morning shot of hockey to go with your coffee.
THIS WEEKEND’S PICKS:
Quick Hits Today. Here are my picks in case you missed them. Asterisk indicates who I picked
Canucks edge out Blackhawks* 3-2 (SO) on Friday. – Damn shootouts, ruining my pick’em record, especially when it goes eight rounds. Not a fan. Nonetheless, you have to give Vancouver credit for overcoming a 2-0 deficit on the road, in Chicago. That’s a tough place to dig yourself out of a hole.
Kings* edge Avs 3-2 (SO) on Saturday. – Well now my foot’s in my mouth. I still don’t like shootouts. At least this one was over after the standard three rounds. Martin Jones tied the NHL Record for consecutive wins to start a career with eight. Just like with the Blackhawks, the Kings were up 2-0 but then let up two power play goals. That’s surprising consider LA has one of the best PK percentages in the Western Conferences.
Rangers down Wild* 4-1. – Well it started well for the Wild. Jason Pominville scored the first goal for his 17th of the season. But it’s tough to win on the road if you give the away 18 times!
1-2 this weekend. 33-27 on the season now.
Highlight of the Night:
If this is what the Winter Classic is going to be like this year, I am a very excited hockey fan. Guess who else is excited?
The Flyers return home to face the Minnesota Wild. Another Thunderblog business trip to this one. Be sure to check out the Twitter for updates and pictures. The Wild certainly have a chip on their shoulder after last night’s loss. The Flyers do as well after the debacle in Columbus on Saturday. That third period was the third that should have been on Thursday while Thursday’s third period should have been this game’s third. Now that I have you confused, the Flyers had a lot of momentum after the second period but Columbus didn’t want to see another lead dwindle away AGAIN. This is something the Flyers need to master for the season to continue upward. I think Craig Berube has hammered home to not quit after the extremely chippy game in Chicago almost two weeks ago, but that no-quit attitude needs to continue.
Tonight’s matchup is the final regular season matchup between these two teams. The Wild shutout the Flyers three weeks ago in Minnesota with Josh Harding playing masterfully. Since then the Wild have gone 4-5-0 with two of those wins coming in shootouts. The more telling stat may be that Minnesota only scored 15 goals in those nine games, or that they haven’t won a road game NOT in a shootout since November 20th in Ottawa. The Flyers are riding an eight-game home-winning streak. This could be a very winnable game for our Fly Guys as long as they don’t take too many penalties; the Wild rank 9th in the NHL in power play percentage. The Flyers need to make sure they hold onto the puck and keep guys low in both zones. Screening the goalie has paid off tremendously for Philadelphia lately, just look at Wayne Simmonds’ goal from Saturday.
There are thirteen other matchups tonight as the NHL will take a three-day break for Christmas. No break for festivus though! Three games to keep an eye an out for are: Maple Leafs @ Rangers at 7, Ducks @Capitals at 7, and Avalanche @ Sharks at 10:30. Maple Leafs over Rangers: This is a matchup between two teams that desperately need a win. Both teams have let up a similar amount of goals, but Toronto’s offense is much more powerful. Advantage: Maple Leafs. Capitals over Ducks: I know, I know, I always go with the “West over East” trend. Well Ovi has hit the thirty-goal mark and watching him go against Anaheim will be spectacular. Therefore, I’m going with the Ovi trend over the Western Conference trend. Avalanche over Sharks in OT: The Avs have cooled off after they propelled themselves back into the Central Division race but San Jose hasn’t been too hot as later either. The Sharks have only lost in regulation once at home which is why I think this will go to OT. Colorado will take this tilt however.
With the three day break, I’ll be back tomorrow with a recap of tonight but no preview obviously. Nonetheless:
LET’S GO FLYERS!!!!!