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NHL Schedule Analysis: Hab or Hab Not

Brian Rutherford

A freelance writer of all things but mostly sports, music and politics, Brian Rutherford was raised on Long Island, NY and currently resides in a suburb of Dallas, Texas. His favorite teams are the New York Rangers, Texas Rangers, New York Giants and New York Knicks. "So the difference I think, boils down to this: you can either impose yourself on reality and then write about it, or you can impose yourself on reality by writing it." -Hunter S. Thompson "The Proud Highway"

Max Pacioretty's suspension is over and Jacques Martin alluded that there's something in the air. A 2-1 road win over the Kings will earn you that. Does Martin continue (vs. CLS, VAN @NJ) his teeter? Is it really S.O.P. for an American flag to be next to the "captain" seating on a Canadiens team chart? Martin must take control of this team now or the contagion of coaches will continue. As one journalist used to say, 'anything worth doing is worth doing right'.

Matchup of the week

Once again, Pittsburgh (@BUF vs. PIT, TB) is involved in the matchup of the week, this time its fellow, 16-game winner, Boston (PIT, WPG vs. FLA @CLS). Is Jordan Caron (G, 2 A) going to feed off Tyler Seguin's (23 goals, 23 assists) young success, or is this just a peak for the boy?

There he goes again, a three-game goal scoring streak for Eric Nystrom. Nystrom has five goals and 11 hits over his last four games. (*rubbing goatee*) Doesn't matter much, Dallas continues a slow and painful road-trip, starting with the two games to the west (SJ, LA) coast, and then next week three more (NYR, NYI, NJ) to the east coast. Has it been three weeks yet Kari? Not to say Andrew Raycroft has been a pushover, but Kari Lehtonen has a different presence to his teammates. Since taking over for Lehtonen, when Rayzor is good (68 of 71 in 2 wins), he's as good as most in the league. But when he's bad (56 of 63 in two losses), well, you can fill in the blank.

Jonathan Quick of the Kings (@ANH vs. MIN, DAL) had nearly 30 fantasy points this week, burned me in the writer's league. Phoenix is off to a slow start in December. After a 1-0 loss in Winnipeg and a 4-2 home ice loss to the Flyers this past Saturday, the 'Yotes head out to the road for three tough (@CHI, NSH, DET) games. They end the week at home game against conference leaders Minnesota.

San Jose (vs. MIN, DAL @STL, CHI) is busy, and Logan Couture (3 G, A in last two games) has turned into the most quietly constant producer in the NHL. Anaheim is in the midst of all kinds of storms. Although they're not mentioned in most NHL reformatting conversations, coaching changes, MVP dealings, what's a Duck to do? Anaehim hosts cross-town rival Kings and head on the road to St. Louis and Nashville.

Four's are wild for Matt Moulson, who has a four-game goal scoring streak. Moulson shot (4 of 7 shots) at a 57-percent clip during his four-goal explosion in Big-D. The only game the Isles didn't win during Moulson's latest spurt (seven goals and one assist) was a 5-4 overtime loss in Chicago. Also heating up, the 36 [CBS] percent owned P.A. Parenteau, who has one goal and six assists in his last four games. This is Parenteau's first flash since the Isles first five games of the season. Ryan McDonagh (53 percent owned [CBS]) of the Rangers, has a goal, five assists, six PIM and 15 blocked shots in his last six team games. The Rangers play four possibly soft games (vs. TOR, TB @BUF vs. FLA) this week. Carl Hagelin (4 points in 5 games) anyone?

Two of three at home this week for Columbus, but that's where the good news dies. Montreal, Nashville and Boston are the opponents. Craig Anderson bounced back on Saturday night with a strong start, but Ottawa has four (vs. TB, WAS @NJ vs. VAN) tough matchups.

Going into the season, no one could have predicted two coaching changes this early in the Southeast division season and NOT have included the Panthers. But are they the real thing? Florida (vs. WAS @BOS, BUF, NYR) goes tick tock? An Eastern division week for Tampa Bay (@OTT, NYI, NYR, PHI) and Winnipeg's (vs. BOS, CAR @DET) feast or famine schedule. Although, Winnipeg is starting to approach Mach One. Sorry, couldn't resist. Ondrej Pavelec (5-2, SHO in last eight games) and Evander Kane (6 goals, 1 assist in the last 5 games) are leading the charge, as Winnipeg is 2-0 in November.

Calgary has 16 games in December, but only three this week, something boiling there? According to the Edmonton Journal, the Oilers best prospect Teemu Hartikainen is reportedly out with a shoulder injury four to six weeks. Matt Hackett (yes, Jeff's nephew) has been called up as a back up for Josh Harding as Nicklas Backstrom is day-to-day.

Question of the week:

Where does Corey Perry end up, if anywhere?


DEC 5 - Phoenix @ Chicago
DEC 6 - Detroit @ St. Louis
DEC 7 - Philadelphia @ Buffalo