|Saturday Picks - March 02, 2013||Tweet|
|Written by Anthony Lancione|
|Friday, 01 March 2013 14:15|
Anthony Lancione breaks down Saturday's NHL action.
Last week was almost a neat sweep for me, starting out a perfect four for four on the Saturday slate, including correctly (and boldly I might add) pinning Edmonton and Phoenix to go to shootouts. Moreover, I pegged the Oilers to take it, eventually finishing off five for six on the night. This week, I’ll look to build on that momentum and get on a bit of a roll!
Stats as of Friday morning
Ottawa @ Philadelphia (12:00pm ET)
Philly’s resurgent offense has lit the lamp 26 times in their last six contests. In fact, only two other teams in the NHL have found twine more time than them this year. They’ve bolstered their offense that much more with the return of fan favourite Scottie Hartnell this week in addition to the re-acquisition of former Flyers’ sniper Simon Gagne. However, they unequivocally will need more consistency between the pipes as Bryzgalov has been all over the map. The Sens however have shockingly not missed Vezina Candidate Craig Anderson, as backup, Ben Bishop has been fantastic in relief. That being said, look for the Flyers to break that trend of solid Ottawa goaltending.
Washington @ Winnipeg (3:00pm ET)
The Capitals were looking to be finally breaking out of their season long slump before falling back into their old habits once again, getting handled by Philly last time out. But I see that as merely a bump in the road to recovery. I expect a bounceback performance. The hometown Jets on the other hand have certainly been riding the coattails of the Evander Show of late, as Kane had accumulated an eight game scoring streak heading into Thursday evening’s action. He had six goals in that span, along with a +7 rating and 15 PIMs, making many of you poolies proud! Pavelec has been much improved recently as well, mirroring his career numbers much more closely. Should be a tight affair, but I still see Washington barely eking one out.
Washington - Visitor Win– V(ProLine)
By the Numbers
Anaheim @ Phoenix (7:00pm ET)
The Anaheim Ducks have really rallied from a brutal play-off less 2011-12 campaign, coming out guns a-blazing this season. If not for the out-of-this-world Blackhawks flexing their muscles in a very real way, they’d likely be tops in the conference. Teemu is still Teemu, but his fellow Finn, Saku Koivu has actually been keeping pace with his elder countryman, showcasing team-wide depth. Perry has started to come around of late, and Francois Beauchemin is having a career year well into his 30’s. Fasth has essentially replaced Jonas Hiller as the top dog in the crease. The Coyotes on the other hand have secretly put together a strong season of their own, despite ownership uncertainty still an issue. Phoenix ranks 6th in the NHL in wins and top 10 in goals scored, goals against, goal differential and shots on target. It should be a close one. Sorry Fasth and Smith owners, but these two usually put on scoring show when they face off.
Pittsburgh @ Montreal (7:00pm ET)
The Battle of the top two Eastern Conference teams goes to the plate, between the perennial Eastern Conference heavyweight Penguins and the juggernaut…..Habitants?? really? Well on paper this is true, in fact, the Canadiens will finish the night perched on top of the conference win lose or draw. However, despite the fact that Montreal finally ended their losing streak against the Leafs and that Pittsburgh was beaten soundly by Carolina in Brandon Sutter’s return, this one will still go down to the better team taking it home, which is still Pittsburgh, even without Evgeni Malkin.
Los Angeles @ Vancouver (10:00pm ET)
Vancouver has had atrocious goaltending lately allowing 12 goals in their past two outings, however the Canucks have yet to lose more than twice in a row this season. Despite losing Kesler long term once again, I expect a much more hungry Vancouver squad in this one. The Defending Cup champs have been mediocre to average this season. However, the equally describable play of the reigning Conn Smythe winner has lead to the long overdue showcasing of the lost-in-the-mix Jonathan Bernier in recent times who has been stellar. I wouldn’t necessarily go as far as to say that a goaltending controversy may be brewing n La-La Land, but you certainly should follow www.goaliepost.com every other night to find out who will be in net for the Kings, by industry experts!
Nashville @ San Jose (10:30pm ET)
San Jose comes into this one having won only twice in the entire month of February (Feb 28th game vs. Detroit in progress at the time of writing), including their victory last contest. The firepower shown in January will come through sooner rather than later. With the defensively-struggling (yes, you read that right) Predators visiting the Shark Tank, it might be the team that the Sharks need for an offensive breakout. After all, its not often you’ll find Pekka Rinne in a funk like this, having allowed 13 goals in the past three games; the last of which he was yanked.
|Last Updated on Saturday, 02 March 2013 12:16|