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Rangers finally end road trip

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Michael Finewax reports that the New York Rangers will play their last two games of a grueling nine game …

I was on the NHL.com's Google+Hangout on Thursday with Matt Cubeta, Pete Jensen and Justin Goldman of NHL.com, as well as Scott Pianowski of Yahoo! as we talked fantasy hockey. It was a great 30 minutes and the conversation was lively and informative. Click here to watch.

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Now to The Week Ahead.

WEEK OF OCTOBER 21-27

4 Games - Anaheim, Calgary, Edmonton, San Jose, Winnipeg

3 Games–Boston, Buffalo, Chicago, Colorado, Columbus, Detroit, Florida, Los Angeles, Minnesota, Montreal, Nashville, New Jersey, New York Islanders, Ottawa, Phoenix, Pittsburgh, Tampa Bay, Toronto, Washington, Vancouver

2 Games – Carolina, Dallas, New York Rangers, Philadelphia, St. Louis

Anaheim and San Jose play all four of their games on the road.

Edmonton, Vancouver, Washington and Winnipeg play three games on the road.

Columbus, Detroit, Florida, Los Angeles, Montreal and Nashville play three games at home.

Editor's Note: Rotoworld's partner FanDuel is hosting a $1,500 Fantasy Hockey league that includes Friday and Saturday's NHL games. It's just $10 to join and first prize is $400. Starts Friday at 8pm ET. Here's the link.

INJURIES

Ryan Callahan suffered a broken thumb and will miss three-four weeks. (Click here to see the rest of the injury list.)

ANAHEIM

Games this week

@ Toronto, @ Montreal, @ Ottawa, @ Columbus

Notes

The Ducks play four on the road including three games in four nights so Viktor Fasth and Jonas Hiller could split the net. The Ducks will be the tired team Friday in Ottawa after playing in Montreal Thursday. The Ducks power play has been horrible this season as they have converted only one of 23 opportunities for a 4.4 percent conversion rate, the worst in the NHL. Hampus Lindholm continues to impress as he was the first star in Wednesday's 3-2 win over Calgary. The 19-year-old defenseman has two assists in four games but is a plus-seven. Stefan Noesen is out for the season after tearing his ACL and MCL. Fasth is 2-1 but with a 3.33 GAA and a .877 save percentage.

BOSTON

Games this week

@ Buffalo, vs. San Jose, vs. New Jersey

Notes

The Bruins play three games in four nights so expect to see Chad Johnson play once in place of Tuukka Rask. The Bruins will be tired Thursday when they host the Sharks after playing in Buffalo on Wednesday. Reilly Smith has moved up to the second line with Bard Marchand playing the third line alongside Chris Kelly and Jordan Caron. Marchand has been turning the puck over too much, necessitating the move. Milan Lucic has contributed fantasy-wise in every game this season as he has three goals and five points in five games with 12 penalty minutes  heading into Thursday's action. Loui Eriksson has scored in his last two games. Dougie Hamilton had been a healthy scratch of late, missing the last two games before getting in the lineup Thursday and scoring a power play goal.

BUFFALO

Games this week

vs. Boston, @ Florida, @ Tampa Bay

Notes

The Sabres will play three times in four nights so look for Jhonas Enroth to play once for Ryan Miller. The Sabres will be tired on Saturday when they travel to Tampa Bay after playing Friday night across the state against the Panthers. Patrick Kaleta was suspended for 10 games for his hit to the head on Jack Johnson of the Blue Jackets. He is appealing. Christian Ehrhoff picked up his first two assists of the season in Tuesday's win. The big question floating around the Sabres is what is going to happen to Thomas Vanek. Vanek is scheduled to become an unrestricted free agent at the end of the season and it does not look good at this time for the Sabres to be able to hold onto him. They should trade him if they are unable to sign him. The Wild are front runners for his services next season as he played his college hockey there and owns a home in the Twin Cities.

CALGARY

Games this week

@ Los Angeles, @ Phoenix, @ Dallas, vs. Washington

Notes

Calgary starts off their four game week by playing three games in four nights so look for Karri Ramo to get the net back at least once from one of the surprise goalies in the early going, Joey MacDonald. The Flames will be tired when they are in Phoenix Tuesday after playing the Kings in Los Angeles Monday. Sean Monahan has been terrific for the Flames thus far with four goals and six points in six games but he still will be better served playing in the CHL and for Team Canada's U20 team. Despite a .891 save percentage and a 2.99 GAA, MacDonald has been stellar in the Calgary cage. There is still no timetable for the return of Michael Cammalleri from a hand injury. Dennis Wideman is getting a lot of ice time as he is second in the NHL at 27:46 minutes after six games.

CAROLINA

Games this week

@ Minnesota, @ Los Angeles

Notes

Despite playing only twice this week, the Hurricanes play back-to-back games. Normally we figure Carolina would split the goaltending assignments but with backup Anton Khudobin on the shelf, look for Cam Ward to get both starts. The Hurricanes called up Justin Peters to back up Ward for the time being. Rookie Elias Lindholm has missed the last three games with an upper body injury but should return this week. Eric Staal is minus-five this season. He had the same problem two seasons ago as he had the worst plus/minus early in the season with a minus-18 after just 19 games in the 2011-12 season. Nathan Gerbe had only 10 points in 42 games last season with Buffalo but already has five in eight games with the Hurricanes.

CHICAGO

Games this week

@ Florida, @ Tampa Bay, vs. Minnesota

Notes

Niklas Hjalmarsson has five assists in seven games, one ahead of Duncan Keith but Hjalmarsson has a plus-five rating which is a lot better than Keith's minus-one rating. Patrick Kane leads the Blackhawks in goals with four and is tied with Brandon Saad, Marian Hossa and Hjalmarsson in points with five. Patrick Sharp scored his first of the season on Tuesday and it was the 200th of his career. Andrew Shaw has only two assists in seven games. Brandon Pirri scored his first NHL goal Thursday and is one of the Blackhawks more promising youngsters.

COLORADO

Games this week

@ Pittsburgh, vs. Carolina, vs. Winnipeg

Notes

The Colorado Avalanche get a big bonus this week as they are the rested team twice, first on Friday when they take on Carolina as the Hurricanes are in Minnesota the previous night. The second time is Sunday at home to the Jets as Winnipeg are in Dallas Saturday. The Avs are one of the surprise teams in the league, especially with their goaltending as Semyon Varlamov is 5-1 with a 1.68 GAA and an eye-popping .950 save percentage despite giving up four goals on 28 shots Thursday, while Jean-Sebastien Giguere had a shutout in his only appearance. The duo combined to be the second stars of the week. Alex Tanguay has also been a surprise with two goals and five points this season. Cody McLeod will get an in-person hearing for boarding Niklas Kronwall so expect him to miss at least five games.

COLUMBUS

Games this week

vs. New Jersey, vs. Toronto, vs. Anaheim

Notes

Marian Gaborik missed Thursday's game with an illness but is expected to be fine this week. Artem Anisimov was placed on the wing from center and will play on the second line with Ryan Johansen and R.J. Umberger. Matt Calvert is out six weeks after undergoing abdominal surgery. Although Sergei Bobrovsky is just 2-4-0 this season, his 2.49 GAA and .921 save percentage have been good for fantasy owners. Boone Jenner is having trouble adjusting to the speed of the NHL game but is getting better. He started the season on the top line but quickly found himself in the press box when he struggled early on. He finally hit the scoresheet with two goals Thursday. Brandon Dubinsky has a goal and three points in six games and finally picked up his first penalty on Thursday.

DALLAS

Games this week

vs. Calgary, vs. Winnipeg

Notes

The Stars play only twice this week but both are at home. They have moved Valeri Nichushkin to the left wing after he had only one shot on goal in four games as a right winger. He will play alongside Erik Cole and Shawn Horcoff and the two veterans should help him ease into the season. Kari Lehtonen is out with a lower body injury and the Stars have recalled Jack Campbell to back up Dan Ellis in the interim. Dallas is hoping that Lehtonen will be fine for this week's games. After going scoreless over the first two games, Tyler Seguin has eight points in his last five games. Alex Chiasson, Ray Whitney and Cody Eakin have formed a good second line for the Stars.

DETROIT

Games this week

vs. San Jose, vs. Ottawa, vs. New York Rangers

Notes

The Red Wings play all three games at home this week. Jimmy Howard was out with a hand injury but should be fine to go this week. Jonas Gustavsson has played well in his absence with a couple of wins, a 1.50 GAA and a .955 save percentage. After getting five assists, Daniel Alfredsson finally picked up his first goal in a Detroit uniform. Brendan Smith was a minus-four in his first four games of the season and as a result has been a healthy scratch in his last three games. Justin Abdelkader has moved from the first line with Pavel Datsyuk and Henrik Zetterberg to the second line alongside Stephen Weiss and Johan Franzen. Niklas Kronwall was taken off in a stretcher Thursday and has been diagnosed with a concussion.

EDMONTON

Games this week

@ Montreal, vs. Washington, @ Phoenix, @ Los Angeles

Notes

The Oilers play four times this week including three games in four nights so expect to see Jason LaBarbera to play at least once for Devan Dubnyk. They are the tired team Sunday in Los Angeles after playing in Phoenix Saturday. Mark Arcobello has been on fire as far as assists go as he now has eight in eight games. Nail Yakupov has yet to garner a point in six games this season and the former first overall pick has been a healthy scratch twice. Boyd Gordon has four goals and five points this season. Dubnyk is 0-4-1 and needed to stop 37 of 40 shots Thursday to bring his GAA down to 4.91 and raise his save percentage to .854.

FLORIDA

Games this week

vs. Chicago, vs. Buffalo, vs. Tampa Bay

Notes

The Panthers are the rested team Sunday when they host the Lightning with Tampa Bay hosting Buffalo on Saturday. It's nice to see that Nick Bjugstad return this past week from a concussion that kept him out of the lineup since September 8. Scottie Upshall was the odd man out with Bjugstad's return. Tim Thomas returned on Thursday from a groin injury and the Panthers came close to upsetting his former Bruins teammates as they dropped a 3-2 decision. Thomas stopped 37 shots in the loss. Rookie Aleksander Barkov has two goals and five points in eight games.

LOS ANGELES

Games this week

vs. Calgary, vs. Phoenix, vs. Edmonton

Notes

The Kings are rested Sunday when facing Edmonton who take on the Coyotes in Phoenix Saturday. Slava Voynov was off to a slow start with only a goal and two points in his first seven games but he scored his second of the season Thursday. Drew Doughty is off to another slow start as he has only a power play goal in eight games. A lot of poolies bought into Jacob Muzzin before the start of the season but poor performances in the early going has made Muzzin a healthy scratch in his last five games. Jonathan Quick has struggled early on and is 4-3-0 with a 2.58 GAA.

MINNESOTA

Games this week

vs. Nashville, vs. Carolina, @ Chicago

Notes

Good news for the Wild as Niklas Backstrom has returned from a knee injury so Minnesota has returned Darcy Kuemper to the minors. Kuemper had a tough time against the Maple Leafs as he gave up three goals on only seven shots before being pulled. Don't be surprised if Mathew Dumba is returned to junior hockey as it is tough for a defenseman to make the transition to the pro ranks without some minor league time. Mikko Koivu finally scored Thursday and now has a goal and five assists in eight games. Dany Heatley has been in a terrible slump with only one assist in eight games.

MONTREAL

Games this week

vs. Edmonton, vs. Anaheim, vs. San Jose

Notes

Max Pacioretty is out of action for three weeks with a left hamstring strain. It looks like Davis Drewiske is out for the remainder of the regular season. He underwent shoulder surgery and is expected to miss five-six months. Daniel Briere is seeing fourth line minutes at this time. Carey Price is 4-2-0 this season with a 2.01 GAA and a .938 save percentage. George Parros seems to be coming along after suffering a concussion on opening night. He has played only one game and leads the team in penalty minutes with 20. P.K. Subban leads all defensemen with 10 points in seven games. He also is plus-six with 12 penalty minutes.

NASHVILLE

Games this week

@ Minnesota, vs. Winnipeg, vs. St. Louis

Notes

The Predators will be rested Saturday when hosting the Blues with St. Louis playing Vancouver on Friday. After a slow start, Pekka Rinne is starting to return to form as he is 3-3-1 with a 2.73 GAA and a .901 save percentage. Look for the last two numbers to improve significantly as the season progresses. Carter Hutton has appeared in only one game and that was in relief of Rinne in the season opener.  Shea Weber had three points in two games before being held off the scoresheet Thursday. Mike Fisher and Craig Smith lead the team in points with five. 

NEW JERSEY

Games this week

@ Columbus, vs. Vancouver, @ Boston

Notes

Ryane Clowe was placed on the injured reserve list with a head injury after being hit by Jacob Trouba of the Jets Sunday. He could return this week as he is feeling better. The Devils have yet to win a game as they are 0-4-3. Martin Brodeur has played in four games with a 0-2-2 record, a 3.40 GAA and a .865 save percentage. I know it's early but Cory Schneider's peripherals are a lot better as he has a 2.65 GAA and a .908 save percentage despite a 0-2-1 record. Adam Henrique has been playing on the left wing at times this season, on a line with Andrei Loktionov and Michael Ryder. Damien Brunner leads the Devils in goals and points with three and five respectively.

NEW YORK ISLANDERS

Games this week

vs. Vancouver, @ Pittsburgh, vs. Philadelphia

Notes

The Islanders will be the tired team on Saturday when they are home to the Flyers after playing in Pittsburgh on Friday night. John Tavares has been hot of late with five points in his last three games and now has nine points this season.  We would take Matt Martin in any pool that uses hits and/or penalty minutes so his rare goal on Tuesday was a bonus. Pierre-Marc Bouchard was a healthy scratch on Oct. 12 and returned to play alongside Joshua Bailey and Frans Nielsen. Cal Clutterbuck is minus-two with nary a point in four games since returning from a cut on his leg during a preseason game.

NEW YORK RANGERS

Games this week

@ Philadelphia, @ Detroit

Notes

The Rangers finally end their wicked nine game road trip to start the season with a game this week in Detroit. New York put goaltender Martin Biron and forward Arron Asham on waivers earlier in the week and then sent both down to the minors.  They recalled Jason Missiaen to back up Henrik Lundqvist in the interim. Ryan Callahan's stretch of bad luck continues as he suffered a broken thumb Wednesday that will keep him on the shelf for three-four weeks. Derek Stepan looks like he avoided an injury after he took an elbow to his head, courtesy of Troy Brouwer. Brad Richards leads the Rangers with seven points in six games.

OTTAWA     

Games this week

@ Detroit, vs. Anaheim, vs. San Jose

Notes

The Senators are the rested team twice this week. They play the Ducks are Friday after Anaheim plays in Montreal Thursday. They are home to the Sharks on Sunday with San Jose playing the Canadiens Saturday. Jason Spezza got off to a bit of a slow start with two points in his first four games but has had back-to-back three point games this week. He is one point ahead of Bobby Ryan who has played well thus far for the Senators. Binghamton coach Luke Richardson has been impressed with the play and attitude of Mika Zibanejad and he could be recalled as the Senators placed Stephane Da Costa on waivers. Da Costa will be sent to the minors if he passes through waivers as he is on a two-way contract.

PHILADELPHIA

Games this week

vs. New York Rangers, @ New York Islanders

Notes

The Flyers play only twice for the second week in a row. They will be rested on Saturday when on Long Island as the Islanders are in Pittsburgh Friday. You have to feel sorry for Steve Mason who has played quite well despite his 1-5-0 record as he has a .923 save percentage to go with a 2.37 GAA. It was thought that Ray Emery would at least split the net with Mason but Emery has only played twice, losing both. He has a 4.03 GAA and a .873 save percentage, which definitely shouldn't inspire fantasy owners. Matt Read is a minus-six and without a point in eight games this season. Kimmo Timonen suffered a lower body injury in the second period Thursday and did not return. Claude Giroux has yet to find the back of the net in eight games.

PHOENIX

Games this week

vs. Calgary, @ Los Angeles, vs. Edmonton

Notes

The Coyotes will be the rested team on Tuesday at home to Calgary as the Flames are in Los Angeles Monday. It looks like Rostislav Klesla may be hurt again after returning from a concussion. The Coyotes have made David Rundblad a healthy scratch the last four games but have added David Schlemko back into the mix among defensemen. They signed Jeff Halpern to a one-year/two-way contract. He will play bottom-six minutes but is quite good on faceoffs. Derek Morris has five points in five games but is out with a lower-body injury. Mike Smith has been so-so this season with a 3-2-1 record with 3.17 GAA and a .905 save percentage.

PITTSBURGH

Games this week

vs. Colorado, vs. New York Islanders, @ Toronto

Notes

Kris Letang and the Pittsburgh Penguins are being cautious with his knee and although he would be playing if it was the playoffs, it's still early in the season and to give him a few more days to fully recover makes sense. I think he will be back this week. Beau Bennett is out with a lower body injury and has missed the last two games. James Neal was placed on the long-term injured reserve list retroactive to October 3 so he is eligible to return on October 28. Marc-Andre Fleury has been sensational this season with a 6-0-0 record, a 1.67 GAA and a .932 save percentage. After poor playoff performances the last two seasons, he has been a pleasant surprise in the early going.

ST. LOUIS

Games this week

vs. Vancouver, @ Nashville

Notes

The Blues only play twice this week and are the tired team Saturday in Nashville after playing the Canucks at home Friday. Jaroslav Halak continues to play well enough that there is not a goaltending controversy in St. Louis as he is 5-1-0 with a 2.26 GAA and a .919 save percentage as he has relegated Brian Elliott to the end of the bench. David Backes has returned to form. He already has five goals in six games this season after finding the back of the net only six times in 48 games last season. Maxim Lapierre has been suspended for his hit from behind on Dan Boyle. He will get at least five games as the NHL has requested an in-person meeting. Magnus Paajarvi has taken his spot in the lineup.

SAN JOSE

Games this week

@ Detroit, @ Boston, @ Montreal, @ Ottawa

Notes

The Sharks are on the road for all four games this week and play three games in four nights so look for Alex Stalock to play once in place of Antti Niemi. The Sharks will be rested on Thursday in Boston as the Bruins take on the Sabres in Buffalo Wednesday. San Jose will be the tired team Sunday in Ottawa as they take on Montreal Saturday. Patrick Marleau is off to a hot start once again this season as he has nine points in seven games. He had 14 points in his first five games last season but ended up with only 31 points in 48 games so be a bit wary if you are thinking of trading for him. Dan Boyle was taken off the ice on a stretcher after Maxim Lapierre hit him from behind Tuesday but it looks like he'll be okay as he is not having headaches.

TAMPA BAY

Games this week

vs. Chicago, vs. Buffalo, @ Florida

Notes

The Lightning will be tired Sunday when in Sunrise to play the Panthers after playing the Sabres at home Saturday.  They are rested Saturday when playing Buffalo as the Sabres take on the Panthers Friday. You have to admire Martin St. Louis as he played 21:29 minutes on Thursday after taking a shot off his foot while trying to block a shot Tuesday. He has been wearing a protective boot but still managed to play. Ben Bishop looks to be the number one netminder in Tampa Bay as he is 5-0-0 this season with a 1.57 GAA and .943 save percentage. If you took Anders Lindback in your pool figuring he would be the starter, it's not looking good at this time. The Lightning recalled Brett Connolly and he saw fourth line minutes Thursday.

TORONTO

Games this week

vs. Anaheim, @ Columbus, vs. Pittsburgh

Notes

The Maple Leafs got quite a scare Thursday when James Reimer was run into by teammate Josh Leivo 32 seconds into the first period. Reimer suffered a head injury but it may not be as bad as first thought as he was be able to practice Friday. Leivo scored his first NHL goal in that game. Jonathan Bernier is 4-2-0  this season with a 1.98 GAA and a .940 save percentage but sure looked bad misplaying a Ron Hainsey shot from 175 feet out. James van Riemsdyk has missed the last two games with back spasms. Morgan Rielly has four assists in six games this season as he moves ever closer to that magic nine game mark. If he plays 10 games then he burns a year of his entry level contract. Mason Raymond has been a great off-season signing as he has four goals and eight points in eight games playing on the third line for the most part.

VANCOUVER

Games this week

@ New York Islanders, @ New Jersey, @ St. Louis

Notes

The Canucks continue their lengthy road trip and play three games in four nights so Eddie Lack should get the net in one game as Roberto Luongo is likely to start the other two. Mike Santorelli continues to score as he picked up his first two assists of the season on Thursday to go with four earlier goals. Alex Burrows is not yet close to returning to action as he is still wearing a protective boot. He suffered a foot injury on October 3 and while the initial prognosis was two-three weeks, it looks like it will be longer. While coach John Tortorella has broken up the Sedin twins from time to time, they still play on the power play together. Alexander Edler is eligible to return to action from a three game suspension on October 19 so get him back in your lineup.

WASHINGTON

Games this week

@ Winnipeg, @ Edmonton, @ Calgary

Notes

The Capitals go to Western Canada this week and will finish up their swing on October 28th in Vancouver. Alex Ovechkin has been firing a lot of shots on goal this season as he now has 50 in just seven games. He will set an NHL record for SOG if he can keep up the pace and stay healthy. A couple of Capitals avoided suspensions for questionable hits this week as Jason Chimera hit Justin Schultz from behind while Troy Brouwer knocked Derek Stepan to the ice. Brouwer scored his first of the season on Monday as did Brooks Laich. Ovechkin and Nicklas Backstrom lead the Capitals with nine and eight points respectively but also are minus-five and minus-four this season.

WINNIPEG

Games this week

vs. Washington, @ Nashville, @ Dallas, @ Colorado

Notes

The Jets play four times this week including three games in four nights so expect to see Al Montoya to play once instead of Ondrej Pavelec. The Jets will be tired Sunday in Colorado after playing in Dallas Saturday. It looked serious when Evander Kane (leg) had to be helped off the ice during practice Wednesday but he could play on October 18. Blake Wheeler is off to a slow start this season with only a goal and three points in seven games after scoring 19 last season with 41 points in 48 games. Tobias Enstrom has not scored in his last two games but had six assists in five games to start the season as he tied for the team lead in points with Dustin Byfuglien.

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