With the number of games running out in the regular season, you might say that tonight’s game between the Anaheim Ducks and Colorado Avalanche in Denver (9:00 p.m. ET on NBCSN) is a must-win game for the Ducks.
The Ducks sit 12th in the Western Conference, eight points behind a trio of teams all tied for the eighth and final playoff spot. While the odds are stacked against the Ducks for making the postseason with 13 games left to play, don’t think that will keep the Ducks from going for it as one of those three teams in eighth is the Avalanche.
If the Ducks are going to make the impossible happen, seeing their host of superstars step up and play like men possessed would be a good way to do it. Corey Perry has been having another huge second half and Teemu Selanne continues to be as steady as ever. Getting more from Ryan Getzlaf and Bobby Ryan would go a long way to helping out as the Ducks offense has slumped lately getting shutout twice in their last six games. With Saku Koivu playing in his 1,000th career game tonight, he’s got that much more to play for himself.
Of course, coach Bruce Boudreau is seeing the stress of trying to rally his team build up on him as well as he takes it out on officials. What he could use is seeing his blue line play a little tighter and Jonas Hiller playing the part of Superman.
Doing all of that against a feisty Avalanche team will be hard though. The Avs have been reinvigorated since acquiring Steve Downie going 7-3-0 since he’s arrived from Tampa Bay. Whether that’s coincidental or a sign that the Avs needed more sandpaper to their game is up to you to decide, but Colorado has played with a lot more conviction lately.
One guy who has sharpened his game in that time is goalie Semyon Varlamov. Varlamov was treading water playing average in goal, but he’s had two shutouts and allowed one goal three times in the last ten games, including a 4-1 win over the Ducks just two weeks ago. Varlamov has stepped up big when the team has needed him most and you can’t ask for more than that.
The Avs are going to have to do without Matt Duchene for the next few weeks as he’s out with an ankle injury. Fortunately for them, Ryan O’Reilly and Gabriel Landeskog have been their dynamic forward duo. Throw Paul Stastny into the mix and the Avs have guys that can score. They’ll need to bring it big against a Ducks team that’s desperate and dangerous.
Update: Puck drop is now scheduled for 4:53 p.m. ET.
It’s not a familiar situation for the NHL, but it has happened before: a weather delay for a hockey game.
The Winnipeg Jets confirmed that the start time for their Heritage Classic game against the Edmonton Oilers has been delayed. The glare of the sun appears to be too much.
At the moment, it is not yet known how severe the delay will be. Puck drop was originally scheduled for just after 3 p.m. ET.
That’s a bummer, but at least it inspired a joke that would probably make Ilya Bryzgalov smile:
Warm-ups were moved to 4 p.m. ET. PHT will keep you posted if there are any other changes.
OTTAWA, Ontario (AP) Former Montreal Canadiens coach Jacques Demers is back at home after going to a hospital Saturday.
Demers’ Senate office would only confirm that the 72-year-old Demers, a Canadian senator, was at home Sunday, but didn’t provide any details about the reason he went to the hospital.
Demers had suffered a stroke in April, but he was at the Canadiens’ home opener Tuesday night, smiling in a wheelchair while handing a torch to captain Max Pacioretty to close out a pregame ceremony.
Demers led the Canadiens to their most recent Stanley Cup in 1993. He also coached the Quebec Nordiques, the Detroit Red Wings and the St. Louis Blues.
Demers was appointed to the Senate in 2009 by then-Prime Minister Stephen Harper, but later left the Conservative caucus in December to sit as an Independent.
At the time, he said he was uncomfortable with some of the fallout from the Senate expenses scandal and didn’t like to have to vote the Conservative party line all the time.
So, let’s assume that the Edmonton Oilers and Winnipeg Jets will eventually play in the 2016 Heritage Classic at Investors Group Field on Sunday.
Every indication is that Cam Talbot and Connor Hellebuyck shall get the nods for their respective teams. Most assume, with the firepower on hand, that this could be a high-scoring game.
Hellebuyck isn’t flustered about all the goals the Jets have allowed so far, as he told NHL.com.
“It’s not something you’re really worried about,” Hellebuyck said. “It’s early in the year, it happens to a lot of teams. If you look at the trends in the past 10 years, there’s always a lot of goals being scored at the beginning of the year.”
They’re not just facing dangerous offenses. They’re also dealing with the conditions, as the game was already delayed by the glare of the sun.
Goalies are already accustomed to having their views compromised by screening forwards. Will Hellebuyck and Talbot squint through the Heritage Classic?
Wild at Islanders – Darcy Kuemper vs. Thomas Greiss
Coyotes at Rangers – Louis Domingue vs. (probably) Henrik Lundqvist
Canucks at Ducks – Ryan Miller vs. (likely) John Gibson
The Winnipeg Jets host the Edmonton Oilers at the 2016 Heritage Classic at Investors Group Field this afternoon. You can watch it on NHL Network, Sportsnet, TVA Sports 2 or NHL.tv at 3 p.m. ET.
With that in mind, let’s get prepped with super-important stats about unhealthy food, interesting photos and fun facts.
- Want to get an in-depth look at the rivalry between the Jets and the Oilers? NHL.com and Sportsnet both have some great retrospectives.
- The CBC notes that there was rain ending in the morning but it’s expected to be cloudy. Overall, sounds like a nice climate for an outdoor hockey game. NHL.com’s Nick Cotsonika wonders if the sun’s glare might cause some issues.
- No doubt about it, the futures of both franchises will be on display, from Connor McDavid to Patrik Laine.
- The league’s PR department tweeted out some silly facts: 425 lbs. of cheese curds “will top poutine” during the event and 2.5 kilometers (about 1.55 miles) of hot dogs and “smokies” will be consumed.
(Imagines one enormous cheese dog.)
Now that you have important food facts in mind, here are a few fun photos as promised.
Should be a great time.
Oh, and in case you missed it, here is a recap of Saturday’s wonderful alumni game: