Monday, October 25, 2010

Monday's games

Philadelphia (3-3-1) at Columbus (4-3-0), 7 p.m. EDT

The Flyers had a chance to make a statement in the Eastern Conference with a five-game homestand but a 2-3-0 record in that time put a hole in that plan. So Philadelphia takes to the road for two of the next three games. Mike Richards finally found his way onto the scoresheet, doubling his points total in one game with three. But apart from Danny Briere, most of Philadelphia's stars aren't scoring. The goaltending situation is as murky as ever. Sergei Bobrovsky has been nothing special since his debut, leading to a return of Brian Boucher in goal.

The Blue Jackets have won three of their last four games, including an impressive win over Chicago, and score either two or three goals each game. They haven't scored fewer than two or more than three in any of their seven games. Steve Mason might be the most Dr. Jekyll-and-Mr. Hyde player in the league. He's either outstanding or horrible. In his three wins, he's given up five goals and has a .949 save percentage. In his three losses, he's allowed 14 goals with an .846 save percentage. R.J. Umberger has more goals (four) than Rick Nash has points (three, all goals.)

Philadelphia 4, Columbus 2

Phoenix (2-2-2) at Montreal (4-2-1), 7:30 p.m., RDS

If you're like me, you're still not accustomed to thinking the last category in a team's record is a loss. The Coyotes have dropped four of their last five games. Maybe, like Philadelphia, they need to get on the road, where tonight's game marks the start of three straight away from Arizona. Phoenix struggles to score and not only that, the Coyotes rarely get power play chances. Phoenix is last in the league with 14 power play opportunities, nine below the next lowest team.

Carey Price has played every minute so far for Montreal and finally living up to the hype. I don't even know who Montreal's backup is. He's needed to be good because the Canadiens aren't getting any offense from Brian Gionta (one goal) or Michael Cammalleri (two, both in the same game). Instead, Andrei Kostitsyn (four goals, six points) is finally rounding into the form he showed in 2007-08 when he had 26 goals and 53 points. Tomas Plekanec (six points) is showing he's worth the new contract he signed in the offseason.

Montreal 3, Phoenix 1

Los Angeles (5-2-0) at Minnesota (3-3-1), 8 p.m., Versus

The Kings aren't likely to get too many goals from Brad Richardson, let alone a hat trick, but the rest of LA's offense is starting to find the back of the net. Dustin Brown is up to four goals, Anze Kopitar and Wayne Simmonds are up to two and Alexei Ponikarovsky finally netted his first as a King. Jonathan Quick has given up seven goals in his last two games but still has a 1.97 GAA but could give way to Jonathan Bernier tonight. Los Angeles, playing without Drew Doughty (concussion) is playing the third of five straight road games.

Minnesota begins a brutal five-game homestand that, despite it being only October, could play a large part in where the Wild finish at the end of the year. Consider the weakest opponent on the trip might be San Jose at this point and that's some rough going. The Wild are coming off unquestionably their worst game of the season in which even their vaunted power play was shut down for the first time. Matt Cullen is this year's Brad Richards, with eight of his nine points on the power play.

Minnesota 4, Los Angeles 2

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