It's great to have hockey back on again this year, and I apologize to the delay of our Saturday picks column as work has been crazy, and I'm finally in town to throw some numbers together. Last year had its share of ups and downs… let's face it, more downs than ups, but this is a clean slate so hopefully things can start off hot. There are plenty of surprising teams to start the season, so I won't be holding my breath this week. Thunder returns for a 3rd season and it's come to the point that I have to lock my other dog out in order to even get these picks done in time. Hope everyone's got a cold beer on hand for the 13 games scheduled this Saturday.
New York Rangers @ Boston Bruins
Tim Thomas is HOT. Not Megan Fox HOT, but pretty damn close with his play as of late. Sure he's only played 4 games, however a 0.75 GAA and a .978 SV% are disgusting any way you put it. Hopefully he can improve his 3-6 mark vs. the Rangers all-time. Both teams have combined for a total of 3 PP goals in their last 10 meetings H2H, with 8 of those contests being decided by a single goal. Look for another tight game, but the blue shirts just don't have the offense with their recent injuries to pull this one out.
Atlanta Thrashers @ Washington Capitals
Last week on Saturday the Thrashers were massive underdogs against the Sharks in San Jose and pulled off a remarkable upset. Unfortunately don't look for lightening to strike twice. 15 days ago the Thrashers beat the Caps at home to snap an 8 game losing streak versus Washington, unfortunately the Caps will look to start a new streak. The Thrashers are giving up the 2nd most SOG in the league at over 37 per game. The Thrashers 3rd ranked road PP may keep this game close in the early going.
Toronto Maple Leafs @ Philadelphia Flyers
Anything in the past from these two teams facing off against each other can get thrown out the window as we haven't seen a Leafs team play like this in over 10 years. The Leafs lead the league in only giving up 24.5 SOG/game, while their PK is running at 90% (much improved from last season) and it certainly helps when you're giving up the 3rd fewest PP chances in the league (3.3, while the Flyers are 2nd worst at 5.8). Both teams are looking to snap respective losing streaks.