After a busy stretch of games to begin the 2010-11 season, it seems like the NHL’s catching its breath a bit. There are only two games on the schedule and for fastidious hockey fans, it’s a nice situation because watching both is a distinct possibility. Let’s take a look at today’s two contests.
(Start times are Eastern or ET)
7:30 PM ET
Colorado @ Detroit
Many folks are still hung up on the savage and scintillating 90s rivalry between these two teams, when Patrick Roy, Joe Sakic and Peter Forsberg clashed with Steve Yzerman, Nicklas Lidstrom and the Red Wings’ rotation of other stars. The Red Wings have been savvy when it comes to maintaining that star status in the salary cap era while the Avalanche clearly turned the page. Adam Foote and Milan Hejduk are just about the only remnants from those days, as the Avs have turned to goalie Craig Anderson and a stable of speedy young players to begin a new era. Rather than rekindling a rivalry, this is more like a matchup between old versus new, although the Red Wings might buck that trend by starting younger goalie Jimmy Howard instead of old mainstay Chris Osgood.
10:30 PM ET
Atlanta @ Los Angeles
It’s often fun to run into one of those “something has to give” games. The Thrashers come into this game having lost their last four road games (0-3-1) dating back to last season while the Kings lost their last three home openers. Both teams are also 1-1, so the something-has-to-give levels are really through the roof in this one. In other random contextual stats, Atlanta won the last three meetings between the two teams.
No, the Nashville Predators did not forget how to score goals … or at least they were lifted from that amnesia on Wednesday.
Mike Fisher lifted the curse 13:52 into the first period of tonight’s game against the Buffalo Sabres. You can watch that rare beast in the video above.
They had been shut out for three straight games and pretty close to four in pure game time.
On this subject, PHT’s Jason Brough asked Predators GM David Poile if he was considering moving a defenseman to improve in another area earlier today.
Tyler Ennis can probably relate with the Buffalo Sabres’ opponent on Wednesday, as he’s struggling almost as much as the Nashville Predators.
Perhaps some of that has to do with health?
Whether that’s the case or not, Ennis is out for the Sabres tonight, as the team announced that he’s dealing with an upper-body injury.
The Buffalo News discussed Ennis’ struggles in this article.
“I’d say he’s pressing too much. You can’t make those plays in every situation and in every point you touch the puck,” Dan Bylsma said to the Buffalo News. “ … He’s just got to simplify his game. He is a special player who can make those plays, but he can’t be trying to do it every time he touches the puck.”
He’ll need to wait a while to start getting things together, anyway.
You can check out tonight’s Wednesday Night Rivalry doubleheader on NBCSN, and you can also stream them online.
Here are the handy links for the two contests.
First, the New York Islanders host the Philadelphia Flyers.
CLICK HERE TO WATCH LIVE
After that, the Chicago Blackhawks visit the San Jose Sharks.
CLICK HERE TO WATCH LIVE
The San Jose Sharks will be missing a top-4 defenseman tonight when they host the defending champs from Chicago.
Justin Braun has an upper-body injury. His status is considered day-to-day.
“Brauny has been one of our unsung heroes here through the first quarter of the season,” coach Peter DeBoer told CSN Bay Area. “He’s played some outstanding hockey. So, we’re going to miss him, but it’s a great opportunity for Mueller and Tennyson and one of these guys to establish themselves. It’s a great opportunity for us to reward Dillon for how well he’s played.”
Against the Blackhawks, Brenden Dillon will take Braun’s spot on the top pairing alongside Marc-Edouard Vlasic; Paul Martin and Brent Burns will stay together on the second pairing; and 20-year-old Mirco Mueller will skate with Matt Tennyson.
Mueller has played just four games for the Sharks this season. In his last game, Thursday in Philadelphia, he received only 9:13 of ice time.
Also tonight, new Shark forward Dainius Zubrus is expected to debut on the fourth line.
Related: Sharks sign Zubrus, because DeBoer