Saturday, October 23, 2010

Saturday's action

Thirteen games Saturday night. Big decisions for fantasy hockey lineups.

Rangers (2-2-1) at Boston (4-1-0), 7 p.m. EDT

One begins to wonder if Tuukka Rask will ever start again for the Bruins. Tim Thomas has been phenomenal and the offseason acquisition of Nathan Horton is working, as Horton leads Boston with four goals and seven points. New York snapped a three-game losing streak last time out. Boston 3, New York 1

Anaheim (3-4-1) at Detroit (4-1-1), 7 p.m.

Pop quiz: Who leads the Red Wings in scoring? Pavel Datsyuk? Henrik Zetterberg? Johan Franzen? No, it's Todd Bertuzzi, with eight points. Detroit has allowed two power play goals all season. Ryan Getzlaf has been good lately for the Ducks, but it'll be curious to see who starts. Curtis McElhinney made his first start and was fabulous in a win at Philadelphia. Detroit 4, Anaheim 2

Buffalo (2-5-1) at New Jersey (2-4-1), 7 p.m.

I'd like to say I saw Buffalo's struggles coming, and I kind of did but didn't publicize it so I won't take credit, but the Sabres were primed for a down year. They didn't improve themselves at all. Now they're looking like this year's Carolina, a playoff team that fell off the earth the following year. Some beleaguered team will get a win. These teams met 10 days ago and it was a 1-0 overtime game. I wonder if there will be that many goals this time. New Jersey 2, Buffalo 1

Montreal (3-2-1) at Ottawa (2-4-1), 7 p.m., RDS

The Canadiens have a real good penalty killing unit too, having given up only two power play goals, both in the same game. The problem is that's one more power play goal than they've scored (1-for-20.) Daniel Alfredsson is coming off a hat trick for the Senators, who snapped a two-game losing streak. Montreal 3, Ottawa 2

Toronto (4-1-1) at Philadelphia (2-3-1), 7 p.m., NHL Network

The natives are probably restless in Toronto after the Maple Leafs dropped their second straight game. Clarke MacArthur isn't contributing nearly enough (five goals, seven points.) After averaging four goals in their first four games, the Maple Leafs have just two in their last two. The Flyers sure are struggling, on a three-game losing streak with only five goals scored during that time. The power play is ineffective (2-for-27.) Someone tell Mike Richards (no goals) the season has started. Toronto 4, Philadelphia 2

Atlanta (3-4-0) at Washington (4-3-0), 7 p.m.

The Capitals are just happy to see someone other than Boston, as the Bruins held Washington to two goals in two games. It's just a matter of time until Washington breaks out offensively again, and the Thrashers are stinging after giving up nine goals in their last two games. Washington 5, Atlanta 2

Islanders (4-1-2) at Florida (2-3-0), 7 p.m.

I'm not sure at what point New York evolves from "feisty" to "intriguing" to "playoff contender" but the Islanders are on the right track. They've won three straight and are on top the Atlantic Division. At the least, they're in the "intriguing" stage. Take away a six-goal aberration against Tampa Bay and the Panthers have only seven goals scored. New York 2, Florida 0

Pittsburgh (5-3-0) at St. Louis (3-1-2), 8 p.m.

The Penguins could face their 2010 playoff nemesis for the first time since May. Jaroslav Halak has helped the Blues to three early-season wins, including one last night against Chicago. Pittsburgh has won four straight and the stars are waking up. Brent Johnson will be back in goal for the Penguins. St. Louis lost three straight until Friday's win over the Blackhawks. David Perron has four goals in his last two games. Pittsburgh 3, St. Louis 1

Nashville (3-0-3) at Dallas (5-1-0), 8 p.m.

The Predators remain the only team to earn points from each game. I still don't really know how they're doing it. The Stars are a strange team. They're first in goals scored per game despite their power play being 2-for-22 (this is a recurring theme, isn't it?) and their penalty killing is the worst in the league. They've given up a lot of goals but so far have had the offensive punch to overcome it. Dallas 4, Nashville 2

Columbus (3-3-0) at Chicago (5-3-1), 8:30 p.m.

Chicago's four-game win streak was snapped and the Blackhawks look to re-establish it against a Blue Jackets team that probably isn't very good. Rick Nash has been all but invisible as teams key on him defensively. Steve Mason is not showing signs of progression as an NHL goalie. Chicago 5, Columbus 1

Los Angeles (4-2-0) at Colorado (4-3-0), 9 p.m.

I'm not going to preview this game really just once again advise you to listen to Colorado's radio broadcast. I tuned in to the last minute of Colorado's loss to San Jose on Thursday and the play-by-play guy seriously sounded like his dog just died when he said, "That's it, the game's over, San Jose wins." He sounded like he needed a drink or two, or 10. Just pure awesomeness. Not that the Avalanche lost, just how biased he is. Anyway, both teams are good so it should be a good one. Colorado 4, Los Angeles 2, laugh-out-loud moments on the radio: 18, minimum

Carolina (3-3-0) at Phoenix (2-2-1), 9 p.m.

I have no idea what to make of the Hurricanes. They beat the Wild twice, but lost to the Senators, then beat San Jose...this is the last game of their extended road trip so I'm betting they're going to be tired. The Coyotes got a hat trick from Lee Stempniak in snapping a three-game losing streak. I'm betting plenty of seats are still available for this one. Phoenix 2, Carolina 1

San Jose (2-2-1) at Edmonton (2-3-0), 10 p.m., CBC

I also don't know how to analyze the Sharks, except to say I don't think they're very good. But I don't know why that would be. Probably that 5-on-5 scoring. San Jose's power play has scored in every game (8-for-28) but the Sharks aren't scoring elsewhere. And the goaltending and defense haven't been good (16 goals against.) But at least the good thing for them is the Oilers aren't very good either. San Jose 4, Edmonton 2

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