Tag: NHL News

Top Picks For The Action Packed NHL Saturday Slate

Colorado Avalanche vs New York Islanders: 

The Islanders are coming into this game favorites of course winning 7 of their last ten gams, earning a point in 9 of those 10 games and playing the five-game losing streak Avalanche, 2-7-1 and 12-12-4 record on the road. The Islanders should have no problem with this game. I do make it seem like the Islanders are going to walk into the Barclays having already won but I do believe they take this game tonight. Robin Lehner is the expected started who did earn January player of the month honors and is playing unbelievably right now. As the Avalanche have Semyon Varlamov in net who has not found his rhythm since coming back from injury. All in all the Islanders have a record of 14-3-2 in their last 19 games and have made history this season earning 32 points in 23-game span the first time since their cup run in 1981-82. The Avalanche on the other hand have lost 15 of their last 18 games and have allowed four or more goals in the past 13 of these games. The numbers are clear as day, as it may not be the home stadium Islander players would like but they are still on home ice and playing in front of a hungry Islanders crowd. I see the Islanders taking this one with ease.

Nashville Predators vs St. Louis Blues: 

This is one of the better match ups tonight, the Blues started the first 30 games or so on the wrong end of things and were deemed one of the most disappointing teams this season. Well in recent weeks the have completely 360 their and are now in the first wild card spot. Coming off a shutout win vs Tampa Bay the Blues recent success has been backed by rookie goaltender Jordan Binnington who is making his seventh consecutive start today. The Blues are 8-2-1 in their last 11 games and Binnington is 8-1-1 with a 1.70 goals against in 10 starts this season. The Predators are on a three-game win streak right now and first match up vs St. Louis all year. The Predators go with Pekka Rinne today who is 5-1-1 in his last six games and 11-4-2 in his last 17 starts. The Blues are looking for their fifth straight win which could be possible on home-ice. We all look at this game as the Predators to be the clear winner but the Blues have been hot lately do not count this team out. I am going with Blues to win.

Dallas Stars vs Arizona Coyotes: 

This is not a game you expected to see on this slate but the Stars are looking to extend their point streak to seven games as the Coyotes are looking to end a five-game skid. The Coyotes are expected to go with Darcy Kuemper who is 11-13-5 on the year with a 2.78 goals against. The Stars are going with Anton Khudobin who started last game making 21 saves in their loss to Nashville. The Coyotes are 0-9-0 since March 24, 2016 vs the Stars and the Stars have already beat the Coyotes two times this season. The Stars need all the points they can get right now as the playoff race ensues. The star power of Dallas will need to continue to propel this team as Tyler Seguin has six points in four games and will look to continue his hot streak tonight. Tonight I am going Dallas.

Toronto Maple Leafs vs Montreal Canadiens: 

Game of the night probably. The Leafs lead the Canadiens by one point in the Atlantic, therefore if the Canadiens win this game they take second place by one point. Both teams come into this game on a three-game win streak the Canadiens though are 7-1-1 in their last ten games as the Leafs are 5-4-1. The Canadiens go with Carey Price who is 23-13-4 this season with a 2.52 goals against and Leafs Frederick Anderson who is 24-11-2 with a 2.56 goals against. The Leafs are 16-6-2 on the road this season as the Canadiens are 17-10-3 at home. The two have played each other one time this season already that resulted in a Leafs overtime win on October 3rd, 2018. This will be match up number two of four. The Leafs and Canadiens play each other one more time before February ends and then play one of the last games of the season vs each other. This will be a offensive filled game, we could see the over hit, and a possible 5-4, 4-3 match up. On home ice and the Canadiens recent streak, the Leafs get them one more time at home this season, Bell Centre will be rocking going Canadiens tonight.

Pittsburgh Penguins vs Tampa Bay Lightning:

The Lightning are coming off a tough loss to St. Louis as are the Penguins who lost to Carolina 4-0. Both teams got shutout in their recent games which only means we can probably expect a 4-3 style game, power play action and a lot of offense. Very rarely do we see two of the best teams in the NHL score no goals and then go at it next time vs each other to be a 1-0, 2-1 game. The Lightning are two-game losing streak, 5-3-2 in their last ten and 20-5-2 on home ice this season. The Penguins are going through a rough patch right now as they are 3-6-1 in their last ten on a three-game losing streak and 13-9-5 on the road this season. The two have played each other two times already this year and the series is split at one a piece. Both games have resulted in 6+ goals, first game was 4-3 Tampa Bay and second game which came recently was Pittsburgh 4-2. We can expect a similar score tonight. The Lightning are expected to go with Andrei Vasilevskiy as the Penguins are probably going with Casey DeSmith following poor play of Matt Murray and his recent injury. The Penguins need a win here bad to get out of this funk. This is a tough one and I believe Penguins take a big one on the road.

Calgary Flames vs Vancouver Canucks:

The Flames are one of if not the best team in the NHL. They have been consistent all year and have seemed to take that Pacific division under control, although with the Sharks behind them by two points and playing the Oilers the Flames need these two points. The Flames are 7-2-1 in their last ten games have a 17-10-0 record in the road as the Canucks have dropped their last three and are 4-3-3 in their last ten with a 12-10-3 record at home. These two have played each other already three times this season and Vancouver has taken two of the three which means the Flames are not goin to lose the season series and will win this one (in my eyes). The previous three games resulted in a 5-2 Canucks win, 7-4 Flames win and 3-2 Canucks OT win. This probably means we can anticipate a 4-2 style game. The Flames are going with David Rittich in net who is 20-4-4 on the year with a 2.54 goals against as the Canucks go with Jacob Markstrom who is 20-15-6 on the year with a 2.81 goals against. Like I said I doubt the Flames drop two straight to the Canucks and essentially lose seasons series here tonight. Even on the road I am expecting a Flames win.

Recap of picks: 

  • Islanders
  • Blues
  • Stars
  • Penguins
  • Canadiens
  • Flames

 

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The Artemi Panarin Saga: What Is Going On Now?

The past two or so days has been filled with Artemi Panarin news. There doesn’t need to be much explanation as to why, Panarin is a free-agent and a franchise player. He has played 294 career NHL games with 293 points, there are not many players who have a 0.99 point per game in their career. In his four years in the league he has produced 70+ points in every year and is on pace again for a 70+ point season this year.

Further more, Panarin has been in the news a lot lately due to the trade deadline coming up and how he switched his agent to the same agent as Sergei Bobrovsky. This news of switching agents is not ground breaking honestly because all signs are pointing to Panarin testing the free agency market come the off-season.

Panarin has been involved in many media interviews regarding his future in Columbus and he has made it clear in one recent interview that he really wants to test the market and see what he is worth and see what teams are willing to go after him.

This seems clear as day to me, he wants to test free agency and see what it is all about. Now taking that into consideration that does not mean the Blue Jackets will not trade Panarin though. With this news it means the Blue Jackets should consider trading Panarin even more now.

There has been a lot of news circulating around who will and should go after Panarin but not much is concrete. The only real recent truth we have surrounding a Panarin rental deal is Nashville Predators GM David Poile has been in talks about trading for Panarin.

Also not to mention the Islanders GM Lou Lamoriello has met with Panarin’s new agent in the past couple of weeks. All of this is speculations but I would not be surprised to see Panarin moved before the deadline in light of his recent desire to peruse free agency.

Teams that can land Panarin before the deadline: 

  • Nashville Predators
  • New York Islanders
  • Carolina Hurricanes
  • Boston Bruins

Teams that can land Panarin in free-agency

  • Columbus Blue Jackets
  • Chicago Blackhawks
  • New York Rangers
  • Edmonton Oilers
  • Vegas Golden Knights

Why Is NO ONE Talking About The Montreal Canadiens?

The biggest WAGON in the NHL right now the Montreal Canadiens. The Canadiens are one point behind the Maple Leafs for the second spot in the Atlantic division. They are on a three-game winning streak, 8-1-1 in their last ten games and have pushed the Bruins into the Wild Card race now with their latest win on home ice vs the Central division leading Jets. That was a dominating 5-2 Canadiens win. A win that should perhaps make you re-think this Canadiens team right now.

The Canadiens came into the season projected by many reporters to be a middle of the pack, borderline at best wild card team this season. They came out the season shocking many, putting themselves on the radar and the talk early in the season was these Canadiens are not that bad perhaps. Then they fell off everyone’s radar and it seems like no one is talking about them even though they have been extremely consistent all season.

Kevin Allen of USA Today projected the Canadiens to be 28-41-13 with 69 points, the Hockey Writers website projected the Canadiens to finish 7th in the Atlantic division. But after all is said and done and we are now 60 percent of the season played and 55 games in (for Montreal) they are 31-18-6 with 68 points. They have a 17-10-3 home record, 14-8-3 road record and a +11 goal differential. They rank 13th in goals for (167) and 20th in goals against (158), 14th in goals per game (3.04) and 22nd in goals against per game (2.87). Even despite the 30th ranked power play (13.0) and 21st penalty kill (79.0) the Canadiens have been one of the most consistent and surprising teams this season.

A lot of this success rides on a healthy Carey Price, 40 games played a 23-13-4 record a 2.52 goals against, .916 save percentage and 3 shutouts is helping the Canadiens play consistent. Along with Max Domi’s team leading 47 points in 55 games, Jonathan Drouin’s 46 points in 55 games (not to mention a four point night vs Winnipeg Thursday), Philip Danault 40 points, Tomas Tartar 39 points, Jeff Petry 37 points, Brendan Gallagher 35 points, Shea Weber return and 20 points in 31 games. Overall the Canadiens are getting much needed and consistent production from their top two players, support from the surrounding cast like Tartar, Gallagher, Danault, the rookie Jesperi Kotkaniemi’s 27 points (current 4-game goal streak).

The Canadiens are getting the production they need from the right guys. They have finally seen Drouin do what they brought him here to do, Domi’s confidence and obvious liking of the switch to Montreal is paying off. Kotkaniemi playing well his first year is big, Gallagher playing consistent, the addition of Tartar, Danault having a big year. Two defenseman that are playing like top defenseman in the league and a healthy Price is the recipe for the Canadiens success.

If the season were to end right now they would be playing Toronto first round. Not an easy match up but it is not like they cannot upset the Leafs first round. The Canadiens are going to make the playoffs and they will be a very tough first round opponent. Either way first round exit or not the Canadiens are and have exceeded expectations this season and NO ONE is talking about it. Where are the WAGON shirts for the Canadiens @SpittinChiclets ?

The Wild Card Race In The Western Conference Is A Joke

I tried to make this sound as polite as possible but what a disaster this Western Conference wild card race has been. It goes to show one of the many reasons that the last three Stanley Cup winners has come from the Eastern Conference but also this could mean that maybe these teams a top the Western Conference are not that good. But back to the main point of this article.

How can a conference have a wild card race like this, a team that is basically below .500 is in the run for the wild card right now. A team that was once 16 points out of a spot is in the run for a wild card and in the last wild card spot (Blues). I am just completely blown away by the fact that at this point in the season, 52 games in 63 percent of the season played we still have no idea what is going to happen in the Western Conference wild card.

The current wild card layout is as follows: 

Minnesota Wild (26-23-5) 57 points (1st wild card spot)

St. Louis Blues (25-22-5) 55 points (2nd wild card spot)

Vancouver Canucks (24-24-7) 55 points

Colorado Avalanche (22-22-9) 53 points

Edmonton Oilers (24-25-5) 53 points

Chicago Blackhawks (22-24-9) 53 points

The fact the Edmonton Oilers are two points out of a wild card spot is embarrassing, they have won 6 of their last 15 games a record of 6-9 in the last 15 makes you a playoff team I guess now.

The Canucks who have won 4 of their last 14 games, a 4-10 record is a playoff contending team. Just looking at this race it is a complete disaster, any team can squeak in at this point so if you are a gambling man just throw money on all six teams to make the playoffs you’ll probably walk away with some money at this point. Not to mention the Ducks who have won TWO games in their last seven and a half weeks and have been outscored 31-6 are four points out of a wild card spot. Argument closed.

The reason this race for the wild card in the West irks me a little is because any of these teams that get into the first round are going to get bounced in four to five games. Which honestly just kills NHL viewership, ratings and the growth of the game in a sense. If you are not a die hard NHL fan there is not a chance in h double hockey sticks you are watching a Blues-Flames playoff matchup.

Can anyone else shed some light here? MY prediction is that the Canucks and Blues sneak into the playoffs. Or should I say those are the two teams I would like to see make it.

Edmonton Oilers Fan Throws Jersey Onto Ice After Oilers Third Period Loss to Chicago

You have read that correctly. The Oilers fan base is basically done, they have thrown in the towel and speaking in more literal terms. Have literally thrown their jersey on the ice.

As NHL Discussion Instagram shows here:

The comments do not show many backing this fan up nor the Oilers organization. It is clear as day this fan base is frustrated and they have every right to be. The Oilers are three points out of a wild card spot, 23-25-5 with 51 points, 6th in the Pacific division and 3-5-2 in their last ten games.

They have been a disaster for the last two seasons and their only highlight comes in 2015-16 when they made that playoff run. Along with having Leon Draisaitl and Connor McDavid, the Oilers really have nothing else going for them.

A lot of this clubs frustration can be credited to recent General Manager Peter Chiarelli, and his poor management. Trading away Taylor Hall, Jordan Eberle, trading for Griffin Reinhart (using a pick to get him that would have resulted in Mat Barzal), signing bad players to bad deals. The list can go on and on. No one, players, fans, reporters nor even executives in the Oilers organization have answer right now.

The Oilers current situation is they have six picks this season, a ton of contracts expiring in the off-season and a relatively young offense with a less experienced bleu line than most teams but still not an old blue line. They have one of the best players in the world right now with Leon Draisaitl along side him.

The Oilers realistically need three things (1) consistent number one goaltending. There 2015-16 playoff run was backed by Cam Talbot’s consistent and solid goaltending. In the last two seasons goaltending has been absent for them.

(2) Two to three more top six forwards and 1-2 more role players. In 2016-17 the Oilers had Milan Lucic producing granted that has not happened but they also had, Oscar Klefbom playing well, Patrick Maroon with 42 points, Mark Letestu, Zach Kassian playing well as well, along with Andrej Sekera not injured, and their role guys, bottom six guys doing their job. The Oilers literally need Lucic to wake up, and 2-3 more 35-45 point guys.

(3) Klefbom, Sekera, Nurse to back this blue line and pick it up. Granted Sekera and Klefbom have been battling injuries on and off, Adam Larsson and the other pieces on the blue line being regulars do not help their case but if the Oilers can get a top four to produce and play consistent they would be fine.

To me it all comes down to the Oilers finding the right pieces, playing consistent all year not just for two to three weeks. Maybe I am wrong and this team is way off but, what is the solution to the Oilers issues?

 

The Ottawa Senators Should DEFINITELY Sign Mark Stone Over Matt Duchene

This a major issue for Ottawa right now. Duchene or Stone? Stone is 26-years-old, an elite scoring winger, perhaps not a franchise level talent but he ranks among the top-20 for players 26-years-old or younger. Duchene is 28-years-old and again an elite forward, can we say franchise talent, sure but he is 28-years-old now so I do not know if I am building a franchise around him right now.

Duchene has played 697 games in the NHL collecting a respectable 525 points (222G, 303A), a 0.75 point per game player in his career. Not too shabby. On the year he has 48 points in 41 games (21G, 27A), has recorded six 50+ point seasons in his career and is a player that skates extremely well, can score goals and play with just about anyone. He is playing Bobby Ryan and Ryan Dzingel and producing quite well.

Stone has played 359 NHL games recording a very respectable 300 career NHL points (117G, 183A), a 0.83 point per game player. On the year Stone has 51 points in 52 games (22G, 29A). Over his career he has recorded over 50 points every year he has been in the NHL despite 2012-13 when he played 4 games and 2013-14 when he played 19 games (in which he had 8 points). Stone is playing with two very young players this year Colin White and Brady Tkachuk and at almost a point per game (0.98).

In my opinion the Senators should move on from Matt Duchene for two reasons, for Duchene to stay they are going to need to over pay him a ton, he is going to ask for 10.5-11 million dollars a year and while Duchene is good he is not worth that money. Reason two, while he seems to be fitting in well with Ottawa right now, when he gets his contract, signs and gets comfortable there, he may not be the same player. Players always play well going into a contract year or on the verge of free agency. He is clearly not a great team/locker room guy with the incident in Ottawa this year in Colorado two years ago. I think Stone fits the Senators way better than Duchene, Stone was drafted in Ottawa has made a name for himself in Ottawa, has a history here, you know what you are going to get from him, his teammates love him and overall Stone just seems like a more secure and suitable option for Ottawa.

As well Stone will probably cost around 7.5-8.5, comparable to a Ryan O’Reilly player who is on a sheet of 7.5 million a year. Stone may cost a little more than O’Reilly per say just because Stone would be their guy and Ottawa is not in a great situation therefore throw him an extra 1-1.5 million a year just because it may not be too great for the first 3-4 years of his contract. Duchene is going to ask for 10+ million for five to six years, money wise, Stone will be cheaper and looking at their career numbers and what they bring to the table it is not like Duchene is head over heels a better player than Stone.

Keep Stone in Ottawa, get a ton of assets for Duchene and move on. With Duchene’s last statement regarding his contract extension talk.

“If I had a gut feeling I’d probably go with it right now but at this point we’re not at that point.” Duchene said after speaking about his contract extension.

This quote alone would make me want to not sign Duchene. What does this even mean? He is just delaying the inevitable of alluding to the fact that he is not going to re-sign in Ottawa. I feel as if Ottawa and Duchene’s agent are way off and it would make no sense to try and work out a deal when you can save the money and get a ton of assets for Duchene.

Fantasy Hockey News: Are Nick Bjugstad, Jared McCann worth adds? Sam Reinhart back on top line, Nolan Patrick production and more

Jared McCann/Nick Bjugstad: We are all aware of the trade I am assuming if not (here) but Nick Bjugstad played two games now with the Penguins, in those two games he skated along Bryan Rust and Evgeni Malkin, with Malkin day to day, Phil Kessel is going to be on that wing. Bjugstad has logged roughly 15:30 minutes per game, has had a handful of chances and recorded an assist in his first game. On the other hand Jared McCann is playing with Tanner Pearson and Patric Hornqvist, two veteran players who are strong in front and work down low, with may increase McCann’s stock. McCann has logged around 11:20 minutes per game, recording two shots on goal. This is a player I could potentially see on the second power play, and possibly making a case for a depth winger. I would definitely go out and add Bjugstad right now and be patient with him.

Sam Reinhart: Reinhart has been around the line up this season, from one to three and everything in between. For now though with the Sabres “pushing” for the playoffs and switching things up. Reinhart is back with Jack Eichel and also Jeff Skinner along with that. Reinhart has 12 goals and 33 assists on the season let’s see if this line is to stay tonight.

Nolan Patrick: It is about time we see Patrick being a consistent player in the Flyers line up Patrick has been a huge factor for the Flyers 8-game win streak, in this frame he has 5 goals and 3 assists. Logging around 14:30 minutes per game. He is a third line center right now that plays power play though too. Patrick is definitely a player you keep your eye on in the coming weeks.

Anthony Beauvillier: This kid has been in the line up consistently which is a good thing to see with the way Josh Ho-Sang and Michael Dal Colle have not lasted. Beauvillier is playing line two with Mat Barzal and Josh Bailey. On the year he has 12 goals and 7 assists and despite his 11 minutes vs LA last game he does usually play 16-18 minutes. A player that can be useful if you need an add for the day/week.

Blake Coleman: We can argue that he has been the Devils most consistent forward all year. Coleman has 18 goals on the year, six goals in his last 10 games and three assists. Coleman is a power play two player and a top six forward playing with Travis Zajac and Miles Wood. Coleman is surely worth the look and could be a possible consistent fantasy player for you.

Chris Kreider-Mika Zibanejad-Mats Zuccarello line: All three of these guys have to be added in all fantasy leagues. This number could be incorrect, but I believe the MSG broadcast said this line has scored 11 of the Rangers last 13 goals (not including Monday nights game). Zuccarello has 5 goals and 10 assists in his last 11 games, Kreider has (24 goals on the year), 4 goals and 5 assists in his last 11 games, Zibanejad has 10 goals and 8 assists in his last 11 games.

Colin White back/Ryan Dzingel worth: Colin White was absent for a few games but he is back and playing normal minutes again. He played the last two games logging 15+ minutes per game, but not much else. He is centering the second line of Mark Stone and Brady Tkachuk therefore his value is there and could be a solid add. Ryan Dzingel plays with Matt Duchene and Bobby Ryan on line one and is a very under valued guy. Dzingel has 4 goals and 5 assists in his last 10 games. Playing the minutes he does with the players he does makes him an automatic valuable fantasy player.

Mathieu Joseph: Joseph has received a promotion it seems like in Tampa as he is playing line two with Tyler Johnson and Yanni Gourde, Joseph is a monitor the situation type of guy. I doubt he stays here for long but for right now he could be of use. He has 12 goals and 6 assists on the year.

Jack Roslovic: With Nikolaj Ehlers hurt, Roslovic has finally got the promotion to line two and power play two. It goes without saying that Patrik Laine and Bryan Little are on that line and two very good players but Laine has been in a funk but Roslovic does have 5 goals and one assist in his last four games. Roslovic is worth adding until Ehlers gets back in a week or less.