Bruins running away with Atlantic Division

Michael Finewax
Rotoworld

In the Atlantic Division, four teams are separated by one point as the Panthers and Buffalo are tied for second with 31 points while Montreal and Toronto are one point back. It’s two months into the season and it looks for now as if the Metropolitan will have five teams in the playoffs, leaving just Boston and two others from the Atlantic to get in. Don’t forget about the sixth place Lightning who are at 29 points and have games in hand over everyone.

Out West, St. Louis, Colorado, Winnipeg and Dallas are out front in the Central with Arizona, Edmonton and Vegas leading in the Pacific. They all have at least 35 points with Minnesota, San Jose, Vancouver and Calgary all tied for eighth with 32 points.

The only teams that are really out of it at this time are Detroit, Ottawa, Los Angeles and New Jersey. Of course, the same could have been said about Minnesota before their recent hot streak of 8-0-3.

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WEEK OF DECEMBER 9-15

4 Games – Boston, Chicago, Calgary, Detroit, Los Angeles, Minnesota, Tampa Bay, Vancouver, Vegas

3 Games - Anaheim, Arizona, Buffalo, Carolina, Colorado, Columbus, Dallas, Edmonton, Florida, Montreal, Nashville, New Jersey, New York Islanders, New York Rangers, Ottawa, Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, St. Louis, San Jose, Toronto, Washington, Winnipeg

Boston plays all four games on the road.

Arizona, Colorado, Florida, Minnesota, Pittsburgh and Tampa Bay play three games at home.

Carolina, Chicago, Columbus, Los Angeles, New Jersey, New York Rangers, Philadelphia and Toronto play three games on the road.

Editor's Note: Drafting is only half the battle. Dominate all season long with our Season Pass! Use our NEW Lineup Adviser, get our Weekly and Rest-of-Season rankings and projections, track all of your players and more on your way to a championship! Click here for more!  

INJURIES

 Zach Werenski is out another three weeks with a shoulder injury. (Click here to see the rest of the injury list.)

ANAHEIM

Games this week

@ Minnesota, vs. Los Angeles, vs. New York Rangers

Tired: None

Rested: None

Notes

John Gibson should be good to go this week as he has been suffering from an illness that kept him off the ice for a few days this past week. He was back on the ice Thursday for practice and while his status is unclear for the weekend, expect him to be at full strength this week. Josh Manson has been out of action with a knee injury since October 24 but he is practicing and should be back this week, if not sooner. The Ducks sent Max Jones to the minors and promoted Max Comtois. Hampus Lindholm broke a seven-game pointless streak Monday with three assists. He had three assists as well in his last game before the streak began on October 26. Jacob Larsson was also sent to the minors at the end of November.

ARIZONA

Games this week

vs. Calgary, vs. Chicago, vs. New Jersey

Tired: None

Rested: vs. Calgary (Tuesday), vs. New Jersey (Saturday)

Notes

The Coyotes took over the Pacific Division lead on Thursday with a 3-1 win over Philadelphia. Arizona is 17-9-4 this season and are definite contenders for the Pacific title. Phil Kessel looks as if he is starting to break loose as he had a pair of goals in the winning effort to give him six this season. Christian Dvorak has a five-game points streak going as he has two goals and four helpers to give him eight goals and 18 points in 30 games. The Coyotes have been sensational on the road as they are 10-3-3 while only 7-6-1 at Glendale. Carl Soderberg sustained a lower-body injury on November 29 but broke loose on December 3 with a goal and two assists,

BOSTON

Games this week

@ Ottawa, @ Washington, @ Tampa Bay, @ Florida

Tired: @ Tampa Bay (Thursday)

Rested: None

Notes

The Bruins are on the road for all four games this week and play three games in four nights. It would not be a surprise to see Tuukka Rask and Jaroslav Halak share the net.  The Bruins are hoping the Patrice Bergeron will be ready to go this week. He has missed the last six games with a lower-body injury and coach Bruce Cassidy split up the other two members of the top line as Brad Marchand saw action with Danton Heinen and Charlie Coyle while the NHL’s leading goal scorer, David Pastrnak, played alongside Jake DeBrusk and David Krejci. David Backes returned to action Sunday and scored on the power play, his first goal of the season.

BUFFALO

Games this week

vs. St. Louis, vs. Nashville, @ New York Islanders

Tired: None

Rested: None

Notes

Jack Eichel has been a wonder this season as he has 18 goals and 39 points in 29 games. He has an 11-game scoring streak after scoring Thursday in a 4-3 loss in Calgary. Kyle Okposo traveled with the Sabres to Western Canada but sat out Thursday for the 10th time in a row as he has been suffering from a concussion. The winger had only a goal and five points in 19 games so once he returns, he will still need to make a big improvement in his offensive game to be fantasy worthy. Victor Olofsson has points in eight of his last nine games and has 11 goals and 24 points in 29 contests to date.  Rasmus Dahlin is still ‘a ways away’ from returning from a concussion.

CALGARY

Games this week

@ Colorado, @ Arizona, vs. Toronto, vs. Carolina

Tired: @ Arizona (Tuesday)

Rested: None

Notes

The Flames play four games this week including three in four nights. Look for David Rittich to play three times with Cam Talbot getting the call once. Rittich was the second star of the week as he was 2-0-1 with a 1.94 GAA and a .941 save percentage in the three games. Congratulations go out to Milan Lucic who scored his first of the season Thursday. It took him only 28 games to do so but it ended up being the game winner. Noah Hanifin is having a tough season with three goals and seven points in 30 games. He is also a team-worst minus-15.  

CAROLINA

Games this week

@ Edmonton, @ Vancouver, @ Calgary

Tired: None

Rested: None

Notes

The Hurricanes are in Western Canada all week. Andrei Svechnikov continues to shine and he had a goal and an assist in the Canes 3-2 win, Thursday over the San Jose Sharks. Svechnikov has 12 goals and 31 points and is just six points behind his rookie total of 37 last season. Martin Necas has missed the last three games with a lower-body injury. The rookie has played a significant role this season with Carolina and has six goals and 16 points in 26 contests. Dougie Hamilton is having a great offensive season with 10 goals and 28 points in 29 games, as well as a plus-15 rating.

CHICAGO

Games this week

@ Vegas, @ Arizona, @ St. Louis, vs. Minnesota

Tired: None

Rested: None

Notes

The Blackhawks play four times this week including three games in four nights. Corey Crawford and Robin Lehner should share the crease this week with each getting a pair of starts. Dylan Strome had a goal and an assist in his return from a concussion. The injury cost him four games on the sidelines. Rookie Kirby Dach, who was selected third overall in the 2019 Draft, needs to shoot the puck more. He said that he went through the same thing as a 16-year-old in the WHL. He has gone seven straight games without a point. The Blackhawks were forced on Monday to play with one less skater as there are salary cap issues and it did not allow the team to be able to recall anyone. Hopefully that does not happen again to any team this season.

COLORADO

Games this week

vs. Calgary, vs. Philadelphia, vs. New Jersey

Tired: None

Rested: None

Notes

Nathan MacKinnon was the first star of the week with three goals and six assists in three games. Nazem Kadri is day-to-day with a lower-body injury. He missed Thursday’s tilt in Montreal but the Avs got both Andre Burakovsky and Gabriel Landeskog back for the game. Landeskog missed 16 games with a lower-body injury while Burakovsky missed three games. Joonas Donskoi has been a pleasant surprise with 12 goals and 23 points in 28 games. I have been impressed with the play of backup netminder Pavel Francouz who is 6-2-0 with a 2.43 GAA and a .927 save percentage. He gives the Avs a more than adequate backup to Philipp Grubauer in net.

COLUMBUS

Games this week

@ Washington, @ Pittsburgh, @ Ottawa

Tired: None

Rested: None

Notes

The Blue Jackets are on the road for all three games this week.  Zach Werenski will miss a month with a shoulder injury and Dean Kukan is getting the first shot at playing alongside Seth Jones on the Blue Jackets first defense pairing. Kukan picked up the first power play goal of his young career on Tuesday and has a point in each of his last two games after getting only two in his first 18 games this season. He is worth a look in deeper fantasy leagues. Josh Anderson has only three points in his last 22 games. This is after a career-best 47 points in 2018-19.

DALLAS

Games this week

vs. New Jersey, vs. Vegas, @ Nashville

Tired: @ Nashville (Saturday)

Rested: vs. Vegas (Friday)

Notes

The Stars made Alexander Radulov a healthy scratch Thursday. He has only eight goals and 15 points in 29 games after back-to-back 72-point seasons with the Stars. The Stars couldn’t trade Julius Honka before the December 1 deadline and the defenseman will not be eligible to play in the NHL this season. He will remain in Finland, playing for JYP and wait for the Stars to move him. Stephen Johns has been cleared to practice. He has been out of action since last season due to post-traumatic headaches. Miro Heiskanen is second in Dallas scoring with 20 points, three in arrears of Tyler Seguin. The 20-year-old defenseman is a keeper in any league.

DETROIT

Games this week

@ Winnipeg, vs. Winnipeg, @ Montreal, vs. Los Angeles

Tired: None

Rested: None

Notes

The Red Wings play three games in four nights as part of a four-game week. Jimmy Howard has yet to practice after suffering a mid-body injury last week so look for Jonathan Bernier to play three games with Calvin Pickard playing once. The Red Wings take on Winnipeg in a home-and-home series. Four Red Wings have received fighting majors this season, including Dylan Larkin, Dylan McIlrath, Giovani Smith and Filip Hronek. The Red Wings this week sent Taro Hirose and Filip Zadina to the minors. Anthony Mantha is still not practicing with the Red Wings and has missed the last five games.

EDMONTON

Games this week

vs. Carolina, @ Minnesota, vs. Toronto

Tired: None

Rested: None

Notes

Ryan Nugent-Hopkins practiced on Thursday after undergoing a procedure on his hand the previous week. He has missed five straight games. Zack Kassian practiced on Thursday as well and he could be back in the Oilers lineup as early as December 6. Matthew Benning took a shot off his head Sunday after returning to action from concussion protocol so the Oilers are going to be very careful with him for now. Connor McDavid was the first star of the month in November with 13 goals and 26 points in 14 games. Jesse Puljujarvi did not sign by December 1, nor was he traded, so he cannot play in the NHL this season. He will get plenty of ice time in his native Finland and continue to hope that the Oilers will trade him before the start of next season.

FLORIDA

Games this week

vs. Tampa Bay, vs. New York Islanders, vs. Boston

Tired: None

Rested: vs. Tampa Bay (Tuesday)

Notes

The Panthers are 1-4-0 in their last five games. Goaltending has been a big problem with the team all season. It was thought that the off-season free agent signing of Sergei Bobrovsky would end the problem but Bobrovsky is 9-6-4 (which isn’t bad) with a 3.48 GAA and a .884 save percentage (which is horrible). Sam Montembeault was sent to the minors two weeks ago and Chris Driedger is the new backup. Driedger shut out the Predators in his first NHL start but then gave up three goals Tuesday in a 4-2 loss to the red-hot Minnesota Wild. Jonathan Huberdeau leads the team with 33 points in 27 games, one better than Aleksander Barkov.

LOS ANGELES

Games this week

vs. New York Rangers, @ Anaheim, @ Pittsburgh, @ Detroit

Tired: None

Rested: None

Notes

The Kings play four times this week including three games in four nights. Jonathan Quick should play at least twice and possibly three times with Jack Campbell getting the remainder of the starts. It must be hard to be Ilya Kovalchuk at this time. The former star (and maybe even superstar) has been a healthy scratch the last 12 games after picking up nine points in his first 17 contests. The Kings would love to move him but his salary cap hit would be too much for all the teams that need him. Anze Kopitar has 27 points in 29 games and is 10 points ahead of Drew Doughty who is second.  

MINNESOTA

Games this week

vs. Anaheim, vs. Edmonton, vs. Philadelphia, @ Chicago

Tired: None

Rested: None

Notes

The Wild play four games this week including three games in four nights. Devan Dubnyk has not played since November 16th as he is dealing with his wife’s illness. Alex Stalock should get three games if Dubnyk does not return while Finnish rookie Kaapo Kahkonen should get the other start. The Wild are 8-0-3 in their last 11 to get back into the playoff race. Mats Zuccarello has been heating up with two goals and four points in his last two games. Mikko Koivu is day-to-day with a lower-body injury that forced him to sit out on Thursday. Luke Kunin has scored twice in the last four games and has tied his career high in goals with six.

MONTREAL

Games this week

@ Pittsburgh, vs. Ottawa, vs. Detroit

Tired: vs. Ottawa (Wednesday)

Rested: None

Notes

The Canadiens shuffled their backup netminding as they sent Keith Kinkaid to the minors after he cleared waivers, and recalled rookie Cayden Primeau who made his NHL debut Thursday night. Primeau gave up three goals on 35 shots to a very good Colorado squad and after a shaky start, he settled down nicely. Jesperi Kotkaniemi was injured Thursday and is day-to-day with an upper-body injury. Tomas Tatar is leading the Habs in scoring with 24 points, one ahead of Shea Weber and two points up on Phillip Danault and Brendan Gallagher. Victor Mete is out two weeks with an ankle injury.

NASHVILLE

Games this week

vs. San Jose, @ Buffalo, vs. Dallas

Tired: None

Rested: vs. Dallas (Saturday)

Notes

Kyle Turris was finally put back into the Nashville lineup Tuesday after sitting out seven games as a healthy scratch. He promptly scored on the power play and added an assist while winning 12-of-16 faceoffs. That was quite a showing for the veteran who had four goals and nine points in 19 games before the benching. Mikael Granlund sat out Tuesday with a lower-body injury. The former Wild winger has only four goals and 11 points in 26 games this season but had five points in four games before going pointless in his last two contests. Defenseman Roman Josi continues to lead the Predators with 24 points in 27 games, four better than Ryan Ellis and Matt Duchene.

NEW JERSEY

Games this week

@ Dallas, @ Colorado, @ Arizona

Tired: @ Arizona (Saturday)

Rested: None

Notes

The big news out of New Jersey this week was the firing of coach John Hynes Tuesday. He was replaced by Alain Nasreddine on an interim basis. The Devils are getting a lot of interest in free agent to be, Taylor Hall. Arizona is rumored to be interested as are Montreal and others. Hall has not asked for a trade but with the Devils wallowing in the basement of the Metropolitan Division, going to a team with Cup hopes, can’t be bad. Hall has four goals and 22 points in 27 games. Jack Hughes has sat out the last three games with a lower-body injury but should be back this week. Nico Hischier has points in seven of his last nine games and is looking once again like a player who was drafted first overall in 2017.

NEW YORK ISLANDERS

Games this week

@ Tampa Bay, @ Florida, vs. Buffalo

Tired: None

Rested: None

Notes

The Islanders were in a bit of a tailspin but that should be expected as they went 15-0-1 before losing twice in regulation and once in overtime. They have won three of their last four games to right themselves once again. Ross Johnston saw first line action Thursday as he played alongside Mathew Barzal and Josh Bailey. The duo needed a physical presence and Johnston provided that. Johnston has a goal and 35 penalty minutes in 13 games so you know where his fantasy value is. Ryan Pulock has a three-game points streak going with a goal and four points. He is at four goals and 14 points this season. Jordan Eberle finally got off the schnied Monday with his first two goals of the season. The former Oiler has eight points in 17 games and missed 10 games earlier in the season with a lower-body injury.

NEW YORK RANGERS

Games this week

@ Los Angeles, @ San Jose, @ Anaheim

Tired: None

Rested: None

Notes

The Rangers are in California all week. Jacob Trouba seems to be getting his offensive game back in order. He is on a four-game points streak and has four goals and 15 points in 27 games. Tony DeAngelo is leading all Ranger blueliners in points with 20 in 27 games and he has found the back of the net seven times. Brenan Lemieux has 54 penalty minutes this season in 26 games but only one minor in his last seven games. He has been an offensive threat in the last seven with four goals and an assist. Artemi Panarin scored the winner Thursday against the Blue Jackets in his first game back in Columbus since leaving as a free-agent in the summer. He has 34 points in 27 games to lead the Rangers.

OTTAWA     

Games this week

vs. Boston, @ Montreal, vs. Columbus

Tired: None

Rested: @ Montreal (Wednesday)

Notes

The Senators are back in a slump as they had dropped five in a row before upsetting Edmonton on Wednesday. Logan Brown could be back in the minors after seeing only 5:28 of ice time Wednesday. The Senators sent their top prospect, Erik Brannstrom, back to the minors to get him some confidence. The defenseman was the major part of the return in the Mark Stone trade to Vegas. He is going to be very good but there needs to be patience involved, especially with a young defenseman. Anthony Duclair is having a nice season and is second in goal-scoring on the Senators with 11. Jean-Gabriel Pageau leads with 15.

PHILADELPHIA

Games this week

@ Colorado, @ Minnesota, @ Winnipeg

Tired: @ Winnipeg (Sunday)

Rested: None

Notes

Michael Raffl is out four weeks after he broke his finger on Tuesday. The Flyers recalled Mikhail Vorobyev from the minors and he now has a chance to make a statement as the Flyers have been high on his potential. Travis Konecny leads the team with 27 points, five better than Sean Couturier. Claude Giroux has been a disappointment for fantasy fans as he has only nine goals and 20 points this season. He had 102 points two seasons ago and 85 last season so his fantasy expectations were quite high. Kevin Hayes saw his four-game points streak end on Thursday. He has eight goal and 14 points this season.

PITTSBURGH

Games this week

vs. Montreal, vs. Columbus, vs. Los Angeles

Tired: None

Rested: None

Notes

When Justin Schultz suffered a lower-body injury on November 19, it was written that he was out ‘longer term’. Well the defenseman has been practicing with the Penguins and it would not be a surprise if he was back in action this week, if not sooner. Bryan Rust is also close to returning. He has missed three games with a lower-body injury and had a goal and three assists in his last game before he was hurt during a morning skate a week ago. Jake Guentzel leads the Penguins with 27 points, five more than Evgeni Malkin, who has only played in 17 contests to date. Sidney Crosby is halfway through his recovery that was expected to take six weeks. He should be back around Christmas.

ST. LOUIS

Games this week

@ Buffalo, vs. Vegas, vs. Chicago

Tired: None

Rested: None

Notes

David Perron saw his eight-game points streak end on Thursday but he continues to lead the Blues in points with 28, two up on Ryan O'Reilly. Nathan Walker has been getting time on the top line with Jaden Schwartz and Brayden Schenn. Ivan Barbashev has been held off the scoresheet in his last two games but had two goals and six points in his previous three games. Oskar Sundqvist should return this week. He has missed the last four games with a lower-body injury. Sundqvist has eight goals which is tied for third on the Blues. Jordan Binnington continues to shine but Jake Allen has given up only one goal on 70 shots in his last two games to improve to 5-1-2 with a 2.35 GAA and a .926 save percentage.

SAN JOSE

Games this week

@ Nashville, vs. New York Rangers, vs. Vancouver

Tired: None

Rested: None

Notes

The Sharks are 0-1-1 in their last two games but were 11-2-0 in their previous 13 contests. Martin Jones was 3-0-0 last week and was named the third star of the week for his efforts. He had a 1.98 GAA and a .935 save percentage but despite the great stats for the week, the netminder still has a 3.16 GAA and a .892 save percentage. Kudos if you had him in your lineup last week but he really has not played well enough to start in most pools. Logan Couture leads the Sharks with 29 points in 30 games, six more than Tomas Hertl and Evander Kane. Brent Burns is tied for 10th among defensemen with 21 points. He has led defensemen in scoring in two of the last three seasons and has finished second in three of the last five years.       

TAMPA BAY

Games this week

vs. New York Islanders, @ Florida, vs. Boston, vs. Washington

Tired: @ Florida (Tuesday)

Rested: vs. Boston (Thursday)

Notes

The Lightning play four games this week including three games in four nights. Look for Andrei Vasilevskiy to play three times with Curtis McElhinney playing once. Vasilevskiy has had a tough go of it this season as he is only 10-8-1 with a 3.01 GAA and a .903 save percentage. That is second goalie value at best, rather than someone who likely went in the top-five in most pools this season. Mikhail Sergachev has points in each of his last four games and is up to 16 in 26 games. Nikita Kucherov leads the Lightning with 31 points, seven better than Victor Hedman and eight up on Steven Stamkos. Tyler Johnson ended an 11-game goalless drought Saturday. He has only five goals and 12 points this season.

TORONTO

Games this week

@ Vancouver, @ Calgary, @ Edmonton

Tired: None

Rested: None

Notes

Toronto will play all three games in Western Canada for their only swing out there and there will be plenty of Maple Leaf fans rooting them on in foreign territory. After winning three straight to open new head coach Sheldon Keefe’s NHL career, the Maple Leafs have regressed once again, losing three of their last four. Toronto got Mitch Marner back in the lineup on Wednesday after he missed 11 games with a high ankle sprain. Jason Spezza saw some time with John Tavares and Ilya Mikheyev Tuesday but was replaced by Marner Wednesday. He is currently centering the fourth line between Pierre Engvall and Dmytro Timashov. William Nylander picked up a goal on Wednesday after he was given credit for a goal originally credited to Andreas Johnsson a week earlier. Make sure your stats have made the correction.

VANCOUVER

Games this week

vs. Toronto, vs. Carolina, @ San Jose, @ Vegas

Tired: @ Vegas (Sunday)

Rested: None

Notes

The Canucks play three games in four nights as part of their four-game week. Jacob Markstrom is currently away from the team as he is mourning the death of his father but is likely to be back this week. Michael DiPietro was recalled in his absence. Look for Markstrom and Thatcher Demko to share the net this week.  Alexander Edler has been out a couple of games with an upper-body injury and it will be a while before he returns as he is going to be re-evaluated in a couple of weeks. Antoine Roussel is back after missing the start of the season recovering from a torn anterior cruciate ligament suffered last March. Pick him up if you are in need of penalty minutes with a little bit of offense mixed in.

VEGAS

Games this week

vs. Chicago, @ St. Louis, @ Dallas, vs. Vancouver

Tired: @ Dallas (Friday)

Rested: vs. Vancouver (Sunday)

Notes

The Golden Knights play four games this week and three come in the span of four nights. Marc-Andre Fleury returned to the team Thursday after missing six games (our condolences on the passing of his father) and sat on the bench for the seventh game as Malcolm Subban got the call in net. Look for Fleury to play three times this week with Subban playing once. The Golden Knights are 4-0-1 in their last five games. Vegas picked up Chandler Stephenson from the Washington Capitals in exchange for a fifth-round pick in 2021. Cody Eakin is week-to-week with an upper-body injury. Alex Tuch has been red-hot in his last four games with four goals and seven points. He had only two points in 10 games going into the streak.

WASHINGTON

Games this week

vs. Columbus, vs. Boston, @ Tampa Bay

Tired: None

Rested: None

Notes

John Carlson has 42 points in 30 games, the most by a defenseman in his first 30 since Bobby Orr had 56 in the 1974-75 season. That is heady company. T.J. Oshie has a four-game points streak and has 11 goals and 11 assists in 30 games. Nicklas Backstrom has missed the last seven games with an upper-body injury. He has been medically cleared but the Capitals gave him an extra night off Wednesday as they were facing the lowly Kings. Carl Hagelin was activated Monday from the long-term injured reserve list as he missed 12 games with the injury. The activation forced the Capitals to trade Chandler Stephenson.

WINNIPEG

Games this week

vs. Detroit, @ Detroit, vs. Philadelphia

Tired: None

Rested: vs. Philadelphia (Sunday)

Notes

The Jets play a home-and-home series with Dallas so look for Adam Lowry who has two of the three Jets fighting majors this season, to possibly be involved. Anthony Bitetto has the other. Dmitry Kulikov is out six-to-eight weeks with an upper-body injury. The Jets claimed center Nick Shore off waivers from Toronto. Patrik Laine has two goals and six assists in his last five games and has taken over the team scoring lead with 28 points in 27 games. He has only eight goals but has already equaled his assists total from last season with 55 games to go. Nikolaj Ehlers continues to play and score well as he as 13 goals and 23 points this season after only getting 37 points last year. He could get a career best this season as he had 64 points as a sophomore in 2016-17.  

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