Why the Habs will get back in the win column, and other winners in Saturday's action.
As I continue to freefall in just about all my fantasy hockey leagues I wonder… when will I rebound? Traditionally, this is the point of the season that I start to turn it on and this is truly when the real hockey begins. Hopefully we can get it going this weekend and finish the season strong.
Record: 46 – 38
I keep waiting for the Devils to regress and drop out of playoff contention but they just keep winning. A lot of players are stepping up for the Devils and one of those players is Kyle Palmieri who currently has more goals than Max Pacioretty, Taylor Hall, and John Tavares with 20 on the year. And then there is Corey Schneider who is playing like a Vezina candidate with 23 wins along with a 2.03 GAA and .929 SV% on the season. All things being said I still believe the Devils will eventually drop out as the Penguins and Flyers should find a way in to the post-season. Not much could be said about the Capitals that we already know. Washington is the best team in the NHL as they are solid in just about every department. Both of these teams have been pretty solid over their last 10 games and this game could be close as it will be played in the Prudential Center. I like the Caps here though as John Carlson and Alexander Ovechkin are back and those are two big players who should be enough to get the W here.
Key Stat: Capitals are 4-0 in the last 4 meetings.
Pick: Washington – Visitor Team Win – V
“Uh-oh…” said the entire Eastern Conference. It looks like Jakub Voracek has figured it all out with 10 points in his last five games. Albeit most of those points continue to be assists, it seems that the Flyers are getting hot at the right time. The Flyers are 6-3-1 in their last 10 games and they are currently on a three-game winning streak having scored a whopping 14 goals over that span. The Rangers on the other hand continue to play mediocre hockey and their home/away split is a glaring issue. At home the Rangers are 19-5-2 and on the road… 9-13-3. I think the Flyers are flying high and playing at the Wells Fargo Center will do them well against a very weak road team. Give me the Flyers as their PP continues to roll which is bad news for the Eastern Conference.
Key Stat: Rangers are 3-7 in the last 10 meetings in Philadelphia.
Pick: Philadelphia – Home Team Win – H
This is going to be one of the games to watch for today. On one hand you have a desperate team that continues to freefall out of playoff contention as their best player watches helplessly from the sidelines. On the other hand you have a team that can only go up as they look rejuvenated with their best player back on the ice. I’m pretty sure you can guess who is who as Connor McDavid visits the Bell Centre this afternoon for what should be an entertaining game. The Canadiens are 1-8-1 in their last 10 games and if you watch hockey you know that Carey Price has been out for quite some time now. What seems to boggle my mind is how one player could impact a team so much. Is it that Price is simply that important? Or was this going to happen eventually even if Price was in the crease? Regardless, the Canadiens suck right now and if they don’t turn things around soon they could be playing golf in in the spring as they are currently out of the post-season. This game has desperation written all over it for Montreal and you can bet McDavid will be in tough this afternoon. However, how can you be against McDavid as he’s looked godlike since his return from injury. My brain is telling me to take the Oilers here but my gut is saying to take the Canadiens. The only good news for the Habs is that they seem to beat up on weaker teams.
Key Stat: Canadiens are 4-1 in their last 5 homes games vs. a team with a road winning % of less than .400.
Pick: Montreal – Home Team Win – H
The Bruins have a weird home/away split this season as they are 11-13-3 at home, yet 16-5-3 on the road. Boston continues to cling onto a post-season spot but they have the Penguins and Flyers breathing down their necks trailing by only a few points. The Bruins will go for the sweep tonight against the Sabres as they beat them 3-2 in Buffalo on Thursday night. The Sabres have shown this season that they can win on any given night as they have the firepower to do so. However, I think the Bruins will get the win here as they can’t drop points here against a bottom table team with the Red Wings hot on their trail.
Key Stat: Sabres are 2-6 in the last 8 meetings.
Pick: Boston – Home Team Win – H
The Panthers are definitely the talk of the league as we are witnessing something magical here. Things just seem to be clicking for Florida and the kids are finally starting to shine as Aleksander Barkov and Jonathan Huberdeau are making it rain on the scoresheets. But even more impressive than them is the play of the ageless wonder, Jaromir Jagr. Not only is Jagr putting up points but more importantly he is giving the aforementioned kids the guidance and experience needed to become an elite NHLer. And that folks is priceless. The Panthers take on the Penguins who have surged ever since dropping dead weight in Mike Johnston. Most importantly, the PP has exploded as they have gone from bottom of the league to eighth clipping at 20.1%. Sidney Crosby seems to be back and as a result his linemates Chris Kunitz and Patrick Hornqvist are piling up the points. As well as the Penguins have played as of late, I have to go with the Panthers here. First, the Penguins are on the tail end of back-to-back. Second, they are without their stud forward Evgeni Malkin. Third, Roberto Luongo will be between the pipes and he has been lights out. Take the Panthers.
Key Stat: Home team is 4-0 in the last 4 meetings.
Pick: Florida – Home Team Win – H
What a disaster in Winnipeg. The Jets are freefalling with only three wins in their last 10 games. I really didn’t see this coming as a few months ago analysts couldn’t stop talking about their offensive depth and size. Last night the Jets gave up five to the Hurricanes at home as they took another one on the chin in a 5-3 lose. The Avalanche on the other hand have played rather well as of late although dropping their last two games. To be fair those two losses came against stiff competition in the Blackhawks and Stars. I have to go with the Avalanche here as the Jets are on the tail end of a back-to-back and they are spinning out of control. This is a perfect opportunity for the Avs to pick up some much needed points against a battered and beaten Jets team.
Key Stat: Home team is 8-2 in the last 10 meetings.
Pick: Colorado – Home Team Win – H
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