Hossa

 

We’re only two weeks away from finding out who’s getting an invite to the post-season dance. The Eastern Conference looks to be a two horse race, although the seventh place Senators aren’t exactly in the clear quite yet. The Western Conference is just ridiculous. Six teams are separated by three points and are battling for three playoff spots (one of them being the third seed for the Pacific Division winner). Three different teams have lead the Pacific in the last couple of weeks, and with tons of divisional games remaining there’s the possibility of plenty of swings. Let’s get to Saturday’s games where all six of those teams are in action:

 

Flames @ Stars

By the Numbers – Frozen Pool

 

The Flames are fading fast in the Western Conference playoff race. Losers of their last four games, they have managed to pick up three loser points in that time span, but a home and home with Dallas could be a monumental eight point swing if they pick up a couple of regulation W’s. After their surge, the Stars are also starting to slowly fall back down to earth and were passed by both the Coyotes and Kings in the Standings on Thursday night. The Stars have lost two of their last three games at home, and this is their last home date before they go on a 4 game west coast trip next week to finish off the month of March. Desperate times call for desperate measures we should know by Tuesday morning what the Flames will be playing for the rest of the season.

 

My Pick: V (Flames win)

Thunder’s Pick: H


Rangers @ Maple Leafs

By the Numbers – Frozen Pool

 

Frozen Pool

 

The Rangers need to keep winning if they want to keep the Pens from stealing first place in the East from them. There is no easier two points out there at the moment than a date with the Toronto Maple Leafs. The Leafs are just horrid, and would probably be better represented by the Marlies at this point. The only interesting thing left in this game is to see what chants the fans at the ACC come up this time around.

 

My Pick: V (Rangers win)

Thunder’s Pick: V


Canadiens @ Flyers

By the Numbers – Frozen Pool

 

The Habs have lost four of their last five games, which should set them up nicely for a top five pick. That top five pick will go a long ways to replacing the soon to be bought out Scott Gomez (what idiot gave Gomez his contract again?). Let’s have a quick recap, in five seasons, Gomez has managed to score 53 goals and 183 assists for 236 points, and made over $35 million, that’s around $150,000 per point. The Flyers meanwhile continue to get it done, except for that loss to Florida earlier this week. Bryzgalov seems to peaking at the perfect time, with four shutouts this month, to go with his 9-1-1 record, and 14 goals against.

 

My Pick: H+ (Flyers by two or more)

Thunder’s Pick: H


Penguins @ Senators

By the Numbers – Frozen Pool

 

The Penguins are on FIRE. They are currently riding a 13-0-1 streak that has them a point behind the Rangers for first place in the Eastern Conference. The team was clicking before the return of Sidney Crosby, who has managed nine points in five games since his second return this season. Starting on Saturday the Pens play five games in seven nights in a stretch that could give them home ice advantage throughout the playoffs. On the other side, Ben Bishop has done a marvellous job filling in for the injured Craig Anderson, going 3-2-2 with a 1.96 GAA, and a .925 save percentage. Unfortunately he hasn’t received much support with the Sens only scoring five goals in their last four games.

 

My Pick: V (Pens win)

Thunder’s Pick: H


Bruins @ Kings

By the Numbers – Frozen Pool

 

It seems every week there’s a different team getting hot, running the tables and taking over the lead in the Pacific Division. A couple of weeks ago it was Phoenix, last week it was Dallas, and now as of Friday morning, we can welcome the Kings to the top of the Pacific Division. Winners of six straight, the team has a big test against the Bruins before heading out on a road trip through Western Canada next week. Thursday night it was their defense that helped them secure two points, however, the offense has awoken as well. The Kings have scored 21 goals in the first five games of their win streak. The Bruins are on a late season Pacific Coast road trip that sees them play back to back Saturday and Sunday. Does that mean that Marty Turco will get a start again? I sure hope not. I don’t see the Kings pulling away from everyone else in the Pacific Division just yet.

 

My Pick: V (Bruins win)

Thunder’s Pick: H


Coyotes @ Sharks

By the Numbers – Frozen Pool

 

From an Avs’ fan perspective, games like this suck. You don’t really know who to root for, and you know it’s going to turn into a three-point game just to spite your own teams’ playoff chances. Seven of the Sharks remaining eight games are against playoff bubble teams (two versus LA, Dallas, and Phoenix each, and one against the Avs). Those are a lot of potential four-point swing games left on the schedule. The Coyotes on the other hand, hung on for a huge win over the Avalanche on Thursday night with Captain Shane Doan sitting out the first of three games from his suspension. Phoenix won two weeks ago at home, and I’m sure the Sharks will return the favour this time around.

 

My Pick: H (Sharks win)

Thunder’s Pick: V


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