Saturday, November 20, 2010

Strong night of hockey on Saturday

Tonight's NHL schedule seems to have some pretty good games.

Must-see games

1. Los Angeles (12-6-0) at Boston (11-5-1), 7 p.m. ET

Do you like good goaltending? How's Jonathan Quick and Tim Thomas for you? Not only that, but the Bruins are still looking to figure out how to win at home while the Kings look for solutions on the road.

Kings 3, Bruins 2

2. Philadelphia (12-6-2) at Washington (14-5-1), 7 p.m.

Do you like a lot of goals? How's Danny Briere, Claude Giroux and Jeff Carter vs. Alex Ovechkin and Alexander Semin for you? Not only that, but the Capitals are incredible at home while... OK, that's as much symmetry to the first one as I can get. The Flyers are solid on the road and took the Caps to overtime last time these teams met.

Plus Philadelphia scored seven goals last time. OK, the Flyers gave up eight but hey, you can't have it all.

Capitals 5, Flyers 3

3. Chicago (10-10-2) at Vancouver (10-5-3), 10 p.m., CBC

OK, the Blackhawks aren't good this season. They're average. But there's still a lot of talent there and this rivalry is becoming one of the more heated ones in the league. The Canucks, who have lost two straight games, haven't lost a regulation game at home yet.

Vancouver 4, Chicago 2

Not quite must-see but still high quality viewing

1. Columbus (11-6-0) at San Jose (9-5-4), 10:30 p.m.

The Blue Jackets, 7-3-0 in their last 10, are tearing through California with wins in Los Angeles and Anaheim. They've been particularly strong in November, winning five of seven games. Rick Nash is heating up with six goals in his last six games.

San Jose is coming off consecutive, mirror-image collapses, allowing two-goal leads to vanish in the third period then lose in overtime. Despite being in fourth in the Pacific, the Sharks can find themselves tied for first (on points) depending how the night goes.

San Jose 3, Columbus 2

2. Colorado (11-7-1) at Dallas (10-7-0), 8 p.m.

I know the Stars are in last but they can score a lot and depending how Kari Lehtonen's feeling on a given night, they can give up a lot of goals too. Dallas features some of the brightest young talent in guys like Loui Eriksson and James Neal along with veterans Brad Richards and Brenden Morrow. Dallas also has two straight impressive wins over Anaheim and San Jose.

The Avalanche, with guys like Paul Stastny, Chris Stewart and Matt Duchene, are one of the hotter teams in the league. They've won three straight.

Dallas 4, Colorado 2

3. Rangers (10-9-1) at Minnesota (10-6-2), 8 p.m.

I'd make a "I know, I'm surprised I put the Wild on this list too" joke but after the last crack I made about them made me look like an idiot, I'll hold off this time. Not only that, Minnesota is 7-3 in its last 10 with a three-game winning streak. Plus, the dual "boo" calls tonight should be fun; one for Marian Gaborik, the other for Derek Boogaard, though I'm thinking only one will be derisive.

Minnesota 3, New York 1

At least one player is good in this one

Tampa Bay (10-7-2) at Buffalo (8-10-3), 7 p.m. - Steven Stamkos is always worth watching, especially when he's up against a goalie like Ryan Miller. Plus Tampa Bay's goaltending is like a train wreck. You don't want to watch but you can't stop yourself.

Lightning 5, Buffalo 3

Sneaky good, maybe, sort of game

Nashville (8-6-3) at Carolina (9-9-1), 7 p.m.

I don't know if either of these teams are what we'd call "good" but they're at least competitive. There's nothing exciting about Nashville but the Predators are never a walk-over. After seeing them up close last night, I totally understand how Carolina consistently gives up or scores seven goals a game. Defense is very much optional and they find cracks in the attacking zone.

Carolina 4, Nashville 2

At least this is a rivalry game

Low on the list of games to watch? Toronto (7-8-3) at Montreal (12-6-1), 7 p.m., NHL Network. Carey Price against the Maple Leafs offense seems like a mismatch but we've seen many times that it doesn't always play out like that.

Montreal 3, Toronto 1

Back away and no one gets hurt

Florida (8-9-0) at Islanders (4-11-3), 7 p.m.
New Jersey (5-12-2) at St. Louis (10-5-3), 8 p.m.

At least the Blues are good. By the way, New Jersey's third-string goalie is starting.

Florida 3, New York 1
St. Louis 5, New Jersey 0

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