Find out why Lancione likes the Flyers to win in this edition of Saturday Picks.

Winning % on the season= 67%
Previous Week Record= 4-2


Good afternoon ladies and gentlemen!  After banging out a decent start in my opening week of the year, scooping up four victors, with only two incorrect picks, I want to jump right into it and at least maintain that two-thirds pace.



Edmonton @ Phoenix (3:00pm ET)
By the Numbers - Frozen Pools

The Oilers arrive in the desert having played much more inspired hockey of late. Aside from their two convincing losses to Washington, their past two weeks have seen them either win or lose by a single goal. The return of Ryan Nugent-Hopkins has re-ignited the troops, despite Taylor Hall being placed on the shelf. Earlier this week he led Edmonton to back-to-back victories with five points in the two games. Jason Labarbera is being lent the keys today against his former squad for a little payback motivation.


Meanwhile, Phoenix is coming off a seven goal thumping at the hands of the Kings. Mike Smith will look to shake off that rough night immediately. The matinee looks to be a tight affair between two teams who had been playing well until everything fell apart in each of their last outings. Radim Vrbata has been off to a great start in terms of putting the puck in the net, showing signs of replicating his 35 goal output from the last full season (2011-12), with five through 11 games. However his minus-4 rating leaves much to be desired on the other end of the rink.

Edmonton – Visiting Team Win – V(ProLine)


New Jersey @ Boston (7:00pm ET)
By the Numbers - Frozen Pools


Tuukka Rask is the best goalie on the planet. That’s all I need to say. In fact, with the struggles of Henrik Lundqvist, the loss of form for Jonathan Quick and the injury concerns derailing Pekka Rinne’s career the past year, its time to truly give this man the undisputed title. In eight starts thus far in the season Tuukka has been sensational, posting a 1.23 GAA (Goals Against Average) and an utterly ridiculous 0.957% Save Percentage. In fact, only twice in this season has he allowed more than a single goal! Meanwhile the offense has also been consistent, with David Krejci riding a six game point streak, with eight points over that stretch. Milan Lucic has also bounced back convincingly from a forgettable lockout shortened year, where he never really got it together. 


The Devils have been terrible this year with only a single victory in ten tries. They didn’t do them any favours by running Marty out there more often than Cory Schneider in the opening three weeks. Pete DeBoer seemingly hasn’t learned his lesson running Brodeur back out there tonight - according to Justin Goldman’s sources at You know things are rough when a 41-year-old Jaromir Jagr is still leading your forward group in scoring, followed by 37-year-old countrymate, Patrik Elias. With Marek Zidlicky, at 36, anchoring the overall offense to boot, it makes you wonder why they didn’t sign Milan Hejduk yet to complete the 1998 Czech Gold Medal Active reunion team! This one could get ugly!



Boston - Home Win Plus– H+(ProLine)



San Jose @ Montreal (7:00pm ET)
By the Numbers -Frozen Pools

We’ve seen this act before, with San Jose shooting out of the gates as world-beater, title contenders, sure. However, Antti Niemi has undoubtedly now taken his game to another stratosphere. The 30-year-old Finnish stopper is on pace to smash his personal career bests across the board, with a 1.68 GAA and .927%. In my opinion, he’s jumped over the likes of Niklas Backstrom, Kari Lehtonen and the broken down version of Pekka Rinne for second spot in the Finnish goalie school hierarchy (for Sochi). Meanwhile, Tomas Hertl has been brought down to earth lately, after kickstarting his career with an almighty bang, only to register a solitary point in the past four. He has no goals in exactly two weeks as well. However the big guns have all been producing at over a point per game, hence the solid continued results.


Montreal is coming off a significant 4-1 win over the red hot Anaheim Ducks, and have been pretty solid all year. A 6-4 record perhaps isn’t even fully indicative of their overall strong play of late. They’ve still yet to lose by more than a goal this year, thus they have been in every single test to date. Despite losing all of their muscle in Brandon Prust and George Parros, the Habs have not been pushovers at all, but this will certainly be their biggest test yet.


San Jose - Visiting Team Win - V(ProLine)


Philadelphia @ NY Islanders (7:00pm ET)
By the Numbers - Frozen Pools


Philly have largely been underachievers thus far despite glittering peripherals from Steve Mason, who has been the latest tandem member to send Ray Emery to distinct backup status. With only W’s lacking from his 2013-14 output in the opening month, he has been more than steady. Finally the Flyers were able to eke out a low scoring 2-1 win over a Lundqvist-less(how’s that for a tongue-teaser) Rangers squad, to snap a brutal four game losing streak which saw them get outscored 14-6. Claude Giroux’s misery continues, with his goal-less streak now heading into its 16th game dating back to last season, but you’ve got to think that this roster is bound to get on a roll sooner or later.


The Islanders have been the most surprising team in the East so far, sitting second in the Metropolitan division behind only the Pittsburgh Penguins, of whom they beat 4-3 on Saturday night. However, while Philly has underachieved, I feel the Islanders have been very much the opposite, overachieving to a certain degree, despite growth from some of their stars. I expect a market correction to begin soon for both teams, possibly even tonight.


Philadelphia - Visiting Team Win - V(ProLine)


Pittsburgh @ Toronto (7:00pm ET)
By the Numbers - Frozen Pools

The Leafs got off to a thunderous start thus far, but have been outshot badly each of their last half dozen games, an extremely troublesome prospect. Yet with timely scoring and the NHL’s second best shooting percentage of 11.95%, the Bay Street Boys have managed to beat the odds. However, a very humbling collapse against the Columbus Blue Jackets Friday night saw them take a 1-1 game into the third period only to allow four in the late stages of the game. That can’t do anything but hurt a team psyche, especially when hosting the razor Hot Sidney Crosby and company the next night. With Sidney leading the way with 18 points in 10 games, a team allowing far too many shots is likely to get exposed once again. Not to mention that Joffrey Lupul and David Clarkson’s first game together is still not slated to happen this weekend.

Pittsburgh - Visiting Team Win - V(ProLine)



Minnesota @ Chicago (8:00pm ET)
By the Numbers - Frozen Pools

The Hawks come into this one at the Madison Madhouse looking to protect their undefeated-at-home status. In fact, they’ve only lost once all year in regulation over 10 games. While Minny has been fantastic defensively thus far, the magnificent Josh Harding is no longer available, resorting to a less than 100% Niklas Backstrom. Rushing him back may be a recipe for disaster against the champs.


It doesn’t help matters at all that Minnesota has been dreadful on the road thus far, only proving victorious once in five tries. The Wild have been extremely futile so far in spite of a decent 5-3-3 record; much of which is attributed to Harding’s career best run of play, filling in for the still injured Finnish starter. The Wild’s 24 goals scored for, is 2nd worst in the Western Conference. With a 7.23%  team shooting percentage, they also rank second-worst in the West. That luck is bound to change soon though given the quality of their forward core.


Chicago - Home Win – H(ProLine)



Good luck folks!


(~~ Follow Anthony Lancione on Twitter @Anthisdaman)

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holypuck said:

... 2 out 6, not to good haha
October 26, 2013
Votes: -1
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