Once again, Notch checks in with his winners. Maybe his tips will help you with some tough decisions on your Saturday ticket.
Ottawa at Boston 1:00 PM EST
Ottawa leads the season series 4 games to 2. Three of the Sens victories have come by only one goal though. Ottawa is 17-23 (a loss is a loss) since the start of 2008. Ottawa has played a lot of hockey lately and this will be their 6th game in the last 9 days. This will be the Bruins league leading 9th Saturday afternoon game. A win by Boston moves them within 2 points of Ottawa with a game in hand plus another head-to-head matchup.
Ottawa – V+
Dallas at Los Angeles 4:00 PM EST
Dallas is losing the season series 4 games to 3 and has lost all three games in Los Angeles this year. Excluding Brad Richards’ 5 point debut and subsequent Stars victory, Dallas has only won once in their last 9 games. Los Angeles has won 3 of their last 4 games and are riding the great play of Swedish netminder Erik Ersberg. Ersberg has some good numbers this year – 5-3-3, 1.97 GAA and a .942 SV%. He has also beaten Dallas once this year as well. This will be the 3rd game in 4 nights for Los Angeles
Dallas – V+
Montreal at Toronto
The season series in split at 3 games apiece. A Montreal win coupled with an Ottawa loss would give Montreal the Northeast Division title. They will be watching the Sens play at 1:00 PM today. Halak may start in net for Montreal. Once again Toronto will play an opponent who had to play the previous night, while they sat home and rested. This will be the 10th time that has happened this year – no other team has had that luxury more than 7 times. Surprisingly though, Toronto is only 3-6 in those previous 9 games, and have been outscored by the opposition 28-26.
Toronto in a shootout – T
Philadelphia at NY Islanders
Philly has dominated the Islanders this year winning 6 of 7 with the last three victories all coming by convincing 4-1 scores. Philly has points in 13 of their last 16 games and Marty Biron is looking to win his 7 consecutive start against Long Island. While Philly is hot – the Islanders are cold only winning 2 of their last 10. On the bright side, Wade Dubielewicz hasn't faced the Flyers this season, but is 2-0-0 with a tie and a 1.82 GAA in three all-time meetings.
Philadelphia – V+
Washington at Florida
Washington always struggles against Florida. This year the Capitals have lost 4 of 6 but since the start of the 2005-06 season the Caps are 3-7-1 at BankAtlantic Center in Florida. Quite simply, both teams can’t afford to lose. A loss by Washington and they stay 4 points back of Carolina and the Southeast Division title with only three games to play. A loss by Florida eliminates them from playoff contention.
Washington – V
Carolina at Tampa Bay
Each team has won 3 games against each other this year and this is the 1st game of a home and home to conclude the season series. Carolina is coming off an easy 7-1 win over Atlanta last night. With the travel and things coming to easy against Atlanta last night – watch out for a Hurricane let-down tonight. Tampa Bay is being led by Ouellet and Halpern as of late and not Vinny or Marty. Lecavalier does has 11 points in 6 games against Carolina this year so look for a big game from him.
Tampa Bay – H
Chicago at St. Louis
Wouldn’t it be nice to see both of these teams in the playoffs once again. In 2 years, both these teams will be competing for the Stanley Cup. Chicago is 4-3-0 in the season series, but has lost two of three meetings in St. Louis this year. St. Louis is coming off a big win over Detroit last night and may not have much emotion left in this up and down season for them.
Chicago – V
Edmonton at Calgary
A lot is on the line in this game and I expect 2 fights in 1st period just for the fun of it. This is also so first game of a home and home so that helps bring up the emotion in a game that doesn’t need it in the first place. Roloson is 5-2-1 with a 3.20 GAA in his last eight overall starts BUT, is only 2-8-0 with three ties, one shutout and a 2.58 GAA in 13 visits to Calgary. On the other side of the rink - Kiprusoff is 9-2-1 with a tie, a shutout and a 1.67 GAA in 13 all-time home games versus Edmonton
Calgary – H+