Find out who Marty Kwiaton likes this week in another edition of Saturday Picks.
Back for another instalment, after opening the season at a mediocre 3-3 there is plenty of room for improvement. I couldn't have been more wrong on Devan Dubnyk two weeks ago, apparently the equipment changes have really affected him in a negative way; not only the shorter length of pads, but also the shorter stick. It's been a tough adjustment for his mental psyche. Lots of good games on the schedule this weekend, and looking forward to some great action:
*article written before the conclusion of Friday night's games
Oilers @ Senators
The Sens are finally home after starting their season with six games on the road that saw them come back at .500. They picked up points in four games and skated competitively against the Sharks (a 3-2 loss), which has been difficult for everyone else to do. Jason Spezza and Bobby Ryan lead the way up front with nine of the team's 20 goals this season. In order to continue their winning ways the Sens have to reduce the amount of shots on goal against. With Robin Lehner facing 97 shots in back to back nights as Anderson got pulled in Anaheim, after surrendering two quick goals to start the game. Speaking of defence, the Oilers are the worst team in the league surrendering 4.38 goals against per game at the moment. With Sam Gagner out, Mark Arcobello has been a surprise with eight points in eight games, leading the team in +/- at plus-5, and is second amongst forwards in hits with 17. He seems to be doing everything Dallas Eakins wants out of a young player. Ryan Nugent-Hopkins is a team worst -9 through five games, ouch! Also, I don't think the team signed Boyd Gordon to be the team's leading goal scorer (4 goals thus far).
Pick: H (Senators win)
Avalanche @ Sabres
Despite their three goal "outburst" in a shootout victory over the New York Islanders for their first win of the season, the Buffalo Sabres are on pace to set the new NHL record for fewest goals scored in an 82 game season (currently held by the 97-98 Lightning, and led by Mikael Renberg and Alexander Selivanov with 16 goals apiece). Thomas Vanek is the only Sabre with more than one goal, and the team is shooting at an abysmal 4.7% at the moment. On top of their futile offense the Sabres also allow almost 36 shots on goal per game, causing the team to give Jhonas Enroth three starts in the first eight games of the season. Patrick Roy has been phenomenal in Denver to start the season, implementing systems that work to the strengths of his young and fast roster, and showing his players that he's just as invested in defending and supporting his players on the ice. Matt Duchene, Nathan MacKinnon, and P.A. Parenteau lead the way up front with seven points in seven games each. The team receives balanced scoring and with three scoring lines and it seems that one of the three always steps it up when the others are being shut down. The Avalanche are surrendering just over 35 shots on goal per game, and their team .972 save percentage