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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
Kris Letang
Pens' Letang At 100 Percent In Advance Of Camp
Kris Letang, D, PIT
9/16/2014
News: Kris Letang, who suffered a stroke nearly eight months ago, has been working out without any complications this summer and should be a full participant for the start of training camp, Josh Yohe of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review reports.
Analysis: In addition to the stroke, Kris Letang was limited to 37 games last season due to a knee injury and an elbow infection. Though he's the ultimate health risk after missing 99 games over the last three seasons, but few blueliners possess as much skill offensively as Letang, who still accumulated 11 goals and 11 assists in limited action in 2013-14. Letang compiled 50 points in his last full season in 2010-11, and that peak could be in reach again if he can avoid any long-term health complications.

Derrick Pouliot
Pens' Pouliot Not Expected To Be Ready For Camp
Derrick Pouliot, D, PIT
9/16/2014
News: Penguins coach Mike Johnston said Tuesday that Derrick Pouliot (shoulder) likely won't be ready for training camp, Josh Yohe of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review reports.
Analysis: Johnston said that Derrick Pouliot, one of the team's top prospects, would likely be able to take part in some skating at the start of camp, but he'll be held out of contact drills until further notice. The former No. 8 overall draft pick accumulated 17 goals and 53 assists over 58 games last season with the WHL's Portland Winterhawks.

Olli Maatta
Pens' Maatta To Receive Update Later In Week
Olli Maatta, D, PIT
9/16/2014
News: Olli Maatta could be cleared for physical contact Wednesday or Thursday, Josh Yohe of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review reports.
Analysis: Olli Maatta was ruled out for four-to-six months after undergoing shoulder surgery in May, but there seems to be legitimate optimism that he might beat that timetable and be ready to go for the start of training camp. Even if that materializes, expect the Penguins to limit Maatta's involvement in the early going, with the hope of preparing him for a full slate of minutes for the regular-season opener. The 20-year-old flashed a ton of potential as a rookie last season, accruing nine goals and 20 assists over 78 games.

Anthony Mantha
Wings' Mantha Suffers Injury At Prospects Tourney
Anthony Mantha, RW, DET
9/16/2014
News: Anthony Mantha suffered an undisclosed injury during the NHL's tournament for prospects and will not be available for the Red Wings' finale against the Hurricanes, MLive.com's Brendan Savage reports.
Analysis: Red Wings GM Ken Holland didn't offer any specifics on the nature of the injury other than saying Anthony Mantha was "banged up," but it appears he'll still be ready to return to the ice when training camp commences Friday. The 20-year-old was having an outstanding tournament with five points in three games and should be given a chance to win a spot on the Red Wings' 23-man roster in camp, though it's more likely he opens 2014-15 at the AHL level.

Ryane Clowe
Clowe Looks Ready For Devils Camp
Ryane Clowe, LW, NJ
9/16/2014
News: Ryane Clower (concussion) underwent tests for post-concussion syndrome on Tuesday and should be ready for training camp.
Analysis: Devils GM Lou Lamoriello said the exams were "very positive" and expects that "everything is on track for him to be at camp." Ryane Clowe sustained several concussions last season while scattering, rather unevenly, 26 points over 43 games and expects to be in the lineup on Opening Day. Clowe will see some top-six minutes while in the lineup, but his inconsistency and propensity for injury do not make him the safest pick.

Josh Harding
Wild's Harding Succumbs To Ankle Injury
Josh Harding, G, MIN
9/16/2014
News: Josh Harding has been sidelined by an ankle injury, Michael Russo of the Minneapolis Star Tribune reports.
Analysis: Josh Harding was set to enter training camp at full health after missing the second half of last season due to a change in his medication for multiple sclerosis, but it appears the snake-bitten goalie has been dealt another setback. The team won't have an update on Harding's expected timetable until he visits with the team's orthopedic surgeon Wednesday, but it's generally believed that he will miss the beginning of training camp, if not longer. Harding was in the midst of a sensational season prior to succumbing to another complication from MS last December, and was thought to be a frontrunner to claim the No. 1 goalie job in camp. If he ends up missing the start of the regular season, either Darcy Kuemper or Niklas Backstrom would be called upon to assume starting duties.

Eric Gelinas
Gelinas Signs Before Devils Camp
Eric Gelinas, D, NJ
9/16/2014
News: Eric Gelinas signed a one-year, one-way contract worth $900,000 on Monday and will report to training camp.
Analysis: Getting Eric Gelinas, a restricted free agent, back under contract avoids a holdout by the 23-year old blue liner who snagged 29 points in a scattered 60-game campaign as a rookie one year earlier. The majority of Gelinas's points came before the All-Star break but he also saw himself shuttled between the NHL bench and Albany (AHL) in addition to having his ice time cut severely in some games. He played several games as a 13th forward and some as a seventh defensemen, seeing only power-play time. While Gelinas is under contract, he is, by no means, guaranteed a regular role on the team despite his considerable offensive upside. The team's coaching staff regularly made it known they want Gelinas to improve defensively before giving him a larger role on the team. Monitor his ice time in preseaon games but it's too early to go all-in on Gelinas considering the Devils, despite having an opening, had a tendency to play with his ice time, appearing noncommittal as to whether he would have a regular role on the team last season. Tread carefully.

Daniel Alfredsson
Daniel Alfredsson: Seeing Back Specialists
Daniel Alfredsson, RW, DET
9/16/2014
News: Daniel Alfredsson is visiting with back specialists and is not going to training camp with the Red Wings, Helene St. James of The Detroit Free Press reports.
Analysis: With Daniel Alfredsson's back ailing, it's looking more and more likely last year may have been his final season. Alfie has said he won't come back unless he's 100 percent, and although he wants to return to Detroit, it remains to be seen whether his body will let him.

Kevin Westgarth
Westgarth To Try Out With Oilers
Kevin Westgarth, RW, CGY
9/16/2014
News: Kevin Westgarth signed a professional tryout with the Oilers and will join the team for training camp, NHL.com's Aaron Vickers reports.
Analysis: Kevin Westgarth is nothing more than a checking-line pugilist, giving him value primarily in leagues that count penalty minutes. He'll first have to impress the Oilers in training camp before he gets the opportunity to reprise his enforcer role.

Danny DeKeyser
Red Wings' DeKeyser Signs Two-Year Deal
Danny DeKeyser, D, DET
9/16/2014
News: Danny DeKeyser singed a two-year, $4.38 million deal with the Red Wings on Tuesday, TSN's Aaron Ward reports.
Analysis: As expected, the Red Wings finally worked out a deal to bring the 24-year-old back to Detroit following a lengthy standoff. Danny DeKeyser appeared in 65 games for the Wings last season, registering four goals and 19 assists for 23 total points. He also posted a plus-10 rating and 30 penalty minutes.

 
 
 
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