 points in last seven games) and Carey Price (9-1, 2 SO in last 10 games) have had a lot to do with that. Tomas Plekanec (personal) did not play on Saturday.

Despite winning five in a row, after losing Chris Kreider (wrist) and Friday's tilt in Calgary, the Rangers' (at VAN, at COL, OTT) situation has changed a bit. With Kreider gone, head coach Alain Vigneault is toying with his lines and all-of-a-sudden forward Daniel Carcillo could have the biggest fantasy impact. John Moore (concussion) may return to the lineup next week, for now Raphael Diaz has been soaking up his third-pairing time.

San Jose (EDM, LOS, NSH) has punched their ticket to the playoffs and are mucking (lost two in a row) around at the moment. Jason Demers (illness) missed Saturday's game against Colorado.

Losers of eight straight, Toronto (CGY, BOS, WIN) is still just two points out of the final wild card. However, Jonathan Bernier hasn't been much better than James Reimer.  Jake Gardiner has 10 points in his last 10 games.

One Pair

Nashville (at ANA, at SJS) has two tough matchups. Patric Hornqvist is enjoying life as of late and Calle Jarnkrok has a goal and four assists through five games played. Pekka Rinne has allowed 20 goals in his last five games.

Other than a grudge match between Vancouver (NYR, LOS) and the Rangers seeming juicer, not much else here. Perhaps head coach John Tortorella will attempt to get into the Rangers locker room?

Muck 'Em?

Two more teams out of something to play for, is it time to cut bait?

Calgary (at TOR, at TBL, at FLA) is holding tough, just ask the Rangers. Fact is, they have off Monday, then have three games in four days. Michael Cammalleri has eight points over his last five games. With Ladislav Smid (upper body) questionable, the Flames have recalled defenseman Chad Billins from the AHL. Billins has 37 points through 58 games with Abbotsford.

Florida (at NJD, at NYI, CGY, DAL) has two on the road, then finish the season on a five-game homestand. With Roberto Luongo (upper body) day-to-day, Scott Clemmensen has been recalled to backup Dan Ellis.

GOALTENDING CAROUSEL: Ilya Bryzgalov turned in a solid one goal performance against Phoenix, perhaps leaving Darcy Kuemper on the outside looking in. Speaking of the 'Yotes, Thomas Greiss has been up and down since taking over for Mike Smith (lower body). Smith is expected to be re-evaluated in a week. Former first round pick and two-time junior's medalist Mark Visentin has been called up to the big club. Ondrej Pavelec returned in Saturday's loss and then so did Al Montoya.

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Player News
Brett Ritchie
Stars Send Ritchie To Minors
Brett Ritchie, RW, DAL
9:05 AM
News: Brett Ritchie was assigned to AHL Texas on Wednesday, Mike Heika of the Dallas Morning News reports.
Analysis: Along with Jyrki Jokipakka, Brett Ritchie was on of the Stars' two cuts Wednesday, as the team narrowed its roster down to 25 players. Ritchie tallied a respectable 22 goals and 26 assists over 68 games as a 20-year-old in the AHL last season. The former second-rounder might not be far away from seeing regular duty with the parent club.

Justin Fontaine
Wild's Fontaine (Groin) Held Out Of Practice
Justin Fontaine, RW, MIN
9:02 AM
News: Justin Fontaine was held out of Wednesday's practice due to an expected groin concern, Michael Russo of the Minneapolis Star Tribune reports.
Analysis: Justin Fontaine battled the groin strain early in camp before returning to preseason action, but it appears he's still not quite over the ailment just yet. The Wild seem to think he'll be healthy for the start of the regular season, so there's probably nothing to worry about quite yet.

Daniel Carcillo
Carcillo Added To Lineup For Wednesday
Daniel Carcillo, LW, PIT
8:46 AM
News: Daniel Carcillo has been added to the lineup for Wednesday's preseason finale against the Red Wings, the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reports.
Analysis: Daniel Carcillo will be looking to show that he deserves to make the team in his second preseason appearance with the Penguins. The left winger spent time with both the Kings and the Rangers last season but hopes to find a roster spot with the Penguins. He sat out the first four preseason games while rehabbing a lingering foot injury, but it appears to longer be an issue.

Thomas Vanek
Wild's Vanek Returns From Injury
Thomas Vanek, LW, MIN
8:29 AM
News: Thomas Vanek (general soreness) has played in each of the Wild's last two preseason contests.
Analysis: Thomas Vanek was dinged up in last Thursday's contest against the Penguins, but it didn't take long for him to return to full health. He failed to tally a point in either of the two contests he played, but the Wild will continue to carve out a role for him on the second line this season. He'll likely play alongside Mikko Koivu and Charlie Coyle.

Sidney Crosby
Pens' Crosby To Make Preseason Debut Wednesday
Sidney Crosby, C, PIT
8:11 AM
News: Sidney Crosby (personal) will make his preseason debut Wednesday against the Red Wings, Craig Custance of the ESPN.com reports.
Analysis: Sidney Crosby was limited early in camp due to an undisclosed injury, but he's since returned to full health and was away from the team the last few days to the death of a family member. Penguins coach Mike Johnston has been pleased with how Crosby has acclimated himself in camp despite the missed action, so as long as health permits in the regular season, another Hart Trophy could be in sight.

Sam Gagner
Coyotes' Gagner Uncertain For Wednesday
Sam Gagner, C, ARI
8:05 AM
News: Sam Gagner's (upper body) status for Wednesday's pre-season game against Edmonton is unclear, according to Sarah McLellan of the Arizona Republic.
Analysis: Sam Gagner's injury was previously undisclosed. The severity remains unclear, but he is day-to-day for now.

Antti Raanta
Hawks' Raanta Expected In Goal Wednesday
Antti Raanta, G, CHI
8:04 AM
News: Antti Raanta is expected to be in goal for the entire game on Wednesday in the Blackhawks' preseason home finale, CSN Chicago reports.
Analysis: While Michael Leighton is still on the preseason roster, Antti Raanta seems to be secure in his back-up role in goal for Corey Crawford when the regular season starts next week in Dallas. The Blackhawks though would like to see a nice outing against Montreal on Wednesday night.

Robby Fabbri
Blues' Fabbri In Competition For Roster
Robby Fabbri, C, STL
8:01 AM
News: Robby Fabbri, who skated just over 13 minutes of ice time in Tuesday's win over Carolina, appears to be among the last players competing for a roster spot, according to Tom Timmermann of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.
Analysis: Robby Fabbri continues to get praise from coach Ken Hitchcock for his play. Whether and how he slots into the Blues' roster will be determined in the next couple of days.

Jori Lehtera
Blues' Lehtera Close To Roster Spot
Jori Lehtera, C, STL
7:59 AM
News: Jori Lehtera appears close to making the team, according to Tom Timmermann of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.
Analysis: This news is not unexpected, but it is comforting to see that Jori Lehtera is not listed among the bubble players in camp. Where he fits in the lineup remains to be seen, but he has played a regular shift (just under 16 minutes in Tuesday's pre-season game) and this is positive news for the rookie.

Jake Allen
Blues' Allen To Start Thursday
Jake Allen, G, STL
7:54 AM
News: Jake Allen is lined up to start Thursday's pre-season game against Minnesota, according to the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.
Analysis: Jake Allen and nominal starter Brian Elliott are alternating starts so far in the pre-season, a pattern that is likely to hold into the regular season the Blues appear poised to split their starts pretty evenly. As the rookie, Allen is likely to end up on the short end of the split, but his status as a legit top prospect (and Elliott's historical streakiness) could play into how the starts get divided up as the year goes on.

 
 
 
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