Patrik Laine Jets to the Top

Michael Finewax
Rotoworld

It’s starting to get busy in the NHL as only the Sharks play twice while 10 teams play four times.

There are plenty of afternoon games on Monday as it is Thanksgiving in Canada and Columbus Day in the United States.

James Neal continues to sparkle for the Oilers as he leads the NHL in goals with seven, one ahead of Anthony Mantha and Auston Matthews.

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WEEK OF OCTOBER 14-20

4 Games – Anaheim, Buffalo, Calgary, Colorado, Dallas, Edmonton, Minnesota, Montreal, Vancouver, Washington  

3 Games - Arizona, Boston, Carolina, Chicago, Columbus, Detroit, Florida, Los Angeles, Nashville, New Jersey, New York Islanders, New York Rangers, Ottawa, Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, St. Louis, Tampa Bay, Toronto, Vegas, Winnipeg

2 Games – San Jose

Colorado and Dallas play all four games on the road.

Anaheim, Calgary, Chicago, Los Angeles, New Jersey, Pittsburgh, Washington and Winnipeg play three games at home.

Buffalo, Carolina, Detroit, Minnesota and Vancouver play three games on the road.

INJURIES

Evgeny Malkin is out long-term with a lower-body injury. (Click here to see the rest of the injury list.)

ANAHEIM

Games this week

@ Boston, vs. Buffalo, vs. Carolina, vs. Calgary

Tired: None

Rested: vs. Calgary (Sunday)

Notes

The Ducks play four games this week but they are spread out. Nevertheless, Ryan Miller should get one start with John Gibson getting the crease the other three games. Gibson has been great thus far as he is 3-1-0 with a 1.26 GAA and a .961 save percentage. Ondrej Kase scored his first of the season Thursday and is tied with Hampus Lindholm for the Ducks lead in scoring with three points. No Anaheim player had more than one goal this season in four games. Sam Steel has been put on the injured reserve list with a mid-body injury. He played opening night but has not played since.

ARIZONA

Games this week

@ Winnipeg, vs. Nashville, vs. Ottawa

Tired: None

Rested: None

Notes

The Coyotes won their first of the season Thursday as they defeated Vegas 4-1. Barrett Hayton made his NHL debut after being a healthy scratch the first two games and picked up his first NHL point with an assist. Conor Garland scored twice in the win and leads the Coyotes in goals as Arizona had scored only once in their first two games. Phil Kessel is off to a slow start with only one assist in three games. Darcy Kuemper has started all three games and has given up only four goals on 93 shots. He held the Coyotes together last season and this year has been no different thus far as he has allowed two or less goals in his last 10 games dating back to last season. Lawson Crouse is day-to-day with an upper-body injury.

BOSTON

Games this week

vs. Anaheim, vs. Tampa Bay, @ Toronto

Tired: None

Rested: None

Notes

The Bruins lost their first of the season Thursday as Colorado became the first team to beat them on the road, 4-2. Jaroslav Halak and Tuukka Rask have split the net over the first four games so don’t expect Rask to play much more than 50 games this season as they will keep him well rested for the playoffs. Brad Marchand and David Pastrnak lead the Bruins with five points apiece. Joakim Nordstrom injured his foot in the playoffs last season and finally returned to the lineup Thursday, playing on the fourth line. He has no fantasy value. David Krejci returned to action after missing the opener with a lower-body injury. He centers the second unit.

BUFFALO

Games this week

vs. Dallas, @ Anaheim, @ Los Angeles, @ San Jose

Tired: @ Los Angeles (Thursday)

Rested: None

Notes

The Sabres play four games this week including three games in four nights. They are home to Dallas before heading out to California to play the rest of the week. Carter Hutton and Linus Ullmark could share the net this week. Rasmus Dahlin has points in each of the Sabres first four games and leads all NHL defensemen with seven points. Victor Olofsson continued his great start to the season with his fourth on Wednesday. We touted him before the season and he has been everything we thought and more thus far. Jack Eichel had a four-point game Wednesday and has seven points in the Sabres four contests. Connor Sheary is out week-to-week with an upper-body injury. He was replaced in the lineup by Evan Rodrigues.

CALGARY

Games this week

vs. Philadelphia, vs. Detroit, @ Los Angeles, @ Anaheim

Tired: @ Anaheim (Sunday)

Rested: None

Notes

The Flames play four times this week including three games in four nights. It is early in the season so Calgary could split the net this week with David Rittich and Cam Talbot each starting twice. They head out to California for the second time this season and it’s only October. David Rittich got the win Thursday in a shootout for the first time in his career as he had lost the first four shootouts. Michael Stone replace Oliver Kylington on the third defense pairing Thursday. Johnny Gaudreau had the shootout winner Thursday and leads the Flames in points with six. Milan Lucic has yet to pick up a point in four games but has 26 penalty minutes.

CAROLINA

Games this week

@ Los Angeles, @ San Jose, @ Anaheim

Tired: None

Rested: None

Notes

The Hurricanes are in California this week and play three games in four nights. Petr Mrazek should get a couple of starts with James Reimer getting the net once. Reimer had a triumphant return to Florida as he stopped 47 shots for the win. Jordan Martinook is out six-eight weeks after undergoing surgery Friday to repair a core muscle injury. The Hurricanes are a perfect 4-0 after beating the Panthers in Florida 6-3. Sebastian Aho picked up his first point of the season. Andrei Svechnikov has six assists including two in each of his last three games. Half the assists have come on the power play and he leads the Hurricanes in points. Erik Haula leads with three goals.

CHICAGO

Games this week

vs. Edmonton, vs. Columbus, vs. Washington

Tired: None

Rested: None

Notes

The Blackhawks are in the middle of a seven game homestand. They are off to a slow start, losing both contests thus far, including a 5-4 loss to previously winless San Jose. Andrew Shaw returned home to Chicago after three seasons with Montreal and scored twice in front of the home crowd Thursday. It’s been a big of a surprise but Brendan Perlini has been a healthy scratch so far this season. After a career year last season in which he picked up 81 points, Jonathan Toews is pointless early on. Corey Crawford has played both games for the Blackhawks and has given up nine goals on 72 shots. Perhaps it is time to give last season’s William Jennings Trophy winner Robin Lehner the crease.

COLORADO

Games this week

@ Washington, @ Pittsburgh, @ Florida, @ Tampa Bay

Tired: @ Tampa Bay (Saturday)

Rested: None

Notes

The Avalanche are on the road for all four games this including three games in four nights. Philipp Grubauer should get three starts with Pavel Francouz picking him up once. The Avalanche are a perfect 3-0 this season after a nice comeback win over Boston Thursday. Grubauer has started and won all three with a 2.31 GAA and a .931 save percentage. Nathan MacKinnon, Gabriel Landeskog and Mikko Rantanen all have five points in the three contests while rookie of the year candidate Cale Makar has three helpers. Nazem Kadri has yet to pick up a point centering the second line but Pierre-Edouard Bellemare, a free-agent acquisition from Vegas has two goals.

COLUMBUS

Games this week

vs. Dallas. @ Chicago, vs New York Islanders

Tired: vs. New York Islanders (Saturday)

Rested: None

Notes

The Blue Jackets play three games in four nights. Joonas Korpisalo is likely to get a couple of starts with Elvis Merzlikins playing once. It was a tough NHL debut for Merzlikins who gave up seven goals including some weak ones, to Pittsburgh, on 40 shots. Hopefully he will redeem himself quickly. Josh Anderson is day-to-day with an upper-body injury. Sonny Milano took his spot in the lineup. Columbus won their first of the season Monday with a 4-3 overtime victory over Buffalo. Korpisalo managed to stop only 15 shots as Columbus outshot Buffalo 44-18. Alexandre Texier had the winner and it was his first of the season.

DALLAS

Games this week

@ Buffalo, @ Columbus, @ Pittsburgh, @ Philadelphia

Tired: @ Philadelphia (Saturday)

Rested: None  

Notes

The Stars are on the road for all four games this week including three in four nights. Ben Bishop will likely get the call three times with Anton Khudobin starting once. The Stars are off to a slow start at 1-3-1. Jamie Benn scored his first of the season Thursday in a 3-2 shootout loss to Calgary. Roope Hintz lead the Stars with five points but their top three players, Benn, Tyler Seguin and Alexander Radulov, have combined for only four goals and seven points so far. John Klingberg is also off to a very slow start offensively with only one assist in five games.  Joe Pavelski was the big off-season signing and he has yet to find the back of the net and has set up only one goal. Bishop has played well, giving up 10 goals on 110 shots in four games. 

DETROIT

Games this week

@ Vancouver, @ Calgary, @ Edmonton

Tired: @ Edmonton (Friday)

Rested: None

Notes

The Red Wings are in Western Canada this week and play all three games in four nights. Look for Jimmy Howard to start twice with Jonathan Bernier getting one start. Detroit is a surprising 3-1 thus far as Bernier and Howard have split the net with Bernier winning both starts. Anthony Mantha was the second star of the week as he potted five goals in two games including all four in a win Sunday over Dallas. He leads the Red Wings with six goals and eight points in four games. Trevor Daley could ready to return to the lineup this week as he is out with a lower-body injury. Justin Abdelkader is pointless in four games. Danny DeKeyser is off to a nice start as the defenseman has four assists while Filip Hronek has a goal and two assists. Fellow blueliner Mike Green has yet to pick up a point.

EDMONTON

Games this week

@ Chicago, vs. Philadelphia, vs. Detroit, @ Winnipeg

Tired: None

Rested: vs. Philadelphia (Wednesday) vs. Detroit (Friday)

Notes

The Oilers play four games this week but they are spread out evenly. Mike Smith should get at least two starts with Mikko Koskinen picking up the remainder. James Neal had only seven goals last season in 63 games but has equaled that mark in only four games thus far for Edmonton, including a four-goal effort on Tuesday against the Islanders. He could hit the 30-plus goal mark for the first time since the 2011-12 season when he had 40 with Pittsburgh. Connor McDavid has 10 points in the Oilers first four games as Edmonton is a perfect 4-0 this season. New GM Ken Holland has done a great job so far in aiding the Oilers bottom-six forwards as they are a fast team. The trade for Neal doesn’t hurt either.   

FLORIDA

Games this week

@ New Jersey, vs. Colorado, @ Nashville

Tired: @ Nashville (Saturday)

Rested: None

Notes

Sergei Bobrovsky is off to a slow start with Florida as he is 1-2-0 with a 4.77 GAA and a .859 save percentage. Don’t fret as he has gotten off to slow starts in the past and has been sensational the rest of the way. Mike Hoffman has four goals and six points in three games to lead the Panthers in both categories. Jonathan Huberdeau, Keith Yandle and Evgenii Dadonov are off to poor starts as all three are minus-five in the first three games of the season. Vincent Trocheck had a goal and an assist in the opener but has been held off the scoresheet in the last two games.  Aleksander Barkov has yet to find the back of the net but has three assists in three games.

LOS ANGELES

Games this week

vs. Carolina, vs. Buffalo, vs. Calgary

Tired: None

Rested: vs. Buffalo (Thursday)

Notes

It has not been a good start to the season for Jonathan Quick (which is where he left off last season) as he has given up 14 goals in two games, making only 42 saves. His GAA is 7.17 with a .750 save percentage. The only win the Kings picked up was 4-3 over Calgary when Jack Campbell got the start. Anze Kopitar is off to a fine start with five points in three games and Tyler Toffoli has a pair of goals and an assist. He is well on his way to a comeback season after scoring only 13 goals and 34 points in 81 games last season. Ilya Kovalchuk has four points in three games but it is the defense that has caused the Kings all their early season woes, giving up 17 goals in the three contests.

MINNESOTA

Games this week

@ Ottawa, @ Toronto, @ Montreal, vs. Montreal

Tired: @ Toronto (Tuesday)

Rested: vs. Montreal (Sunday)

Notes

The Wild play four games this week including three games in four nights. Look for Devan Dubnyk to get three starts in net with Alex Stalock also getting a start. Minnesota plays Montreal twice this week and if there are any fisticuffs, expect to see Ryan Hartman get involved. The Wild have had trouble scoring as they have only six goals without anyone scoring more than once. Ryan Donato is pointless as are Eric Staal and Mats Zuccarello. Dubnyk has given up 11 goals in three games on only 93 shots. Victor Rask continues to be a healthy scratch and the Wild must regret giving up Nino Niederreiter to get the Finn last season.  The Wild are 0-3 this season and may not be able to get out of the basement in the Central Division.

MONTREAL

Games this week

vs. Tampa Bay, vs. Minnesota, @ St. Louis, @ Minnesota

Tired: @ Minnesota (Sunday)

Rested: None

Notes

The Canadiens play four games this week including three in four nights and will use Carey Price three times this week with Keith Kinkaid playing once.  Montreal also plays Minnesota twice this week (the only times they will see them in the regular season) and if tempers flare, expect to see Brendan Gallagher or Max Domi in the middle of things. Price has been only so-so this season as he is 1-1-1 with a 3.51 GAA and a .903 save percentage. He will get better so don’t fret. Michael McCarron, the Canadiens first round pick in 2013, was sent to the minors after going unclaimed when on waivers. At 24, he has only played 69 games in the NHL and has two goals and eight points with 110 penalty minutes. Not exactly a great pick six years ago. Rookie Nick Suzuki picked up an assist Wednesday, his first NHL point.

NASHVILLE

Games this week

@ Vegas, @ Arizona, vs. Florida

Tired: None

Rested: vs. Florida (Saturday)

Notes

Dan Hamhuis has been a healthy scratch the last two games. The Predators are off to a nice start at 3-1. Pekka Rinne has been perfect in three games as far as his record is concerned but gave up five to Washington Thursday in a 6-5 win. Matt Duchene continues to lead the Predators in points with eight while Filip Forsberg is second including four goals. Fellow linemate Mikael Granlund has a goal and two assists as the second line has outperformed the first unit of Ryan Johansen, Viktor Arvidsson and Calle Jarnkrok. Rocco Grimaldi took 15 stitches as well as some plastic surgery when he took a puck to the mouth last week and is now out with a lower-body injury.

NEW JERSEY

Games this week

vs. Florida, vs. New York Rangers, vs. Vancouver

Rested: None

Tired: None

Notes

The Devils are off to a slow start at 0-2-2.  They have given up 18 goals in four games and their only two points have come in shootout losses. First overall pick Jack Hughes has been held pointless so far in the four games but take advantage if some owner gives up on him early as he is a talent. Nikita Gusev has two goals in his first four games as does Blake Coleman and Kyle Palmieri. Taylor Hall has yet to score but has set up three goals. P.K. Subban is also off to a slow start with only one assist in four contests as is Wayne Simmonds. Andy Greene is out with an upper-body injury. The Devils are home for all three games this week so they should pick up at least one win.

NEW YORK ISLANDERS

Games this week

vs. St. Louis, @ Winnipeg, @ Columbus

Tired: None

Rested: @ Columbus

Notes

Noah Dobson, the 12th overall pick in the 2018 Draft, made his NHL debut Tuesday and acquitted himself quite well with an assist in 18:50 of action. The blueliner had four blocked shots as well as three shots on goal. Anthony Beauvillier is off to a nice start with two goals and four points in three games. One Islander who isn’t is netminder Semyon Varlamov, who is 0-2 with a 4.11 GAA and a .872 save percentage. Thomas Greiss was great in the win over Winnipeg and should see plenty of action this season. Andrew Ladd is still not ready for contact after he underwent surgery for a torn ACL back in March.

NEW YORK RANGERS

Games this week

@ New Jersey, @ Washington, vs. Vancouver

Tired: @ Washington (Friday)

Rested: vs. Vancouver (Sunday)

Notes

The Rangers get their season in full swing this week after playing only three times in the first two weeks of the season. They play three games in four nights and we will get a better picture of who coach David Quinn likes in net as both Henrik Lundqvist and Alexandar Georgiev have played once with Georgiev looking better thus far. Mika Zibanejad was the first star of the week and rightfully so, as he had four goals and eight points in only two games. Brendan Lemieux was moved up to the third line on the weekend, dropping Vladislav Namestnikov to the fourth unit and the move could be more permanent as Namestnikov was dealt to Ottawa for minor-league defenseman Nick Ebert on Monday.

OTTAWA     

Games this week

vs. Minnesota, @ Vegas, @ Arizona

Tired: None

Rested: None

Notes

The Senators picked up Vladislav Namestnikov this week in a trade with the Rangers and the veteran forward will allow some of the Sens younger players to ease into the NHL. He is starting with fellow Russian Artem Anisimov as well as Connor Brown. Tyler Ennis replaced Brown on the top line with Colin White and Brady Tkachuk. Tkachuk leads the Senators with two goals in three games as Ottawa is pointless thus far. Vitaly Abramov scored his first NHL goal Thursday in only the 21-year-old’s second game. Mikkel Boedker has been a healthy scratch twice this season. Drake Batherson and Filip Chlapik have been sent to the minors.

PHILADELPHIA

Games this week

@ Calgary, @ Edmonton, vs. Dallas

Tired: @ Edmonton (Wednesday)

Rested: vs. Dallas (Saturday)

Notes

The Flyers continue their play in Western Canada, facing Calgary and Edmonton before returning home to face the Dallas Stars. Carter Hart picked up his first career shutout on Wednesday, stopping 25 shots in a win over New Jersey. Ivan Provorov is off to a great start with a pair of goals and three points in two games. He had an off-year last season but is still very highly regarded and should be on someone’s fantasy roster. There is no further update on Nolan Patrick so he is still week-to-week with a head injury. Travis Konecny has three goals and four points thus far. The Flyers have three power play goals in their first two games.

PITTSBURGH

Games this week

vs. Colorado, vs. Dallas, vs. Vegas

Tired: vs. Vegas (Saturday)

Rested: None

Notes

The Penguins have been bitten by the injury bug and bitten hard. Evgeny Malkin is out long-term (possibly more than a month) with a lower-body injury and Nick Bjugstad is also out for a while with an upper-body injury. Bryan Rust is on long-term injured reserve after suffering a hand injury and Alex Galchenyuk is day-to-day with a lower-body injury and has been placed on IR. Kris Letang has a four-game points streak with a goal and three assists. Matt Murray turned things around Thursday, stopping 31-of-32 shots in a 2-1 win over Anaheim. He is 2-2-0 with a 2.52 GAA and a .920 save percentage. Tristan Jarry has yet to see any action. Teddy Blueger has one goal in four games and 17 penalty minutes. Sidney Crosby leads with six points in four games.

ST. LOUIS

Games this week

@ New York Islanders, vs. Vancouver, vs. Montreal

Tired: None

Rested: None

Notes

Jordan Binnington finally got a night off Thursday as Jake Allen made his seasonal debut in net. Allen gave up four goals to Ottawa in a Blues win, but his play is not encouraging for poolies and it is wise at this time not to start him. Binnington is 2-0-1 with a 2.30 GAA and a .928 save percentage as he has picked up where he left off last season in winning the Stanley Cup. Ryan O’Reilly leads St. Louis with seven points in four games. Vladimir Tarasenko is off to a slow start with only two assists and a minus-three rating. Robert Thomas is day-to-day with an upper-body injury but is practicing again with the team. Sammy Blais has two goals and two assists as well as 21 hits in just four games.

SAN JOSE

Games this week

vs. Carolina, vs. Buffalo

Tired: None

Rested: None

Notes

The Sharks signed veteran Patrick Marleau to a one-year deal for $700,000. He signed on Wednesday and was in the lineup Thursday so his iron man streak is extended to 789 games as per NHL rules. Marleau scored twice against the Blackhawks but you shouldn’t expect much more than 15 goals this season. The Sharks won their first of the season against Chicago and are now 1-4-0. Martin Jones has yet to pick up a win in three starts and has a 4.55 GAA and a .854 save percentage. Aaron Dell has the win but his peripherals aren’t great with a 3.48 GAA and a .884 save percentage. Brent Burns has two goals and five points in five games to lead the Sharks. Johnny Brodzinski was sent to the minors. Timo Meier picked up his first point of the season Thursday as he had an assist.

TAMPA BAY

Games this week

@ Montreal, @ Boston, vs. Colorado

Tired: None

Rested: vs. Colorado (Saturday)

Notes

The Lightning finally looked like the team that won the President’s Trophy last season on Thursday when they were all over the Maple Leafs to the tune of 7-3. Brayden Point saw his first action of the season and it took him only 2:28 into the first before he scored. He, Steven Stamkos and Nikita Kucherov combined for 11 points in the easy win over Toronto. Anthony Cirelli had three assists against Toronto to give him four this season. Only two Lightning players are in the minus category as Luke Witkowski is a minus-two and Victor Hedman is a team-worst minus-three. Gemel Smith was sent back to the minors to make room for Point on the roster.  

TORONTO

Games this week

vs. Minnesota, @ Washington, vs. Boston

Tired: @ Washington (Wednesday)

Rested: vs. Minnesota (Tuesday)

Notes

The Maple Leafs are floundering. After a couple of wins, Toronto blew a 4-1 lead Saturday in the third period against Montreal and lost in a shootout and then lost a couple of home games to St. Louis and Tampa Bay. Auston Matthews leads Toronto with six goals and seven points in five games. John Tavares finally found the back of the net Thursday for his first of the season. Frederik Andersen is off to a rough start as he is 2-2-0 with a 3.75 GAA and a .876 save percentage. Giving up seven goals on 28 shots to Tampa Bay will do that to your stats. Rasmus Sandin looks like he is going to be a stud as the defenseman is seeing regular NHL action despite his tender age of 19. He has an assist in five games.

VANCOUVER

Games this week

vs. Detroit, @ St. Louis, @ New Jersey, @ New York Rangers

Tired: @ New York Rangers (Sunday)

Rested: None

Notes

The Canucks play three games in four nights as part of a four-game week. Jacob Markstrom is expected to get the call in goal three times with Thatcher Demko starting once. The Canucks won their first game of the season is resounding fashion, whipping the Kings 8-2 Wednesday. Quinn Hughes popped his first NHL goal and added an assist while Elias Pettersson scored his first of the season. It was a power play goal for Hughes, the Canucks first of the campaign.  Bo Horvat was named captain before the home opener. J.T. Miller is off to a hot start with a goal and five points in three games. Loui Eriksson has been a healthy scratch in the last two games after being in the lineup in the opener.

VEGAS

Games this week

vs. Nashville, vs. Ottawa, @ Pittsburgh

Tired: None

Rested: @ Pittsburgh (Saturday)

Notes

The Golden Knights have lost their last two games to even their record at 2-2. Malcolm Subban started Thursday but left the game after the first period due to an injury. Marc-Andre Fleury is 2-1-0 this season and has a 2.20 GAA with a .925 save percentage as he continues to be one of the top netminders in the NHL. Mark Stone leads the Golden Knights with six points. William Karlsson has yet to score but does have four helpers. He is not being used on the face-off draw due to a minor issue. Paul Stastny has yet to pick up a point in four games. Cody Eakin is out with an upper-body injury. Nicolas Hague has 12 penalty minutes to lead the Golden Knights along with Karlsson. Resident tough guy Ryan Reaves has none.

WASHINGTON

Games this week

vs. Colorado, vs. Toronto, vs. New York Rangers, @ Chicago

Tired: None

Rested: vs. Toronto (Wednesday), vs. New York Rangers (Friday)

Notes

The Capitals play four games this week but they are evenly spaced out. As a result, they are a rested team twice despite playing the four times. Braden Holtby gave up six goals to Nashville Thursday and as a result, he is now 1-1-2 this season with a 3.67 GAA and a .868 save percentage. Rookie Ilya Samsonov won in his only start and has a 1.00 GAA with a .962 save percentage. The former first-round pick in 2015 could start seeing more action in goal. John Carlson leads the Capitals with eight points in five games while Alex Ovechkin and T.J. Oshie are tops in goals with three. Tom Wilson has a solitary minor in five games. Carl Hagelin and Richard Panik have yet to get a point in five games.

WINNIPEG

Games this week

vs. Arizona, vs. New York Islanders, vs. Edmonton

Tired: None

Rested: None

Notes

Winnipeg is in the middle of a six game homestand. They received more bad news to their depleted blueline when Josh Morrissey missed a couple of games but he was back in the lineup Thursday.  Connor Hellebuyck has played well despite the disarray around him as he is 2-1-0 with a 2.68 GAA and a .927 save percentage. Patrik Laine is showing no ill effects of missing training camp as he is tied for the NHL scoring lead with Connor McDavid as each have three goals and 10 points. McDavid has played one fewer game. Mark Scheifele is right behind them with eight points. Blake Wheeler hit a milestone on Thursday as he picked up his 700th NHL point. Ville Heinola was the 20th pick in the 2019 Draft but the Finnish defenseman was good enough at age 18 to crack the Jets blueline. He has a goal and two assists in four games and is worth a pickup for his passing ability in deep drafts.

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