I’m on the road for work and this week’s picks are coming to you from Wawa, ON the home of legend Chris Simon … hahaha. They have a Chris Simon drive, which is of course the street the arena is on. Haven’t had as much time for the picks this week, as I’ve been busy travelling and working so I apologize for any lack of insight into the matchups. Thunder is at home so we won’t include her picks this week, but we’ve got 13 games on the schedule so enough dwelling on what could have been and here we go!
(Angus here, putting these up a bit early because Marty got them to me early, and some of you gamblers out there may want to get an early start on your tickets!)
Calgary Flames @ Los Angeles Kings
The Flames have the 2nd best road record in the NHL heading into LA Saturday night. Kopitar has 16 pts. in 9 homes games (including 10 goals) and 12 pts. in 12 career games versus the Flames. Kipper heads into the contest with a 13-5-1 2.31 GAA and a .918 SV%.
Pittsburgh Penguins @ Atlanta Thrashers
Ilya Kovalchuk is a man on a mission. 10 pts. since returning from injury and is averaging 2 ppg at home. Meanwhile the Penguins are back to their winning ways since the return of Malkin to the lineup. His return should also help with Sidney Crosby’s production who’s measly 3 pts. in 7 games were nothing compared to what Malkin was able to do when Crosby went down with a high ankle sprain.
Pick: T (Thrashers win in shootout)
Washington Capitals @ Toronto Maple Leafs
I’m watching the Leafs blow a 2 goal lead in the 3rd period vs. the Canes in Carolina as I write this. Even without Ovechkin in the lineup this should be an easy victory for the Caps, the fact the Leafs have only won one game at home (although against the Wings) doesn’t instill confidence in the blue and white. Gustavsson has looked a little shaky getting pulled in Chicago and giving up 4 to Carolina.
Buffalo Sabres @ Ottawa Senators
The Sens are coming off a strong effort against the Pens while the Sabres are coming off their worst defeat of the season versus the Thrashers. Both Miller and Lalime have posted losing records against the Sens with GAA over 3.00.
Florida Panthers @ NY Rangers
Despite their sub .500 record the Panthers have recorded pts. in 4 straight games, winning 3 of them, including their convincing win over the Sabres on Wednesday night. Vokoun has a .932 SV% on the road this year, however he may get the nod for Friday’s game versus the Wings, the other option, Clemmensen has a 5.76 GAA in 2 road starts this year. Perhaps look for Vokoun to go back to back. Gaborik is tied for the goal scoring lead with 15. The fact that Gaborik is still in the lineup is an early Xmas gift for all of his fantasy owners. The Rangers have only mustered 14 GF in 7 games in November.
Detroit Red Wings @ Montreal Canadiens
The Wings seemed to have found their rhythm posting 5 wins in 7 games in the month of November, including 9 and 7 goal outbursts in the same week. They head into Montreal versus a rejuvenated Carey Price, who’s been simply amazing as of late, however with a tilt versus the Caps on Friday night we could see Jaroslav Halak between the pipes who has never played versus the Wings. The Habs have had issues scoring goals and will miss Gionta’s production (tied with Cammer for the team lead in goals with 8) in this one.
Tampa Bay Lightning @ Carolina Hurricanes
Carolina is coming off a thrilling game versus the Leafs that saw them climb out of the basement, at least for one night. Tampa Bay has picked up pts. in 9 of their last 10 contests and Steven Stamkos is among the league leaders in goals with 13 goals and Lecavalier is coming off his first 3 pt. game of the year.
New Jersey Devils @ Dallas Stars
Zach Parise (13 goals as of 10:11pm Thursday evening) is on pace for a 100 pt. season under J. Lemaire, which is incredible based on his defensive style as everyone expected a drop in his production after the announcement of Lemaire’s arrival. The Devils look to begin a new road winning streak when they head into Dallas. The Stars’ November record is falling into a trend as they have gone L, W, L, W, L, W, currently losing to the Blue Jackets. Rookie Jamie Benn has come back down to earth since being moved out of the top 6 with 1 pt. in 7 games and a -4 rating. Turco has a 2.10 GAA with a .928 SV% at home this year.
Pick: T (NJ in a shootout)
NY Islanders @ St. Louis Blues
Every time I’ve picked the Isles this year they haven’t let me down yet. Of all the teams in the league this year I didn’t think they would be my bread and butter go to team, when I need to get a pick correct. They’re 2-0-2 on their current 7 game road trip, and hopefully they keep me in the winning column. Since their 6 goal outburst the Blues have 4 goals in 3 games.
Philadelphia Flyers @ Phoenix Coyotes
The Flyers are 6-1 in November scoring 26 goals in the process and rolling into Phoenix on their current west coast swing that began with a 3-2 victory over the Kings, and holding Kopitar off the scoreboard. All of Hartnell’s goals this year have come on the PP and the Flyers have won 5 of the 6 games he’s scored in. Look for Hartnell to score with the man advantage.
Columbus Blue Jackets @ Nashville Predators
Columbus is coming off a game versus Dallas where their first 4 goals of the game came on special teams (3PPG, 1SHG). The Preds have won 4 of their last 5, and hopefully are able to explode for a pile of goals as there appears to be a general feeling that Hitchcock may be on the chopping block as his defensive style of play has given up 67 goals in 19 GP. Too bad Filatov is already on Russian soil to benefit from this news. Huselius has 6 pts. in 3 games since returning from injury and seems like he’ll be able to surpass last years disappointment of 56 pts.
San Jose Sharks @ Anaheim Ducks
San Jose takes their 8-5-2 record into Anaheim (4-6-0 at home) who have lost 4 straight, allowing 18 goals in that span. Ryan Getzlaf is averaging over 1 A/game, his owners are just waiting for his shooting percentage to improve from 5.0 to start rejoicing a possible 100 pt. season. Saturday is his most productive day of the week (56 pts. in 50 games) while November is his most productive month (62 pts. in 57 games). The Sharks haven’t been hot themselves lately losing 3 of their last 4 games. Heatley looks to be back to his 50 goal ways, with 14 so far this season, with half of those coming on the road.
Chicago Blackhawks @ Edmonton Oilers
The Oilers managed to pull off a spirited come from behind victory over the Northwest leading Colorado Avalanche. Too bad all of their games in November aren’t against the Avs, as their only two wins have come versus Colorado (2-4-2 in the month of November). The Hawks are sporting the league’s best PK, and look to extend their 4 game win streak. Surprisingly Patrick Kane is the only Hawk producing at a ppg pace with 19 pts. in 19 games, however 10 other Hawks have at least 8 pts. so far this season.