Looking Ahead – Week 2

Dave Poleck

2011-10-15

 

Elias

 

A tough decision can be made easier with these charts showing you the best five and worst five schedules for upcoming seven-day periods. Some of you used them last year but for the benefit of new readers here is a refresher. The number next to the team indicates the ‘multiplier’ to use on a player’s point-per-game pace to give you an idea how many points to expect for that week.

 

That was a weird first week of the season; too many two and three night games, random teams having wide gaps in their schedule and some only playing once. Suffice it to say, it was enough to whet my fantasy appetite, but not enough to quench a summer long thirst for some more hockey. Things are starting to get back to normal this week though.

 

The Pittsburgh Penguins have played a league high five games already, but don't expect them to slow down. They still have eight games over the next 16 days and are featured in the Best Bets section multiple times for the weekly schedules below. Over that span they have some pretty favourable matchups against the likes of Winnipeg, Minnesota, Toronto and a home and home against Long Island.

 

At the opposite end of the games played list is the San Jose Sharks, who are playing only their second game of this young season Friday. After said game on Friday and then ones on Saturday and Monday, the Sharks will head out on a tough six game road trip that will see them face top goalies like Brodeur, Thomas, Rinne, Howard and Lundqvist. The road trip doesn't start until late next week, but just don't expect them to continue to put up six goals per game like they did in their opener.

 

The most popular team in the Best Bets section this week is the Toronto Maple Leafs, who finally get back in a game Saturday against Calgary. They follow that up and continue their five game homestand with games against Colorado and Winnipeg. They started 4-1 last season before falling apart; but their schedule this year makes me think that they could take it to 5-0, before reaching their inevitable November slump once all of the excitement wears off.

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Averaging a disgusting 3.50 goals against per game last season, not many people thought the Avalanche would be among the lowest in goals against per game so far. I know it has only been four games, two of which were against Columbus and Ottawa; but Semyon Varlamov has been stellar for his new team thus far. Also impressive was their season opening 1-0 shutout of the Stanley Cup Champion Boston Bruins, and that they were tied 0-0 with Detroit with three minutes to go in the 2nd period before the Wings scored and eventually won 3-0 (with an empty netter). Their PK is also near the top, allowing only one goal in 14 chances. I'm not ready to say that the Avs won't be right back where they were last season in terms of goals against, but that you definitely have to take a second look before playing someone who is facing them.

 

Speaking of special teams, the Devils, Lightning and Panthers remain the only teams that have yet to allow a powerplay goal this season. While Florida ha