Week 7 Fantasy Hockey Planner
Ouir Michael Hurcomb breaks down each team's outlook for Week 7 in his latest Fantasy Hockey Planner.
The Fantasy Hockey 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.
Teams with four games: Boston, Vancouver
Teams with three games: Anaheim, Buffalo, Calgary, Carolina, Chicago, Colorado, Detroit, Edmonton, Florida, Minnesota, Montreal, Nashville, New Jersey, N.Y. Islanders, N.Y. Rangers, Ottawa, Phoenix, Pittsburgh, Tampa Bay, Washington
Teams with two games: Atlanta, Columbus, Dallas, Los Angeles, Philadelphia, San Jose, St. Louis, Toronto
Fantasy Week 7 (Nov. 17-23)
It's a definite light week of hockey Week 7 as just two teams have four games and eight teams are playing only twice.
Also, 12 teams only have to worry about back-to-back slates.
Editors Note: Projections are for Nov. 17-23 games and all stats are through Thursday
This week's news and notes for each team:
Anaheim Ducks: Anaheim is up for three games Week 7 after playing just twice Week 6. They should be well rested as they face the Capitals, Blues and Stars. Both the Blues (3.43) and Stars (3.73) rank near the bottom of the league in GAA ... With one back-to-back, Jonas Hiller could sneak into net to give Jean-Sebastien Giguere a breather ... Chris Kunitz has had trouble getting scoring chances in 2008-09 playing alongside Ryan Getzlaf and Corey Perry . Both Getzlaf and Perry have taken 55 or more shots, while Kunitz has just 34. He has one goal and is converting at a team-low 2.9 percent of players that have scored at least once ... Left winger Brian Sutherby was moved to the team's second line with Brendan Morrison and Teemu Selanne to give the team more of a threat at even strength, but the trio has failed to produce through one game ... Ducks prospect Bobby Ryan continues to shine down in the AHL as he has seven goals and nine assists in 13 games. He was cut after training camp because of cap reasons, but since Bob Murray just replaced Brian Burke as general manager, he might find away to bring the former first-rounder back to the NHL.
Atlanta Thrashers: Defenseman Mathieu Schneider has missed three games while dealing with a hip strain, but could be practicing soon and back on the ice before Week 7 begins. If that happens, feel free to activate Schneider as a No. 3 Fantasy defenseman. The move to Atlanta has really cut into his Fantasy value ... What was supposed to be a minor back injury for Kari Lehtonen has turned into a catastrophe. He has missed several games due to the injury and isn't expected to play before Week 7. At this time, it's best to keep Lehtonen reserved until further notice. Ondrej Pavelec and Johan Hedberg will likely continue to split starts in Lehtonen's absence ... Atlanta has been overly disappointed with Erik Christensen production since arriving in the Marian Hossa trade last season. He was expected to be a top-line center in 2008-09 and heavy contributor, but he has been more of a flop with no goals and six assists in 14 games ... Rookie defenseman Zach Bogosian could miss as much as four more weeks while recovering from a broke leg suffered Oct. 28 ... Eric Perrin has been dropped to the fourth line in hopes of re-energizing his offensive game ... Atlanta is home for a pair of games Week 7 and the Thrashers are averaging 2.86 goals per game at Phillips Arena.
Boston Bruins: Out of the top five GAA's in the NHL, Tim Thomas (1.76) is the only player that is a starter in the group ... Boston is one of two teams scheduled for four games Week 7. Thomas should start three of those contests since he has outstanding as of late, but with one back-to-back, Manny Fernandez should make an appearance ... Only one of Boston's four opponents next week -- Toronto -- has a GAA of 3.00 or higher ... Marco Sturm seems to be emerging from an early-season slump. He should have had two goals Wednesday against Chicago, but had one called back because of crease interference. He made up for it by scoring twice Thursday against Montreal. Sturm has five goals and two assists in his last five games. He is now second on the team with 12 points ... Rookie Blake Wheeler hasn't scored in the three games since netting his first career hat trick Nov. 6 against Toronto, but is still converting at 27.3 percent.
Buffalo Sabres: Center Tim Connolly is back on the injured list after leaving Wednesday's game against the Blues with a bruised chest. There are no concerns that he has suffered any setbacks from post-concussion syndrome or with his aching back thanks to the hit from Keith Tkachuk , but Connolly is back to being day-to-day. The oft-injured forward has two goals and four assists in five games this season since making his debut Nov. 1. He hasn't played more than 80 games since 2002-03 because of injuries ... Buffalo has three games Week 7. They play against the Islanders and Flyers -- two teams that are allowing more than 3.30 goals per game. Those two games are also at home where Buffalo is averaging 3.13 goals per game ... Center Paul Gaustad , who missed the first nine games of the season because of thumb surgery, recorded his first point Wednesday against the Blues with an assist. He had held off the board in his first five games.
|1.||Ryane Clowe , RW, SJ||26|
|2.||Slava Kozlov , LW, ATL||25|
|3.||Mikhail Grabovski , LW, TOR||24|
|4.||Brent Johnson , G, WAS||22|
|5.||Bryan Little , C, ATL||20|
|6.||Niklas Hagman , RW, TOR||20|
|7.||Aaron Johnson , D, CHI||18|
|8.||Johan Franzen , C, DET||17|
|9.||Sergei Zubov , D, DAL||16|
|10.||Derick Brassard , C, CLB||16|
Calgary Flames: Center Mike Cammalleri was back in the lineup Thursday against the Sharks after missing one game with the flu. He scored the team's only goal in a 6-1 loss. It appears safe to keep him active Week 7 ... Calgary has lost defenseman Jim Vandermeer for 6-8 weeks after suffering a broken ankle in practice. Vandermeer will only be missed in Fantasy leagues that reward heavily for penalty minutes and short-handed stats ... The Flames continue to shake up the top scoring line, and now they put Curtis Glencross and Dustin Boyd with Jarome Iginla ... Surprisingly, Boyd is third on the team with six goals and is converting at a team-high 27.3 percent ... Calgary has a home-and-home with Colorado Week 7 before finishing off the week against Detroit. The matchups might look intimidating on paper, but both Colorado and Detroit are allowing more than 3.07 goals per game. Also, Calgary has already beaten Colorado twice this season and scored eight goals in those two wins ... Defenseman Dion Phaneuf continues to have an ugly conversion rate as he has just three goals on a team-high 71 shots (4.2 percent).
Carolina Hurricanes: Trainer Pete Friesen recently said that Justin Williams rehab from a ruptured Achilles' is going remarkably well. Williams has been back on the ice, but don't get too excited the Hurricanes warn. Williams is still far off from returning and is not expected back until the New Year ... The Hurricanes got three players back from injury Wednesday against Washington -- Joni Pitkanen , Brandon Sutter and Matt Cullen . They now hope Patrick Eaves (undisclosed) and Frantisek Kaberle (leg) are close to playing. Both have been rehabbing, but still no return date has been announced ... Carolina is up for three home games Week 7. The Hurricanes rank 23rd in home GFA, averaging just 2.71 goals per game ... Coach Peter Laviolette continues to use Michael Leighton in net when Cam Ward struggles. Ward sat out his sixth game of the season Wednesday against Washington. He didn't sit out his sixth game until Nov. 24. Still, Laviolette treats Ward as his No. 1 goalie and hasn't begun the stir of a goalie controversy.
Chicago Blackhawks: Defenseman Brent Sopel remains just day-to-day with an undisclosed injury ... Chicago hits the road for three games Week 7. The Blackhawks have struggled offensively on the road with just 12 goals in five games. However, they are facing Toronto and Dallas Week 7 -- two teams in the bottom ten for GAA ... The goalie rotation of Cristobal Huet and Nikolai Khabibulin continues, and if Chicago follows through with its plans, then Week 7 is the time Huet will be in net for two games ... First-line center Jonathan Toews has received his wake-up call. After going without a goal in the first 12 games, he has scored in two straight ... Patrick Kane , who leads the team with 19 points, has two goals and eight assists during a five-game point streak.
Colorado Avalanche: First-line center Joe Sakic has been bothered by a balky back the last week. He tried to play through the pain, but couldn't last a game. The good news is that he doesn't have any structural damage and just needs to get over the soreness. However, if he doesn't play Saturday against Edmonton, then the must-start Fantasy option remains a risky start heading into Week 7 ... Colorado has Calgary for a home-and-home and also play the Kings Week 7. Colorado has already lost twice to Calgary this season and once to Los Angeles. They have been outscored 11-6 in those three games ... Colorado has been hurting offensively across the board in recent weeks. Wojtek Wolski has gone 14 games without a goal. Marek Svatos has one goal in the last 11 games. Tyler Arnason has one goal in the last 10 games. Ryan Smyth has one goal in the last nine games. David Jones has no points in the last six games. Paul Stastny has one goal in the last five games.
Columbus Blue Jackets: Pascal Leclaire came off injured reserve Wednesday after missing several weeks with an ankle injury. His return means Columbus has a goalie controversy. Rookie Steve Mason has been a solid stopgap option for the Blue Jackets in recent weeks and Columbus could likely give him the majority of starts until his luck runs out. He has a 2.95 GAA and .896 save percentage, so he hasn't been spectacular. Add to the fact Fredrik Norrena is still hanging around, Columbus likely can't afford to carry three goalies. Leclaire still has the most Fantasy value of the trio, and Mason could end up back in the minors if he starts to struggle ... Defenseman Rostislav Klesla returned to action Wednesday after missing four games with a wrist injury, but said he might need offseason surgery to fix the problem. He will continue to play through the injury for the time being ... Rookie center Derick Brassard is making an early push for the Calder Trophy. Brassard had a goal and an assist Wednesday against the Coyotes for his third multi-point game of the season. He has at least a point in 12 of 15 games this season, and he leads NHL rookies in scoring with 15 points ... Marc Methot was scratched from Wednesday's game against Phoenix with a sprained knee. He is day-to-day. Methot is off to a nice start with five points in 10 games, but still remains a low-end Fantasy option.
Dallas Stars: The NHL ruled that forward Brenden Morrow will not have to serve a one-game suspension for drawing an instigator penalty Tuesday against the Kings. Morrow went after Dustin Brown after Brown drilled teammate Mike Ribeiro into the boards. It safe to keep Morrow active for Week 7 ... It didn't take Jere Lehtinen long to make an impact. The oft-injured forward made his debut Tuesday against the Kings after missing the first several weeks with a groin injury and scored a goal during a shootout loss. Coach Dave Tippett thinks highly of Lehtinen and will use him extensively when healthy. He just hopes he doesn't have to go back on IR any time soon ... Dallas has just a pair of home games against Chicago and Anaheim Week 7. The Stars lead the NHL in home GFA (4.17). They have scored 25 times in six games at American Airlines Center ... In case you have noticed, but Marty Turco is beginning to turn around his season and it comes as Sergei Zubov has returned from a hip injury. In the four games Zubov has played, Turco hasn't allowed more than three goals.
|1.||Canucks||@NYI, @NYR, @MIN, @PIT|
|2.||Red Wings||EDM, @EDM, @CGY|
|3.||Bruins||@TOR, BUF, FLA, @MON|
|4.||Flames||COL, @COL, DET|
|5.||Sabres||@BOS, PHI, NYI|
Detroit Red Wings: Detroit got Johan Franzen back in the lineup Tuesday against the Penguins after he missed just five games with a sprained left knee. He scored in his first game back and then added two more points Thursday against the Lightning (5 G, 3 A) to push his point streak to six games (5 G, 3 A). Franzen has seven goals in 10 games this season and 35 goals in 42 games, including the playoffs, dating to last season. He has turned into one of the NHL's premier scorers ... While Franzen is back, Daniel Cleary has missed a few games with an eye infection. It has bothered him for a few weeks now and has affected his vision. However, he is being treated by a specialist and could be back on the ice shortly ... Detroit has a home-and-home with Edmonton Week 7 as well as a road game against Calgary. Both Edmonton and Calgary are allowing more than 3.00 goals per game ... Henrik Zetterberg is in the final year of his contract, but has been in the process of negotiating an extension with Detroit.
Edmonton Oilers: First, Mathieu Garon was the Oilers' top goalie. Then it was Dwayne Roloson after he ran off a few good starts. Now, rookie Jeff Deslauriers is coach Craig MacTavish's go-to-goalie after winning a few starts. The goalie carousel continues in Edmonton, leaving Fantasy owners with a headache of who to start. Right now, all three goalies are risky Fantasy options because we don't know which way MacTavish will lean on a given night ... Ethan Moreau , who was expected to be a lower-line forward in 2008-09, has worked his way to the team's top scoring line with Sam Gagner and Ales Hemsky . His 10 points are third most on the team and MacTavish is a big fan of Moreau's work ethic ... Robert Nilsson has worked his way into the doghouse. After being benched in a game against Pittsburgh recently, Nilsson was demoted to the fourth line and played just 6:40 against New Jersey Monday. Two weeks ago he was skating on the team's top line ... Edmonton has home-and-home with Detroit Week 7 and also face the Blue Jackets. Detroit is 23rd in GAA (3.33) and Columbus ranks 22nd (3.31). Week 7 might be a time to start your Edmonton skaters.
Florida Panthers: Starting goalie Tomas Vokoun has been battling back spasms and is being treated as a day-to-day candidate. But back injuries are serious when it comes to goalies, and since Craig Andersson has had the hot hand, Florida can afford to rest Vokoun. Consider him a risky start Week 7 unless you hear otherwise ... Center Nathan Horton has had some trouble overcoming the flu, but he is not expected to be sidelined long and should be kept active heading into Week 7 ... Cory Stillman is back in the lineup after missing three games because of a concussion. Stillman doesn't have a point in his last five games after getting nine in the first seven ... Florida is on the road for three games Week 7 and face three teams -- Boston, New Jersey, Tampa Bay -- that are allowing less than 2.75 goals per game. It doesn't help that the Panthers are averaging just 2.11 goals away from home.
Los Angeles Kings: Dustin Brown got off to a slow start this season with just one goal in his first five games. However, his confidence never wavered and now he is being rewarded for his persistence. He has a goal in five of 10 games ... Erik Ersberg strong play as of late has earned him a start in five straight games and it appears he has replaced Jason LaBarbera as the Kings' No. 1 goalie ... The Kings are home for a pair of games Week 7, but rank 27th in home GFA (2.55) ... Anze Kopitar has taken over the team's scoring lead with one goal and five assists during his last four games ... Rookie defenseman Drew Doughty has also been making waves lately with one goal and four assists during his last four games.
Minnesota Wild: Brent Burns was back in the lineup Thursday against the Coyotes after missing four games with an upper-body injury. However, he wasn't in his normal spot on defense. Jacques Lemaire moved him up to the wing on a scoring line and intends to keep him there for the immediate future. That's good news for Fantasy owners since Burns could get a few more scoring chances playing up front and he doesn't lose his defenseman eligibility in Fantasy ... Owen Nolan was also back Thursday after missing five games with an upper-body injury and had two assists. He now has six points in six games ... There is still no new news on the Marian Gaborik front. He has missed the last 12 games with a mysterious lower-body injury and no return date has been set. He has been one of the more disappointing Fantasy options this season, especially since he is playing for his next contract. The longer he stays out, the more and more it seems likely Gaborik will be traded at some point ... RW Antti Miettinen is still the Wild's leader with six goals, but he has just one goal in his past 11 games after getting five in his first three ... Top-line center Mikko Koivu's production has also slowed down dramatically. After nine points in his first three games, he has just six points in his last 11 games ... The Wild have three games in five days Week 7, so we could see Josh Harding make a start in net ... Minnesota could very well face Marc-Andre Fleury , Roberto Luongo and Manny Legace next week.
Montreal Canadiens: Sergei Kostitsyn is suffering from an upper body injury, but the Canadiens don't know how serious it is yet, so they are treating him as day-to-day ... Forward Tom Kostopoulos was suspended three games by the NHL for a hit on Maple Leafs defenseman Mike Van Ryn that will keep him sidelined a month. Kostopoulos is eligible to return Sunday and can be kept active in leagues that reward heavily for PIM heading into Week 7 ... Montreal has three games Week 7 and two of their opponents -- Boston and Ottawa -- rank in the top 10 for GAA ... With five games in eight days starting Saturday, we are likely going to see backup goalie Jaroslav Halak once, if not twice in the net week ... Starting goalie Carey Price is starting to feel the sophomore blues. He gave up six goals to Toronto Nov. 8, shut out Ottawa Tuesday and then surrendered six goals in Boston Thursday. He has dropped out of the top 10 in goals-against average and save percentage ... Right winger Alex Kovalev was dropped to the third line in the third period Thursday after a lackluster game. He has gone four games without a goal and had no shots on goal Thursday.
Nashville Predators: Martin Erat was a surprise healthy scratch last week against Colorado, but a few days later it came out he was suffering from an upper-body injury. Erat, who is still tied for the team-lead with seven goals, is being treated as a day-to-day candidate ... Nashville has three games Week 7 against San Jose, Carolina and Tampa Bay. Both the Sharks and Lightning are allowing less than 2.75 goals per game ... With no back-to-backs, Dan Ellis might start all three games in net as long as he is not struggling ... Right winger J.P. Dumont has been a better passer than scorer in 2008-09. He has a team-high 15 assists, but has only converted 2-of-41 scoring chances (4.9 percent).
New Jersey Devils: Defenseman Paul Martin appears ready to come off injured reserve after missing a few weeks with a back injury ... Top scorer Zach Parise is dealing with a sore heel after taking a puck off his skate Wednesday against the Rangers, but the Devils have yet to worry about the injury, so just keep close tabs on his status before making a decision Week 7 ... The Devils are feeling the loss of All-Star goalie Martin Brodeur , who is out 3-4 months following elbow surgery. The club is 1-4 without Brodeur, with Kevin Weekes 1-3 and Scott Clemmensen 0-1 ... Even though Weekes has struggled since taking over in net, he still remains the Devils' starting goalie. However, he is nothing more than a No. 2 Fantasy option at this time ... Coach Brent Sutter recently called out veteran Patrik Elias saying that he was one of the Devils' players that needed to step up his game. Elias has just two goals in 13 contests and has been dropped down to the checking line.
New York Islanders: Mike Comrie is having some soreness and inflammation with his surgically repaired hip and that's never a good thing for a player post-op. The Islanders don't expect Comrie to be sidelined long, but this is a problem that could linger ... Josh Bailey picked up his first career point Thursday against the Senators in his second career game. Bailey, who missed the beginning of the season with an injury, was moved up to a scoring line with Kyle Okposo . Coach Scott Gordon has been impressed with the Bailey's "puck poise" and New York is considering keeping the 2008 first-round pick instead of sending him back to their junior team. They have nine games to decide before a year must come off Bailey's entry-level contract ... Trent Hunter scored his team-high seventh goal Thursday against Ottawa. He has scored three times in his last four games. Hunter had all of 12 goals in 82 games last season, but is progressing nicely under Gordon ... The Islanders have games against Vancouver, New Jersey and Buffalo in Week 7. All three teams rank in the top 10 for GAA.
New York Rangers: First-line center Scott Gomez missed Wednesday's game against New Jersey with a "painful" leg injury. A MRI didn’t reveal any broken bones, but the pain was severe enough for him to miss his first game. The Rangers are listing him as day-to-day, but anytime the word painful is used that's never a good sign ... The Rangers have a home-and-home with Ottawa Week 7 and also square off with the Canucks. Both Vancouver and Ottawa are allowing less than 2.60 goals per game ... Nikolay Zherdev climbed back into the goals column Wednesday against the Devils with a pair of tallies after being denied a score in his first five November games ... Defenseman Dan Girardi is second on the team with 14 points. He has one goal and six assists in his last seven games, and continues to outshine the likes of Wade Redden and Michal Rozsival ... Forward Chris Drury has finally found his scoring touch with five goals in four games.
Ottawa Senators: Recently recalled forward Ryan Shannon suffered a "significant" concussion from a nasty elbow Thursday delivered via Islanders defenseman Thomas Pock . He is being listed as out indefinitely ... Jarkko Ruutu will finish serving a two-game suspension for elbowing Montreal's Maxim Lapierre on Saturday against the Islanders. He is eligible to return Monday against the Rangers and can be kept active for Week 7 in leagues that reward heavily for PIM ... In what seems to be a week of tough matchups, Ottawa plays the Rangers in a home-and-home series as well as take on Montreal. New York is allowing 2.16 goals per game and the Canadiens are allowing just 2.71 ... Right winger Chris Neil has been bumped down to the fourth line. He has just three points in 16 games ... Fellow fourth-liner Nick Foligno also continues to struggle as his team-worst plus/minus rating slipped to minus-11 Thursday ... Even the big stars for Ottawa are struggling. Daniel Alfredsson doesn't have a goal in nine games and Jason Spezza has just two assists in seven games.
Philadelphia Flyers: Top-line center Daniel Briere , who returned early following abdominal surgery Oct. 25, is back on the shelf for a week with a strained groin. He is a risky start Week 7 despite the fact he might return in the latter part ... Enforcer Riley Cote is dealing with a neck injury, but still remains day-to-day ... Philadelphia placed Lasse Kukkonen on waivers Thursday, almost signaling the Flyers needed to clear cap space to ink free-agent forward Brendan Shanahan ... Defenseman Ossi Vaananen tried to return to the lineup Thursday against the Penguins after missing three games with a broken finger, but he lasted less than six minutes and exited the lineup again. He is not a recommended start heading into Week 7 ... Simon Gagne leads the NHL with four short-handed scores after scoring twice on the penalty kill Thursday. His 10 goals are tied for the team lead with Jeff Carter ... Center Mike Richards extended his point streak to seven games Thursday with an assist (1 G, 7 A).
|1.||Panthers||@TB, @NJ, @BOS|
|2.||Islanders||VAN, @NJ, @BUF|
|3.||Lightning||FLA, NSH, NJ|
Phoenix Coyotes: Shane Doan recorded his 30th two-goal game Wednesday against the Blue Jackets, but missed his first career hat trick when he hit the iron in the final seconds on an empty-net attempt ... Center Kyle Turris appears to have reacted well to a two-game benching last week. Turris picked up an assist against Columbus Wednesday and was the best Coyotes forward in a 4-0 loss to Minnesota Thursday. He had three shots on goal and was rewarded by coach Wayne Gretzky with more than 16 minutes of ice time ... Goalie Ilya Bryzgalov allowed four power-play scores Thursday against Minnesota, but it was just the first time in eight starts he allowed more than three goals.
Pittsburgh Penguins: Pittsburgh could have a tough slate ahead Week 7 as they might have to face Wild goalie Niklas Backstrom and Canucks goalie Roberto Luongo . Luckily, both those games are at home where Pittsburgh is averaging 3.13 goals per game ... Possible 2009 free agent Jordan Staal broke out of his season-long slump Tuesday against the Red Wings as he had a hat trick in the third period and assisted on the game-winning goal in overtime ... Defenseman Rob Scuderi displayed his toughness Thursday as he skated against the Flyers despite taking a hard slap shot off his left ankle against Detroit ... Defenseman Ryan Whitney , who has been on IR all season following foot surgery, said he could start practicing in a "week or two." He expects to be back in the lineup in December ... Center Evgeni Malkin extended his NHL-best point streak to 12 games Thursday with a goal and an assist against Philadelphia. Malkin has recorded 23 points over that span ... Goalie Marc-Andre Fleury has been mired in a funk despite not having lost since Oct. 30. He has allowed three or more goals in five straight starts, but has just the one loss in that span.
San Jose Sharks: Two of San Jose's biggest stars -- goalie Evgeni Nabokov (lower body) and forward Jonathan Cheechoo (upper body) -- continue to be sidelined by injuries. Nabokov still hasn’t even returned to the ice after missing the last four games, but word has it he is feeling better. Barring any setbacks, Nabokov is expected to travel with the team, but it appears as though Brian Boucher might see the majority of starts again Week 7 ... The Sharks had a big night during a 6-1 win Thursday against the Flames. Milan Michalek and Joe Pavelski scored two goals apiece, and Christian Ehrhoff , Rob Blake and Dan Boyle set a franchise record for defenseman with nine assists. Each defenseman had three helpers ... Blake has really come around for San Jose with two goals and five assists in his last seven games. He had four assists and no goals in his first 11 games.
St. Louis Blues: The Blues opted to send 2008 first-round pick Alex Pietrangelo back to his junior team and keep all three years left on his entry-level contract. The fourth overall pick had one assist and no goals in eight games for St. Louis. He proved he was not ready for the NHL... Paul Kariya has missed four games with a lower-body injury. He was expected back Friday against the Blackhawks, but failed to dress. Kariya is expected back soon, but still might be a risky start Week 7 ... Goalie Manny Legace has been flat out awful since returning from a hip injury. He hasn't won in his two appearances since returning and has allowed seven goals while making just 30 saves. He was even less than six minutes into Wednesday's loss at Buffalo ... Rookie center Patrik Berglund scored his fifth goal of the season Wednesday and now has seven points (4 G, 3 A) in his last five games. The 2006 first-round pick has benefited from playing center with T.J. Oshie (ankle) sidelined. Oshie still appears weeks away from returning ... David Perron feels he is off to a slow start, but he scored a goal and had two assists Wednesday, giving him one goal and 10 assists (11 points) in 13 games.
Tampa Bay Lightning: The news heard round the world was the firing of coach Barry Melrose just 16 games into his coaching tenure. He is being replaced by associate coach Rick Tocchet ... Keep an eye on what happens in the coming weeks in Tampa Bay. It will be interesting to see how the complexion of the team changes. We still expect Mike Smith to start in net over Olaf Kolzig , but Tocchet might attempt to go a more offensive route than defensive ... Ryan Malone is once again on the injured list with a groin injury. The coaching change might actually help get his offensive game going (three points), but first he has to get healthy ... The Lightning have three home games Week 7. They rank dead last in home GFA (1.88) ... No. 1 overall pick Steven Stamkos , who was moved to right wing for Thursday's game against Detroit, has gone without a point since registering two goals and an assist against Buffalo on Oct. 30, a span of seven games ... Mark Recchi has been one of the team's top players in November with seven points (one goal) in seven games.
Toronto Maple Leafs: Toronto is home for games against Boston and Chicago Week 7. The Maple Leafs are averaging 3.38 goals per game on their home ice ... After being benched as a healthy scratch Tuesday against the Flames and then complaining about it, forward Jason Blake had a pair of assists in Thursday's 5-2 win against Edmonton ... Matt Stajan , Tomas Kaberle and Mikhail Grabovski have all been playing well for Toronto as of late. Stajan took over the team lead for points (16) with three assists Thursday. He has one goal and eight assists during a five-game point streak. Kaberle had a goal and two assists against Edmonton to give him 11 points in eight games. Grabovski extended his point streak to six games (7 G, 3 A) with a power-play goal.
Vancouver Canucks: Defenseman Kevin Bieksa is developing into an injury-prone player. After missing most of 2007-08 with a calf injury and then a few games early this season with a knee injury, Bieksa is now out 2-4 weeks with a fractured left foot ... Defenseman Sami Salo is also dealing with an injury, but far better off as day-to-day with a bruised shoulder ... Pavol Demitra has been practicing with the team and is very close to returning after missing nearly a month with a rib injury ... Vancouver is one of two teams with four games Week 7 and all four contests are on the road. The Canucks rank third in road GFA, averaging 3.25 goals per game ... RW Mason Raymond continues to play on the top line with C Henrik Sedin and LW Daniel Sedin . However, his pointless streak hit three games after a stretch of 10 points in 10 games.
Washington Capitals: Goalie Brent Johnson left Wednesday's game against Hurricanes with a hip injury, but played long enough to be credited with a fourth straight win. The injury is not considered serious and Johnson is healthy enough to backup Jose Theodore . The goalie carousel continues in Washington and the situation remains a little cloudy heading into Week 7. You are rolling the dice if you choose to start either Theodore or Johnson since coach Bruce Boudreau is going to start the hot hand on any given night ... Sergei Fedorov undisclosed injury has opened the door for Niklas Backstrom to center a line with Alex Ovechkin and Alexander Semin . The move seems to be paying off because in the three games since Fedorov's injury, Backstrom has one goal and five assists ... Washington heads west Week 7 for a three-game road trip against Anaheim, Los Angeles and San Jose. The Capitals are averaging 2.75 goals per game away from home.
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