Thunder

 

Whoa - based on last week’s performance I certainly shouldn’t quit the day job. Thunder continued her winning ways going 6-5 and now has amassed a 42-35 record on the year; eat your heart out Maggie the Monkey. We don’t need to get into specifics about how my week went, let’s just say that the highlight was choosing the NYI as winners... pathetic!! 

 

Anyway, barring a miracle this week Thunder pretty much has this wrapped up. Look at her stoic face just beaming with hockey wisdom, maybe someday it could be me haha. Anyways, it’s a busy final Saturday with 13 games on the schedule, with lots of matinee games and a handful of meaningless tilts as teams look to start booking their tee times.  Perhaps teams should hire professional golf cart drivers this summer to avoid players blowing out their knees while trying to apply that pesky parking brake...

 



Carolina Hurricanes @ New Jersey Devils
The Devils have won 3 of their last 4 games since their recent slide.  With nothing left to play for, I wouldn’t be surprised to see a few vets taking some time off to rest up for the first round of the playoffs.  Carolina is currently in a 3-way tie for fourth and would love to have home ice advantage for the first round of the playoffs.  They have won the last 4 H2H matchups (all started by C.Ward), and their recent 9 game win streak was snapped by the Sabres.

Prediction: V
Thunder’s Pick: H

Philadelphia Flyers @ New York Islanders
The Flyers are another of those teams tied for fourth in the east with 97 points and would love an easy two points against the worst team in the league.  The Flyers have won 9 straight H2H matchups including 12 of the last 13 versus the Isles.  7 of those 12 wins have been by 2 goals or more.  The Flyers have a prolific offense in afternoon games averaging 3.5 GF/game.  

Prediction: V+
Thunder’s Pick: V

Vancouver Canucks @ Colorado Avalanche
The last time these two teams met, TJ Galiardi scored a pair of goals to lead his Avalanche to victory.  Wait a second, that doesn’t sound right.  The Avs, with their plethora of injuries have placed Galiardi on the top line and he’s responded thus far.  The Canucks will be in tough as they battle for the Northwest Division C\crown and home ice advantage in the first round.  Colorado has won 9 of the last 11 H2H matchups, while the Canucks have won 6 of the last 4 Saturday matchups.  The Avs seem to be Luongo’s kryptonite based on his 6-14-3 record, with 3.10 GAA and .895 SV% in his career.

Prediction: T
Thunder’s Pick: V

Chicago Blackhawks @ Detroit Red Wings
The Red Wings have won the last 5 straight, 7 of 8, and 14 of 20 versus the Blackhawks.  They’ve outscored the Hawks 25-14 during their 5 game winning streak.  The Wings love afternoon games averaging over 4 GF/game during matinees.  Chicago has 4th place locked up in the conference leading them to possibly take it easy in the first game of this home and home series to close out the year.  The Hawks have won only 5 of 15 games in the front end of a B2B situation this season.  That compared to Detroit’s 11 wins out of 15 front end B2B games encourages you to select the home team.

Prediction: H
Thunder’s Pick: H

Boston Bruins @ Buffalo Sabres
A meaningless game where both teams have nothing left to play for makes it extremely difficult to pick a winner.  The Bruins are headed to the post season as the top team in the East, while the Sabres miss the playoffs and begin scheduling early tee times.  Buffalo leads the season series 3 wins to 2.  Boston has won 7 of their last 8 games, including 4 straight on Saturdays.  

Prediction: V
Thunder’s Pick: V

San Jose Sharks @ Los Angeles Kings
The Sharks have won 8 of the last 9 H2H matchups and gear themselves up for the playoffs.  Meanwhile, the Kings look to add another dynamite prospect to their rebuilding squad due to their unfortunate poor performance this season.  The Sharks hold the best PP% in afternoon games at 41.7 %.  Look for them to clinch their first ever President’s Trophy with points against the Kings.

Prediction: V
Thunder’s Pick: H

Pittsburgh Penguins @ Montreal Canadiens
The Pens trail the season series 2-1 to the Habs, but have found their way offensively with 22 GF in only 5 April games.  M.A. Fleury has put up horrendous numbers versus the Canadiens in his career with a 5-5-1 record, a 4.14 GAA and a .872 SV% Depending on their outcome the Habs will either face Boston or the Caps in the first round of the playoffs.

Prediction: H
Thunder’s Pick: V

Ottawa Senators @ Toronto Maple Leafs
A meaningless game that means absolutely nothing for both franchises.  Offensively both team have fared well since the all-star break putting up around 3 GF/game.  It’s the defensive side that has been the difference as Ottawa has given up 20 fewer goals since the break.  The Leafs will try to add to their 8 game winning streak during Saturday affairs with the Sens.  The Leafs have the worst penalty killing at home in the league (69.5%), which should help keep the Sens close in this game thanks to their special teams.

Prediction: H
Thunder’s Pick: T

Washington Capitals @ Florida Panthers
With the Caps clinching 2nd place in the East earlier this week and the Panthers getting eliminated on Thursday thanks to King Henrik’s 37 saves in a NY Rangers victory  this game is fairly meaningless.  Look for plenty of fresh legs to hit the ice for this Saturday tilt.  Washington has won 7 of the last 10 meetings and the last 9 meetings between these two teams have been decided by 2 or more goals.

Prediction: V+
Thunder’s Pick: H

Tampa Bay Lightning @ Atlanta Thrashers
Another meaningless game between these two clubs to close out their respective seasons has the Thrashers entering the contest having won 9 of the last 11 games H2H between these two teams.  The Thrashers have given up the most goals on home ice than any other team in the league, which may be worrisome except for the fact they’ll be facing a team that has only won 1 of their last 11 games.  The last time these two teams met they went to a shootout during Saturday night, perhaps lightning can strike twice??

Prediction: T
Thunder’s Pick: V

Minnesota Wild @ Columbus Blue Jackets
Based on what happens Friday this could potentially be another game that falls into the meaningless category.  The Wild have won 4 of the last 5 meetings, but share the league’s worst offense on the road.  The Jackets have picked up pts. in 9 of their last 10 games to help them clinch their franchise’s first playoff berth ever.  With a single point this weekend they can secure themselves in the #6 spot in the West and avoid powerhouses Detroit and San Jose.  The Wild managed only 6 wins in 16 games in the month of March, hardly playoff worthy play down the stretch.  Hopefully this will spell the end of Lemaire behind the bench.

Prediction: H
Thunder’s Pick: H

Anaheim Ducks @ Phoenix Coyotes
The Coyotes have won 5 of 8 as they look to finish off their dismal season on a positive note.  That positive note seems to be the play of goaltender Al Montoya whose latest 40 save effort denied the Sharks their first ever President’s Trophy for the time being.  The Ducks look to lock up a playoff berth with their strong finish as of late winning 9 of their last 11.  Avoiding extra time has also been beneficial this season as they have the win tiebreaker covered.  The Ducks have won 6 of the last 7 matchups H2H.  The Ducks are sporting the 4th best PP on the road this year, which has helped them along to 15 PP goals in their last 10 games overall.  The Coyotes atrocious PK unit since the all-star break has shown signs of improvement lately, killing off 17 of 19 PP chances.

Prediction: V
Thunder’s Pick: V

Edmonton Oilers @ Calgary Flames
With the Oilers out of the playoffs look for them to play spoiler this weekend in attempting to deny the Flames a Northwest Division crown.  There is no pattern or trend between these two teams in the battle of Alberta as both teams have similar records recently.  The Flames have lost 6 of their last 10 games overall and have only 1 win this season in 10 games in the back end of B2B situations, however all of those games were on the road.  The Oilers have won 8 of 17 in back end B2B situations including one over the Flames earlier this year.

Prediction: V
Thunder’s Pick: V

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