Here’s the first ever NHL Preview from the Puck Podcast. In this post I will preview each of the NHL games that will be played tonight and give a prediction. The prediction is only for fun, not for gambling purposes, and it’s based on nothing more than my hunches. If you’d like to play along with your own predictions please post them in a message and we’ll see how you do. This is something I hope to do on a semi-regular basis from now on so please check back every day for a complete preview of the day to come in the NHL. Without further ado, let’s get to the games:
Start time – 4pm PT on Versus
GAME OF THE NIGHT!
The New York Rangers are red-hot coming into this game having gone 9-0-3 in their last 12 games and by doing so they’ve actually climbed back into the race for the Atlantic Division Title. They are now just four points behind the Penguins and five points behind the Atlantic leading Devils. All this after I called for Rangers head coach Tom Renney to be fired at the All-Star break.
Two of the main reasons they’ve been so hot has been the play of Sean Avery, who has eight goals in his last 11 games, and the play of Henrik Lundqvist, who has gone 4-0-1 with a 1.64 GAA in his last five starts.
As for the Sabres, they are not nearly as hot coming into this game. Buffalo is 1-3-1 in their last five games and are currently four points behind the Flyers for the eighth and final playoff seed in the Eastern Conference. Clearly these two points are much more valuable to the Sabres but unfortunately for them the Rangers seem to have their number this season. The Rangers are 3-0 against the Sabres this season and have a chance to sweep the season series with a win in this game.
Don’t forget – Chris Drury will make his second and final appearance of the season in Buffalo tonight so expect to hear him get boo’d throughout the game.
This should be a close game but I think the Rangers are going to be just a little bit better. I predict a 3-2 Rangers win.
Start time – 6:30pm PT
The St. Louis Blues are better than they’ve played lately, but then again they’ve stunk lately so that’s not saying much. The Blues are 2-7-1 in their last 10 and are now the second worst team in the Western Conference. Meanwhile the Flames are, well, on fire as they are 6-1-2 in their last nine games and are just one point behind Northwest Division leading Minnesota with two games in hand on the Wild.
Add to the Flames recent hot streak the fact that they are 11-1-1 in their last 13 games against the Blues and you have a recipe for disaster if you’re a St. Louis supporter. Calgary would appear to be a team on the verge of a big night offensively as well as they are 0-for-10 on the power play in their last two games and have scored just one goal in three of their last four games. I expect both of those trends to end tonight.
Keep an eye on Jarome Iginla as his next goal will set the Flames all-time franchise record for goals scored. Iginla is currently tied with Theo Fleury for that honor but has a chance to get the record all to himself with one more lighting of the lamp.
This should be the 300th career start for Blues goalie Manny Legace but it’s doubtful it will be one he’ll want to remember. I predict a 5-1 win for the Flames.
Start time – 7:30pm PT
The Vancouver Canucks are in fourth place in the Northwest Division and yet they are just three points out of first and are currently the eighth seed in the Western Conference. The Kings, meanwhile, are the worst team in the NHL and have been for months. So it makes perfect sense that Los Angeles has a chance to complete a season sweep against the Canucks with a win tonight!
That’s not a typo, folks – the Kings are 3-0 against Vancouver this year and have outscored the Canucks 12-7 in those games. If the Canucks are to miss the playoffs they will certainly look back at those three games with regret.
Tonight, though, the Kings enter in a scoring slump having been held to two goals or less in each of their last five games. Vancouver is 6-2-2 in their last 10 games, the Kings are 2-6-2 in their last 10 games. Vancouver needs the two points a lot more than the Kings do tonight, but Los Angeles has been able to play the spoiler a lot in recent weeks. Even so, I’ll predict a 3-1 win for Vancouver tonight.
There you have it – my first NHL preview post. Hopefully I’ll be able to do this on a regular basis and, hopefully, my predictions come true. I’ll keep track of my record and update that at the end of each new post. Thanks again for stopping by PuckPodcast.com.