Letang ICON SMI

 

 

Well here we are – my final Saturday column of the regular season. It’s been quite the slice deciphering, breaking down and hopefully providing you an interesting twist on the Saturday NHL six-packs throughout the season! This year, Marty and I will be extending our pieces through the 1st round of the Stanley Cup Playoffs. So hopefully you’ve made some coin, won some office pick’em pool,s or simply enjoyed reading the columns.

 

Off to the races we go.

 

Stats as of Friday morning
Winning % on the season= 55%
Previous Week Record= 2-4

 

 

Boston @ NY Islanders (1:00pm ET)
By the Numbers - Frozen Pools



After a two month span where the defending champs simply had the seat tilted back, the shades on, windows down and  Camaro on cruise control, the Bruins finally recorded back-to-back victories. Boston has evidently decided it was time to kick it into high gear so that they could avoid peaking early, rattling off 11 of a possible 14 points. This recent spurt was kick-started mostly by yet another demolition of the Blue ‘n White north of the 49th parallel; an 8-0 laugher. Since then, they’ve only lost once in regulation. The Islanders have been playing spoilers of late, winning of five of six, including three straight and a pair of 5-3 victories over the mighty Penguins.


Pick
Boston - Visitor Win – V(ProLine)

Ottawa @ Philadelphia (1:00pm ET)
By the Numbers - Frozen Pools



Philly comes into this one looking to finish off an absolutely stunning month of March the same way, having gone 11-3-2 thus far, the latest victory being a 7-1 drubbing of the fiercely freefalling Maple Leafs on Thursday night. The Sens, meanwhile, have been slowly losing their grip on a playoff spot at the worst time, while at the same time doing just enough to stay afloat in the race. The momentum is all with the Flyers here just as they appear destined for a renewed Best of seven version of the Battle of Pennsylvania in a couple weeks! They’ll be needing all of the adrenaline they can muster up going into the opening round.



Pick

Philadelphia- Home Win– H(ProLine)


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



This one is a wash; An utter formality. Two teams on freight trains heading in totally opposite directions. The Sabres were lambasted for the vast majority of the season for having lavishly spent at will in free agency with all of their newfound riches, albeit overspending in the process. A litany of high profile injuries didn’t help either. “How could it be that the Sabres are sitting in the East basement?” many an observer would ask. Meanwhile the boys in blue were enjoying their best first half of a season since the pre salary cap era, looking to be quite the formidable foe, with Masterton nominee Joffrey Lupul and controversially acquired Phil Kessel leading the charge.

 

My, how the tables have turned! The Sabres are now sitting ahead of Washington after pumping them in their own barn the other night, riding a five game winning streak and a nine game points streak. Ryan Miller undeniably has played a key role in the late season resurgence. Meanwhile the Leafs have lost 11 consecutive home contests. You think both trends will be bucked tonight? I think not!


Pick
Buffalo - Visiting Team Win Plus – V+(ProLine)


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

 

Washington had been finally playing some semblance of a solid brand of Caps hockey of late sitting at 7-3-3 in their past 13 games (minus a no-show vs the streaking Sabres two games previously). Ovechkin has finally come back to life, netting an NHL three-star performance last week with nine goals in seven games heading into the Sabres loss the other night. The other talented Alexander has also seemingly come alive as of late with five points in four games heading into the last contest where he did not score in regulation, but did net the winner for the defending champs in shootouts. Only problem with this theme is too little too late. You can’t wait til the end of March to stake your claim in the conference. It’s going to be supremely intriguing over the next few days at Washington will practically have to win out their remaining games while hoping for an Ottawa or Sabres squad (unlikely) to falter.


Pick
Washington - Home Team Win - H(ProLine)

L.A. @ Minnesota (8:00pm ET)
By the Numbers - Frozen Pools


This past Monday night vs. the Vancouver Canucks in a 1-0 shutout loss, the Kings entered the third period for the 25th time this season with a score line of 2-1 or lower. More than a third of their season has proved to utterly futile in the offensive department. Yet Jonathan Quick has single-handedly put this team in a playoff race. Let me put this into perspective. The L.A. Kings, currently occupying the final playoff spot in the West have scored 178 goals. The 2nd last in the East maple Leafs have scored 40 more @ 218. Moreover, even the NHL’s laughing Columbus Blue Jackets have outscored L.A! Jonathan Quick should be just as equally in the mix for the Hart trophy as he is for the Vezina, as he has played an enormous role in owning the league’s 2nd best GAA to cancel out their scoring deficiencies.

 

Frozen Pool

 

Pick
L.A. – Visiting Team Win- V(ProLine)



Dallas @ San Jose (10:30pm ET)
By the Numbers - Frozen Pools


San Jose is getting perilously close to being a massive bust this season, sitting for the moment on the outside looking in, tied with 8th place  L.A. The Sharks are also a point behind Phoenix for 7th and Dallas for the division lead, so not all is lost just yet, but it’s certainly crunch time for this annual regular season giant. The identity of this team may certainly be looked at for a changeup if that 8th spot is not achieved. Dallas, meanwhile, holds the cards for the division lead at the moment, but something tells me the Sharks have just a little wee bit more to lose in this one given the state of each franchise and what results were expected of them prior to the season.

 

Pick
San Jose - Home Team Win - H(ProLine)


( Follow Anthony Lancione on Twitter @Anthisdaman)


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