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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
Derick Brassard
Rangers' Brassard Will Play Saturday
Derick Brassard, C, NYR
12/21/2014
News: Derick Brassard (illness) will play Saturday against the Hurricanes, Andrew Gross of The Record reports.
Analysis: Coach Alain Vigneault signed off on Derick Brassard's return after he was able to take part in the team's morning skate. The center missed the Rangers' last two contests with the mumps virus.

Ryan Carter
Wild Activate Carter (Upper Body)
Ryan Carter, C, MIN
12/21/2014
News: Ryan Carter (upper body) was activated from injured reserve Saturday, Rachel Blount of the Minneapolis Star Tribune reports.
Analysis: After missing the Wild's previous three games, Ryan Carter was cleared to return after practicing Friday. He'll be reinserted on the fourth line for Saturday's game against the Predators.

Jonathan Quick
Kings Tap Quick For Saturday Start
Jonathan Quick, G, LA
12/21/2014
News: Jonathan Quick led the Kings on to the ice for pregame warmups and will thus get the start Saturday against the Coyotes, Elliott Teaford of the Los Angeles Daily News reports.
Analysis: Jonathan Quick will likely be a heavy favorite to come away with the victory against a Coyotes squad that has lost eight of its last 10 games, with its lone two wins during that stretch coming against the sad-sack Oilers. The netminder hasn't been particularly sharp lately, so this should represent a good bounce-back opportunity for him.

Matt Cooke
Wild's Cooke (Hip) Activated For Saturday's Game
Matt Cooke, LW, MIN
12/21/2014
News: Matt Cooke (hip) was activated from injured reserve Saturday and will suit up against the Predators, Rachel Blount of the Minneapolis Stat Tribune reports.
Analysis: He'll replace Justin Fontaine in the lineup, joining Charlie Coyle and Nino Niederreiter on the Wild's third line. Matt Cooke last played on Oct. 28 before missing the last 22 games with a hip flexor.

Jonas Hiller
Flames To Start Hiller Saturday
Jonas Hiller, G, CGY
12/21/2014
News: Jonas Hiller will get the start in net Saturday, Scott Cruickshank of the Calgary Herald reports.
Analysis: Jonas Hiller and the Flames have hit the skids in December, as Calgary has lost seven straight and Hiller has lost six in a row. Until they right the ship, Hiller should be avoided, especially with his mates giving him a grand total of four goals combined in his last four outings.

Jake Allen
Allen, Blues Looking For Road Victory
Jake Allen, G, STL
12/21/2014
News: Jake Allen will be between the pipes Saturday against the Sharks, Jeremy Rutherford of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports.
Analysis: Things have started to turn ugly for Jake Allen here in December, despite the fact that he's won each of his last three starts. He's posted a horrid .884 save percentage in five outings this month, which has resulted in him yielding more work to Martin Brodeur than anticipated. Still, with a powerful offense and strong defense supporting him, the wins should keep coming rather steadily for the struggling netminder.

Antti Niemi
Sharks' Niemi To Take Aim At Seventh Straight Win
Antti Niemi, G, SJ
12/21/2014
News: Antti Niemi will be between the pipes Saturday night against the Blues, Kevin Kurz of CSN Bay Area reports.
Analysis: Antti Niemi will take aim at his seventh straight victory Saturday, though he hasn't been as consistently sharp as the winning streak would suggest. During that stretch, he's surrendered three goals or more on three occasions, but did manage to capture his second shutout of the season. He'll have his work cut out for him against the Blues, who rank sixth in the NHL in goals and fifth in shot attempts per game.

Max Pacioretty
Habs' Pacioretty (Upper Body) Returns Saturday
Max Pacioretty, LW, MON
4:24 PM
News: Max Pacioretty is in the lineup for Saturday's game against the Senators.
Analysis: Max Pacioretty's injury was muscular in nature, so he likely sustained no lasting damage from the hit he took Friday from Clayton Stoner that sent him to the hospital.

Tyler Johnson
Bolts' Johnson (Illness) Returns Saturday
Tyler Johnson, C, TB
4:16 PM
News: Tyler Johnson has returned to the Tampa Bay lineup for Saturday's game against the Islanders, Joe Smith of the Tamba Bay Times reports.
Analysis: Tyler Johnson participated in the pregame skate and will be in the lineup. It's not impossible that he's pulled if he isn't feeling well, though.

Matt Moulson
Sabres' Moulson (Illness) Out Saturday
Matt Moulson, LW, BUF
4:06 PM
News: Matt Moulson will miss Saturday's game against Colorado with an illness, Paul Hamilton of WGR Sports Radio 550 reports.
Analysis: We still don't know what Matt Moulson exactly has, but he will be replaced on the roster for now by Johan Larsson. The Sabres have their next game Sunday against the Bruins.

 
 
 
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