Thursday, January 13, 2011

Ottawa at NY Islanders

The Ottawa Senators come to Long Island to face an angry Islanders team tonight. During a taping of a TSN show Wednesday morning at the Coliseum, a reporter called the Islanders "a perennial dormat." During practice yesterday, Islanders center Zenon Konopka yelled at the reporter from the ice "We're not a doormat anymore." Konopka and John Tavares were interviewed by Newsdays' Katie Strang after practice. Konopka added, "We were just sitting there enjoying our morning coffee and yes, we take issue with being called a doormat. We have a good group of young guys that are making news like JT, Comeau, and Bailey who are working hard and playing well. So let's talk about us being a little underrated instead of a doormat." John Tavares, the Islanders number one pick of 09 has picked up his play as of late and is starting to resemble the potential superstar that he was projected to be. He also spoke up, "No one likes being called a doormat or being considered that at this level,"Tavares said. "We've done some really good things this year, we've beaten some good teams. We've held some good players in check. We've had our own success at many different stages. I don't think we're an easy team to play against."

The Islanders will once again start rookie goalie Kevin Poulin. Due to the trade of Dwayne Roloson and injury to Rick Dipietro, Poulin's NHL career has started earlier than expected. However, in 2 starts and almost 3 full games, Poulin is 1-1 with a .944 save percentage and 1.97 GAA.

The Senators are in a free fall and have lost 6 games in a row. Coach Cory Clouston's job is in jeopardy. The Senators coach has named a starting goalie the day before a game for this first time in his tenure. The Sens have called up 19 year old Robin Lehner. Lehner has made two appearances in relief this season without giving up a goal on 10 shots.

The Senators are coming off a 6-0 loss at the hands of the Bruins and people suspect that one more poor showing and Clouston could be out.

The Senators are a lost team heading into the Coliseum where the Islanders are 4-0-2 in their last 6 and are fired up feeling they still have a lot to prove.

The Pick: Islanders -110

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Washington at Tampa Bay

A battle for first place takes place in Tampa tonight as the Capitals stroll in to take on the Lightning. Both teams have played 43 games and have 55 points. After a long losing streak, the Capitals have turned it around and have only lost 1 time in regulation in the last 10 games.

The Capitals have returned a very similar team as last year but have not found the scoring touch they had last season. In 82 games, the Capitals averaged 3.88 goals a game last year and outscored their opponents by 85 goals, more than 1 goal a game. So far this season, they have averaged 2.93 goals a game and only outscored their opponents by 13 goals. Both stats aren't terrible, but when you look at Washington's 55 win season last year, they are not even close to reaching those numbers. Could the early playoff losses have shaken their confidence and swagger?

It also doesn't help when Alex Ovechkin is on pace for his fewest goals ever.

Tampa Bay has rebuilt their team in a few short years. It helps that throughout that process, they have kept Lecavalier and St. Louis. Add Steven Stamkos, who in our opinion will be talked about in the same vein as Crosby and Ovechkin in the next couple of years.

Both teams have a lot to prove and want to lay claim as the best in the Southeast division. We are going with Washington. They still have a lot to prove and the Capitals will bounce back after their 1-0 OT loss last week.

Pick: Washington +105

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Tuesday Prediction

Expect the Flyers to keep it rolling against Buffalo tonight

The Pick: Philadelphia -120 over Buffalo

If you listen to NHL coaches and analysts they always mention that when a team plays their first home game after a long road trip it's a difficult situation. That's what the Buffalo Sabres will be battling heading into tonight's game at home against Philadelphia. The Sabres had a successful west coast trip by going 2-0-1 and have only given up one goal in their last two. Although Buffalo is not scoring a multitude of goals, they are still finding ways to win. Tonight they face one of the more talented teams in the Eastern Conference in the Philadelphia Flyers who have won three games in a row and defeated Buffalo 6-3 earlier this season. The fact that Buffalo has a 6-17 record this season following a win, and have played under .500 at home this season bodes well for Philadelphia. Go with the more talented and consistent Flyers tonight at HSBC Arena.

Monday, January 10, 2011

Monday Prediction

Look for Blues to end three game skid at home against Phoenix

The Pick: St. Louis -145 over Phoenix

It's still only early January, but in the Western Conference every point matters and both these teams are on the outside looking in and only separated by one mere point. Although St. Louis has struggled recently, this is their last home game before a three game California trip, and they're starting to get injured players back in the lineup. This should be a close low scoring game, and we like the goalie matchup of Jaroslav Halak for the Blues against Illya Bryzgalov, who is making his first start in the last three games because of injuries. The Blues were outworked by the Rangers on Saturday night at home, which is rare since St.Louis is 14-6-2 at home. Look for them to rebound against an inconsistent Phoenix team.