My DobberHockey Saturday predictions are on fire right now. Unfortunately for me, every other day of the week has turned sour over the past 10. My bookie loves me again. Hopefully a good six hours of research for this article can conjure up some winners like always for the Dobber faithful. Heading in to this weekend my Saturday picks boast a winning percentage of 62.9.
There are a lot of early games, so be sure to check the time of NHL action on Saturday.
Chicago at Columbus 2:00PM EST
This is the 2nd game of a home and home set. The Blackhawks have taken both games this season by scores of 4-3 and 3-0 respectively. This will be Chicago’s 1st game of a season long eight game road trip. Only once this season has the Blackhawks had a road trip over 2 games long and that was a 6 gamer late in November. Chicago must like kicking their road trips off with a bang because they won that first game 7-1 over Calgary. The Blackhawks are 4-1 in the opening game of every road trip this season that is over one game long. Columbus is actually fairly decent at home sporting a 10-7-5 record, but are only 2-5-4 against divisional opponents. Key stat: Chicago has a league best goal differential of +53. Columbus is only better than Carolina and have a 2nd worst differential of -36. No team is even close to Chicago in this area as Washington is 2nd best with a +39. Watch out for Chicago’s afternoon game record of 1-2 this season. Columbus is 1-0 before dinner.
Chicago by 2 or more – Visitor plus win – V+
Detroit at Dallas 2:00PM EST
Dallas has beaten Detroit the last 4 times the Winged Wheel have rolled into Texas. Detroit is starting to get healthy again and other than an embarrassing 6-0 loss to the Isles, Detroit is 6-2-1 in their last 9 games. Detroit is 0-3 in afternoon games and one of those loses was against Dallas in Dallas. The Stars are 3-0-1 in the first game of short little two game home-stands like the one they are starting here. After 15 of the Stars first 34 games went past 60 minutes, their last 13 games have been decided in regulation time. Dallas has one of the best home records in the league; Detroit is just above .500 on the road.
Dallas in a shootout – Tie – T
New Jersey at Colorado 3:00PM EST
In this East vs. West matchup we see both teams coming in with identical 6-4-0 records in their last 10 games. The Devils are 3-0 in afternoon games this season and have outscored their opponents 10-3. One game was a blowout, the other two were 2-1 SO victories. Against the West this season, the Devils are only 4-4-1. For the Avalanche, afternoon games see them going 2-1 on the season. Against Eastern Conference teams, the Avs are a very good 9-4-1. Goaltending will be huge factor in this game and the under would be a nice play as well as…
Colorado – Home Win – H
Boston at Los Angeles 4:00PM EST
The Bruins are banged up. They are missing their top three centers in Savard, Bergeron and Krejci. It didn’t seem to matter much against San Jose. This will be Boston’s final game of their 3 game West Coast swing that saw them split the first 2 games. I look at Boston games so far this year and I pick out two key wins. One against the Stanley Cup Champs and the other, the Winter Classic; both games were wins for the Bruins followed by a stinker against weaker teams. That lone stat right there is almost good enough for me to pick LA as Boston is coming off a big win in San Jose. Boston is 2-4 in afternoon games this season. The Kings struggling lately even though they are fairly healthy going 4-6-0 in their last 10. They are 7-3-0 versus Eastern teams and 2-3 in their afternoon games. This will be a close game (one goal victory) as both these teams have close goal differentials and 14 of LA’s last 18 games have been decided by only one goal.
Los Angeles – Home Win – H
Edmonton at San Jose 4:00PM EST
Edmonton is in a world of hurt. San Jose is coming off a loss and other than a 4 game losing streak in early December; the Sharks are 8-2 in the next game after a loss.
San Jose by 2 or more – Home plus Win - H+
Ottawa at Montreal 7:00PM EST
Mike Brodeur – 2-0 this season with a 0.50 GAA and a .982 SV%, what more do you want me to say. I won $1100.00 on his first win (easy one because of the Minnesota Wild fire); I lost $1600 last night due to the Rangers playing the worst I have ever seen an NHL team play (I don’t watch the Leafs). Everyone knows that Ottawa has the worst goaltending in the league with glass boy Leclaire and inconsistent Elliott, but Brodeur has been good. To bad he is not in their long term plans. He is a temporary fix to try and keep them in a playoff spot while both regular goalies struggle, but nothing more. One more thing with Mike Brodeur; this game is National on CBC for HNIC – can he handle that pressure? Montreal is hot with the formation of a new top line and this is a big game as both teams have identical 23-21-4 records. Ottawa is horrible on the road, but may be inspired by the return of their leader - Alfie. I doubt he plays though.
Montreal by 2 or more – Home plus Win – H+
Buffalo at NY Islanders 7:00PM EST
No team is hotter than the Sabres right now. As a goalie myself, Miller makes me sick, he makes it look so easy (I have 4 shutouts in my last 5 games though, hehe). My rebound control has been great and I seem to know where the puck is going before the opposition knows what they are going to do with it. I have never been this flexible (thank you P90X) and I feel great on the ice; enough about me. Miller is the Hart Trophy winner. I haven’t been able to figure out the Islanders all year, there is no in-between with them. They either dominate or get dominated. After making Detroit look terrible in a 6-0 win, I think the Isles will fall back to earth even though they are 7-2-1 in their last 10. The season series is 2-1 for the Sabres with each team winning their home games. The games have not been close with scores of 3-0, 5-0 and 6-3.
Buffalo – Visitor Win – V
Tampa Bay at Florida 7:00PM EST
This is the final game of a home and home series with Florida winning the first game on Thursday by a score of 3-2. They have played in Tampa earlier in the season as well with the Bolts taking that game by the same score. This will be the first game in the Panthers rink. This game means nothing within the Division as Washington has that in the bag; but both teams sit at 46 points and a win could see the victorious team jumps 2 spots in the Conference standings over the loser and Atlanta who plays the Canes tonight as well. Tough call, but the gut says Florida.
Florida – Home Win – H
NY Rangers at St. Louis 8:00PM EST
The Rags will be happy to leave MSG where they have been shutout in consecutive games and have gone 144:23 without scoring a goal. Last game against Ottawa, the Rangers played the worst game I have ever witnessed. Lundqvist was clearly frustrated after another defensive zone breakdown saw Ottawa score with under 2 minutes to play. He was unsuccessful in trying to smash his stick, but was very successful in screaming at teammates. The King has allowed 2 goals or fewer in 7 straight games but has only 4 wins to show for it. St. Louis may finally be getting comfortable with new coach Davis Payne. After losing seven straight games, St. Louis has won three straight following a 1-0 victory over the Wild. The Rangers are 4-0-2 in the first road game after a home-stand of 2 games or more. St. Louis is 0-3 in the third game of home-stands which this game is. Take the under and…
NY Rangers – Visitor Win – V
Pittsburgh at Vancouver 10:00PM EST
This will be Crosby’s tune-up game for the Olympics in Vancouver. This game also closes out a season long 5 game road trip. The Pens are currently 3-1 and have done just enough to keep pace with other the other Eastern Conference leaders. The Penguins have had a lot of trouble in their last game on the road before heading home; this is what they have done:
3-2 SO win over Carolina
3-0 loss to Boston
3-2 OT win over Florida
2-1 SO win over Buffalo
6-2 loss to Florida
Not the greatest of efforts. Sure they are getting the job done sometimes, but against Luongo and Vancouver, they will need more as the Canucks have won 6 of the last 7 matchups.
Vancouver – Home Win - H