Monday, November 1, 2010

Monday's games

Chicago (7-5-1) at Rangers (5-4-1), 7 p.m. EDT, NHL Network

You know who's getting it done? Pat Sharp. Dude's got a league-best 10 goals and leads the Blackhawks with 15 points. Chicago's lineup will also be bolstered tonight with the return of defenseman Brian Campbell. No one might be happier to see Campbell than Niklas Hjalmarsson, a relatively unheralded star in Chicago's Stanley Cup run. Hjalmarsson has been awful this season with a minus-8 rating. I'd expect the Blackhawks to start playing better defensively. Campbell is horribly overpaid but is actually a solid player. He just needs to make about four or five million, not seven.

Ryan Callahan is one of the hotter players in the NHL these days, with goals in four straight games and nine points in his last six games. New York has needed it, because the Rangers aren't very good offensively. Callahan is a strong all-around player, eager to throw a hit or block a shot as well as score. He is currently the only Ranger with a double digit point total.

Henrik Lundqvist bounced back from a subpar outing to blank Toronto. The Rangers go as Lundqvist goes; they've won only one game when allowing more than two goals (a 6-3 win over Buffalo.) In their five wins, the Rangers have conceded just seven goals. New York has allowed 23 goals in its other five games.

Chicago 3, New York 1

Carolina (5-5-0) at Philadelphia (6-4-1), 7 p.m.

The Hurricanes' inconsistency continues. They have two 4-3 victories in their last four games, but after each one, they were shut out 3-0. Cam Ward has seen a lot of rubber (over 36 shots per game) and has fared about as well as he can. A .500 record seems fitting for this team. Carolina isn't very good nor very horrible. Well, OK, the Hurricanes might not actually be all that good - no one has more than three goals - but right now they're finding a way to tread water.

The Flyers will play the next three games without co-leading goal scorer Danny Briere, who was suspended for a dirty high sticking incident against Frans Nielsen in Saturday's victory. This creates an interesting scenario, because Philadelphia has been playing very well, especially in the offensive end. Claude Giroux is a freaking beast. He's got six goals and 11 points to lead the team. Just to be a jerk, I'm going to point out only one of Giroux's goals has come at even-strength.

That just means the lesson is: don't go on the power play or penalty kill when playing Giroux. He will burn you.

Philadelphia 4, Carolina 2

New Jersey (3-8-1) at Vancouver (4-3-2), 10 p.m.

There hasn't yet been an update that I've seen today on the status of Zach Parise, but the fear is New Jersey's season will taken an even bigger hit. Parise suffered a lower-body injury Saturday against Los Angeles and it was bad enough that he flew straight back to New Jersey rather than continue on the Devils' road trip, which has two games remaining. Parise says it's an injury he suffered during the summer while training and it was re-aggravated. It's obviously affected his game - he has only three goals and six points this season after recording 115 goals the past three seasons - and now an already impotent offense gets weaker.

The Canucks don't have a single win on the road so it's a good thing they're still in Vancouver for another game. They just need someone other than a twin to produce points (yes, still.) Ryan Kesler's been better (goals in two straight) but Mikael Samuelsson still has just one goal. Roberto Luongo has been feast-or-famine - four games allowing three goals or more, three allowing just one. (He lost two of the one-goal games in shootouts.)

Vancouver 4, New Jersey 1

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