Looking Ahead: Week 5

11/07/2011 12:01 AM -  Garrett Rees

Photo by John Grieshop/Getty Images

Hey ladies and gents, it’s time for Week 5.  Sorry for the late update this week.  Hope you got to catch some of the action this weekend, as there were a lot of fun, high scoring games, including a wild 7-6 OT win by Dallas over the Avalanche, a 7-0 romping of the Leafs by the Bruins, a thorough beatdown of the Blue Jackets by the Flyers in a 9-2 game, and a 5-0 shutout by the Wings over the Ducks.  Lots of great games, lots of great goals.  Seemed like feast or famine for some fantasy teams out there depending on whom you own, especially for goalies.  I’ll keep things simple this week, so let’s get to it shall we?

The Sidney Crosby injury watch: When I first put this on here, I never thought it would last this long.  Same ol’ same ol’ this week.  I think I’ll leave it to coach Dan Bylsma to give you the update: ”He had a scheduled doctor’s appointment [this weekend]“. “He left to go see the doctor. We have a team-building event next week and he didn’t want to miss that. He was able to see the doctor and get that taken care of. He’ll return to practice on Monday. There’s no timetable. There’s no date. There’s no point in the future we’re talking about yet. It’s a progression down the road for Sidney.”

Now let’s get on to the…

WEEKLY BREAKDOWN

Here is the weekly breakdown for this upcoming week, Nov. 7 – Nov. 13:

4 GAMES: CHI, EDM, LAK, MIN, NYR

3 GAMES: ANA, BOS, BUF, CAR, CGY, COL, DAL, DET, FLA, MON, NAS, NJD, NYI, OTT, SJS, STL, TOR, VAN, WAS, WPG

2 GAMES: CBJ, PHI, PHX, PIT, TBL

Lots of teams playing three games this week, with only a 1/3 of the teams playing in either four games or two games.  Pretty typical week otherwise in terms of games per days.  Again Monday, Wednesday, and Sunday are the slow days of the week with two, three, and four games respectively while Tuesday, Thursday, Friday, and Saturday are the busy days of the week with nine games, eight games, seven games, and eleven games respectively.

ON THE ROAD AGAIN

These teams are playing all of their games on the road so be aware that fatigue may play a factor in their play this week: DAL, EDM, MIN, NYI, PHI

HOME COOKING

These teams are playing all of their games at home this week so they should be rested and practicing: ANA, BOS, CBJ, DET, SJS, STL

STAYING WELL RESTED

Teams that are not scheduled to play in any back-to-back games in Week 5 while also minimizing travel:

ANA, BOS, CBJ, COL, NYR, SJS, STL, TBL

ANA, BOS, CBJ, SJS, and STL make this list from the Home Cooking list while while COL, NYR, and TBL all make the cut with one game traveled during the week each.  Notice however that the Lightning and the Rangers play only two games each this week, however Tampa has a Wednesday game against Philadelphia while the Rangers have a Wednesday game against the Senators.

B2B: BACKUPS TO SEE ACTION?

All of these teams are schedule to play in back-to-back games this upcoming week, so there are good chances that these teams’ respective backup goaltenders could see some action:  BUF, CAR, CGY, CHI, DAL, DET, EDM, LAK, NAS, NJD, OTT, PIT, VAN, WAS

No guarantees, but If you are desperate for some goalie starts, make sure to monitor these teams to try to determine if/when their backups are playing so you can snag them off of the waiver-wire if available. As you can see, there should be plenty of opportunities.

GOING STREAKING

Teams that have the best win streaks currently in the NHL as of Friday:

MIN – 4 wins

DAL – 3 wins

NYR – 3 wins

The best current win streaks in the league belong to a couple of teams probably not many expected to be playing as well as they have to start the season.  Dallas has come out to an amazing start going 10-3-0 with strong performances by Jamie Benn (5g-11a-16ptsin 13 games), Loui Eriksson (8g-7a-15pts, 2 SHP), Kari Lehtonen (leading the league in wins with 10), and newcomer and Edmonton castaway Sheldon Souray (4g-7a-11pts, +10, 34 SOG) while Minnesota has also has been surprising recently and has come out wit a 7-3-3 record with the help of an amazing run by Josh Harding (4 wins in a row for 4-0-1, 1.18 GAA, .960 SV%, 1 SO).  After only being a .500 team after 9 games, NYR has gone on a nice little run to move back up the standings thanks to Ryan Callahan (5g-1a-6pts, 26 SOG past 6 games), Dan Girardi (2g-4a-6pts, 3 PPP past 6 games), and Marian Gaborik (1g-5a-6pts, 23 SOG past 5 games).  Edmonton also continues to empress this season, going 8-3-2 led by rookie and 1st overall pick Ryan Nugent-Hopkins (6g-6a-12pts, 6 PPP in 13 games) and Nikolai Khabibulin (6-0-2, 0.98 GAA, .963 SV%, 2 SO).  Who would have guessed they’d be so high in the standings at this point in the season and that the Bulin Wall would be sporting the numbers that he is?

SPIRALING

Teams that have the longest current streaks in the NHL without collecting a point:

ANA – 0-3-2 last five games

FLA – 3 OT losses

VAN – 2 losses

The top line for the Ducks so far this season has had trouble finding the score sheet, with Corey Perry (5g-4a-9pts, (-)3 in 14 games), Ryan Getzlaf (4g-4a-8pts, (-)4), and Bobby Ryan (5g-1a-6pts) needing to find there game and step it up.  They need to mimic the play of 41 year old Teemu Selanne, who leads the team with 5g-9a-14pits and 6 PPP.  Florida keeps trying, but they can’t seem to end the game with 2 points but at least they haven’t come away empty handed.  Vancouver has been underachieving so far this season, but as of this writing they are beating up on Chicago so it looks like they are going to be back in the win column by the time this article is published.

STRONG SCHEDULES

Now let’s take a look at what should be the most favorable matchups of the week:

Boston Bruins – Opponents: NYI, EDM, BUF – The defending Stanley Cup champions have started to play some better hockey, stringing together two straight wins combining for 12 goals scored, so I like their chances in Week 5.  Tyler Seguin (7g-7a-14pts, +10, 39 SOG in 12 games) has been on fire lately collecting his first career hat trick on Saturday and has looked like a much more dominant player than last year. Thursday versus the Oilers and Saturday versus Buffalo won’t be for sure wins at all, but if they keep scoring goals like they have the past couple of games, then these should be some fun games to watch and the Bruins are going to be desperate to get out of the Eastern Conference cellar.

WEAK SCHEDULES

…And the least favorable matchups of the week:

Calgary Flames – Opponents: MIN, @CHI+@COL – Calgary has only been a .500 club this season, and they are playing some hot and/or talented teams in Week 5.  First up is Minnesota on Tuesday, whom I talked about above, and then play Chicago and Colorado back-to-back on Friday and Saturday.  Chicago is leading the central Division while Colorado has been scoring goals in bunches this year, especially on the power play so it might be a tough week for the Flames.

Pittsburgh Penguins – Opponents: DAL+@CAR – The Penguins have been playing amazingly this season especially considering that they still haven’t had Crosby in the lineup, but in Week 5 they face the current Western Conference leader Dallas on Friday and then Instantly travel to Carolina to play the Canes.  Carolina shouldn’t be too much of a test for the Penguins, but considering that they are playing one of the hottest goalies in the league and Lehtonen and traveling for back-to-back games, things might not go the way the Penguins hope.

Columbus Blue Jackets – Opponents: CHI, WPG – Things have not looked good at all this season for the Blue Jackets and those woes should continue through Week 5.  They now have a goal differential of -22 and Steve Mason (2-10-1, .869 SV%, 3.70 GAA) can’t seem to stop a beach ball this season.  Considering they only have two games this week, put your Blue Jackets on the bench unless you looking to worsen your +/- rating.

That wraps it up.  Good luck out there everyone.


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