Saturday Picks makes its return and looks at some intriguing matchups in the opening week.
Welcome back everyone! It's like going back to school when you were a little kid, you couldn't wait to get back and see all of your friends… in this case for most of us in keeper leagues, we can't wait to get back and see how our teams, with all of our off season acquisitions, are going to pan out this year. I apologize for the lack of depth and briefness of the picks this week. Short notice, lack of a sample size this season, preparing for a my 2-year-old son's birthday party, and typing one handed with a 12 week old in my lap make it a little difficult. We're also pumped to see who our kids will be cheering for this season (my wife is a Leafs fan) and the Avs and Leafs face off this Tuesday. Anyways, no more excuses, and on to the games!
Lightning @ Blackhawks
The Lightning have won the last three matchups in this series, but the Hawks looked impressive in coming back from behind against the Capitals. The top two scorers from the NHL last season were shutout in their season debut, so look for Martin St. Louis and Steven Stamkos to comeback with a vengeance. Patrick Kane and Jonathan Toews have combined for 21 points versus Tampa Bay in the last 6 games, and if Lindback (4.01 GAA in 3 career starts) gets the nod, we could see more of the same.
Pick: H – Chicago
Oilers @ Canucks
Both teams look to avoid starting the season 0-2, if the Oilers fail to do so it will be the first time in the last 15 years the franchise has failed to secure a victory before the third game of the season. The Canucks meanwhile got manhandled by the Sharks, again. New season, new coach, same result. Luckily they're 9-1-1 in their last 11 at the Rogers Arena. Despite allowing five goals in the opener, the Oilers should look to go back to Devan Dubnyk as he posted a 3-0-1 record with a 1.68 GAA versus the Canucks last season.
Pick: V – Edmonton
Panthers @ Blues
Florida continues to make their way through the Central Division as they look to follow up a good start to the season that saw Tim Thomas pick up where he left off a couple of years ago, and rookie Aleksander Barkov become the youngest player to register an NHL goal. The Blues looked impressive as well, chasing Pekka Rinne from the net after he allowed three goals on the first six shots he faced. A potential team Canada defensive pairing looked to be in midseason form as Alex Pietrangelo and Jay Bouwmeester averaged 24.5 minutes of ice time and combined for three assists. After only scoring six goals last season, David Backes tallied in the opener and looks to continue his goal scoring streak as he's scored five goals in his last four against Florida, including a pair of two-goal games.
Pick: H+ – St. Louis