Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Bruins woes continue; Sharks falter.

It was a short schedule Monday night in the NHL, with the only two match-ups pitting the Bruins and Rangers on Versus and the Sharks and Kings later on in the night.

The previous two Winter Classic winners had gone on to win the next four games after the Classic; the Bruins were not so lucky. Their power play looked uninspired in going 0-for-3 and they may have lost Patrice Bergeron to injury after he took a shot in the 2nd period. The Bruins did valiantly fight back in the 3rd, scoring twice in a 1:26 span to tie the game at 2. But Christopher Higgings stuffed in a pretty stoppable shot on Tuukka Rask with 1:29 remaining to give the Rangers a win.

"There is no doubt we have a lot of character," said Blake Wheeler in an AP interview. "I can't even count the number of times where we've been down after two periods and we come out in the third and give a really solid 20 minutes. But it's not good enough. If we compete for 60 minutes, it's a different story."

That sums it up; to win without superior talent like the Bruins are trying to do, it takes a 60-minute effort. Tonight they're in Ottawa, a team that has been playing well lately and features Alex Kovalev coming off a five point (4 G, 1 A) night against Philly on Sunday.

The Sharks also faltered last night, ending an 8-game winning streak. All good things come to an end and the way the Kings are scoring lately it's not much of a surprise. They've won three straight and have scored 13 goals in the process, beating Minnesota, Washington, and San Jose. Most impressively, the power play has gone 5-of-13 in that three game span, good for 38.4%.

The most impressive thing in their dismantling of San Jose was that it was on San Jose ice. They got six different goal scorers in staking a 6-0 lead before Douglas Murray snapped Jonathan Quick's shutout bid with 16:39 remanining. The Kings forecheck was tenacious as well. Wayne Simmonds has been playing extremely well for Los Angeles, and the Kings 6th goal was a result of Simmonds mucking it up on the forecheck. Overall this was a solid win for the Kings as they continue to ascend the Western Conference standings.

Tonights action features a variety of solid match-ups. The top three?

Calgary (24-12-5) @ Nashville (25-14-3), 8:00 p.m.

Tied in the standings by virtue of points, this is a very intruiging match-up. Those Preds just never go away and tonight should be a nice test to see where they stack up in the West. They're quietly creeping up the standings, tie for 5th; the winner of this game could move as high as fourth.

Prediction: Predators, 3-2 in OT

Minnesota (20-19-3) @ Chicago (29-10-3), 8:00 p.m.

The Blackhawks put their 19-4-1 home record to the test as Minnesota enters tonight on Versus. The Wild have won 6-of-8 in Chicago dating back to 2006 however, and this would be the perfect night for the Blackhawks offense to sizzle despite Minnesota's woes as of late.

Prediction: Wild, 4-2

Boston (21-13-7) @ Ottawa (22-16-4), 7:30 p.m.

A big Northeast Division tilt with 2nd place on the line. If the Senators win in regulation they pass Boston for 2nd in the Northeast and 5th in the conference. This is an intruiging battle and the season series has been exciting, most notably the Bruins come-from-behind victory in Ottawa that saw them scoring twice in the final two minutes to tie the Senators. Who knows, maybe Alex Kovalev won't wait another ten games before scoring again.

Prediction: Senators, 3-1

That's all for today. Make sure you check out Minnesota/Chicago game if you can find Versus on your cable box.

4 comments:

  1. Chicago will win tonight.

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  2. this is an awesome blog/idea. keep up the good work fellas

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  3. You know you got all three games dead wrong? : )

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  4. Haha yeah. Tough night. I thought I used decent logic when picking them, but this is why I write crappy blogs on in the Internet and don't gamble on pro sports.

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