Looking Ahead: Week 7

11/20/2011 8:19 PM -  Garrett Rees

It’s Week 7 time ladies and gents.  Happy Thanksgiving to all of our American readers.  This is going to be a busy week, so let’s get right into it.

The Sidney Crosby injury watch: It’s official boys and girls; Crosby is returning on Monday!  Get ready to take him off the IR and insert him back into your lineup.  It might take some time for him to get the rust off, but this is Sid the Kid we’re talking about.  He may be able to hop right back in there so I’d activate him off of the IR as soon as possible.

WEEKLY BREAKDOWN

Here is the weekly breakdown for this upcoming week, Nov. 21 – Nov. 27:

4 GAMES:  BOS, CAR, CBJ, CGY, DAL, EDM, FLA, MON, NJD, NYI, PHI, PHO, PIT, STL, WAS

3 GAMES: ANA, BUF, CHI, DET, LAK, MIN, NAS, NYR, TBL, TOR, VAN, WPG

2 GAMES: COL, OTT, SJS

There are a lot of games on the schedule this week, with a whopping half of the league playing four games.  That means there are a full six more games on the schedule this week than Week 5, which means there should be a lot of choices for fantasy owners to make.  All of these games, and that’s with Thursday off for American Thanksgiving.  Should make for a fun week, unusual week.  Lots of decisions are going to have to be made on Wednesday, Friday, and Saturday with thirteen, thirteen, and eleven games respectively while Monday has seven games scheduled and Tuesday and Sunday are the slow days this week (besides Thursday of course) with three games and four games.

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: CGY, CHI, EDM, TOR, VAN, WPG

HOME COOKING

These teams are playing all of their games at home this week so they should be rested and practicing: COL, MIN, SJS

STAYING WELL RESTED

Teams that are not scheduled to play in any back-to-back games in Week 5 while also minimizing travel: ANA, COL, MIN, OTT, SJS

There is going to be lots of traveling this week.  COL, MIN, and SJS make the list from the Home Cooking section, but notice that COL and SJS are two of the three teams only playing two games this week.  ANA and OTT are the additions and OTT also only plays two games, meaning that ANA and MIN are the only two teams that play more than two games that made this list.  Since there are so many teams on the road, don’t let that distract from starting players from the teams that play four games, as it seems to be quite the even playing field.

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:  BOS, BUF, CHI, DAL, DET, EDM, FLA, LAK, MON, NAS, NJD, NYI, NYR, PHI, PHX, PIT, STL, TBL, VAN, WAS, WPG

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:

BOS – 8 wins

MIN – 4 games

OTT – 3 wins

WPG – 3 wins

Boston has clearly gotten over its cup hangover as they have won an amazing eight in a row.  Minnesota has continued to play very impressively and now is tied for the league lead with 27 points despite ranking 26th in the league in goals scored, but thanks to the stellar play of Nik Backstrom (7-4-2, .935 SV%, 1.97 GAA, 2 SO) and Josh Harding (5-1-1, .945 SV%, 1.79 GAA, 1 SO) they haven’t needed much goal support.

SPIRALING

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

DAL – 5 losses

WAS – 3 losses

CAR – 3 losses

It’s amazing how fast things can turn around.  Not long ago sporting two of the best records in the league, Dallas and Washington have both stumbled lately, with the Stars especially so.  After leading the league, they have now lost a whopping five straight and look like an entirely different team, only being able to muster one goal in there past three games.  Carolina on the other hand continues to struggle, with only Columbus sporting a worse goal differential.  Cam Ward should be able to pick it back up, but until he shows evidence that he’s getting back on track then it’s probably wise to let him ride the bench in the short term.

STRONG SCHEDULES

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

Boston Bruins – Opponents: @MON, @BUF, DET+WPG – Gotta go with the hottest team in the league.  Not only are the usual guys like Tim Thomas (5 game winning streak with 2 SO and 8 GA),  Brad Marchand 4g-7a-11pts, +11 past 8 games), Nathan Horton (4g-4a-8pts past 6 games), Tyler Seguin (7g-4a-11pts, +10, 3 GWG in the month of Nov.), Zdeno Chara (1g-9a-10pts, +11 in November), etc must starts, but Chris Kelly (4g-2a-6pts, +9 past 5 games) and ~58% owned Joe Corvo (0g-6a-6pts, +13 past 7 games) could make for a great temporary add as well.

Pittsburgh Penguins – Opponents: NYI, STL, OTT+@MON – The Pens have been rolling for most of the season without their captain, but with the news that the best player in hockey is coming back to the lineup they should be getting even better.  Even if it takes a little time for Crosby to get back into game shape, his presence should still at least be a boost to the spirits of all of his teammates and hopefully a boost to their stat lines.

St. Louis Blues and Toronto Maple Leafs – If you are looking for some quick pickups for spot starts, players from either of these two teams may provide what you are looking for as both of these teams play on Tuesday and Sunday, the two slowest days of the week.  Little owned Tyler Bozak (and 2g-3a-5 pts, 4 PPP past 5 games) and T.J. Oshie (5g-3a-8pts, +7, 1 SHG past 8 games) are prime examples.

WEAK SCHEDULES

…And the least favorable matchups of the week:

Colorado Avalanche – Opponents: VAN, EDM – Despite being in the midst of a franchise long eight-game home streak, they are one of the three teams to play only two games and they are on the busy nights of Wednesday and Saturday versus two very formidable opponents.  They have yet to face the Canucks, however in their only meeting so far with the Oilers they lost 3-1 while being outshot 41-19.  Owners in weekly leagues will most likely want to find replacements during Week 7.

Winnipeg Jets – Opponents: @WAS, @CAR+@BOS – Despite having wins against Washington and Carolina this season, they are now facing all three of their Week 7 opponents on the road, playing against the hottest team in the league in the 2nd of back-to-backs, and the Caps are still one of the best home teams in the league with a 6-1-1 home record.  To top it off, they are playing all three of their games on the three busiest nights of the week, so weekly leaguers should be able to find ample replacements.

That wraps it up.  Good luck out there everyone.


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