Your morning shot of hockey to go with your coffee.
MONDAY NIGHT’S PICKS:
Christmas Break is OVER. Hope everyone enjoyed some much deserved R&R. Quick Hits Today. Here are my picks in case you missed them. Asterisk indicates who I picked
Rangers edge Maple Leafs* 2-1 (SO). – I want to say something about shootouts but Toronto deserved to win this game. Jonathan Bernier made 42 saves, enough said.
Ducks down Capitals* 3-2 in Washington. – Damnit Ovi, making me brag about you and thinking you’d carry your team over the now top team in the league. It’s ok, I still love you. Washington possessed the puck much better than Anaheim did in this, winning the faceoff and turnover battles. The Caps just didn’t shoot nearly enough, only putting 19 shots on net. And furthermore, while the Ducks did miss more shots than the Caps did (14 for ANA and 13 for WASH), the Ducks put 29 shots on so at least they’re hitting the net.
Sharks defeat Avs* 5-4 (SO). – DAMN SHOOTOUTS! This was a pretty even game and I guess I can be glad that I called overtime but still! The only stat that wasn’t even was takeaways, the Sharks took it away from the Avalanche 12 times, Semyon Varlamov just had Colorado’s back and stopped 41 of 45 shots.
And last but not least…
Flyers down Wild 4-1 in Philadelphia. – THEY CAME OUT FLYING!!! Really though, the first goal came a minute and 52 seconds into the game. Their fourth goal was in the third period, and they were playing hard that entire time. Now they just need to continue playing the physical type of hockey they should be playing and the scoring they want will be the result of that. Most importantly, congrats to Scott Hartnell on getting his 500th NHL point. Atta boy, Hartsy!
0-3 on Monday. 33-30 on the season now.
Highlight of the Night:
Oh. My. God. Welcome to the Snipe Show.
GAMES THIS WEEKEND:
Well it’s that time of year. Disney on Ice comes into Philadelphia so the Flyers and Sixers hit the road until the New Year begins. The Flyers will be on a six game road trip where the first five will be a nice tour of the Western Conference, beginning with a stop in Edmonton tomorrow (Saturday) night. The Flyers and Oilers met earlier this year at the Wells Fargo Center where the Flyers won 4-2 and Captain Claude finally scored his first goal of the season. The Oilers haven’t very good this season, as expected, most recently riding a six-game losing streak before winning 6-2 against Winnipeg on Monday. The team has the capability of playing very well, the talent is just extremely young.
Three matchups to watch this weekend in the NHL will be: Blue Jackets @ Devils tonight at 7, Blackhawks @ Blues on Saturday at 8, and Ducks @ Sharks on Sunday at 10:30. Devils over Blue Jackets: This is an odd pick on paper, neither team is very good. But Jaromir Jagr can take over sole possession of 7th on the all-time goals list with a goal tonight, so that’s enough to make it a game of the night. Blues over Blackhawks: The Achilles Heal of this Chicago team this season has been divisional play. They are a respectable 8-7 (1 OTL) but you know who is killing divisional play? The St. Louis Blues at 10-1 (1 OTL). The Blues are also phenomenal at home and have beaten the Blackhawks in Chicago already this year. Sharks over Ducks: I tried to go against San Jose in Shark Tank and they proved me wrong. They’ll mangle these Ducks, I don’t care how good they are.
I wrote “in the NHL” in italics because there is another hockey event going on this weekend. It actually started yesterday, but Christmas recovery and seeing American Hustle got in the way (go see that movie). That event, is the IIHF World Junior Championships:
Whether you’re an American, a Canadian, a Swede (this year’s hosts), or from another country, this has to get you excited. Yes the Olympics are next month when I can watch our boys exact revenge on Sidney Crosby and the Canadians but as a hockey fan, the World Juniors are a sign of things to come in the National Hockey League. And with more countries competing competitively, this is indeed a great sign. The Americans have already play once, defeating the Czech Republic 5-1 yesterday, and will be back in action tomorrow morning at 7:30am against Slovakia. You can catch that game on the NHL Network followed by Canada versus the Czech Republic.
LET’S GO FLYERS!!!!! and more importantly:
USA! USA! USA!