NHL Previews – March 13, 2008

What a day of games yesterday! Had the Canucks beaten the Ducks I would have been a perfect 6-for-6. Instead I went 5-for-6 and am now 14-4 on the season (73% accuracy). Now let’s see what we have on the schedule for tonight and unlike Comcast there’s no Ovech-cam here, we give you the big picture.

Remember, my predictions are only for fun and are not for gambling purposes. As always if you’d like to post your predictions or thoughts you can do so by clicking on “Leave a comment” at the top of this post and thanks for coming by PuckPodcast.com.

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Some games are easy to pick because one team is hot and the other is cold, one team is good and the other is bad or one team is healthy and the other is injured. Then there are games like this. The Lightning stink and the Bruins have stunk lately.

Boston has lost five of their last six games and scored two goals or less in each of those games. However, they are 20-2-0 at home against Tampa Bay all-time (six ties as well, but we don’t count those anymore) and it’s not like Tampa Bay comes into this game with a ton of momentum. In fact, the Lightning have lost 10 of their last 12 games.

I have to go with the Bruins in this game given that they are at home, dominant against the Lightning in the past and the fact that Tampa Bay is a get well card for the Eastern Conference. I’ll predict a 4-3 win for the Bruins.

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Last night the Flames suffered a tough loss to the Capitals and now they will play a second game in two nights – this time against the Thrashers. Despite the loss the Flames are still leading the Northwest Division but are tied with the Avalanche (Calgary owns the tiebreaker) and lead the Wild by just one point and the Canucks by just two points. As was the case yesterday these are two points that are very important to the Flames.

The Thrashers are playing out the string as they have the third fewest points in the NHL and are just 1-5-4 in their last 10 games. I don’t expect them to find a way to beat what should be a desperate Flames team tonight. Atlanta figures to start Kari Lehtonen in net tonight and he’s 0-5-3 with a 4.03 GAA in his last eight starts. Woof. I’ll predict a 5-2 win for the Flames.

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GAME OF THE NIGHT!

This should be a great game to watch. With a win the Canadiens could take over the #1 seed in the Eastern Conference. With a loss they would drop down to second place in the Northeast Division. These are also the two highest scoring teams in the NHL as both have score 227 goals this season so look for plenty of offense from both teams tonight.

The Ottawa Senators have been struggling lately but they still find themselves in control of their own destiny and have three games remaining against the Division leading Habs. That’s good news for the Senators as they have dominated the Canadiens in recent history. The bad news for the Senators is that Daniel Alfredsson will not be playing for the fifth straight game due to a back injury.

We’ll have an interview with Canadiens goalie Carey Price on the show this week (March 15th, 2008 episode) and he’s proven that he is up to the challenge of being the #1 goalie in Montreal as he’s gone 5-2-0 with a 2.15 GAA in his last seven starts.

In the last eight meetings between these two teams the Senators are 7-1-0 and have outscored the Canadiens 34-17. Montreal has to reverse that trend if they hope to win the Divsion title. I believe they will and I’ll predict a 4-2 win for the Canadiens.

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If it weren’t for the Senators/Canadiens game this one would be the game of the night as it could easily be a preview of the Western Conference Finals. The Red Wings have led the Western Conference all season and the Stars have been one of the hottest teams in the league since the All-Star break so this should be a great game.

Stars goalie Marty Turco is 11-5-0 with a 1.94 GAA since the All-Star break and has seized the reins since Dallas traded back-up goalie Mike Smith to Tampa Bay at the trading deadline.

Amazingly the Red Wings can earn their 100th point with a win tonight. Goalie Dominik Hasek will not play due to a back injury. Detroit will go with Chris Osgood in net and he should be just fine.

Detroit’s been fine since Niklas Lidstrom returned to the line-up (weird how getting the best defenseman in the sport back on your team helps you play better, eh?) and I think they’ll win tonight. I’ll predict a 3-1 Red Wings win.

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The Nashville Predators are still very much in the playoff hunt, but lately they haven’t been playing like a team that wants to make the postseason. Nashville is 4-5-1 in their last 10 games and find themselves two points behind the Avalanche for the eighth seed in the Western Conference with just 11 games to play. If they are to make the playoffs this is a game they have to win.

The Kings have been the worst team in the league for most of the season and lately it’s appeared that they are content playing the kids and making sure they have the best chance possible to win the draft lottery. I’d be very surprised to see the Kings win this game on the road with nothing to play for against a Predators team that should be well-motivated and desperate. I’ll predict a 4-2 win for the Predators.

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Having troubles sleeping? Want to see what hockey would be like without scoring? Tune in to see the Devils play the Wild and you’ll be asleep in no time.

The Senators/Canadiens game matches the two highest scoring teams in the NHL while this game matches the fourth lowest scoring team (New Jersey) against the ninth lowest scoring team (Minnesota) and, as luck would have it, both teams have struggled to score goals in recent games! The Devils have scored 10 goals in their last seven games while the Wild have scored just 20 goals in their last 11 games. Ugh.

God help us if these two teams meet again in the Stanley Cup Finals. I’ll predict a 2-1 win for the Devils.

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The Edmonton Oilers have found their stride in recent weeks and are building some positive momentum going into the offseason. If they were not as devastated by injuries as they are they might even be a playoff team. But, as it is they are playing the part of the spoiler to perfection and tonight they’ll have a chance to hurt Colorado’s chances of winning the Northwest Division.

Colorado will be without Peter Forsberg (shockingly enough he’s hurt…again) due to a groin injury as well as Jordon Leopold and Ruslan Salei. The Avalanche are expected to start Jose Theodore in net and he’s 7-1-0 with a 1.68 GAA in his last eight starts.

Going into the game the Avalanche are the sixth seed in the Western Conference and are tied with the Calgary Flames for first place in the Northwest Divsion. However, they lead the Wild by just a point and the Canucks by just two points so a loss could knock them down to fourth in the Division if the Wild are to beat the Devils and the Canucks are to beat the Coyotes.

Edmonton has won a lot of games in overtime and/or the shootout this season and that’s what I think will happen tonight. I’ll predict a 3-2 shootout win for the Oilers.

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What a situation the Cancucks find themselves in. They are just two points out of first place in the Northwest Division and yet are just two points ahead of the Predators for the eighth and final playoff spot in the Western Conference. Vancouver could easily be the third seed in the Western Conference or just as easily miss the playoffs altogether. The next 12 games will decided which way they go and the first of those games is tonight against the Coyotes.

Vancouver got blown out by the Ducks last night and now have to play for the second time in two nights. Phoenix, on the other hand, is rested, at home and coming off a win.

The Coyotes are still dreaming of the playoffs and many players have literally already started growing their playoff beards. They enter the game five points behind the Canucks with 12 games to play so a regulation win tonight would go a long way towards getting them into the postseason.

Roberto Luongo is expected to make his 20th consecutive start tonight and Vancouver is hopeful that either Daniel Sedin or Markus Naslund can end their 10-game scoreless streaks. If so they will have a good chance to win. If not, I don’t like their chances.

I think Phoenix will be the hungrier team tonight and I’ll predict a 3-1 Coyotes win.

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That’s it for today’s preview and predictions. Again, thanks for coming by PuckPodcast.com and for supporting the show.

About Doug Stolhand 26923 Articles
Doug Stolhand is one of the co-founders and co-hosts of the Puck Podcast and has been a member of the NHL media since the show's inception in 2006.

2 Comments

  1. ugh… habs couldnt get close to the net tonight. sens totally shut down their offense, which provided good transitional play (man that first line is fast!). habs might have stayed in it if they didnt let in 2 pp goals on 2 attempts. after that all they did was dump and chase… they will have to do better than this the next time they meet the sens if they want to be contenders and not pretenders come playoff time.

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