It's great to be back for another year. I've spent most of the summer trying to drink away the sorrow of receiving a beat down last season from my four legged counterpart. Hopefully Thunder gets distracted with all the snow we're getting today. It's time to start fresh with a case of beer for all of the Saturday night action, and let's hope I still have a prayer after the 7pm starts!
New York Islanders @ Boston Bruins
Last year the Bruins had only six losses at home in regulation, while this year their opening homestand has gotten off to a slow start, as the B’s have been outscored 10-2 in two home losses. The Islanders haven't lost in regulation yet this year. Unfortunately that statement will be false as of 9:35 pm EST. Martin Biron on the Isles new competitiveness: “People might look at it as positive. It’s a step, but it’s not the step we want to take. The guys are not happy about losing. We all hate losing and that’s a good sign.” Wow, and I thought for sure the Isles loved losing based on their play last season. Look for the hatred to continue.
Marty's Pick: BOS (H)
Thunder's Pick: NYI (V)
New Jersey Devils @ Florida Panthers
The Panthers come home after splitting their series overseas with the Blackhawks and are welcomed home with three games in four nights (it'll happen twice more in October alone). The Devils on the other hand, have gotten off to a slow start – perhaps readjusting to Lemaire's system? They clawed their way to earn the two points in Tampa the other night on a Zajac goal with one second left. Zajac: "A couple of guys took a whack at it and somehow it came to me. I just kind of kicked it from my skate. It kind of bounced off my skate" … umm, sounds like a kicking motion to me! The home team took three out of four last year between these two teams. If the Panthers continue giving up 44 shots a game this is going to be a long season.
Marty's Pick: NJ (V)
Thunder's Pick: NJ (V)
Washington Capitals @ Detroit Red Wings
The Caps offense has been hard to stop this year, which is good since their defense/goaltending have been quite porous. The Wings have their own goaltending issues and perhaps if this game was in March we'd see Larsson facing off against Neuvirth. But it's October and let's not get too hasty. Osgood seemed to return to form against the Hawks and look for him to make the big save when it counts. Don't worry poolies, AO, Semin, and Backstrom will still get two points apiece.
Marty's Pick: DET (H)
Thunder's Pick: WSH (V)
Pittsburgh Penguins @ Toronto Maple Leafs
Nothing but bad news for the Leafs to start the year – Toskala does not look like the goalie he was when arriving from San Jose, Gustavsson is on IR, and the defending Stanley Cup Champs are in town. Well, one thing the Leafs have going for them is three straight wins over the Pens looking back at last season. Oh wait, that was when lots of people had the Pens to possibly miss the playoffs under Therrien. The next day, enter Dan Bylsma and well the rest is history. Sorry Leafs fans… better make that 43 years, besides Taylor Hall would look much better centering that top line.
Marty's Pick: PIT (V+)
Thunder's Pick: PIT (V)
Atlanta Thrashers @ Ottawa Senators
Thrashers fans and poolies have a lot to smile ab