We’re in the stretch run now!  Although it may not officially be playoff time just yet, it certainly feels like it with more intense races to get into the dance than we’ve ever seen before, involving more teams still fighting than accustomed to.


Commissioner Bettman wanted parity, and boy did he ever get it. With under three weeks left in the season, by my count, only five teams are legitimately out of the chase. This weekend’s matchups provide plenty of meaningful games, with each passing day intensifying the grind that much more. Come the official 1st puck drop of the 2011 Stanley Cup Playoffs, almost all of the top 16 will be more than ready, having being forced into playoff atmosphere games for the better part of a month already! Now without further ado, let’s get to it.



Previous Week Record= 3-3

For ProLine Purposes= 2-4

(Chose correct team to win by 2+, but only won by 1…counts as loss on ticket though L)

Winning % since format change (18 games)= 56%

Bold Bonus Points(For successfully choosing game to go to SO’s AND picking correct winner)= +1

(~~ Stats as of Friday morning)


Colorado @ Los Angeles (4:00pm ET)

By the Numbers - Frozen Pools


The Avs are reeling, having lost eight of their past ten. At this point, the snowmen come take their act to La-La land in full spoiler mode. Despite the Kings sitting in 5th spot in the West, as we approach April, still, no lead is safe unbelievably. The volatility of the Western Conference has been well documented this year. As such, Colorado can yet do plenty of damage to L.A.’s playoff positioning as they cling to a four point lead on 9th place Dallas (who have a game in hand). That being said, L.A. has awaken from their slump collecting a tidy 16 of 22 points in March. Expect them to hold on for their lives in a close one.



Los Angeles – Home Win – H(ProLine)


Washington @ Montreal (7:00pm ET)

By the Numbers - Frozen Pools


Theyy’ree back!! The Capitals recent surge has not only catapulted them back into a contender to defend their Eastern conference title, but they are seemingly doing so with a distinct defensive component mixed in with their offensive arsenal. They rank 8th in the NHL in scoring, but an amazing 4th leaguewide in goals against a remarkable turnaround from years past, Can this be the ingredient missing that could finally take them on a deep playoff run? Perhaps. Having won 11 of 12, the caps are simply on fire, and with Nick Backstrom back, the rich get richer. Montreal on the other hand, have been in quite the eye popping see-saw battle, either being the recipient or the distributor of a blowout in three of their past four. Despite the allure of memories from last spring, I think its safe to say they don’t ring too fresh at the moment



Washington – Visitor Win – V(ProLine)

Toronto @ Detroit (7:00pm ET)

By the Numbers - Frozen Pools


I’ll have a nice first hand view of this one, perched from my seat at the Joe! Detroit has been hampered with yet another string of injuries in recent weeks, although many of their star’s absences as of late have been admittedly more due to precautionary measures. This veteran core will surely be served best for a lengthy run by getting some rest in where possible. As a result, its taken a bit of a hit to their recent record, only pulling in four victories on the month. However the Leafs come into this one with an impressive surge of their own behind glorified rookie goaltender, James Reimer. Riding a three-game winning streak and winners of four of their past five, and only three points out of a playoff spot, the blue and white are as hungry as ever. This one is going right down to the wire



Tie – T(ProLine) – (Detroit in SO)


Philadelphia @ NY Islanders (7:00pm ET)

By the Numbers –Frozen Pools


The goaltending carousel continues in Philly. However the Flyers come into this one still holding onto their top dog status in the East and feeling pressure from the red hot capitals to stake claim to home ice advantage through til the conference finals. Laviolette has plenty of sleeping weapons at his disposals bound to come out firing on all cylinders. However they have and eight game points streak live, despite many of them only being of the one point variety. The Islanders, contrastingly have been yet another cellar dweller that has been quite impressive as of late, only failing to take home points in 2 contests in March. Garth Snow may be making decent strides toward eliminating the ‘laughing stock’ label, having quite possibly made the best two waiver wire additions in the league this season, between Grabner and Montoya and Nabokov.



Philadelphia – Visitor Win – V(ProLine)


Tampa Bay @ Carolina (7:00pm ET)

By the Numbers – Frozen Pools


The Lightning have slowly been free falling since February. They must be sensing the urgency by now. Surely their two W’s in an 11 match stretch can be paralleled to the slump of Steven Stamkos, who’s once insurmountable lead in the Maurice Richard trophy, is now in serious doubt.  After topping 40 goals in the first week of February, he’s potted just two since February 23rd! This will mark the 2nd of a home and home series this weekend, of which will be a battle of the Bolts attempt to get back in a roll vs. the Canes battle to stay in the race for the playoffs. Should make for a tight affair



Tampa Bay – Visitor Win – V(ProLine)

San Jose @ Phoenix (9:00pm ET)

By the Numbers – Frozen Pools

San Jose has silently made their way back to their familiar position atop the Pacific division, behind the stellar goalkeeping of Anti Niemi, and the contributions now spread out more across the lineup rather than depending on Jumbo Joe and co. to do all the damage. Just like Stevie Y once sacrificed his spot atop the NHL’s top 3 in annual scoring for the better of the team, it appears Joey Thornton is at the same stage in his career. It can’t go without mentioning that Joe Pavelski (conveniently just as I traded for him in my fantasy keeper pool) has seriously provided a boost for the Sharks with an astonishing 14 points in the past SIX games! All things being considered, the desert has proven to be a difficult place for visitors this year as Phoenix sits at 19-12-6 on home ice. The sharks will be keen to take this one in likely yet another nail-biter.



San Jose – Visitor Team Win — V(ProLine)


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Jarrod Woodson said:

WOOW! Been meanin' to check how you did this week. Kick ass job this week Anth!! ~~ In selecting ALL SIX winners! Startin to get on a bit of a roll now, I see!Nice!.....Sooooooo kickin myself for not throwin down a parlay on this half dozen on Sat. Oh well, hopefully next column I'm not hesitant again!!smilies/cry.gif
March 30, 2011
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