Friday, November 12, 2010

Previewing Friday's games

Got to be honest, I'm not too titillated over tonight's NHL lineup.

Tampa Bay (8-5-2) at Pittsburgh (7-8-1), 7 p.m. ET

The big news from this one is Vincent Lecavalier will be out for up to one month after suffering a non-displaced fracture in his right hand. Some time ago I tweeted some disparaging remark about him, I can't remember how it went, something like at what point do we call him overrated, yet another 25-goal, 65-point season? That wasn't fair (30 goals, 70-75 points is), although in my defense, Lecavalier has been somewhat ordinary, especially considering his salary, apart from a great two-year run. Still, I don't know how the Lightning replaces him. Step up, Dominic Moore!

In other news, Steven Stamkos owns the Penguins and will continue to do so tonight. My "if you can't say anything nice, don't say anything at all" rule applies to the Penguins this time.

Tampa Bay 6, Pittsburgh 2

Edmonton (4-8-2) at New Jersey (4-10-2), 7 p.m.

OK, that rule works here too. I will add Martin Brodeur is expected to start. The Devils, by the way, haven't won at home yet this season.

Edmonton 3, New Jersey 1

Colorado (7-6-1) at Columbus (9-5-0), 7 p.m.

If the Blue Jackets are anything like the Penguins, they won't score many goals for a while after pouring in eight last game. Peter Budaj has been competent in replacing the injured Craig Anderson but has been a little inconsistent, a good game here, a bad game next, back to good. Last time out he was so-so. It's in Steve Mason's pattern to be bad tonight.

Do you know who really needs to start showing up? "Matty D" Matt Duchene. He has just one goal since the first game of the season. That second marker came six games ago.

Colorado 4, Columbus 2

Minnesota (7-5-2) at Florida (6-7-0), 7:30 p.m.

The last time I previewed a Wild game, they lost 5-1. It's uphill from here, right?

Hmm. Brent Burns is Minnesota's leading goal scorer, is he? Cal Clutterbuck is second? Umm. Those... aren't the names I would've picked before the season began. But hey, you're over .500 and that's more than can be said for some other preferred teams of the blog. So you've got that going for you, which, you know, is nice.

I think the Panthers play better when things are nice and quiet. Maybe it makes it easier for them to communicate with each other. I'm not sure how else to explain Florida's 4-2 record at home compared to 2-5 on the road. If those trends hold up, the Panthers' season will be done by Thanksgiving. After tonight, they begin a four-game road trip. David Booth's doing well (five goals, 10 points) as is Tomas Vokoun.

Florida 4, Minnesota 2

Calgary (7-7-0) at Phoenix (5-5-5), 9 p.m., TSN

How'd that phrase go, if you love something, set it free? Or was it let it go? Either way, Calgary, please, set Jarome Iginla free. He deserves better.

Do we label the Coyotes as bad or mediocre (ordinary; not good, not bad)? Phoenix has lost 10 of its 15 games but earned points in 10 of 15, but ranks in the bottom 10 of the main stat categories. We're 15 games into the season and they don't have anyone with 10 points or more. They're in the middle of their third three-game losing streak and it's Nov. 12.

OK, they're bad. I'm glad we discussed this.

Phoenix 3, Calgary 1 (Yet I still think they're better than the effing Flames.)

Dallas (8-6-0) at Anaheim (9-7-1), 10 p.m.

Holy cow, since when did the Ducks get over .500? They're creeping up on the Kings in the Pacific Division. (Note: Not really. Three points behind with three more games played.)

These Ducks are definitely warm-weather creatures; Anaheim is 6-1-1 at home but just 3-6 on the road. They've won five straight games as the goaltending has suddenly become fairly high quality.

Fun fact: Anaheim's lone regulation home loss? To New Jersey. Yeah, that New Jersey. The one that sucks.

By the way, the Ducks now have six players with 10 points or more. Teemu Selanne (team-high seven goals and 18 points) is not looking like a guy who needs to retire after the season.

Then we come to the Stars, who have been playing middling, even bad, hockey since a torrid start. Dallas has lost five of its last eight, including two straight games where it was out-scored 8-1. That followed a stretch where they won three in a row by a combined score of 15-5. The previous three games were losses by an 11-4 margin. So this team is pretty darn up-and-down.

I need to put pants on now, so I'll stop it here.

Anaheim 4, Dallas 2

No comments: