Tampa Bay still not in playoff position

Michael Finewax
Rotoworld

Sunday December 1 is the deadline for players who have not signed, to sign or they will be unable to play in the NHL this season. The list includes Jesse Puljujarvi and Julius Honka and both are currently playing in the Finnish Liiga.

Thanksgiving has become the traditional time of the season where if you are in a playoff position, it is likely you will make the post-season. Teams on the outside looking in at this time include: Tampa Bay (albeit with a bunch of games in hand), Montreal, Calgary, San Jose and Nashville. That is three of the four division winners from last season (Tampa Bay, Calgary and Nashville). There certainly is parity in the NHL.

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WEEK OF DECEMBER 2-8

4 Games – Arizona, Buffalo, Chicago, Los Angeles, New Jersey, New York Islanders, New York Rangers, San Jose, Vegas, Washington

3 Games - Anaheim, Boston, Carolina, Colorado, Columbus, Dallas, Edmonton, Florida, Minnesota, Montreal, Ottawa, Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, St. Louis, Tampa Bay, Toronto, Winnipeg

2 Games – Calgary, Detroit, Nashville, Vancouver

Arizona plays all four games on the road.

Boston, Edmonton, Florida and Philadelphia play three games at home.

Buffalo, Colorado, Los Angeles, Minnesota, New York Islanders, Ottawa, San Jose, Vegas and Washington play three games on the road.

INJURIES

Rasmus Dahlin is out indefinitely with a concussion. (Click   to see the rest of the injury list.)

ANAHEIM

Games this week

vs. Los Angeles, vs. Washington, @ Winnipeg

Tired: None

Rested: None

Notes

Ryan Getzlaf was not at all happy with his teammates following a loss Saturday to the Tampa Bay Lightning and ripped into them, saying that they are not playing for 60 minutes and are too accepting of losing at this time. He led the way on Monday with a goal and an assist as the Ducks snapped a 17-game streak without a regulation loss by the Islanders (16-0-1), beating them 3-0. Getzlaf has a six-game points streak going with two goals and eight points.  Congratulations go out to Brendan Guhle, as the defenseman scored his first NHL goal Wednesday.  After missing six games with a lower-body injury, Hampus Lindholm returned to action on November 23.

ARIZONA

Games this week

@ Columbus, @ Philadelphia, @ Pittsburgh, @ Chicago

Tired: @ Pittsburgh (Friday)

Rested: None

Notes

The Coyotes play four games on the road this week, including three games in four nights. Look for Darcy Kuemper to play three games with Antti Raanta getting the crease once. The Coyotes are sitting nicely in second place in the Pacific Division, just two points in arrears of the Edmonton Oilers with a game in hand. There is still a lack of goal scoring on the team as they have 71 goals in 26 games but their netminding continues to be outstanding. Keep an eye on Oliver Ekman-Larsson as he knows he is not having a good fantasy season with only two goals and 10 points in 26 games. "I feel like I'm a guy who is going to make plays, but I'm going to screw up and I'm going to fall down. I'm going to not score for 20 games and then score five games in a row.” Hopefully you have OEL in your lineup for the five straight games that he hopes to score.

BOSTON

Games this week

vs. Carolina, vs. Chicago, vs. Colorado

Tired: None

Rested: None

Notes

You look at the stats from the Bruins top line and you just shake your head at how good they are. Brad Marchand has 43 points, 43 penalty minutes and a plus-20 rating in 25 games while David Pastnak has 23 goals and 39 points with 12 goals coming via the power play. Patrice Bergeron’s stats aren’t nearly as good but still star-worthy as he has 24 points in 21 games with a plus-10 rating and 10 power play points. Zdeno Chara is having a nice season as the 42-year-old defenseman has five goals and 12 points with a plus-17 rating. Charlie Coyle inked a six-year extension worth $26.5 million while Boston also signed Chris Wagner to a three-year/$4.05 million deal.

BUFFALO

Games this week

vs. New Jersey, @ Calgary, @ Vancouver, @ Edmonton

Tired: @ Edmonton (Sunday)

Rested: None

Notes

The Sabres play three games in four nights as part of their four-game week. Linus Ullmark and Carter Hutton have been sharing the net of late so don’t be surprised this week if they split it again. Rasmus Dahlin suffered a concussion and is out indefinitely. Rasmus Ristolainen is the beneficiary of ice time as he takes over the quarterbacking duties on the first power play from Dahlin. Evan Rodrigues is week-to-week with a lower-body injury. Vladimir Sobotka had successful knee surgery Tuesday after suffering the injury on November 8. He is out indefinitely. Jack Eichel has a seven-game scoring streak in which he has six goals and 12 points.

CALGARY

Games this week

vs. Buffalo, vs. Los Angeles

Tired: None

Rested: vs. Los Angeles (Saturday)

Notes

The Flames were rocked by the announcement that their head coach (as of Friday morning) Bill Peters, allegedly used a racial slur on Akim Aliu 10 years ago. Added to that was that he physically abused Michal Jordan and another player in Carolina when he was the head coach there. It should not be long for the job in Calgary and likely will have a hard time getting another job in the NHL. He was not behind the bench Wednesday when the Flames evened their record at 12-12-4 with a win over Buffalo. After going five games without a point, Matthew Tkachuk has three points in his last two games and still leads the Flames with 23 points in 28 games, three better than Johnny Gaudreau and Sean Monahan.

CAROLINA

Games this week

@ Boston, vs. San Jose, vs. Minnesota

Tired: None

Rested: None

Notes

The Hurricanes have a nice core of young players to lead them for the next few years. Sebastian Aho inked a five-year deal in the off-season but the future star of the team (and he is the star now as well at the tender age of 19) is Andrei Svechnikov. Svechnikov was drafted second overall in 2018 and while he had a nice rookie season with 20 goals and 37 points, he has come into his own this season with 11 goals and 28 points in only 25 contests, to lead the Hurricanes. Toss in 20-year-old Martin Necas as well as defenseman Dougie Hamilton and Teuvo Teravainen, who are 26 and 25 years of age respectively, and there is so much to like about the Hurricanes future.  

CHICAGO

Games this week

vs. St. Louis, @ Boston, @ New Jersey, vs. Arizona

Tired: @ New Jersey (Friday)

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. Lehner leads the NHL in save percentage at .938. Drake Caggiula has been in concussion protocol since his injury on November 10 but he has skated on his own the last four games. Dylan Strome missed Tuesday’s game as he is also in concussion protocol. Patrick Kane is on a 13-game scoring streak with nine goals and 22 points in the streak. Andrew Shaw has four assists in his last six games. Brandon Saad scored his 100th NHL goal on Tuesday and his seventh this season.

COLORADO

Games this week

@ Toronto, @ Montreal, @ Boston

Tired: @ Montreal (Thursday)

Rested: @ Toronto (Tuesday)

Notes

The Avalanche play three games in four nights so expect Philipp Grubauer to play twice while Pavel Francouz should get one start. It looks like Mikko Rantanen is ready to return to action on November 30 as the star right winger has been out of action since October 21. Nathan MacKinnon has continued to excel in his absence but the center will certainly be happy that the winger will be back. Andre Burakovsky is day-to-day with an upper-body injury. He has been great this season for Colorado as he has 11 goals and 21 points in 24 games after back-to-back 25-point seasons with Washington over the last two years. The Avalanche hope to have Gabriel Landeskog at practice this week. He has been out with a lower-body injury since October 26.

COLUMBUS

Games this week

vs. Arizona, vs. New York Rangers, @ Florida

Tired: None

Rested: None

Notes

The Blue Jackets are floundering near the bottom of the Metropolitan Division standings. Coach John Tortorella was not happy with his team’s performance against the Flyers Wednesday and benched Josh Anderson early in the first after he took a bad penalty. Anderson had 27 goals and 47 points last season but has struggled thus far with only a goal and an assist in 18 contests. Tortorella moved Nick Foligno to center on the second unit between Sonny Milano and Emil Bemstrom while Alexandre Texier moved up to the top line, alongside Pierre-Luc Dubois and Cam Atkinson. Zach Werenski saw his six-game points streak come to an end on Tuesday.

DALLAS

Games this week

@ Winnipeg, vs. Winnipeg, vs. New York Islanders

Tired: None

Rested: None  

Notes

The Stars play a home-and-home series against the Winnipeg Jets this week and if there are any fisticuffs, look for Jamie Oleksiak or Denis Gurianov to be in the middle of things as they are the only two Stars to have a fighting major this season. Joe Pavelski has not picked up a point in his last six games. Tyler Seguin was held pointless Tuesday but had 10 points in his previous six games. The Stars continue to get outstanding goaltending from Ben Bishop and Anton Khudobin as the duo are 15-9-2 with a .928 save percentage and have allowed only 57 goals in 26 contests. The Stars were 13-1-1 before losing 3-0 to Chicago on Wednesday.

DETROIT

Games this week

vs. New York Islanders, vs. Pittsburgh

Tired: None

Rested: vs. Pittsburgh (Saturday)

Notes

Jimmy Howard suffered a mid-body injury Wednesday and that forced an ill Jonathan Bernier to don the pads and replace Howard. The Red Wings recalled Calvin Pickard from the minors and while Howard is expected to sit out on November 29, he is day-to-day for next week’s action. At 7-17-3, Detroit is in last place in the NHL standings, five points behind New Jersey who have three games in hand. Mike Green has missed nine games and the Red Wings hope the veteran defenseman can return on November 29. Anthony Mantha will miss the next couple of weeks with a lower-body injury.

EDMONTON

Games this week

vs. Ottawa, vs. Los Angeles, vs. Buffalo

Tired: None

Rested: vs. Ottawa (Wednesday), vs. Buffalo (Sunday)

Notes

Ryan Nugent-Hopkins had a procedure done on his hand this week and is expected to return at some point this week. Connor McDavid was the second star of the week with four goals and seven points in four games but saw his 11-game points streak come to an end on Wednesday in a 4-1 loss to Colorado. NHL points leader Leon Draisaitl has a goal and 11 points in his last seven contests and that includes a couple of games with nary a point. James Neal has 14 goals this season but also is a minus-14. Oscar Klefbom has yet to score on the power play but the defenseman has 10 assists with the man-advantage. The Oilers continue to get solid goalkeeping from Mike Smith and Mikko Koskinen.

FLORIDA

Games this week

vs. Minnesota, vs. Columbus, vs. San Jose

Tired: None

Rested: None

Notes

It continues to be a struggle this season for Sergei Bobrovsky as the netminder gave up four goals on only 20 shots in a one-goal loss to Washington.  He is 9-6-4 with a 3.48 GAA and a .884 save percentage. For a goalie who was ranked in the top-three at the beginning of the season, he is playing like a backup netminder for a bad team, save for the win total. Mike Hoffman moved up to the top line, alongside Aleksander Barkov and Jonathan Huberdeau while Evgenii Dadonov dropped down to the third unit with Frank Vatrano and Dominic Toninato. Huberdeau has 31 points for the Panthers, one up on Barkov.

LOS ANGELES

Games this week

@ Anaheim, vs. Washington, @ Edmonton, @ Calgary

Tired: @ Calgary (Saturday)

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. Quick has been a bright spot of late as he is 5-1-1 in his last seven starts, giving up 14 goals on 174 shots. The Kings are floundering in the basement of the Pacific Division with 22 points, four behind Anaheim as the Los Angeles-area teams are not having a good time of it. Alec Martinez suffered a laceration to his wrist on Monday and underwent surgery to repair a radial artery and two superficial radial nerves, Consider him out indefinitely but the good news is that he is expected to make a full recovery. Coach Todd McLellan thinks that Russian winger Nikolai Prokhorkin would be a better fit at center.

MINNESOTA

Games this week

@ Florida, @ Tampa Bay, @ Carolina

Tired: None

Rested: None

Notes

Devan Dubnyk has been having a hard time of it and we now understand why as his wife Jennifer is battling some serious medical issues. Don’t be surprised if the netminder, who is back with the team, does not travel with the Wild for a while as he has three children at home. Of the top-15 point getters on the Wild, only Mikko Koivu (plus-two) and Kevin Fiala (plus-one) are better than even, with Luke Kunin a team-worst minus-13 and Eric Staal right behind him at minus-12. Victor Rask has only two goals and four points in 16 games. The Wild gave the Hurricanes Nino Niedereiter in return last winter. 

MONTREAL

Games this week

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

Tired: None

Rested: vs. New York Islanders (Tuesday), vs. Colorado (Thursday)

Notes

The Canadiens play three games in four nights so expect to see Carey Price twice with Keith Kinkaid picking up the other start.  The Habs have been reeling of late as they have lost their last six games (two in overtime) and are back in the middle of the pack in the Atlantic. They have allowed 14 goals in their last two games and with Price giving up 10 goals on only 45 shots. That will kill your fantasy team. The game before that, he gave up six goals on 34 shots so the perennial top-five netminder is really struggling. Jesperi Kotkaniemi did not have a point in five straight games after his groin injury (as well as the four games before that) and had gone 14 games without a goal before scoring once and adding an assist Thursday. He is someone to stay on as he was drafted third overall in 2018.

NASHVILLE

Games this week

vs. Tampa Bay, vs. New Jersey

Tired: None

Rested: vs. New Jersey (Saturday)

Notes

Kyle Turris has been a healthy scratch in each of the Predators last five games and you have to wonder if his Nashville career is close to being over. He inked a six-year/$36 million deal after he was dealt from Ottawa and he still has four-plus years left, so Nashville will have a hard time trading him and may have to buy him out after the season. Defenseman Roman Josi leads the Predators with 24 points, five better than Matt Duchene and fellow blueliner Ryan Ellis who are tied for second. Nick Bonino continues to score as he is up to 10 goals in 24 games with an impressive plus-eight rating. He is tied with Filip Forsberg for the team lead.

NEW JERSEY

Games this week

@ Buffalo, vs, Vegas, vs. Chicago, @ Nashville

Tired: @ Nashville (Saturday)

Rested: vs. Chicago (Friday)

Notes

The Devils play a pair of back-to-back games so it is likely that Mackenzie Blackwood and Louis Domingue will share the starts. Blake Coleman is heating up with six goals and nine points in his last seven games. Nico Hischier has an assist in each of his last four games. Congratulations to Jesper Boqvist who moved up the depth charts and is seeing top-six minutes with Jack Hughes and Wayne Simmonds. He has a goal in each of his last two games, including his first career NHL goal. Taylor Hall scored in back-to-back games but that still only gives him four goals in 24 games. He has 17 assists but is a minus-seven as he approaches UFA status on July 1.

NEW YORK ISLANDERS

Games this week

@ Detroit, @ Montreal, vs. Vegas, @ Dallas

Tired: @ Montreal (Tuesday)

Rested: None

Notes

The Islanders play four games this week including three in four nights. The Islanders have gone back and forth all season between Thomas Greiss and Semyon Varlamov and that should continue this week with each playing twice. The Islanders finally lost outright Monday as their California swing was unsuccessful, going 0-2-1. Before the loss to Anaheim, the Islanders had gone 15-0-2 in their previous 17. Derick Brassard continues to play well and has two goals and 10 points in his last eight games. Jordan Eberle practiced with Leo Komarov and Michael Dal Colle on Tuesday but was back on the top line for Wednesday’s tilt, alongside Mathew Barzal and Anders Lee. Eberle has gone 13 games without a goal, and has only five assists in the time frame.

NEW YORK RANGERS

Games this week

vs. Vegas, @ Columbus, vs. Montreal, @ Vegas

Tired: None

Rested: None

Notes

The Rangers play three games in four nights this week as part of a four-game week, so expect to see Henrik Lundqvist between the pipes three times with Alexandar Georgiev playing once. They also play the Golden Knights twice this week so look for Brendan Lemieux to get involved if there are any fisticuffs. The Rangers lead the NHL with nine fighting majors, with Lemieux partaking in three. After missing a month of action, Mika Zibanejad returned on Wednesday and scored his fifth goal of the season. He played alongside Chris Kreider and Pavel Buchnevich on the first line and was on the first power play unit as well. You can safely return him to your fantasy lineup.

OTTAWA     

Games this week

@ Vancouver, @ Edmonton, @ Philadelphia

Tired: @ Edmonton (Wednesday)

Rested: None

Notes

The Senators placed goaltender Craig Anderson on the injured reserve list with a lower-body injury. After getting back to the .500 mark, the Senators have dropped their last two games while giving up only three goals as they have scored only once. The Sens are hoping that Vladislav Namestnikov and Artem Anisimov are ready to return this week, if not sooner. Erik Brannstrom returned to action Wednesday after missing four games with a suspected thumb injury. Chris Tierney had a nice season last year for the Senators with nine goals and 48 points but has not scored in his last 16 games. Connor Brown hasn’t scored in 13 games while Nick Paul hasn’t scored in 13 games as well and has gone seven games without a point.

PHILADELPHIA

Games this week

vs. Toronto, vs. Arizona, vs. Ottawa

Tired: None

Rested: None

Notes

The Metropolitan Division has been the best thus far with five teams over the 30-point mark. There are only 12 teams in the NHL with at least 30 points so the division has been a tough one. Philadelphia is in the mix with 31 points and are poised to move up as they are only three points out of second place. Nolan Patrick has yet to play this season as he has been having migraine problems but he skated on his own Monday. There is no timetable for his return but the good news is that he is skating. Shayne Gostisbehere has been a healthy scratch the last three games. Ivan Provorov has taken over quarterbacking the first power play again.

PITTSBURGH

Games this week

vs. St. Louis, vs. Arizona, @ Detroit

Tired: @ Detroit (Saturday)

Rested: vs. Arizona (Friday)

Notes

The Penguins play three games in four nights so look for Matt Murray to get two starts with Tristan Jarry getting the call once. Jarry has proven to be more than capable as a backup as he is 5-3-0 with a 2.01 GAA and a .938 save percentage. Evgeni Malkin is hot with 12 points in his last six games. A five-point effort against the Vancouver Canucks on Wednesday helped. Kris Letang returned to the Pittsburgh lineup this week after missing eight games with a lower-body injury. He had a goal and an assist Wednesday and has five goals and 14 points in 17 games this season. He is a must start.  Sidney Crosby is still three weeks away from returning to action after undergoing core muscle surgery.

ST. LOUIS

Games this week

@ Chicago, @ Pittsburgh, vs. Toronto

Tired: None

Rested: None

Notes

The Blues put Oskar Sundqvist on the injured reserve list with a lower-body injury and recalled Austin Poganski. Sundqvist scored twice Wednesday but will be out for a while after he suffered an injury later in the contest. Brayden Schenn has a five-game points streak and has 13 goals in 26 games after scoring only 17 last season. Jake Allen only sees action occasionally in net with Jordan Binnington as the starter, but Allen is giving the Blues what they need as he is 3-1-2 this season. There are better backup goalies but there are plenty that have been a lot worse (see Toronto). David Perron leads in points with 24 and penalty minutes with 26.

SAN JOSE

Games this week

vs. Washington, @ Carolina, @ Tampa Bay, @ Florida

Tired: None

Rested: None

Notes

The Sharks play four games this week including three games in four nights. Martin Jones will get the crease three times with Aaron Dell playing once. Tomas Hertl has missed the last four games and could return this week from a lower-body injury. Erik Karlsson had a goal and an assist against Los Angeles on Monday but it was the only game in his last five that he has hit the scoresheet. Patrick Marleau scored his 556th goal of his career Monday and is tied for 27th all-time with former Bruin great Johnny Bucyk. Logan Couture has had three straight seasons with at least 25 goals, including 34 in 2017-18 but has only five this season in 26 contests. He still leads the Sharks with 25 points.     

TAMPA BAY

Games this week

@ Nashville, vs. Minnesota, vs. San Jose

Tired: None

Rested: None

Notes

Steven Stamkos has missed the last three games with a lower-body injury but is expected to be in the Tampa Bay lineup on November 29. Stamkos is a minus-eight this season. Anthony Cirelli has been a fantasy gem of late with 12 points in his last 11 games including six goals. Cirelli has been seeing time with Stamkos and Alex Killorn, save for the time Stamkos has been out with the injury. Erik Cernak will return this week after serving a two-game suspension for his elbow to the head of Buffalo’s Rasmus Dahlin. Dahlin is out indefinitely with a concussion. Andrei Vasilevskiy had three strong games in a row in which he gave up six goals on 101 shots but he sagged again Wednesday, giving up four on 33 shots in a loss to St. Louis.

TORONTO

Games this week

@ Philadelphia, vs. Colorado, @ St. Louis

Tired: vs. Colorado (Wednesday)

Rested: None

Notes

Boy, is Tyson Barrie ever happy with the coaching switch. Rumors had Barrie thinking about asking for a trade away from Toronto when Mike Babcock was coaching as he failed to score in all 23 games under Babcock. Since Sheldon Keefe took over three games ago, Toronto has won all three with Barrie getting a goal in each game as well as setting up a goal in each of the last two games. He has also been placed on the top power play unit. The change has also done wonders for Jason Spezza who has an assist in each of his last two games after he was a healthy scratch for 10 of the Leafs first 23 contests. The Maple Leafs recalled netminder Michael Hutchinson to back up Frederik Andersen. Mitch Marner skated before practice Monday and could be back soon from his ankle injury suffered on November 9.

VANCOUVER

Games this week

vs. Ottawa, vs. Buffalo

Tired: None

Rested: None

Notes

Quinn Hughes is in second place among rookie scorers with 21 points, trailing fellow blueliner Cale Makar by four points. Brandon Sutter was on the ice Tuesday for practice but missed his seventh straight game Wednesday with a lower-body injury. The Canucks sent Sven Baertschi to the minors and recalled Nikolay Goldobin. Micheal Ferland has been out of action since October 30 with a concussion but has rejoined the team on a road trip. He has yet to play but has been skating. Elias Petersson has been great this season with 31 points in 26 games and the trade for J.T. Miller has worked out great as well as he has 12 goals and 26 points in 26 contests.

VEGAS

Games this week

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

Tired: None

Rested: None

Notes

The Golden Knights play four games this week and three come in the span of four nights. Marc-Andre Fleury should get the call in net three times with Malcolm Subban playing once. They also play the Rangers twice and if there is any rough stuff, look for Ryan Reaves as he has been penalized twice for fighting this season. Fleury will miss Friday’s games as he is back home in Montreal dealing with a serious illness in his family. He should return this week. Subban picked up his first win of the season Wednesday as Vegas beat Nashville. Valentin Zykov completed his 20-game suspension for violating the NHL/NHLPA Performance Enhancing Substances Program and passed through waivers when the Golden Knights placed him there.

WASHINGTON

Games this week

@ San Jose, @ Los Angeles, @ Anaheim

Tired: None

Rested: None

Notes

The Capitals play three games in four nights in California, so expect to see Braden Holtby in goal twice with Ilya Samsonov playing once. Nicklas Backstrom is still out of action with an upper-body injury but could return this week. He is talking with the Capitals as his contract expires at the end of the season but has not retained an agent and is doing it himself. Carl Hagelin should be back this week as he is eligible to be activated on Monday following a November 7 upper-body injury. Jakub Vrana is second on the Capitals in goals with 11, trailing only Alex Ovechkin who has 16. Defenseman Michal Kempny is someone to look at, as he has 11 points in only 18 games.

WINNIPEG

Games this week

vs. Dallas, @ Dallas, vs. Anaheim

Tired: None

Rested: None

Notes

The Jets play a home-and-home series with Dallas so look for Adam Lowry who has the Jets lone fighting major this season, to possibly be involved. Congratulations go out to David Gustafsson who scored his first career NHL goal Wednesday. Blake Wheeler is finally scoring with a goal and three assists in his last two games. He has only 16 points in 25 games after back-to-back 92-point seasons. Patrik Laine is also getting hot with three goals and eight points in his last six games. He is seeing first line minutes with Mark Scheifele and Kyle Connor while Wheeler is centering Nikolaj Ehlers and Jack Roslovic.  

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