Week 3 Fantasy Hockey Planner

The Fantasy Hockey Weekly Planner is the essential guide to setting your lineup for the upcoming week. Every week, we provide you with top matchups, the latest news and give you the scoop on injured players.

Projections are for Oct. 20-26 games and all stats are through Thursday.

Teams with four games: Boston, Dallas, Florida

Teams with three games: Anaheim, Atlanta, Buffalo, Calgary, Colorado, Columbus, Detroit, Edmonton, Los Angeles, New Jersey, N.Y. Rangers, Ottawa, Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, San Jose, St. Louis, Toronto, Washington

Teams with two games: Carolina, Chicago, Minnesota, Montreal, N.Y. Islanders, Nashville, Phoenix, Tampa Bay, Vancouver

Fantasy Week 3 (Oct. 20-26)

An interesting schedule note for Fantasy Week 3 is on Saturday, Oct. 25, all 30 NHL teams will be in action.

It is the only time all season there will be a full slate of games. Because all 30 teams are playing on Saturday, there will be no games scheduled for Sunday, Oct. 26.

Editor's Note: Projections are for Oct. 20-26 games and all stats are through Thursday

Anaheim Ducks: The Ducks will be on the road for all three of their Week 3 games. With one back-to-back slate, Jonas Hiller could get in net for a start ... The Stanley Cup contenders haven't exactly had a strong start to the season as they have lost their first four games and it's very odd to see Rob Niedermayer leading the Ducks with two goals through that span. Head coach Randy Carlyle has challenged his top-six forwards -- Chris Kunitz , Ryan Getzlaf , Corey Perry , Brendan Morrison , Ryan Carter and Teemu Selanne -- to pick up the pace. They have two goals between the six of them.

Atlanta Thrashers: Atlanta is another team that is on the road for all three games next week. They have played just one road game this season and lost 3-2 to Florida in overtime ... Atlanta has one set of back-to-back games, so Johan Hedberg might start a game to give Kari Lehtonen a day to rest ... Second-year forward Bryan Little is the Thrashers' leading scorer with three goals and two assists and has already earned a promotion to the team's top line as a right winger with center Todd White and left winger Ilya Kovalchuk ... As expected, Mathieu Schneider , who is usually one of the top plus/minus players in the NHL, is suffering early in his Atlanta career. He has just one point in four games and a minus-4 rating.

Boston Bruins: Boston is one of three teams playing four games in Week 3. Three of those are at home and they will finally have their home opener Monday against the Penguins ... The Bruins continue to split starts between Tim Thomas and Manny Fernandez , trying to figure out who gives them the best shot on a nightly basis. Boston wants it to be Thomas after he helped them so much in 2007-08, but he has struggled in his first two starts and the door is slightly open for Fernandez ... Forward Chuck Kobasew fractured his leg in the opener against Colorado and is out indefinitely ... First-line center Marc Savard has been lauded for years about his talent for getting the puck to his team's scorers, but now Savard's own scoring ability has taken center stage. He has five goals in his first three games and is becoming an all-around gem ... Michael Ryder has made a smooth transition with his new team (one goal, three assists), but the real surprise of the early season has been third-line center David Krejci . In his second full season, he is second on the team with four points and two goals.

Top 10 Players Added
Player % Change
1. David Booth , LW, FLA 42
2. Antti Miettinen , RW, MIN 34
3. Fabian Brunnstrom , LW, DAL 31
4. Brandon Dubinsky , C, NYR 29
5. Aaron Voros , C, NYR 28
6. Devin Setoguchi , RW, SJ 21
7. Sergei Kostitsyn , LW, MON 16
8. Bryan Little , C, ATL 16
9. Mikko Koivu , C, MIN 15
10. Guillaume Latendresse , RW, MON 13

Buffalo Sabres: The Sabres don't have any back-to-back games in Week 3, so goalie Ryan Miller has a good chance of starting all three games in net ... It's been tough luck for the Sabres' centers in 2008-09. Paul Gaustad (thumb) and Tim Connolly (back) were already hurting and now Buffalo lost second-line center Jochen Hecht for at least two weeks following finger surgery ... Coach Lindy Ruff has opted to try Thomas Vanek on the team's penalty-kill unit and it has worked with great success thus far. Two of Vanek's five goals this season have been short-handed ... Forward Ales Kotalik continues to thrive on the power play as both of his scores have come on the man advantage ... Buffalo has gotten solid play in the first few games from both defenseman Teppo Numminen , who is making a comeback from heart surgery, and left winger Daniel Paille . Both players have three assists in the first three games.

Calgary Flames: Andre Roy is trying to shake an arm injury, but he has been practicing with the team and will likely dress the next time Calgary needs an enforcer ... The Flames certainly rolled the dice when they signed Todd Bertuzzi in the offseason, but the move is paying great dividends thus far. He leads the team with three goals and seems to be clicking on the top line with Daymond Langkow and Jarome Iginla ... Mike Cammalleri was also another key offseason addition and he leads the Flames with four points (one goal) in three games.

Carolina Hurricanes: Carolina has just two games on the upcoming slate -- at Pittsburgh and at N.Y. Islanders -- and goalie Cam Ward might start both contests since they are not back-to-back. Ward was 2-1-0 with a 2.45 GAA in four games against Pittsburgh last season and 1-1-0 with a 3.12 GAA in two games against New York ... Hats off to Rod Brind'Amour who has looked exceptionally strong coming off a serious knee injury. He is tied for the team lead with two goals and is second with three points ... Hurricanes first-round draft pick Zach Boychuk has been cleared to return to practice following wrist surgery, but there is still no firm timetable on when he might begin playing. The Hurricanes have inked him to an entry-level deal, so Boychuk might debut at some point in 2008-09.

Chicago Blackhawks: The big news of the week was Chicago firing coach Denis Savard and replacing him with Joel Quenneville. The Blackhawks new coach has yet to make a statement on how he will handle the goalie situation, but with two games during Fantasy Week 3, we can likely expect to see a split between Cristobal Huet and Nikolai Khabibulin as Quenneville gets a feel for his new team ... Right winger Martin Havlat leads Chicago with two goals and five points and continues to be a dominant offensive force. But like every time with Havlat, we are just waiting for an injury to pop up and keep him sidelined ... Chicago traded Robert Lang to Montreal late in the preseason because they felt confident in Patrick Sharp as their second-line center. Sharp has instilled further confidence in the organization with a quick start, as he has two goals and two assists in four games ... The transition from defenseman to forward has not gone as planned for Dustin Byfuglien , who has just one assist and a minus-1 rating in four games.

Colorado Avalanche: Peter Budaj has gotten off to a very bad start in 2008-09, losing his first three starts and allowing 13 goals. He has a 4.38 GAA and .824 save percentage. Coach Tony Granato continues to say Budaj is their No. 1 goaltender, but he is trying to get Andrew Raycroft , who won his Colorado debut Thursday, at least one start per week. If he tends to outperform Budaj, Granato might not have a choice and be forced to start Raycroft over Budaj ... Avalanche right winger Marek Svatos continues to be slow to recover from offseason knee surgery and was even a healthy scratch for one game during Week 2 (Oct. 13-19).

Columbus Blue Jackets: Starting goalie Pascal Leclaire had to leave Friday's win against the Predators in the third period when a puck struck his right wrist. Leclaire skated off under his own power after being checked out for several minutes by the trainers, but he kept his hand motionless. Fredrik Norrena replaced Leclaire and might have to pick up the slack in Week 3 in case the injury-prone Leclaire cannot play ... The Blue Jackets were forced to put enforcer Jared Boll on injured reserve with a head injury, but that allowed them to also recall 2008 first-round pick Nikita Filatov from Syracuse. The AHL was no match for the Russian forward as he had two goals in his first two games. Now, let's see how he holds up against NHLers ... Blue Jackets center Michael Peca had his suspension cut from indefinitely to five games for bumping an official ... Defenseman Christian Backman has had a good start to his Blue Jackets career with one goal and two assists in three games.

Dallas Stars: After being a healthy scratch for two games, Stars rookie winger Fabian Brunnstrom had quite a NHL debut. The 23-year-old Swede netted a hat trick in his first NHL game Wednesday against the Predators, becoming just the third player in NHL history to have a hat trick in his debut, joining Alex Smart of the Montreal Canadiens (Jan. 14, 1943) and Real Cloutier of the Quebec Nordiques (Oct. 10, 1979) ... Stephane Robidas continues to be a solid fill-in for the injured Sergei Zubov (hip) as he had one power-play goal and three assists in four games ... The crafty veteran Mike Modano is also showing age is not a factor as he is tied with Robidas for the team lead with four points ... Dallas is one of three teams to play four games in Week 3, and with one back-to-back set, rookie goalie Tobias Stephan could steal a start from Marty Turco .

Best Fantasy schedules
Team Schedule
1. Capitals @CGY, @PHO, @DAL
2. Bruins PIT, @BUF, TOR, ATL
3. Sharks @PHI, @FLA, @TB
4. Blues DET, LA, FLA
5. Devils DAL, PHI, @PHI

Detroit Red Wings: Detroit forward Henrik Zetterberg missed his first game of the season Thursday against the Canucks because of a groin injury. He is being listed as day to day, but coach Mike Babcock believes this is an issue that could sideline Zetterberg 7-10 days ... While forward Tomas Holmstrom has experienced great success in the first few weeks (four goals in four games), new acquisition Marian Hossa is still searching for his first goal ... Detroit does have a back-to-back on the schedule Week 3 and there is a very good chance Ty Conklin gets in net for a start.

Edmonton Oilers: Two starts, two wins for goalie Mathieu Garon . He continues to hold off Dwayne Roloson and Jeff Deslauriers , but with back-to-back games against Chicago and Colorado in Week 3, don't be surprised if coach Craig MacTavish gives Garon a night off ... Shawn Horcoff and Sheldon Souray both had their 2007-08 seasons come to an end because of shoulder injuries, but after strong preseasons, both players have stayed strong in the regular season. Horcoff has a goal in each of the first two games and Souray has one goal to go along with an assist.

Florida Panthers: Defenseman Karlis Skrastins (neck) came off injured reserve Thursday and scored a goal in his first game against the Wild. He has never really been a top offensive-defenseman, so he remains just a low-end Fantasy flier ... The Panthers play four times in Week 3 and they likely won't ask Tomas Vokoun to start every game in net, especially with a back-to-back against San Jose and St. Louis. Craig Andersson should see one start ... Defenseman Bryan McCabe was injured in the team's opener Oct. 10 against Carolina, but escaped any serious injury and is only expected to miss two weeks with a lower back contusion.

Los Angeles Kings: Los Angeles already had a thin blue line, but the situation got even worse after Jack Johnson injured his shoulder Oct. 12 against the Sharks. Johnson will now miss 2-3 months. His absence means more playing time for rookie Drew Doughty ... The Kings have been very pleased with Michal Handzus effort thus far. He has been slowed by injuries and ailments the previous two seasons, but he finally appears to be at 100 percent. He is starting to find his game offensively and is back to being a viable penalty killer as well ... Kings coach Terry Murray has moved Alexander Frolov from the top line to the third line and wants one of his top scorers to improve his checking ability. However, don't look too much into the demotion. In Murray's system, the first and third lines see the most ice time, so Frolov will still be on the ice plenty.

Minnesota Wild: Injuries are starting to creep up on Minnesota. They had to place Marek Zidlicky on IR because of a foot injury. Marian Gaborik is day-to-day with a lower-body injury. Owen Nolan left Tuesday's game against the Thrashers because of a lower-body injury and was unable to play Thursday against the Panthers. And Pierre-Marc Bouchard has some sort of lower-body injury and is out until at least Oct. 23 ... The news hasn't been all bad for Minnesota. Center Mikko Koivu had a goal and four assists Thursday against the Panthers, and now has nine points (eight assists) in the first three games. Also, Antti Miettinen has enjoyed the move to Minnesota with five goals in his first three games and has scored at least once in each contest ... The Wild have just two games in the upcoming scoring period, home contests against Buffalo and Columbus. With no back-to-back games, Niklas Backstrom has a good chance of starting both games. Backstrom has already won his lone home game in 2008-09 and won 21 of 33 home appearances in 2007-08.

Montreal Canadiens: Chris Higgins continues to be slowed by a groin injury and the Canadiens still list him as day-to-day ... Montreal has just two home games in Week 3 and they are four-days apart. Carey Price should see both starts in net ... The Canadiens have outscored their opponents 15-8 in their first four games ... Forward Guillaume Latendresse has been the surprise player of the young season for Montreal with five points (four assists). He has been clicking on a line with Saku Koivu (five points) and newcomer Alex Tanguay (four points) ... Although he has no goals, defenseman Andrei Markov continues to be one of the league's best offensive defenseman as he has six assists in four games.

Nashville Predators: Top-line center Jason Arnott fractured a finger on his right hand and is expected to miss at least three games. The Predators are hoping he can return by Oct. 23 against the Flames, but with just two games in Week 3, it's probably best to keep Arnott reserved in Fantasy. Just be glad the injury is only minor ... Since Nashville doesn't have back-to-back games, Dan Ellis will likely be in net for both contests ... Despite the loss of Marek Zidlicky , who was traded to Minnesota in the offseason, the Predators have received great production from their blue line, especially Ryan Suter and Shea Weber . Suter has a goal and three assists in four games, while Weber has two goals and one assist. Both players are even or better.

New Jersey Devils: Goalie Martin Brodeur recorded his 97th shutout during Thursday's 1-0 win against the Thrashers and has won three of his first four starts in 2008-09 ... Center Brian Rolston , who was a top addition in the offseason, crashed into the boards during Thursday's win and sprained his ankle. After the game everyone gave good reports on Rolston and the injury is considered minor. Rolston is a low-end injury-risk start in Week 3 ... Two of the Devils' games in Week 3 are against the Flyers. New Jersey went 6-2-0 against Philadelphia last season and outscored them 28-19.

New York Islanders: The Islanders continue to be very mysterious when it comes to goalie Rick DiPietro . They refuse to say the knee he had offseason surgery on is the reason he has yet to make his 2008-09 debut, but he has missed the first four games and we still don't know when he will replace Joey MacDonald in net ... Forward Trent Hunter is in the first year of a five-year contract extension and is so far earning every penny. He has scored in three straight games and has totaled four goals in that span. He even scored the game winner in overtime Thursday against Tampa Bay.

New York Rangers: New York has received a lot of quality production from the usual characters such as Scott Gomez (five points), Nikolay Zherdev (five), Markus Naslund (four) and Wade Redden (three), but they are getting overwhelming returns from the likes of Brandon Dubinsky (seven), Aaron Voros (seven) and Dan Girardi (five) ... In case you missed the sad news, the Rangers lost prospect Alexei Cherepanov, their 2007 first-round pick, after he tragically died while playing with Avangard Omsk of the Continental Hockey League (KHL). He was just 19 years old.

Ottawa Senators: Daniel Alfredsson made a quick recovery from knee surgery to return to the lineup Friday against the Coyotes. Alfredsson was expected to miss two weeks after having surgery in early October, but he missed just one game before hopping back in the lineup. He had two assists in his return ... Ottawa is up for three games in Week 3, and with one back-to-back slate, Alex Auld could jump in net for a contest.

Philadelphia Flyers: After starting the season with four straight losses, Flyers head coach John Stevens decided to shake up his lines Friday. He broke up the pairing of Daniel Briere , Mike Richards and Simon Gagne . He replaced Mike Knuble with Richards on the top line and moved Briere back to center. Richards will now skate with Scott Hartnell and Steve Downie , while Jeff Carter , Scottie Upshall and Joffrey Lupul make up the other line ... The shake-up comes after Briere struggled as a top-line winger. Richards (three goals) and Gagne (four goals) had no troubles, but Briere has yet to score in four games ... Goalie Martin Biron has gotten off to an awful start as he is 0-3-0 with a 5.74 GAA and .824 save percentage. He is definitely missing defenseman Randy Jones , who is out until mid-January following hip surgery ... It appears 2008 first-round draft pick Luca Sbisa will stay with the team and not be returned to his junior squad. Sbisa skated in a defensive pairing with Braydon Coburn Thursday.

Toughest Fantasy schedules
Team Schedule
1. Blue Jackets VAN, NYR, @MIN
2. Thrashers @TB, @DET, @BOS
3. Oilers @CHI, @COL, @VAN
4. Blackhawks EDM, DET
5. Islanders DAL, CAR

Phoenix Coyotes: Phoenix got lucky after defenseman Derek Morris left Wednesday's game against Chicago with a cut on his hand. He didn't miss any time and was in the lineup Friday against the Senators ... The Coyotes were not as lucky with tough guy Daniel Carcillo , who was suspended two games by the NHL after leaving the bench during a fight. Carcillo is eligible to return during Fantasy Week 3 on Oct. 23 vs. Washington ... Phoenix has just two games in Week 3 with no back-to-backs. Ilya Bryzgalov should start both games in net ... Top-line center Olli Jokinen has made a seamless transition from Florida to Phoenix as he had at least one point in his first three games with the Coyotes. He totaled one goal and three assists.

Pittsburgh Penguins: After not having an even-strength goal in four straight games, Penguins coach Michel Therrien has put Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin back on the team's top scoring line. They will be paired with Pascal Dupuis . The second line now consists of Ruslan Fedotenko , Jordan Staal and Petr Sykora , and the third line hosts Miroslav Satan , Maxime Talbot and Tyler Kennedy ... Malkin hasn't had a problem scoring with two goals and four assists in five games, but Crosby doesn't have a goal and the Penguins desperately need his offensive game ... Therrien also welcomes the moves as it gets Staal back at his true position -- center -- after opening the season as a left winger ... Pittsburgh has three games in Week 3 and no back-to-backs. Marc-Andre Fleury could once again start all three games ... Rookie defenseman Alex Goligoski is tied with Satan for the team lead in power-play goals as both players have two.

San Jose Sharks: The Sharks go on their first extended road trip Week 3 as they travel to Philadelphia, Florida and Tampa Bay. They have played just one road game thus far, a 1-0 win against Los Angeles. San Jose did pretty well on the road last season as they allowed a NHL-low 88 road goals and averaged 2.63 goals away from home ... Forward Jonathan Cheechoo has taken just seven shots in three games, but has scored three times and is converting 42.9 percent of the time. Now, if he could only take a few more shots.

St. Louis Blues: The Blues got goals from defensemen Jay McKee , Steve Wagner and Eric Brewer during Thursday's 6-1 win against the Stars, giving their defensemen a combined four goals in four games this season. The Blues got only 15 goals from their defenseman for the entire 2007-08 season ... Blues backup goalie Chris Mason had an emergency appendectomy Thursday and will miss at least two weeks. Manny Legace should see all three of the team's starts in Week 3 ... All three games are at home and the Blues have scored 11 goals in their first two home games this season ... Forward Lee Stempniak has already missed three games with a knee injury and remains a day-to-day candidate ... Brad Boyes and Keith Tkachuk have both scored at least one goal in four straight games ... Paul Kariya has a team-high eight points (seven assists) in four games, including three two-assist outings.

Tampa Bay Lightning: Defenseman Paul Ranger finally made his debut Thursday against the Islanders after missing the first three games while recovering from offseason shoulder surgery. His return could not spark the team to a win and Tampa Bay remains winless under first-year coach Barry Melrose ... The Lightning once again have two games for a second straight week and that means Mike Smith and Olaf Kolzig could each get one start in net.

Toronto Maple Leafs: Maple Leafs left winger Ryan Hollweg received an automatic three-game suspension by the NHL Wednesday following his fourth game misconduct dating back to last season. He already served a two-game suspension to open the season after getting his third game misconduct in less than 50 games and won't be eligible to return after his latest suspension until Oct. 23 against the Bruins ... Toronto has three games on the docket in Week 3 and no back-to-backs. Goalie Vesa Toskala has a good chance to start all three games ... Rookie Nikolay Kulemin is the only skater with more than one goal through the first three games.

Vancouver Canucks: With two games spaced three days apart in Week 3, expect to see Roberto Luongo in net for both of Vancouver's games ... Injured defenseman Kevin Bieksa got some encouraging news back after a MRI on his left knee showed no structural damage. He has missed three games, but is close to returning to the lineup ... It's no surprise to see the Sedin Twins, Henrik Sedin and Daniel Sedin , leading the offensive charge with five points. But Alex Burrows is also tied for the team-led with five points after scoring the game winner in overtime Thursday against Detroit.

Washington Capitals: Viktor Kozlov is expected to miss 2-4 weeks with an undisclosed injury after getting injured Monday against the Canucks. It appeared as though Kozlov injured his left leg, but the team will not divulge any information on the injury ... Defenseman Tom Poti also left Thursday's game against the Penguins with an undisclosed injury and no further details have been given. He remains an injury-risk start in Week 3 ... Washington hits the road for three games Week 3. They are all spaced out over five days, so Jose Theodore might start all three ... Washington is averaging four goals per game in their two road games this season and ranked seventh in the NHL last season with a 2.76 road GFA ... Alexander Semin , not Ovechkin, has been the early-season MVP for Washington. He has at least one point in four straight games, three multi-point outings and eight total points (four goals).

Do you have a question for our Fantasy staff? You can e-mail us at DMFantasyPucks@cbs.com. Be sure to put Attn: Fantasy Pucks in the subject field. Please include your full name, hometown and state.

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