Game Predictions 4/5/2008
Anaheim vs. Los Angeles – First of all, I am fed up with journalists attaching the adjective “lowly” to any team ranked 29th/30th in the NHL. It happened last year with the Flyers; it continues this year with the Kings. If you make your career in writing, you ought to have a thesaurus at your disposal. Use it!
The young guns have been scoring for the Kings – Anze Kopitar scored twice in the last six minutes of the victory over the Sharks, and Alexander Frolov has 3 goals and 3 assists against the Ducks at the Staples Center. However, the Ducks are growing healthy and would like to keep home ice for the playoffs. They are the reigning Stanley Cup champions – they know how to win. – DUCKS
Columbus vs. St. Louis – Regardless of the record, the Blues have played well lately. The loss of Manny Legace factors into that equation. Hannu Toivonen has a 4.26 GAA in the last 7 games – that has to be better for the Blues to win.
Pascal Leclaire started the season so incredibly strong. It’s unfortunate that his injury hampered what could have been the first playoff bid for the Blue Jackets. Hopefully he’ll bring some magic tonight to finish the season on a high note. – BLUE JACKETS
Buffalo vs. Boston – Boston is quite possibly the most dependable team in the league. You always know what you’ll get: defensive responsibility, desperation goaltending, and some major jam from Chara. Buffalo was officially knocked out of playoff contention on Thursday. Without leadership, I don’t think they can emotionally support a spoiler win. – BRUINS
Toronto vs. Montreal – Usually I consider the “playing for pride” theory a bit cliche and not particularly accurate. But with the current Toronto Maple Leafs, it’s different. They play for Sundin whether he’s in the lineup or not. Additionally, the center of the hockey universe has come to terms with missing the playoffs. With no pressure – everything to gain and nothing to lose – why not throw everything you have at the Montreal Canadiens? – MAPLE LEAFS
Florida vs. Washington – Washington should win this game. They have momentum, home ice advantage and rest. Florida has the capacity to spoil, but with travel and playing back-to-back it’s not likely. That said, I would not be surprised to see the Panthers win, Carolina in the playoffs and Washington on the outside. Disappointed, but not surprised. – CAPITALS
Tampa Bay vs. Atlanta – Meaningless game? Perhaps. But since Ilya Kovalchuk mentioned that he wants to forget the season like “a bad dream,” the good news is that it’s almost over. – THRASHERS
Calgary vs. Vancouver – I’m sure Vancouver would love to spoil, leaving the Calgary Flames to face the San Jose Sharks in the playoffs. With sixth seed on the line – including the chance to face the Wild instead – I think the big players like Iginla and Kiprusoff will rise to the occasion. – FLAMES