Let’s take a gander at the NHL’s light three-game schedule for tonight. As always, the start times are Eastern (ET).
Nashville @ Toronto
The Predators and Maple Leafs are just about as different as two NHL teams could be. One team wallows in sports obscurity with an ultra-stable front office and scratches and claws its way into the playoffs year after year despite some serious financial constraints. The other club sports an unjustifiably bloated payroll, stumbles upon sellout after sellout and hasn’t made the playoffs since the lockout despite having all the resources (except maybe patience and consistent competence?) at its disposal.
If you don’t want to make quite as much out of this, though, it’s a game between the third worst team in the East (5-8-3 Toronto) and fourth lowest ranked team in the West (7-5-3 Nashville). The Maple Leafs hope to end an eight game losing streak against the scrappy Predators at home.
Philadelphia @ Montreal
Two of the hottest teams in the East square off in this game, as the conference’s second ranked Flyers (12-4-2) face the conference’s third ranked Canadiens (11-5-1). If that’s not enough motivation for these two storied franchises, here are two more nuggets: Philadelphia ended Montreal’s Cinderella run in the 2010 playoffs and both teams are currently on three game winning streaks.
The Flyers might be a little more winded after throttling the previously red-hot Ottawa Senators last night, so freshness and home ice advantage favor the Habs. Still, Philly is on a roll right now (9-0-1 in their last 10 games) so Montreal has no reason to take them lightly.
Anaheim @ Dallas
The margin of error is pretty tiny in the ultra-competitive Pacific Division right now. While the Ducks are currently second in the division (22 points), they’ve played four more games than the last place Stars. If Dallas were to go 2-0-2, they would own an identical record to Anaheim.
So each game is important. The Sharks recently ended the Ducks’ six game winning streak while the Stars have lost three in a row. Things look fairly promising for the Stars, though, as the Ducks are much weaker on the road (3-6-1) than they are at home (7-1-1) so far this season. Dallas should also be well-rested, as they haven’t played since they lost Friday in Anaheim. We’ll see if that really matters tonight, though.
You know what they say: “What a difference a game makes.”
Even in the 82-game marathon that an NHL regular season is, that can be true.
Ryan Suter admitted he went too far with comments during tough times, yet there he was on Tuesday night, grinning ear-to-ear after scoring the 2-1 goal that ended up being the game-winner.
Heck, people were even joking about things. The healing powers of winning, right?
As of this writing, this win places Minnesota in the last wild card spot, and they’re close to elbowing in on the Chicago Blackhawks (who own a standings point advantage, but have played two more games so far in 2015-16).
Jeremy Roenick labels this 2-1 win as a “team win” for Minnesota, and it showed on that 2-1 goal, as the Wild showed off some picture-perfect passing and a willingness to crash the net for rebounds.
Let’s face it, though; Devan Dubnyk deserves plenty of credit, too.
It won’t be easy in the Central Division, and things may get heated again. Still, this is the sort of win that may just help Minnesota build up some confidence.
When you’re talking about bright sides, most people believe that they boil down to the light at the end of the tunnel for the Philadelphia Flyers.
Sometimes it’s nice to enjoy a little success in the present while waiting for that bright future, though.
The Flyers are providing at least a burst of sunshine lately, as Tuesday’s 4-2 win against the Ottawa Senators gives them … (drum roll) their first three-game winning streak of this season.
Even in recent darker moments, Philly’s been pretty impressive on offense, so Flyers fans are likely relieved to see a relative offensive outburst.
Sure, it wasn’t all rainbows and unicorns – Radko Gudas might have gotten himself into some trouble, for instance – yet this is still a nice sign of life for a team expected to finish in the draft lottery.
If that fails … hey, the future may require shades.
Here’s an understatement: things haven’t gone very well for Dougie Hamilton early in his first season with the Calgary Flames.
(It must feel like the opposite of Tyler Seguin in Dallas for Boston Bruins fans, but feel free to disagree in the comments.)
You could look at Hamilton’s meager offensive stats and break down his disappointing work through a very of “fancy” and traditional metrics …
… Or you could just fire up a projector and show this own-goal on a loop.
It remains to be seen if the Ottawa Senators can avoid losing against the Philadelphia Flyers tonight, but either way, it’s been a costly night.
The Senators saw two forwards leave the game with injuries, as Milan Michalek and Mika Zibanejad were banged up on Tuesday.
Michalek may have gotten hurt blocking a shot while a Radko Gudas hit on Zibanejad left the Senators forward with an upper-body injury.
Gudas may get a call from the league for his infractions.
Update: Michalek’s issue could be significant.
The Flyers ended up beating the Senators 4-2, so a tough night for Ottawa.