Saturday, November 18, 2017
Alright, this will probably be a pretty quick post this morning, as I'm almost out the door to go enjoy some of the wonderful outdoors today, plus it's an early start to the NHL schedule, which means that there could be a lot of guessing involved. Don't get too set on these match-ups, as some of them are best guesses.
Three teams still needed wins this week and they are: Grant, Chris and Benson. All six goalies will have their teams in action on Saturday, but in Grant's case, both of his goalies are on the same team and this game will be his last chance at a win. If either Chris or Benson don't get a start from one of their goalies, they have one more shot at starts tomorrow as well.
Roberto Luongo (Stuart) versus Jonathan Quick (Chris)
Chris appears to be getting an early start this afternoon from Jonathan Quick and the Kings, as the Panthers make their way through California this week/weekend. Roberto Luongo is fresh off a shutout and doesn't seem to fear the California teams with his team from the Sunshine State. This has got potential to be a tough start for Chris, who hasn't fared well this week in these toughies.
Thomas Greiss (Dale B.) versus Andrei Vasilevskiy (Wilton)
It looks like Benson will have to wait until tomorrow for a New York Islanders start, as the travelling team from Brooklyn is going with Dale B.'s goalie instead on Saturday in Tampa Bay, likely choosing Benson's goalie tomorrow in Carolina.
Devan Dubnyk (Brenda & Seward) versus Philipp Gruabauer (Grant)
This could be a tough break, if true. Grant's survival in the mini-game hinges on the backup for the Washington Capitals, Philipp Grubauer, as they play at home tonight against the Minnesota Wild. The goaltending match-up certainly isn't favouring Grant's team much at all, with Devan Dubnyk at the other end. The Capitals are at home today, so there is an okay chance that they could pull this off for him.
Jake Allen (Cam) versus Jacob Markstrom (Wes)
Looks like Benson is going to get shutout on Saturday of any opportunity, as the St. Louis Blues are rolling on every other day and on the road in the west, so it will be their number one goalie, Jake Allen, going for Cam instead, taking on Vancouver's Jacob Markstrom for Wes. Very unlucky for Benson, who has been sticking around quite well, so far in this mini-game, despite his goaltending situation.
Anton Khudobin (N/A) versus Martin Jones (Chris)
Finally, Chris gets one more start, in all likelihood, his last start of the week, given the schedule and having both of his goalies going. In the late, late game, he'll have Martin Jones up against backup goalie Anton Khudobin, when the Sharks face the Bruins. Khudobin won the last game for the Bruins, so they are riding a hot hand now, something the Bruins have needed to do. They're still a fragile team, which should bode well for Chris, but I said that earlier this week too and it didn't go so well.
On Friday night, the NHL came down on Calgary Flames forward Matthew Tkachuk for his actions that led to the line brawl against the Detroit Red Wings on Wednesday night. Tkachuk provoked Red Wings forward Luke Witkowski, as he was ushered off of the ice by an official, to turn back around and start a physical altercation on a much larger scale. Thanks to Tkachuk's repeat offender status, the league decided to suspend him for a single game, which will be today's game in Philadelphia.
It's not a heavy sentence from the league, but it does punish a stupid action. Chris' team will miss out on a skater game for that suspension, one he could have used today, as he is right in the thick of the money race, only 8 points out in 8th place.
The Columbus Blue Jackets opted to make defenseman David Savard into a healthy scratch on Friday night, when they hosted the New York Rangers. The decision certainly didn't hurt the club, as they came away as 2-0 winners, so Savard's status for their next game could be in jeopardy. Savard has 2 goals and 6 points in 20 games this season, so he hasn't been too bad of a pickup on the blueline, but something about his game must have gotten to the coaching staff.
Stuart's team made some moves up in the standings this week, jumping back up from 12th to 9th, his peak weekly finishing position already this year. His team is hanging in there, right behind Chris', only 1 point back, so hoping to get Savard back in the Columbus lineup should be a priority.
Friday, November 17, 2017
Thursday night saw some pretty good returns in the goalie survival pool, as four more teams qualified for Week Eight in the busy schedule, which now only leaves three teams left to try and earn a win.
Grant, Chris and Benson are still in need of wins, but with only two games on the schedule tonight, none of these three teams will see any action. So this afternoon, the preview will be all about the points.
Interesting to note, all four goalies that are expected to start all belong to already eliminated teams.
Henrik Lundqvist (Brian) versus Sergei Bobrovsky (Derek B.)
It's a Metropolitan Division match-up in Columbus tonight, with the Rangers in to visit the Blue Jackets and not only is it a good divisional game, it is between two pool teams that are in the money conversation. Brian currently holds on to 2nd place, heading into tonight's action, while Derek is 6th, 7 points back of his match-up rival and only 5 points back of 3rd place.
Robin Lehner (Kristy & Don) versus Jimmy Howard (Dale C.)
Finally, in the later game (but still kind of early), 3rd place Kristy & Don see their goalie match up against the goalie that belongs to the 4th place Dale C., teams only 1 point apart in the standings to start the night. The duo are hunting for a Mover & Shaker this week, while Dale tries to come back from a slow start this week, making this into quite a good swing game match-up.
On Thursday night, the Columbus Blue Jackets announced that they had signed potential unrestricted free agent forward Cam Atkinson to a new 7-year, $40.25 million contract extension. Starting in the 2019 season, the 28-year old will then carry a cap hit of $5.75 million for those seven seasons and with his production in recent seasons, he could work out to be a pretty decent bargain.
Unfortunately, his start to his 2018 season hasn't been too great, only 4 goals and 6 points in his first 15 games. He's currently ranked 332nd in my current pool rankings on Friday morning, having already missed some time due to injury.
Steve had taken Atkinson at the start of the 5th round, 101st overall, so he hasn't quite seen the production he would have hoped for, so far. It's still early and 101st spot in the rankings is only 8 points away, a good Player of the Week sort of week away.
The injuries continue to mount for the Boston Bruins, with defenseman Torey Krug added to the list of the walking wounded this week in California. Krug suffered an upper-body injury against the Anaheim Ducks on Wednesday night and wasn't able to dress for last night's game in Los Angeles. He's currently listed as day-to-day and probably is questionable, at best, for the team's next game in San Jose.
On the plus side, the Bruins did get David Krejci back from injury on Thursday night, he had been on the Injured Reserve for about the last month with an upper-body injury. With Krejci coming off of the IR and Brad Marchand not able to play in San Jose tomorrow, he was placed on the IR with his undisclosed injury, retroactive to Saturday.
So, let's see... Krug is a loss for Stuart's 8th place team, while Krejci's return is a plus for Dale B.'s 5th place team and Marchand has already been considered a loss for Cam's 14th place team, but he could be back for Wednesday's game in New Jersey.
Before the Colorado Avalanche took on the Washington Capitals last night, they were able to activate rookie forward Tyson Jost off of the Injured Reserve and then turned around and sent him down to the AHL, likely to find his legs once again. Jost is coming off a lower-body injury and with being a rookie, he didn't have to clear any waivers, so there was no need to send him down on a limited conditioning stint. I would imagine that they will want him back before too long, although the team is playing pretty well at the moment.
Then, amongst the scratches for the game with the Capitals was defenseman Tyson Barrie, who has been reportedly dealing with an upper-body injury that he suffered in the series against Ottawa in Sweden last week. There appears to be a good chance that he could play this weekend, so he's only listed as out day-to-day.
For Steve, he has been without Jost for a few weeks already, so another week or two could be tacked on still and that will certainly ask the question, as to whether or not he should be hanging around on his team after the Waiver Draft. Barrie, on the other hand, just needed the day off, so there shouldn't be much panic in Mike's 16th place team.
The New Jersey Devils have opted to make forward Pavel Zacha into a healthy scratch again against the Maple Leafs in Toronto on Thursday night. Zacha hasn't been overly productive in his first six weeks of the season, having only 5 points in his first 15 games and he has been a healthy scratch already a few times before this week. The result wasn't all that great on Thursday night, so he might find himself back in the lineup in the team's next game, Saturday afternoon in Winnipeg.
The Washington Capitals also scratched one of their youngsters for their game against the Colorado Avalanche, as Jakub Vrana took a game up in the press box. Vrana only has 7 points in his first 19 games this season and hasn't produced much in the last week or so, which will usually lead to a healthy scratch or two.
For Dale C., he missed out on two games from a couple of young forwards in Zacha and Vrana, not exactly aiding his now 4th place team this week. Dale's team has dropped off a little in this week's scoring, dropping a couple of spots in the standings, falling out of the money, but he's not very far out, so it shouldn't be a big concern just yet.
Thursday, November 16, 2017
The two survival goalie starts last night gave us two more survivors on Wednesday night, giving us three in total, ahead of a busy Thursday night, which sees the potential of seven survival games. If the job can't get done tonight, then most teams will just be left with Saturday, which is also going to be a very heavy day/night on the schedule.
Cory Schneider (Jeremy) versus Frederik Andersen (Mike)
We're expecting to see Frederik Andersen going for the Maple Leafs and for Mike and if Jeremy didn't get his win last night, this would have been a pretty good all-survival game. Instead, it will only be Mike looking for his win in this game. Not quite as exciting, but the up-and-coming Devils should make it hard on the hosts tonight.
Ben Bishop (Kristy & Don) versus Andrei Vasilevskiy (Wilton)
Wilton gets a start in what should be a match-up all about some high-powered offenses, more than it is about the goaltending, but there is that story about Ben Bishop returning to Tampa for his first game against the Lightning in a Stars jersey. Wait, that's not the story we should be focusing on! Andrei Vasilevskiy goes for Wilton tonight, playing against his former partner in crime. No matter which way you spin this one, it should be a good game.
Brian Elliott (Stacey C.) versus Connor Hellebuyck (Neil)
The Flyers are into Winnipeg to take on the Jets and this will be a survival game for the Stacey C., with Brian Elliott in net for the visitors. It will be a matter of what Jets team shows up to play tonight that will determine how difficult this game will be for the visitors. The Jets have been known to break out and score a buttload of goals on some occasions and others, well... not so much.
Braden Holtby (Grant) versus Semyon Varlamov (Stacey C.)
Gran'ts team has already qualified, so all eyes are on Stacey's second start in this game, as Semyon Varlamov is now expected to make his 300th appearance in an Avalanche uniform tonight. Varlamov will get one hell of a test, with his fellow countryman Alex Ovechkin shooting at him, which will make for a pretty good game.
Jake Allen (Cam) versus Cam Talbot (Wes)
If the Edmonton Oilers have indeed found their stride against the Golden Knights on Tuesday, it could be a tough slog for Jake Allen and the Blues tonight, as they head to Rogers Place for a tough road game. Cam has the Blues goalie tonight and he's in desperate need of a win here right away, since his other goalie is dealing with an injury.
Anton Khudobin (N/A) versus Jonathan Quick (Chris)
All indications suggest that Jonathan Quick should be getting yet another start for the Kings tonight, as they host the travelling Bruins, who are on back-to-back nights. This would be the first of two starts for Chris, both of them being in the late games. The Bruins haven't been very sharp of late and they'll have their backup in tonight.
Roberto Luongo (Stuart) versus Martin Jones (Chris)
Finally, in Chris' second expected start, he'll have Martin Jones going for the Sharks with Roberto Luongo and the Panthers in the shark tank. Out of his two starts, this one may be the more difficult to earn that win, but there's still the weekend to go, even if Chris doesn't get his win tonight, he should still have a couple more chances afterwards.