MarianHossa


Welcome back NHL, I have missed you dearly but I also enjoyed the extended break in cheering on my 49ers into the Super Bowl and spending some quality time with my family. The world juniors were a tease and found me crying out "More!!" just like my 15 month old son does when his food tray is empty, and at last we can both satisfy our hunger. In a shortened season it's important for teams to get off to a quick start, and with our picks it's no different. Enough babble, let’s grab a cold one out of the fridge, and let's get to Saturday night’s action.


 *Note: Write-up completed before Thursday nights action was completed.

 

Avalanche @ Sharks


SP1


By the numbers – Frozen Pool


With Steve Downie out for the season and Ryan O’Reilly still unsigned things aren’t looking up for the Avs at the moment. Making matters worse is that the Avalanche head into the Shark Tank where they haven’t won a regular season game since February 2008 (a span of eight straight regular season losses). The Sharks have also won five of the last six games between these two teams outscoring the Avs 23-11. All the usual suspects for the Sharks have gotten off to good starts in the shortened season, Couture, Thornton, Marleau, and Pavelski have combined for 19 points. Semyon Varlamov should be able to give the Avalanche a chance, however if they decide to give Giguere his first start of the year, they’ll be in tough as he has a personal four game losing streak against the Sharks.

 

My Pick: H

Thunder’s Pick: H

 

Maple Leafs @ Rangers

By the numbers – Frozen Pool


After the Leafs seemed to have their way with the Penguins I kept reading articles that used the adjective “speedy” to describe the Leafs performance Wednesday. I never thought I would see the day to see the team described as such, when I hear Maple Leafs the first images that come to my mind are guys like Clark, Nolan, Thomas and Corson lumbering across the blue line into the offensive zone. The loss of Joffrey Lupul is huge to this team, but should give even more ice time and chemistry to continue to develop between Kadri and JVR. The Rangers have won five of the last seven head to head meetings but have yet to face anyone of Reimer/Scrivens/Rynnas between the pipes. On paper the Rangers look like a shoe-in as conference finalists and it’s nice to see Marian Gaborik show up healthy and scoring to start the season. It’s only three games in but seeing a goals against average north of 4.00 for Lundqvist seems bizarre. He hasn’t posted such a GAA in a three game stretch since November 2010.

 

My Pick: H

Thunder’s Pick: V

 

Blackhawks @ Blue Jackets

By the numbers – Frozen Pool


Simply put this is not a good matchup for the Blue Jackets. They have lost seven straight, surrendering 35 goals over that span. To translate, it’s a good idea to start all of your Blackhawks Saturday night. Hopefully Columbus will be able to keep it respectable by starting Bobrovsky instead of going to Steve Mason. We saw what happened with that on Wednesday with a new season, but same old Mason surrendering fives goals and a hat-trick to the Timmins Tornado. Hossa, Kane, and Toews average over a point per game at Nationwide Arena.

 

Pick: V+

Thunder’s Pick: V

 

Flyers @ Panthers

By the numbers – Frozen Pool


The Panthers looked great in their home opener before putting up a couple of stinkers in their travels across eastern Canada. Five days into this young season and the Flyers find themselves as the worst team in the league losing their first three games, losing their top line winger (Scott Hartnell) for six to eight weeks, and picking up the first suspension of the year. If they are still winless heading into this matchup perhaps facing a team that they’ve beaten six out of the last eight meetings will help them get in the win column. Four of the last five meetings have been one-goal decisions. These teams have hit on the under in five straight matchups. Bryzgalov has a 4-1-1 record with a 1.47 goals against average and .944 save percentage against Florida all-time.

 

Pick: T (Flyers win in SO)

Thunder’s Pick: V

 

Blues @ Stars

By the numbers – Frozen Pool


Wow, these two teams are streaky against one another. Dating back to November 2009, first the Blues rolled off three straight wins, than the Stars won five in a row, and now the Blues are currently riding a three game win streak. Their last nine wins against Dallas have come in three three-game win streaks, so does that mean that they are due for a loss? Latest reports are that Benn and the Stars are closing in on a deal slowly and this would be a great game to get him into the lineup for. Brian Elliott hasn't faced the stars with his new team, losing to them once with the Avs and again with the Sens, however those two losses were against Lehtonen.

 

My Pick: H

Thunder’s Pick: V


Oilers @ Flames

By the numbers – Frozen Pool


After winning nine in a row and 16 of the last 17 match ups the Flames find themselves with two losses in a row against the Oilers, with only 2 goals to show for their effort. With the return of Hudler and Cervenka into the lineup hopefully someone other than Glencross will get things going for the Flames on offense. The Oilers had a first period they would like to forget against the Sharks on Tuesday night, it'll be interesting to see how this young team under a rookie head coach bounces back in their next couple of games. With all the firepower they have up front and Justin Shultz doing his thing from the blue line the fans in Edmonton are hoping for a return to the post season. Devan Dubnyk surrendered all of six goals against the Flames last season in four starts. That's the Dubnyk fantasy owners are hoping to see on Saturday night.

Pick: V
Thunders Pick: T


Good luck and enjoy the games this weekend!


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