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:
Penguins* rock Rangers 5-2 on Friday – Sid the Kid. Crosby scored one and assisted two Chris Kunitz goals in this one to extend his points lead over Patrick Kane of the Blackhawks. As of today (Monday), Crosby leads Kane by nine points. The differences in this game were the fact that Marc-Andre Fleury played outstanding and the fact that the Pens were able to convert on the Power Play while the Rangers went 0 for 3. Other than that, they were pretty even statistically.
Kings* top Canucks 3-1 in Quick’s return – Yep that’s right, Jonathan Quick is back! A few days after being named to the US Olympic team, he returned and shut down the Canucks. Not for nothing, but Roberto Luongo also played fantastic stopping 46 of 49 LA shots. Really, Vancouver lost this game. LA gave away the puck 21 times and scored their three goals in the third period. Torts could not have been happy about it.
Sharks edge Blackhawks 3-2* (SO) – Goddamn shootouts. In reality, Chicago didn’t hold onto the puck very well, losing the faceoff battle and giving the puck away 15 times. San Jose also outshot Chicago so they deserved to win it. I just wish it hadn’t been in a shootout.
2-1 over the weekend. 41-34 on the season now.
The Flyers wrapped up a long visit in the West over the weekend with a stop in Phoenix. The Coyotes took a 2-0 lead quickly into the second period but the Flyers responded almost immediately with Scotty Hartnell netting his ninth goal of the year. By the end of the second period, the Coyotes led 3-2 but the Flyers didn’t give up. They scored three goals in the third period from guess who? Simmonds, Voracek, and Giroux. Final score: 5-3. Theses guys have been the key to the Flyers’ scoring in their recent surge. Well that, and their new ability to rebound. With Jake Voracek and Brayden Schenn both scoring their 10th goals of the season, that makes five Flyers with double-digit goals and Vinny Lecavalier and Scott Hartnell sitting on nine for the campaign. As the Flyers hit the halfway mark on the season, the spread of scoring will need to continue to expand. Remember, Giroux and Hartnell both didn’t score a goal until the middle of November and Vinny, Jake, and Wayne have missed games because of injuries.
Highlight of the Night:
The only Pittsburgh Penguin I like is back. SNIPE!
Four games around the league tonight: Stars @ Islanders at 7, Blue Jackets @ Rangers at 7, Panthers @ Canadiens at 7:30, and Flames @ Avalanche at 9. Stars over Islanders: Dallas is great on the road, and they’re playing the Islanders. Rangers over Blue Jackets: The Rangers are streaking and Blue Jackets are slumping. This is the most compelling matchup of the night. A win would put the Rangers into a tie with the Flyers and Capitals for second place in the Metropolitan Division. Canadiens over Panthers: The Canadiens have broken out of the slump they were in and have been great at home. Plus they’re playing Florida, they’re not so good. Avalanche over Flames: Colorado is riding a winning streak and Calgary is on a losing streak. Patrick Roy for Coach of the Year.