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The End of the Break

Michael Finewax

The NHL completes its mandated five days off for the players this week as Chicago, Colorado, Florida, Minnesota and the New York Islanders play only once, while the nine other teams on break, play twice.

You can certainly play the schedule this week in leagues with weekly transactions as Anaheim, Montreal, Nashville, Ottawa, St. Louis, Tampa Bay, Vancouver and Washington play four games.

Next week it is back to a full slate of games.

Editor's Note: Drafting is only half the battle. Dominate all season long with our Season Pass! Use our NEW Lineup Adviser, get our Weekly and Rest-of-Season rankings and projections, track all of your players and more on your way to a championship! Click here for more!  

Don’t forget, for everything NHL, check out Rotoworld's Player News, and follow @Rotoworld_ HK and @mfinewaxhockey on Twitter.

WEEK OF JANUARY 27-FEBRUARY 2

4 Games – Anaheim, Montreal, Nashville, Ottawa, St. Louis, Tampa Bay, Vancouver, Washington

3 Games – Arizona, Buffalo, Calgary, Dallas, Edmonton, Los Angeles, New Jersey, San Jose, Toronto

2 Games - Boston, Carolina, Columbus, Detroit, New York Rangers, Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, Vegas, Winnipeg

1 Game – Chicago, Colorado, Florida, Minnesota, New York Islanders

St. Louis and Tampa Bay play all four games on the road.

Buffalo, Montreal and San Jose play three games at home.

Vancouver plays three games on the road.

INJURIES

Adam Lowry is out at least a month with an upper-body injury. (Click here to see the rest of the injury list.)

ANAHEIM

Games this week

@ San Jose, vs. Arizona, vs. Tampa Bay, @ Los Angeles

Tired: @ Los Angeles (Saturday)

Rested: None

Notes

The Ducks return to action with four games including three games in four nights. Expect to see John Gibson play three times with Ryan Miller getting the call once. Before the Ducks started their break, they sent youngsters Max Jones, Daniel Sprong and Chase De Leo back to the minors to get in some extra playing time. Cam Fowler is a plus-three while Michael Del Zotto is a plus-one. The duo are the only two Ducks on the plus side of the rating. Nicolas Deslauriers has 68 penalty minutes in 36 games and the former Hab is worth looking at if you are in need of penalty minutes.

ARIZONA

Games this week

@ Anaheim, vs. Los Angeles, vs. Chicago

Tired: None

Rested: None

Notes

The Coyotes play three games in four nights. It is no sure thing that Darcy Kuemper will be back as he has been out since December 19 with a lower-body injury. Look for Antti Raanta to play twice with Adin Hill playing once if Kuemper is unable to go. Before the break, the Coyotes sent Hill, Kyle Capobianco and Michael Chaput to the minors. It has been a very disappointing season for Phil Kessel in his first season in the desert. The winger has only 11 goals and 31 points in 51 games with a minus-20 rating. He had 82 and 92 points respectively in his last two seasons with Pittsburgh and the Coyotes thought they were getting a lot better than they did in Kessel. Fortunately, all it cost them was perennial disappointment Alex Galchenyuk.

BOSTON

Games this week

@ Winnipeg, @ Minnesota

Tired: @ Minnesota (Saturday)

Rested: None

Notes

The Bruins sent goaltender Daniel Vladar, Jeremy Lauzon and Karson Kuhlman to Providence of the AHL before beginning the break. They hope to get Connor Clifton back by mid-February as the defenseman has been out of action since December 29 with an upper-body injury. The Bruins have five players in double-digits as far as goal-scoring is concerned. It is no surprise that each of their top line, David Pastrnak, Brad Marchand and Patrice Bergeron, all have at least 21 goals with Pastrnak leading the entire NHL with 37. Jake DeBrusk has 15 while David Krejci has 12. Charlie Coyle is next best with nine. Tuukka Rask participated in Tuesday’s optional skate as he is trying to return from a concussion. Stay tuned. Congratulations to Lauzon who scored his first career NHL goal against the Golden Knights in his second NHL game.

BUFFALO

Games this week

vs. Ottawa, vs. Montreal, vs. Columbus

Tired: None

Rested: vs. Ottawa (Tuesday)

Notes

The Sabres sent Scott Wilson, Lawrence Pilut and Rasmus Asplund to Rochester of the AHL to get in some extra playing time during the break. Victor Olofsson could be back as early as the end of this week from a lower-body injury suffered on January 2. The winger has shed his walking boot and was doing some off-ice workouts when he joined the team during its recent road trip as he was with his dad during the father’s trip. Jeff Skinner has been out of action since December 28 with an upper-body injury but he could return to action in time for the Ottawa game on Tuesday. Jack Eichel continued his career year as he has 28 goals and 62 points in 48 games. Carter Hutton started the season 6-0-0 but has not won since October, going 0-7-4 since then.

CALGARY

Games this week

vs. St. Louis, @ Edmonton, vs. Edmonton

Tired: @ Edmonton (Wednesday)

Rested: vs. St. Louis (Tuesday), vs. Edmonton (Saturday)

Notes

The Flames play a pair of games with their provincial rivals, the Edmonton Oilers. Last time the two teams met, Matthew Tkachuk and Zack Kassian had a few incidents that resulted in Kassian getting a two-game suspension. His first game back is Tuesday and expect fireworks. Alexander Yelesin was returned to the minors. Nice move by referee Wes McCauley who threw both Elias Lindholm and Artem Anisimov out of the face off circle to start the game so brothers Brady and Matthew Tkachuk could take the draw in front of 40 family and friends. No wonder McCauley is the best referee in the NHL. Mark Jankowski scored Saturday in the same game, his first goal in the 39 NHL games this season.

CAROLINA

Games this week

vs. Vegas, vs. Vancouver

Tired: None

Rested: vs. Vancouver (Sunday)

Notes

Jaccob Slavin has taken over the point on the power play for the injured Dougie Hamilton (who is out for the remainder of the season) so grab him if available in your fantasy league. It was a great first half of the season for sophomore Andrei Svechnikov as the winger has 19 goals and 45 points in 50 games. He has star written all over him. Teuvo Teravainen is putting together another big season and very quietly at that as he has 10 goals and 48 points to lead the Hurricanes. It has been quite a return for Justin Williams who scored the shootout winner in his debut on January 19 and then came back two nights later to score a pair in a 4-1 win over Winnipeg.

CHICAGO

Games this week

@ Arizona

Tired: None

Rested: None

Notes

The Blackhawks sent Brandon Hagel and Dennis Gilbert to the minors. Goaltender Matt Tomkins inked a two-year/two-way deal with Chicago. Erik Gustafsson has only 24 points in 50 games after a 60-point season last year but the defenseman seems to be coming out of his funk with a goal and six points in his last three games. Dylan Strome has missed seven straight games with an ankle injury. Jonathan Toews was the third star of the week with three goals and nine points in four games including a two-goal, two-assist effort against Toronto. Congratulations go out to the great Patrick Kane who reached the 1,000-point mark Sunday, the youngest American-born player to do so.

COLORADO

Games this week

@ Philadelphia

Tired: None

Rested: @ Philadelphia (Saturday)

Notes

Ryan Graves is having a terrific season. The defenseman has eight goals and 19 points and is tops in the NHL with a plus-34. Cale Makar was named the midseason winner of the Calder Trophy by the PHWA. He has 11 goals and 37 points in 41 games thus far. Nathan MacKinnon is having a fabulous season with 72 points (third best in the NHL) including 30 goals, in 49 games. He is one of the top-three players in the NHL at this time. Nazem Kadri has been quite a revelation this season as the center has 17 goals and 31 points in 46 games. Andre Burakovsky, the other off-season acquisition, had 15 goals and 33 points in 46 games as the Avs have definitely added secondary scoring.

COLUMBUS

Games this week

@ Buffalo, @ Montreal

Tired: None

Rested: None

Notes

The surprise team of the first half, Columbus was supposed to be re-building after losing free agents Sergei Bobrovsky, Artemi Panarin and Ryan Dzingel in the summer. But coach John Tortorella has them playing amazing hockey and they are fighting for a playoff spot with 62 points, good enough for the first wild card spot in the East. They sent Matiss Kivlenieks and Adam Clendening to the minors but not before Kivlenieks won his first NHL start, making 31 saves Sunday. Elvis Merzlikins, who took over from the injured Joonas Korpisalo at the end of December and was winless in eight starts to begin his NHL career, all of a sudden is a Vezina-winning type goalie as he is 9-2-0 since then, stopping 321 of the 337 shots fired his way.

DALLAS

Games this week

vs. Tampa Bay, vs. Toronto, @ New Jersey 

Tired: None

Rested: None

Notes

The Stars sent Joel Kiviranta to the minors during the break. The Stars are sitting in third place in the Central as well as having the third best record in the West but they are not doing it with a lot of scoring. Tyler Seguin leads in points with 36 in 48 games but has only 11 goals. Roope Hintz leads the team with only 15 goals. I’ve been surprised with John Klingberg’s lack of success offensively as he has only two goals and 19 points in 37 games. The Dallas goalkeeping has kept them in the hunt as both Ben Bishop and Anton Khudobin have .927 save percentages with Bishop at 2.28 as far as goals-against-average is concerned and Khudobin at a slightly higher 2.30.

DETROIT

Games this week

@ New York Rangers, vs. New York Rangers

Tired: None

Rested: None

Notes

The Red Wings play a home-and-home series against the Rangers so look for (believe it or not) Filip Hronek who has two this season, including one on Saturday against Vincent Trocheck of the Panthers. The Red Wings sent Calvin Pickard, Dennis Cholowski, Givani Smith and Filip Zadina to the minors but expect most, if not all, to be recalled before the Red Wings resume their schedule. Zadina has three goals and four points in his last four games and has eight goals and 15 points in 26 contests to date. Jonathan Bernier has been out of action since January 10 with a lower-body injury and could return for the Rangers series. Jimmy Howard continues to have a horrible season with a 2-19-2 record to go with a 4.12 GAA and a .883 save percentage. If you have him in your starting lineup, perhaps you need a new hobby.

EDMONTON

Games this week

vs. Calgary, vs. St. Louis, @ Calgary

Tired: @ Calgary (Saturday)

Rested: vs. Calgary (Wednesday)

Notes

The Oilers play three games in four nights so expect to see Mike Smith play twice with Mikko Koskinen playing once. The Oilers play the Flames twice this week and as mentioned in the Calgary piece, Zack Kassian should be involved in a fight or two with Matthew Tkachuk. The Oilers and Kassian are talking about a contract extension. Connor McDavid leads the NHL in points with 76 and was named the midseason winner by the PWHA for the Hart Trophy. Leon Draisaitl is sitting second in scoring with 75 points as the Oilers have the best one-two punch in the NHL. Brandon Manning was suspended for five games by the AHL for a racial slur.

FLORIDA

Games this week

@ Montreal

Tired: None

Rested: None

Notes

The Panthers sent Riley Stillman and Sam Motembeault to the minors after Tuesday’s 4-3 win over Chicago. It was a big win but none bigger than for head coach Joel Quenneville who beat his former team in the Windy City in his first game back after getting fired last season. Mike Hoffman has a 10-game scoring streak and has 18 goals and 40 points in 49 games including 16 points on the power play. Evgenii Dadonov leads the team with 23 goals while Hoffman, Jonathan Huberdeau and Noel Acciari all have 18. There is a discrepancy in assists as Huberdeau has 47 assists while Acciari has only three.

LOS ANGELES

Games this week

vs. Tampa Bay, @ Arizona, vs. Anaheim

Tired: None

Rested: vs. Anaheim (Saturday)

Notes

The Kings play three games in four nights so expect to see Jonathan Quick in net twice with Jack Campbell getting the call once. Joakim Ryan has been out of the lineup since December 27 with an undisclosed injury but should return for the game against Tampa Bay. The Kings sent Blake Lizotte, Matt Luff and Jaret Anderson-Dolan to the minors. Dustin Brown has 10 goals this season but is well behind his pace of the last two seasons of 51 and 61 points as he has only 22 in 46 games. While Anze Kopitar is having a fine season with 43 points in 50 games, the next best total on the Kings are Drew Doughty, Tyler Toffoli and Alex Iafallo with 27 apiece.

MINNESOTA

Games this week

vs. Boston  

Tired: None

Rested: vs. Boston (Saturday)

Notes

Zach Parise saw his four-game goal scoring streak come to an end Wednesday although he did manage an assist. Parise scored five goals during the streak with four coming on the power play. He has 19 goals on the season to lead the Wild. Matt Dumba has only three goals and 16 points this season after scoring 12 times in only 32 games last season and has not found the back of the net in his last 32 games but he does have three assists in his last three games as well as a plus-five rating. Victor Rask centered the second line Wednesday, between Kevin Fiala and Jason Zucker. Wild prospect Kirill Kaprizov was the unanimous pick among KHLers to be the next big star from Russia to go to the NHL.

MONTREAL

Games this week

vs. Washington, @ Buffalo, vs. Florida vs. Columbus

Tired: None

Rested: None

Notes

The Canadiens return to action with four games this week including three contests in four nights. Look for Carey Price to get the call in net three times with Charlie Lindgren getting the call once. Dale Weise was sent to the minors. Brendan Gallagher has missed the last five games with headaches after returning for a game following a concussion. His status is unknown at this time. Jonathan Drouin skated after practice Saturday and has been out of action since undergoing wrist surgery in mid-November. An early February return is hoped for, but not written in stone. Phillip Danault has 12 goals and 36 points in 50 games along with a great plus-15 rating on a mediocre Montreal squad.

NASHVILLE

Games this week

vs. Toronto, @ Washington, @ New Jersey, vs. Vegas

Tired: @ New Jersey (Thursday)

Rested: vs. Vegas (Saturday)

Notes

The Predators play three games in four nights as part of a four-game week. Pekka Rinne could get three starts but should split the net with Juuse Saros this week. The Predators sent Colton Sissons to the minors on a conditioning stint as he has missed the last 10 games with a lower-body injury. Roman Josi is just behind the pace needed to set a franchise record for points. He has 48 points in 47 games and is on pace for 84 points, which would leave him one behind the record set by Paul Kariya in the 2005-06 season. The defenseman is 16 points up on Filip Forsberg who is second in Predators scoring this season. Viktor Arvidsson was dinged for $2,000 for diving.

NEW JERSEY

Games this week

@ Ottawa, vs. Nashville, vs. Dallas

Tired: None

Rested: vs. Nashville (Thursday)

Notes

The Devils sent Michael McLeod, Jesper Boqvist and Cory Schneider to the minors. Travis Zajac wants to remain with New Jersey and still has a year remaining in his contract as well as a no-trade deal. He rejected a trade as he was unwilling to waive his no-trade contract. Nick Merkley has plenty of talent and was part of the Taylor Hall deal. He is coming on strong of late with four goals and nine points in his last seven games in the AHL. Mackenzie Blackwood has recovered from a concussion suffered on January 9 and is expected to start when the Devils are in Ottawa Monday. Kyle Palmieri leads the Devils with 31 points.

NEW YORK ISLANDERS

Games this week

vs. Vancouver

Tired: None

Rested: None

Notes

It is a much needed break for the Islanders who played six games in nine nights before breaking, including five games in seven nights. Gus Katsaros has a great analytical column on the Islanders lack of drawing even strength penalties that you can read here. Coach Barry Trotz benched Mathew Barzal for all but 40 seconds in the third period Tuesday and Barzal took the blame for it. He leads the Islanders with 42 points while Brock Nelson leads in goals with 20. Cal Clutterbuck has yet to start skating but could do so after the break. He underwent wrist surgery on December 19. Ross Johnston leads the Islanders with 68 penalty minutes despite seeing action in only 28 games. He has chipped in with three goals and an assist as well.

NEW YORK RANGERS

Games this week

vs. Detroit, @ Detroit

Tired: None

Rested: None

Notes

The Rangers play a home-and-home series against the worst team in the NHL, the Detroit Red Wings. If things flare up, Brendan Lemieux should add to his penalty minute total of 87 minutes in 37 games. Ryan Strome is having a career year with 43 points in 48 games but can become a restricted free agent at the end of the season and it is possible that New York will try and deal him while his value is high, rather than committing long-term to him. Strome wants to stay as he has already been traded twice (from the Islanders to Edmonton and then to the Rangers) and loves it in New York. Artemi Panarin has an upper-body injury and will miss the All-Star game. He will be replaced by Chris Kreider. Igor Shesterkin was sent to the minors for more game action during the break but expect a recall in time to play the Red Wings.

OTTAWA     

Games this week

vs. New Jersey, @ Buffalo, vs. Washington, @ Toronto

Tired: @ Buffalo (Tuesday), @ Toronto (Saturday)

Rested: None

Notes

The Senators play a pair of back-to-back games this week so Craig Anderson and Marcus Hogberg will share the net as Anders Nilsson is still out with a concussion. Brady Tkachuk will replace Auston Matthews at the All-Star game. He snapped out of a scoring slump in which he had only one goal in eight games with a goal and an assist against Calgary and his brother Matthew Saturday. Jean-Gabriel Pageau has sat out the last two games with a sore neck. Rudolfs Balcers, Drake Batherson and Filip Chlapik were sent to the minors for playing time during the break. Connor Brown has had three straight games of a goal and an assist in each.

PHILADELPHIA

Games this week

@ Pittsburgh, vs. Colorado

Tired: @ Colorado (Saturday)

Rested: None

Notes

The Flyers sent Connor Bunnaman, German Rubtsov and Alex Lyon to the minors. Sean Couturier was named the PHWA’s Selke Trophy winner over the first half of the season. Joel Farabee has two goals and an assist in his last three games after starting the season with three goals and 12 points in his first 37 contests. The Flyers are in sixth place in the Metropolitan Division but only one point out of the wild card as they have 60 points in 50 contests. James van Riemsdyk scored only four times in his first 25 games but has 10 goals in his last 25 games including one in each of his last two. Couturier and Travis Konecny lead the Flyers with 43 points apiece. Claude Giroux, the perennial point leader for the Flyers, has only 35 this season and has yet to miss a game.

PITTSBURGH

Games this week

vs. Philadelphia, @ Washington

Tired: None

Rested: None

Notes

The Penguins are interested in Minnesota’s Jason Zucker as they need a replacement on the top-two lines for the injured Jake Guentzel.  The PHWA named Mike Sullivan as their midseason winner of the Jack Adams Award. Pittsburgh sent Kevin Czuczman, Sam Lafferty, Joseph Blandisi and Andrew Agozzino to the minors. Nick Bjugstad is making progress in his core muscle after surgery in November. He has started skating. Look for Justin Schultz to return against the Flyers on Wednesday as he has been out with a lower-body injury since December 17. He has two goals and eight points in 27 games. Dominik Kahun has a concussion.

ST. LOUIS

Games this week

@ Vancouver, @ Calgary, @ Edmonton, @ Winnipeg

Tired: @ Calgary (Tuesday)

Rested: None

Notes

The Blues go right across Western Canada this week as they have a pair of back-to-back games. Look for Jordan Binnington and Jake Allen to share the net. Vladimir Tarasenko skated on Tuesday for the first time since undergoing surgery in late October for a shoulder injury. The timetable was five-six months at the time which could get him back right at the end of the regular season, or perhaps in the playoffs. Colton Parayko has been out for three weeks with an upper-body injury but could return this week. Alex Pietrangelo is having his best offensive season in his career as he has 13 goals and 40 points in 49 games. His best is 54 points set two seasons ago.

SAN JOSE

Games this week

vs. Anaheim, vs. Vancouver, vs. Tampa Bay

Tired: None

Rested: vs. Tampa Bay (Saturday)

Notes

The Sharks sent Antti Suomela, Joel Kellman and Joachim Blichfeld to the minors before the All-Star break. The Sharks ownership gave GM Doug Wilson a vote of confidence as San Jose is on pace to miss the playoffs this season for only the second time in the last 16 years. Don’t expect the Sharks to sell the farm at the trade deadline as there are plenty of pieces that San Jose wants to keep. Aaron Dell has taken over of late as the Sharks number one netminder, relegating Martin Jones to the end of the bench. Erik Karlsson and the injured Logan Couture lead San Jose in scoring with 36 points. Brent Burns is not leading the Sharks in shots on goal after getting at least 300 in each of the last four seasons.

TAMPA BAY

Games this week

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

Tired: @ San Jose (Saturday)

Rested: None

Notes

The Lightning are on the road for all four games this week and play three times in four nights as they are in Texas and California. Andrei Vasilevskiy should get three starts in goal with Curtis McElhinney getting one start. The Lightning sent Mitchell Stephens to the minors. Luke Schenn successfully cleared waivers and is playing for Syracuse of the AHL. Schenn was the fifth overall pick in the 2008 Draft but never fulfilled his promise.  Nikita Kucherov has 54 points in 47 games as he tries to get back to the 100-point mark. Alex Killorn is having a career year with 39 points in 46 games including 20 goals for the first time in his NHL career.

TORONTO

Games this week

@ Nashville, @ Dallas, vs. Ottawa

Tired: None

Rested: vs. Ottawa (Saturday)

Notes

The Maple Leafs sent Jake Muzzin to the AHL for a rehab stint after breaking his foot on December 27. Expect him back in the lineup on Monday in Nashville. Also expected to play is Auston Matthews who went to the All-Star game but will not participate as he has a big wrist problem. He is expected to return Monday as well. William Nylander was named the PHWA’s midseason winner of the comeback player of the year. Kasperi Kapanen seems to be traded everywhere in the rumor mill but Toronto wants a lot in return for his services. Toronto sent Timothy Liljegren and Adam Brooks back to the minors.  

VANCOUVER

Games this week

vs. St. Louis, @ San Jose, @ New York Islanders, @ Carolina

Tired: @ Carolina (Sunday)

Rested: None

Notes

The Canucks play four games this week. Look for Jacob Markstrom to play three times with Thatcher Demko playing once. Markstrom has been in talks with the Vancouver brass on a new contract extension. Olli Juolevi has 12 points in his last 11 contests in the AHL and is finally showing why he was selected fifth overall in the 2016 Draft. He has two goals and 22 points in 35 games this season. The Canucks still own the rights to hulking defenseman Nikita Tryamkin who bolted back to Russia after the 2016-17 campaign. The six-foot, seven inch, 265 pound blueliner is still playing in Russia but wants to return to the NHL says his agent.

VEGAS

Games this week

@ Carolina, @ Nashville

Tired: @ Nashville (Saturday)

Rested: None

Notes

The Golden Knights sent Nicolas Roy and Nicolas Hague to the minors following Tuesday’s 3-2 road loss to Boston. Hague scored his first NHL goal in the contest and it was in the defenseman’s 38th games. New head coach Peter DeBoer has shortened the average length of shifts down four seconds from what the fired Gerard Gallant was doing. Cody Glass should be ready to return to action in Carolina. He has been out of action since January 4 with a lower-body injury. Max Pacioretty continues to lead the Golden Knights in points with 47, one better than Mark Stone. Marc-Andre Fleury is still struggling in the Vegas cage as he has a 2.86 GAA and a .907 save percentage.

WASHINGTON

Games this week

@ Montreal, vs. Nashville, @ Ottawa, vs. Pittsburgh

Tired: None

Rested: None

Notes

The Capitals play four games this week. Look for Braden Holtby and Ilya Samsonov to share the net. Alex Ovechkin was the first star of the week with eight goals in three games which included a pair of hat tricks and a two-goal effort. He has 34 goals this season and trails only David Pastrnak for the goal-scoring lead. John Carlson was easily named the PHWA midseason winner of the Norris Trophy that goes to the top defenseman. Carlson has 60 points which leads all defensemen by 12 (Roman Josi with 48) and is tops on the Capitals as he is 10 points ahead of Ovechkin.

WINNIPEG

Games this week

vs. Boston, vs. St. Louis

Tired: None

Rested: None

Notes

The Jets sent Kristian Vesalainen, Cam Schilling and Nelson Nogier to the minors. The PHWA named Connor Hellebuyck as the midseason winner of the Vezina Trophy. Kyle Connor completed the first half of the season with a goal and an assist to give him 25 goals and 50 points in 51 contests. He had 66 points last season including 34 goals and his training camp holdout has not affected him in the least. Adam Lowry is out at least a month after suffering an upper-body injury Sunday. Neal Pionk has played better offensively this season with five goals and 32 points, than the man he was traded for, Jacob Trouba who has seven goals and 23 points, plus the Rangers tossed in first round pick in which the Jets selected Ville Heinola.