Your daily shot of hockey to go with your coffee
March 3rd, 2014
Here are my weekend picks from Friday in case you missed them. Let’s jump right in:
Biggest newest of the weekend. The Blues get Ryan Miller and Steve Ott to anchor down their defense and could potentially propel them to win the Central Division while the Sabres get Jaroslav Halak and a draft pick in both 2015 and 2016. The Sabres gave their video scout a sweater Friday night to be their back up in Buffalo’s 4-2 win over San Jose. Because the trade happened so close to gametime, neither Halak nor Miller could make it in time to make their debuts.
Ducks* edge Blues 1-0 on Friday – This was a low-shooting game for both teams as the Ducks took 19 and the Blues took 18. Brian Elliot has been a great compliment to Halak this season, he’s a big reason why the Blues are where they are. As I said on Friday, it’s really tough to win in Anaheim. A big reason for that is Jonas Hiller, who pitched a shutout on all 18 shots. The Ducks sweep the season series so any potential rematch involving Ryan Miller will have to wait until the Western Conference Finals. That is if both teams make that far.
STADIUM SERIES, CHICAGO: Blackhawks* blast Penguins 5-1 on Saturday – This is the kind of weather we’ve all hoped for the Stadium Series: SNOW. Now I may be sick of all the snow we’ve gotten this winter but I love seeing it here. The crew has to come shovel it all away because there’s too large of a build up. This kind of game just screams pond hockey. The game itself was a blowout led by the one and only captain of the Blackhawks, Jonathan Toews, who netted two goals while assisting another. The Blackhawks really did beardown in this game blocking 16 of the Penguins’ shots.
HERITAGE CLASSIC: Sens* rally over Canucks 4-2 yesterday – I can’t wait for JSB to write about the sweaters in this game. Vancouver jumped out to a 2-0 lead but by the end of the first period, Ottawa had tied it all up at 2. The Sens shut down the the Canucks with veteran goalie Craig Anderson stopping the final 19 shots Vancouver put his way in the second and third.
3-0 (!!!) on the weekend. 72-65 on the season now.
Ultimately, these two outdoor games were largest successes of the Outdoor Games, debatably more successful than this year’s Winter Classic at the Big House. As I wrote earlier this season, while the Stadium Series takes away the allure of the Winter Classic, it provides a much larger allure for the sport of hockey itself. It’ll be great to see more games in traditional hockey towns like Chicago and Vancouver as well as in non-traditional markets like LA earlier this year. It’ll attract more people to this great game. Enough preaching, onto the…
Four game in the ‘chel tonight: Blue Jackets at Maple Leafs @ 7pm, Sabres at Stars @ 8pm, Flames at Wild @ 8pm, and Canadiens at Kings @ 10:30pm. Maple Leafs over Blue Jackets: Toronto is one of three teams in the Eastern Conference with over 20 wins while Columbus is 13-17 on the road. The Leafs have a great offense that has the potential to break through Bob but Toronto’s defense will need to step up. Stars over Sabres: Buffalo has been great since coming back from the break but two of those three were at home. While they’re coming off a big win against the Sharks, it’ll be tough to beat Dallas at home. Wild over Flames: Minnesota’s four-game winning streak has brought them back into the Wild Card conversation and Calgary is 7-3 over their last ten games. Ultimately, this comes down to the fact that it’s in Minnesota tonight. That’s your difference maker. Kings over Habs: Jonathan Quick at home is too good to go against.