Pittsburgh has another outdoor game. How will they fare?
If you’re back with me for another week, kudos to you. I took a huge bite of humble pie last week going 1-5 which dropped my Dobber record to just above 50%, but hey it can’t get worse than that, right? *Fingers Crossed* In a relatively slow week, I’ve gone 3-2 and now sit at 123-79 (61%) on the season. I’m hoping to shake off the bad showing and start my way back up to respectable percentage by year's end.
Record: 23 – 19 (52%)
If recent history tells us anything, it’s that the Ducks are a yo-yo and the Kings can’t seem to find the back of the net. Coming off a win against Boston, Anaheim will be looking for its first consecutive victory in quite some time, and Patrick Eaves may just be the push they’ve been looking for. Los Angeles on the other hand knows it’s getting close to the wire. With the playoffs looming, the need to perform (especially in a home game against a division rival) should bring out a fighting spirit. This is going to be a hard fought battle between two “plus-sized” squads. I’m calling the Ducks to come out on top on the road, possibly in OT and will be keeping my eye on Rickard Rakell.
Pick: Anaheim – Visitor Team Victory - V
Confidence Level: 3/5
Two teams headed in opposite directions… New York now has 20 road victories (tops in the NHL) while New Jersey has lost four of its last seven at home. Even with the announcement that The King, Henrik Lundqvist, will be sitting this one out, Antti Raanta shutout the Devils the last time he faced them. Add in Pavel Zacha’s absence and it seems that the rink will be tilted in New York’s favour. I’m hoping for a few points from Ryan McDonagh and Chris Kreider, but wouldn’t be surprised to see Rick Nash lead the way.
Pick: New York – Visitor Team Victory - V
Confidence Level: 4/5
Filip Forsberg, Filip Forsberg, Filip Forsberg. In case you missed it, the kid had back-to-back hat tricks this week and will be riding high coming into Saturday’s game against the Capitals. Speaking of which, the Capitals will be looking to continue their winning ways after a victory against Edmonton last night, but they may be a tired bunch. With T.J. Oshie, Matt Niskanen and Brooks Orpik all out, it’ll be up to the rest of the team to step their game up and dig deep to keep up with a rested Predators squad. Factoring in how both P.K. Subban and Roman Josi have been performing as of late, I’m taking the Predators at home for this one.
Pick: Nashville – Home Team Victory - H
Confidence Level: 4/5
While the Canadiens may be 3-0 against the Leafs this season, they haven’t been looking too sharp lately. Claude Julien has yet to live up to expectations, as does the team as a whole and they are going to need to find that mojo soon if they want to come out on top of the Atlantic Division. Meanwhile, the Maple Leafs have been doing alright in Mitch Marner’s absence, and Jake Gardiner has woken up posting six points in the last three games. Frederik Andersen will be in net, and if he performs like his last outing (even though it was a SOL), Toronto should be in good hands to lead them to victory.
Pick: Toronto – Home Team Victory - H
Confidence Level: 3.5/5
I had totally forgot that this was an outdoor game until I started reading up to make my predictions, and now I’m looking forward to this game even more than I was before. While everyone may not be a fan of the roofless games, I enjoy them, especially when they involve the Penguins… as long as they don’t result in Sidney Crosby getting knocked into next year. That said, neither team has been great lately, each posting one victory in their last three games, so I expect both teams to be looking to make a run starting with this game. On the Philadelphia side, Brayden Schenn and Wayne Simmonds should be battling hard to lead the charge and on Pittsburgh, Sidney Crosby and Phil Kessel will be eyeing the back of the net. I’m going with the Penguins here as even with just the one victory, Matt Murray has been much better than Michal Neuvirth (.924 vs. .838 SV%).
Pick: Pittsburgh – Home Team Victory - H
Confidence Level: 4/5
Lumps, bumps and the mumps… Vancouver now has five players quarantined (including Chris Tanev and Markus Granlund) with an outbreak of the mumps, and that number could grow depending on if any more are found with symptoms prior to puck drop. My circle of friends was joking all day yesterday that this was just a ploy for Vancouver to improve its draft position, and I’m inclined to think that the Canucks will prove them right, at least in the game against San Jose. Coming off their bye week, the Sharks should be more than ready to go and will be pushing to get Joe Thornton his 1000th career assist. Bet your bottom dollar that Brent Burns and Joe Pavelski get on the score sheet, and take San Jose on the road.
Pick: San Jose – Visitor Team Victory - V
Confidence Level: 5/5
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