Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Seven matchups to watch Wednesday

The 23rd ranked offense vs. the 30th ranked defense

I could've picked the unbeatable Carey Price against one of the league's worst teams, but when the Canadiens play the Oilers (7 p.m. ET, RDS) it'll be more about whether Montreal has found a team it can score against. The difference isn't much but Edmonton actually averages more goals per game than Montreal. The Oilers are 19th at 2.56; Montreal is at 2.50 in 23rd. But Edmonton has given up by far the most goals in the league at 3.74 per game, over a half-goal more than anyone else (Tampa is next at 3.20.)

Montreal 4, Edmonton 1

Road vs. home (Boston at Philadelphia, 7 p.m.)

The Bruins are one of the stronger road teams with an 8-3-0 record. Philadelphia is one of the better squads that play in front of their own fans (9-4-1.) Plus, both teams have lost two straight games. Another matchup in this game is Tim Thomas (1.56 GAA, .951%) against the league's third highest scoring offense.

Philadelphia 4, Boston 2

Jaroslav Halak against Alex Ovechkin (Washington at St. Louis, 8 p.m., NHL Network)

The following players have as many or more goals than Ovechkin: Brandon Dubinsky, David Jones, Dan Cleary, Brian Boyle and Milan Lucic. Ovechkin has gone seven games without scoring a goal and has just two in his last 12. He's getting plenty of assists, but does he get back to lighting the lamp against a top-10 goalie in Halak?

Plus, the Capitals are mediocre on the road while the Blues are nearly unbeatable at home.

Washington 4, St. Louis 1

Nashville and Columbus (7 p.m.) vs. entertainment

Sorry, couldn't resist. I hate to do this to Rick Nash but it's true.

Columbus 3, Nashville 2

Phoenix and Minnesota (8 p.m.), ditto


Minnesota 3, Phoenix 1

Miikka Kiprusoff vs. staying in the game

In three of the last four meetings between Calgary and Vancouver (9:30 p.m., TSN), Kiprusoff was pulled three times. Last season, he posted a 4.69 GAA in six games against the Canucks. Somehow he won three of those games anyway. He's playing fairly well lately.

Calgary 2, Vancouver 1

Florida's power play vs. history?

I looked back on to the 1997-98 season to see how many teams ever finished with a single-digit power play efficiency. I didn't do this intentionally, but Minnesota in 2000-01, the Wild's first year of existence, had a 9.6% power play. But hey, that's an expansion team, they get a pass. Tampa Bay also pulled off the feat in 1997-98 at 9.3%. Buffalo came close in 1999-2000 (10.5%) as did Carolina in 2003-04 (10.6%.)

The Panthers? Their power play is 6.4% right now. Six. Point. Four. Percent. SIX POINT FOUR PERCENT.

That is all.

Anaheim 4, Florida 1

Seriously, 6.4%.

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