Of all the teams I'm done trying to get a read on it's Carolina. Do you know that this month, in eight games, either the Hurricanes or their opponent scored at least seven goals SIX times, including four straight? Carolina has won games 7-2 and 7-1 (twice) and lost by scores of 7-4, 8-1 and 7-2. W. T. F.
Pittsburgh has won three of its last four games but is still looking for its first two-game winning streak at home. And I can confirm the rumors that Penguins ownership and management petitioned the NHL to allow teams the option to decline power play chances, but the request was denied.
Also, Justin Peters is in goal for Carolina and he owns Pittsburgh.
Carolina 4, Pittsburgh 1
Los Angeles (12-5-0) at Buffalo (7-10-3), 7:30 p.m.
This is LA's ninth road game out of 18 but it feels like the Kings are always at home. They're certainly not as successful away from Staples Center, where they're just 4-4-0. Jonathan stinking Bernier gets the nod, hoping to erase the memory of that little six-goal outing his previous time out.
Wednesday's regulation loss to Washington ended a string of five straight Buffalo games that went into overtime or beyond. That's the most interesting thing I can think of to say about the Sabres right now.
Los Angeles 4, Buffalo 3
Minnesota (9-6-2) at Detroit (12-3-1), 7:30 p.m.
Based on the information I've gleaned, there's a trend in the NHL tonight with backup goalies playing against conference opponents so coaches can save their starters for a non-conference game Saturday. Carolina with Peters is one. Minnesota with Jose Theodore is another. With all due respect to the Wild, starting Theodore seems to be akin to waving a white flag. The Red Wings are really good at home, so one would think Todd Richards would put his best goalie on the ice.
I dunno, maybe like with Peters and the Penguins, Theodore has very good career numbers against Detroit. The Red Wings have won seven of eight.
Detroit 5, Minnesota 2
Washington (14-4-1) at Atlanta (7-9-3), 7:30 p.m., NHL Network
Gee, I wonder if this is a contract year for Alexander Semin (14 goals, 25 points to lead the team.)
Again, with all due respect, but one of the few constants in life it seems is the Thrashers are not and will not be a good hockey team. They're kinda getting better, but I dunno.
Washington 5, Atlanta 2
Ottawa (9-9-1) at St. Louis (9-5-3), 8 p.m.
Bad times for both these teams. The Senators had that whole "coach's daughter suicide" thing, while the Blues are reeling on the ice, out-scored a mind-boggling 29-12 in a current five-game losing streak. Ottawa's last three losses were by a combined 18-4 score but the Senators at least have a 2-0 win over Boston mixed in there.
St. Louis 3, Ottawa 1
Phoenix (8-5-5) at Edmonton (4-10-3), 9 p.m.
No clue how they've done it, but the Coyotes have won four straight games. It helps when you get hat tricks in two of the games (Vernon Fiddler and Ray Whitney) and give up only one goal in the other two. The Oilers... well, they already have one six-game losing streak this season and they're working on another. They're at five right now.
Phoenix 3, Edmonton 1
Rangers (10-8-1) at Colorado (10-7-1), 9 p.m.
Craig Anderson returns to the pipes for the Avalanche, who fared pretty well in his absence, winning six of 10 games. Three of New York's last four final scores were 3-2.
New York 3, Colorado 2 (Why not?)
Chicago (10-9-2) at Calgary (7-10-0), 9:30 p.m., TSN
Congrats to the Blackhawks, who finally figured out how to beat Edmonton. Congrats also to the Sutters for ruining Jarome Iginla's career.
Chicago 4, Calgary 2
Columbus (10-6-0) at Anaheim (10-8-3), 10 p.m.
Pop quiz: Who has the best road record in the West? That's right, the Blue Jackets. (OK, I guess technically Chicago and Colorado have more points but they've lost more games, so I'm giving it to Columbus. And it's
Pop quiz #2: Who has one of the best home records in the West? That's right, the Ducks. Something's gotta give.
Anaheim 4, Columbus 2