NY Islanders @ Atlanta
Oh, the Islanders. They dropped their 12th straight game last night to the Panthers and they’re going to try to snap the skid against a rested Thrashers team who’s looking to redeem themselves after losing in gut-wrenching style to the Capitals on Friday night. One thing working in the Isles favor is that Atlanta can’t seem to keep opponents off the board. The Isles offense is in rough shape but not without trying as they managed to put up 40 shots on Tomas Vokoun last night while scoring just once. Will we get to see Rick DiPietro for the Islanders? If for just rest purposes it might not be a bad idea.
Calgary @ Detroit
Calgary comes in riding high after a 7-2 thrashing of the Blackhawks on Friday night while the Wings are hoping to put their stomach-punching overtime loss to the Wild behind them. The Flames will again be without Olli Jokinen but if Jarome Iginla can keep having games like he had the other night, Calgary might be able to get things back together quickly. Iginla’s hat trick against Chicago doubled his goal total for the season. Suffice it to say, they need him to continue stepping up. For Calgary, this is the first game of a five-game road trip out east.
Edmonton @ Anaheim
Don’t look now, but the Ducks are sneaking up on the top spot in the Pacific Division. They’re three points behind the Kings in the division and with the Sharks still being a bit out of whack, the Ducks are hoping to keep things going. A tough loss to Columbus on Friday night helped keep them off the pace, but the Ducks at home are tough. Playing against an Edmonton team playing poorly and without Nikolai Khabibulin helps make things look good for them heading into the game. The Oilers, meanwhile, will be hoping to avoid a seventh straight loss. They’ve given up the most goals in the league and now they’re not getting the scoring to keep up. And you wonder why they’ve lost so many in a row. Youth will someday be served in Edmonton but so far this year it’s been almost exclusively growing pains.
Phoenix @ Vancouver
Phoenix is red hot having won five in a row and squaring off with a frustrated Roberto Luongo and the Canucks should provide them with a daunting test in Vancouver. The Canucks were torched for seven goals against the Blackhawks last night leading to post game complaints from head coach Alain Vigneault about Chicago running up the score. Boo hoo. Instead of getting angry with their words, the Canucks will look to take out their frustrations on a hot team. That doesn’t quite sound like a recipe for success. Then again, that’s why they play the games too. Vancouver will be looking to avoid a three-game losing streak.