Capitals continue to soar

Michael Finewax
Rotoworld

There is not a lot of games this week as only three teams (Arizona, Ottawa and Washington) play four games with the majority of teams playing three times (24 teams).

The most amazing stat this week comes from the Ottawa Senators who have won only five of 15 games and have the top plus-minus player in the league as Jean-Gabriel Pageau is a plus-15.

The Tampa Bay Lightning and Buffalo Sabres are streaming live on NBC at 2pm ET today. Catch the game here.

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WEEK OF NOVEMBER 11-17

 

4 Games – Arizona, Ottawa, Washington

3 Games - Anaheim, Boston, Buffalo, Calgary, Carolina, Chicago, Colorado, Dallas, Detroit, Edmonton, Florida, Los Angeles, Minnesota, Montreal, New Jersey, New York Rangers, Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, St. Louis, San Jose, Toronto, Vancouver, Vegas, Winnipeg

2 Games – Columbus, Nashville, New York Islanders, Tampa Bay

Los Angeles and Vancouver play three games at home.

Chicago, Colorado, Dallas, Detroit and Ottawa play three games on the road.

 

INJURIES

Philipp Grubauer is day-to-day with a lower-body injury. (Click here to see the rest of the injury list.)

ANAHEIM

Games this week

vs. Detroit, vs. San Jose, @ St. Louis

Tired: None

Rested: vs. St. Louis (Saturday)

Notes

Congratulations go out to Jacob Larsson who scored his first NHL goal Tuesday. The defenseman, who was taken 27th overall in the 2015 Draft was playing in his 70th career NHL game. The Ducks got Ondrej Kase back in the lineup Tuesday after he missed five games with an upper-body injury. His goal-scoring ability will be needed by Anaheim if they have any hopes of playing in the post-season. Ryan Getzlaf played in his 1,000th NHL game Sunday (all with Anaheim) and picked up a point in his sixth straight game. But the streak ended Tuesday against Minnesota. Anaheim has only six goals from their blueline with half coming from the stick of Cam Fowler.

ARIZONA

Games this week

@ Washington, @ St. Louis, @ Minnesota, vs. Calgary

Tired: @ St. Louis (Tuesday)

Rested: None

Notes

The Coyotes play four games this week with three occurring in four nights. Expect to see Darcy Kuemper play at least twice with Antti Raanta playing the remainder of the games. The Coyotes have been getting great goaltending from their duo and it has been one of the best in the NHL. Derek Stepan had only three power play points last season in 72 games and it was thought he would greatly improve upon that mark this season as he had been in double digits in each of the first eight seasons of his career. He has two assists with the man-advantage in 16 games thus far. After scoring 19 goals last season, Brad Richardson has yet to find the back of the net in nine games.  

BOSTON

Games this week

vs. Florida, @ Toronto, vs. Washington

Tired: None

Rested: None

Notes

Jake DeBrusk suffered a lower-body injury Tuesday and is day-to-day.  The Bruins recalled Peter Cehlarik in his place and he is expected to play alongside Danton Heinen and David Krejci. David Pastrnak and Brad Marchand are one-three in NHL scoring with only Leon Draisaitl in between. Pastrnak has an NHL-leading 15 goals as well as 30 points as Boston’s top line with Patrice Bergeron in the middle is currently the best in the league. Marchand continues to be one of the top fantasy forwards with 28 points and 28 penalty minutes as well as a plus-13 rating. Congratulations to Zdeno Chara who played in his 1,500th career NHL game Tuesday in Montreal. The crowd gave Chara quite the ovation.        

BUFFALO

Games this week

vs. Carolina, vs. Ottawa, @ Chicago

Tired: None

Rested: vs. Ottawa (Saturday)

Notes

The Sabres return from Stockholm Sweden this week and play three games in four nights. Carter Hutton should see the crease twice with Linus Ullmark playing once. Marco Scandella is close to returning to action after suffering a lower-body injury on October 27. He should be back this week if not sooner. Frederik Olofsson had six goals in his first seven games but has not found the back of the net in his last eight games heading into action on November 8. He moved down to the second line in his last game, alongside Marcus Johansson and Jeff Skinner as Jimmy Vesey saw action with Jack Eichel and Sam Reinhart. Expect Olofsson to be back with Eichel and Reinhart very quickly as the trio have been practicing together in Sweden.

CALGARY

Games this week

vs. Dallas, @ Arizona, @ Vegas

Tired: None

Rested: None

Notes

Elias Lindholm has stretched his points streak to nine games. Noah Hanifin had disappointed fantasy owners early on with only four points in 18 games but a three-point effort Thursday, raised his total to seven. Johnny Gaudreau has goals in each of his last two games after going his 12 previous contests without scoring. He has 17 points in 19 games which is great for most players but a little disappointing for Gaudreau who had 99 last season. The Flames sent Oliver Kylington to the minors. Milan Lucic returned to action Thursday after sitting out two games with a suspension for his punch on Kole Sherwood of Columbus.

CAROLINA

Games this week

vs. Ottawa, @ Buffalo, @ Minnesota

Tired: None

Rested: None

Notes

Erik Haula is out of the lineup with a knee injury and Eetu Luostarinen made his NHL debut in his place Thursday.        Haula has missed two games in a row as the knee he had major surgery on last season has been acting up. Petr Mrazek has lost two straight games so expect to see James Reimer next game. After starting the season with five consecutive wins, Carolina is only 4-6-1 since then. Sebastian Aho has four goals and eight points in his last seven games. While Dougie Hamilton leads the Canes with 17 points in 16 games, sophomore forward Andrei Svechnikov, the second overall pick in 2018, has six goals and 15 points. He is going to be a star and you should trade for him (or take him if available) in your league.

CHICAGO

Games this week

@ Vegas, @ Nashville, vs. Buffalo

Tired: None

Rested: None

Notes

Patrick Kane has two goals and six points in his last four tilts as his game is rounding into shape. The 30-year-old winger has 16 points in 15 contests. Jonathan Toews has four points in his last four games but that gives him only six points in 15 games, a far cry from the career-best 81 points last season. Off to a very disappointing start is defenseman Erik Gustafsson who has only four assists in 14 games after a 60-point performance last season. He is still on the top power play but that could change shortly as rookie Adam Boqvist is also seeing first power play time. Kirby Dach is staying with the Blackhawks, at least in the immediate future, as the rookie played in his 10th game this season Thursday, burning a year off his entry-level contract.

COLORADO

Games this week

@ Winnipeg, @ Edmonton, @ Vancouver

Tired: None

Rested: None

Notes

The Avs were slumping heading into action on Thursday but then flexed their muscles and scored nine times against previously stingy Nashville. Colorado was led by Joonas Donskoi who had the hat trick and Matt Calvert who had a goal and an assist. Those two have replaced the injured Mikko Rantanen and Gabriel Landeskog on the top line with Nathan MacKinnon who had a goal and three assists Thursday before leaving the game with an upper-body injury. The Avs stated that MacKinnon was taken out of the lineup for precautionary reasons. The injuries continue to pile up on the Avalanche as goaltender Philipp Grubauer will be out until this week at least as he suffered a lower-body injury. Pavel Francouz will start in his stead with Adam Werner as the backup.

COLUMBUS

Games this week

@ Montreal, vs. St. Louis

Tired: None

Rested: None

Notes

The Blue Jackets made a smart move Wednesday when they sent backup goaltender Elvis Merzlikins to the minors for some playing time. Merzlikins is in his first season in North America and has played in only three games thus far, so sitting on the bench was not the best thing for the 25-year-old. The Blue Jackets recalled Matiss Kivlenieks (they don’t make it easy for the writers with their goaltender’s names) as the backup to Joonas Korpisalo. Alexandre Texier returned to action Thursday after missing four games with a knee injury. He was highly-regarded heading into the season but has only a couple of goals and three points in 12 games. Markus Nutivaara could return to action this week after suffering a upper-body injury Tuesday.

DALLAS

Games this week

@ Calgary, @ Vancouver, @ Edmonton

Tired: @ Vancouver (Thursday)

Rested: None  

Notes

Dallas heads to Western Canada this week where they play three games in four nights. Ben Bishop will get the call in net twice with Anton Khudobin playing once. John Klingberg is expected to miss the next two-four weeks with a lower-body injury suffered on Tuesday. Grab Miro Heiskanen if available as the young star will see plenty of action. Tyler Seguin could miss some action with an upper-body injury. Roman Polak could return this week as he has been out of action since opening night with a fractured sternum. Roope Hintz could also return this week as he has missed a week with a lower-body injury. Blake Comeau played in his 800th NHL game Tuesday.

DETROIT

Games this week

@ Anaheim, @ Los Angeles, @ San Jose

Tired: None

Rested: None

Notes

The Red Wings head to California this week to play all three games. The Red Wings are sadly lacking offensive punch up front and hopefully started to address those needs as they acquired Robby Fabbri from St. Louis in exchange for Jacob De La Rose. Fabbri was been injured the last couple of seasons but showed promise offensively his first two seasons. Mike Green is day-to-day with an illness while Trevor Daley was put on the injured reserve list with a lower-body injury. The duo are a couple of veteran players on the blueline so their experience will be missed. Frans Nielsen is having a horrible season with no points in 13 games as well as a minus-six rating.

EDMONTON

Games this week

@ San Jose, vs. Colorado, vs. Dallas

Tired: None

Rested: None

Notes

Adam Larsson is still a couple of weeks away from returning to action after he suffered a broken fibula on opening night. Tomas Jurco was placed on waivers and will be sent to the minors if he is not taken. He had only two assists in 12 games after playing well in training camp. Leon Draisaitl is second in NHL scoring and is currently on a seven-game points streak. Sam Gagner was bumped to the top line with Draisaitl and Connor McDavid on Wednesday. If he is able to stick, his fantasy value will skyrocket. Mike Smith was named the third star of the week with a 2-0-0 record to go with a 0.98 GAA and a .974 save percentage.

FLORIDA

Games this week

@ Boston, vs. Winnipeg, vs. New York Rangers

Tired: None

Rested: None

Notes

Sergei Bobrovsky continues to struggle despite his record of 6-2-4 as he has a 3.50 GAA and a .878 save percentage. Aleksander Barkov got off to a slow start but has been hot of late, boosting his point total to 19 in 15 games. He is a must-start, needless to say. Florida misses Vincent Trocheck who has been out of action since October 19 with a lower-body injury. Jayce Hawryluk is out two-three weeks with an upper-body injury. The Panthers have only three regulation losses but have lost five games in overtime and shootouts. MacKenzie Weeger is tied with Aaron Ekblad for the team lead in points by a defenseman with nine, one ahead of Keith Yandle.  

LOS ANGELES

Games this week

vs. Minnesota, vs. Detroit, vs. Vegas

Tired: None

Rested: None

Notes

The Kings are home for all three games this week. Trevor Lewis is day-to-day after suffering a lower-body injury Thursday. He had only a goal and two points in 16 games so there is no fantasy value. Ilya Kovalchuk has three goals and nine points in 16 games but his minus-10 rating surely will hurt your fantasy team if you play the stat. Jonathan Quick looked good at times in a 3-1 loss to Toronto but his stats show a bad story as he is 2-7-0 with a 4.40 GAA and a .859 save percentage. Jack Campbell has been far superior in net with a 3-3-1 record but his peripherals of a 3.11 GAA and a .881 save percentage are nothing to write home about.

MINNESOTA

Games this week

@ Los Angeles, vs. Arizona, vs. Carolina

Tired: None

Rested: None

Notes

Eric Staal is heating up as he has 14 points in 16 games including four goals and nine points in his current six-game scoring streak. Zach Parise snapped a six-game scoreless drought with an empty net goal Tuesday. Victor Rask has been a big bust since his trade for Nino Niederreiter last season. He has only a goal and an assist in seven games and has been a healthy scratch for six games. Devan Dubnyk continues to struggle with a 2-7-1 record to go with a 3.64 GAA and a .883 save percentage. If he is not on the top of his game (and he has been anything but), the Wild’s chances of being a playoff contender are slim and none.

MONTREAL

Games this week

vs. Columbus, @ Washington, vs. New Jersey

Tired: None

Rested: None

Notes

Ryan Poehling made his seasonal debut on Tuesday and is now averaging only one goal per game in the NHL. He has yet to score in two games this season but had a hat trick in his lone game last season. Paul Byron had a couple of 20-goal seasons in two of the last three years but got off to a very slow start this season, as he went the first 14 games of the campaign goalless before finally scoring Tuesday. He has four points in 16 games. Jesperi Kotkaniemi is still day-to-day with a groin injury after missing a week of action but could return this week, if not sooner. Tomas Tatar is off to a good start with five goals and 13 points in 16 games, as well as 20 penalty minutes.

NASHVILLE

Games this week

@ Vancouver, vs. Chicago

Tired: None

Rested: None

Notes

The Predators only play twice this week, in Vancouver and at home to Chicago. The Predators had allowed only 32 goals in 13 games before the week started, but gave up six to Calgary in an overtime defeat and after giving up only one in a win over Detroit, managed to allow nine in a loss to Colorado who were missing two of their top-three players. The Predators continue to be led in scoring by two defensemen, Roman Josi with 17 and Ryan Ellis with 16. After scoring 34 goals last season in only 58 games, big things were expected from Viktor Arvidsson but the winger has only six in 16 games to date. Nick Bonino has managed 20 goals once in his career with a 22-goal effort in 2013-14 with Anaheim but he is on track for a lot more than that as he has eight in 16 games this season.   

NEW JERSEY

Games this week

vs. Ottawa, vs. Pittsburgh, @ Montreal

Tired: None

Rested: None

Notes

The Devils play three games in four nights so expect to see Mackenzie Blackwood to play twice with Cory Schneider getting the call once. The Devils are using Schneider less and less in the early going as he is 0-3-1 in five starts with a 4.71 GAA and a .847 save percentage. Those numbers are worse than Jonathan Quick. Jack Hughes is heating up with four goals and nine points in 14 games. He has nine in his last eight contests after starting his NHL career with no points in his first six games. He is the real deal. Nikita Gusev was a healthy scratch for a couple of games in a row and clicked nicely with Hughes Thursday to score his fourth of the season.

NEW YORK ISLANDERS

Games this week

vs. Toronto, vs. Philadelphia

Tired: None

Rested: vs. Philadelphia (Saturday)

Notes

No team in the NHL is hotter than the Islanders, despite losing in overtime Thursday as they are 10-0-1 in their last 11 games. The Islanders still do not score a lot with 46 goals in 15 games but they have been quite stingy, allowing only 33 goals thus far. Thomas Greiss has been especially good this season as he is 6-1-0 with a 2.00 GAA and a .937 save percentage while Semyon Varlamov is 5-2-1 with a 2.37 GAA and a .924 save percentage despite giving up four on 39 shots Thursday. Congratulations to Cole Bardreau who scored his first NHL goal Tuesday. Bardreau scored on a penalty shot, becoming only the seventh NHLer to score his first goal that way. Bardreau played college hockey at Cornell where he suffered an on-ice accident in which he broke a couple of vertebrae. That is quite the comeback and you have to feel good for the kid.

NEW YORK RANGERS

Games this week

vs. Pittsburgh, @ Tampa Bay, @ Florida

Tired: None

Rested: None

Notes

While you figured that Artemi Panarin would be at the top of the Rangers scoring, if you had Ryan Strome second at any point this season, that would have been quite the stretch, but lo and behold, Strome has 14 points in 14 games thus far. They gave up nothing to Edmonton when they dealt Ryan Spooner for Strome last season and the trade has worked out great for New York. Mika Zibanejad has missed the last five games with an upper-body injury and the hope is that he will return this week. Kaapo Kakko, the second overall pick in the 2019 Draft has three goals and five points but has struggled on the defensive side as he is a minus-10.

OTTAWA     

Games this week

@ Carolina, @ New Jersey, vs. Philadelphia, @ Buffalo

Tired: @ Buffalo (Saturday)

Rested: None

Notes

The Senators play four times this week including three games in four nights. The Senators have been sharing the net between Craig Anderson and Anders Nilsson and that is likely to continue this week. Connor Brown leads the Senators in points with 12. Jean-Gabriel Pageau is right behind with 11, and has four goals in a three-game goal streak that has raised his total to seven. The amazing stat with Pageau is that the Senators are the second worst team in the NHL with only 13 points but Pageau is a plus-15, the best in the NHL. Bobby Ryan was scratched on Thursday, the third time this season that he has watched from the press box.

PHILADELPHIA

Games this week

vs. Washington, vs. Ottawa, @ New York Islanders

Tired: @ New York Islander (Saturday)

Rested: None

Notes

The Flyers play three games in four nights so look for Carter Hart to play twice with Brian Elliott getting one start. Elliott was getting the majority of the starts from October 24-November 2 but Hart has regained the net. Minor league defenseman Samuel Morin tore his ACL and will be lost for the remainder of the season. The Flyers recalled Mikhail Vorobyev and sent German Rubtsov back to the minors. Joel Farabee scored his first NHL goal on November 1 and quickly added his second Tuesday. Sean Couturier has yet to miss a game but is playing through a shoulder strain that has definitely hurt his ability at the faceoff dot.   

PITTSBURGH

Games this week

@ New York Rangers, @ New Jersey, vs. Toronto

Tired: None

Rested: None

Notes

Kris Letang is out of action after getting hurt Monday. Consider him day-to-day with a lower-body injury and hopefully he will return this week if not sooner. Nick Bjugstad picked up an assist Monday, his first point of the season. Bryan Rust scored twice on Thursday and is playing alongside Alex Galchenyuk and Evgeni Malkin on the Penguins second line. Dominik Simon, Sidney Crosby and Jake Guentzel played together Thursday. Patric Hornqvist is out ‘longer terrm’ after suffering an apparent leg injury Saturday. Guentzel leads the Penguins with seven goals while Crosby is tops in points with 17.

ST. LOUIS

Games this week

vs. Arizona, @ Columbus, @ Anaheim

Tired: @ Anaheim (Saturday)

Rested: vs. Arizona (Tuesday)

Notes

The Blues lost Alexander Steen for a while with a high ankle sprain. He should miss at least four weeks but it shouldn’t be at a cost to your fantasy team as Steen is now a bottom-six forward. The Blues remain atop the Central Division with an 11-3-3 record despite also losing Vladimir Tarasenko, likely for the remainder of the regular season, although he could return in the last week or two. St. Louis is getting balanced scoring as five players have at least 14 points in 17 games including Ryan O’Reilly, Brayden Schenn, David Perron, Alex Pietrangelo and Jaden Schwartz. The Blues dealt Robby Fabbri to Detroit (and they gave him a chance to play in the NHL as he was having trouble cracking the Blues lineup), receiving Jacob De La Rose in return.

SAN JOSE

Games this week

vs. Edmonton, @ Anaheim, vs. Detroit

Tired: None

Rested: None

Notes

The Sharks have won two in a row, a big feat for them this season. Evander Kane is being sued by a Las Vegas hotel (The Cosmopolitan) for allegedly accumulating gambling debts during the Stanley Cup playoffs last season, totaling $500,000. You have to wonder if the lawsuit will bother his game. Defenseman Radim Simek made his seasonal debut on Tuesday after suffering a torn ACL and MCL in March. The Sharks are a different team with Simek in the lineup according to coach Peter DeBoer and the two wins seem to bear out his synopsis. Timo Meier has only four goals and eight points in 17 games but has back-to-back two-point games so perhaps he is breaking out of his season-long slump.

TAMPA BAY

Games this week

vs. New York Rangers, vs. Winnipeg

Tired: None

Rested: None

Notes

The Lightning return from Sweden for a couple of home games. Victor Hedman is slated to return to action in Sweden after missing a couple of games with a lower-body injury. Nikita Kucherov has 11 points in 13 games but is struggling compared to last season when he led the NHL in points with 128. This season, going into action on Friday, he stood tied for 88th in the race for the Art Ross Trophy. Mikhail Sergachev has yet to score but has eight assists as well as a team-leading 14 minutes in penalties. After being the best goalie in the NHL last season, Andrei Vasilevskiy is struggling early on with a 3.12 GAA and a .904 save percentage. He is 5-4-0.

TORONTO

Games this week

@ New York Islanders, vs. Boston, @ Pittsburgh

Tired: None

Rested: None

Notes

The Maple Leafs are starting to turn their season around and the return of John Tavares after missing seven games with a broken finger doesn’t hurt. He scored the overtime winner Thursday against the Golden Knights. It was also the 700th career win for coach Mike Babcock. Zach Hyman has been out all season after undergoing off-season knee surgery. He is expected back this week and Tavares and Mitch Marner will be happy to get back their linemate. Auston Matthews has 13 goals with 12 goals coming on home ice. He will get a chance to improve on the road as 13 of the Maple Leafs next 17 games are away from the Scotiabank Arena.

VANCOUVER

Games this week

vs. Nashville, vs. Dallas, vs. Colorado

Tired: None

Rested: vs. Dallas (Thursday)

Notes

The Canucks are not expecting tough guy Antoine Roussel back soon, even though he has been skating on his own for the last two months. Roussel underwent knee surgery in March and is trying to return but has yet to return to practice. Rookie Quinn Hughes returned to action Tuesday after missing one game and scored the lone goal in a 2-1 loss. He is something to behold and it could be him and his brother Jack as the top two Calder candidates at the end of the season. Alexander Edler has 26 penalty minutes to go with his 11 points.

VEGAS

Games this week

vs. Chicago, @ Los Angeles, vs. Calgary

Tired: None

Rested: None

Notes

Despite playing a great game Thursday, Malcolm Subban is still winless this season as the backup in Vegas. He is 0-1-2 after stopping 37 shots in a 2-1 overtime loss in his hometown of Toronto. William Karlsson saw his five-game points streak end on Thursday. He scored in each of his first three games during the streak and ended it with a pair of two assist nights. Alex Tuch suffered an upper-body injury Saturday and is day-to-day at this time. The flu has been going through the Vegas dressing room. Mark Stone continues to lead the Golden Knights in points with 18 while Reilly Smith heads up the team in goals with nine.

WASHINGTON

Games this week

vs. Arizona, @ Philadelphia, vs. Montreal, @ Boston

Tired: None

Rested: None

Notes

The Capitals play four games this week including three games in four nights. It would not be a surprise to see Braden Holtby and Ilya Samsonov share the net. Holtby has started 12 games to Samsonov’s five but the Russian’s peripherals are much better with a 2.38 GAA and a .915 save percentage compared to Holtby’s 3.36 GAA and .895 save percentage. Holtby is 7-1-3 while Samsonov has five wins against only one defeat. Jakub Vrana was the second star of the week as he had five goals in his last two games with an assist in the first match of the week. Vrana has nine goals and 14 points in 17 games this season. Alex Ovechkin has seven goals and 12 points in his last seven games.

WINNIPEG

Games this week

vs. Colorado, @ Florida, @ Tampa Bay

Tired: None

Rested: None

Notes

The Jets had a couple of injuries this week as Gabriel Bourque suffered a lower-body injury that should keep him out of the lineup for four weeks while Bryan Little was struck in the ear by the puck Tuesday that needed 25-30 stitches to close and he was placed on the injured reserve list. Adam Lowry returned on Saturday from his two-game suspension. The NHLPA will likely file a grievance on behalf of Dustin Byfuglien who underwent ankle surgery recently and is not being paid by the Jets who suspended him for not attending training camp while he considered retirement. This could be messy. Patrik Laine has 14 points in 14 games but only three goals. He has been in a goal scoring slump since the beginning of December 2018 and has 12 goals in his last 71 games.

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