Game Predictions – 12/2/2005

So that is 2 nights in a row that Boston gave the hockey world a big story. First they trade Thornton, then they shut out Ottawa. I figured they would come out hard but to shut out Ottawa is more than I expected. Despite their success last night, in the long run I think Boston loses the trade. Only time will tell though.

We now enter a stretch of inter-conference play and during this time we will be able to better guage whether the eastern conference or western conference is better. I think in general the eastern conference has the better offensive talent but the western conference probably has better defense. There aren’t really any defense and goaltending oriented teams like Calgary and Minnesota in the east.

All four games tonight could be quite interesting including two key games fereaturing a top eastern team playing a top western team. First off we have the Los Angeles Kings playing the Ottawa Senators. I suspect Ottawa got a wake up message after last nights game so tonight we’ll see what they are made of and if they get the message. The Kings on the other hand might be a bit more rested not played last night so they should come out strong too. The Senators are the slight favourites and that is probably a fair assessment.

The other big game is Carolina at Dallas. Carolina is one of the two surprise teams in the east (Rongers being the other) but who have suffered a bit recently due to the injury bug. Dallas on the other hand has won 7 of 8 and has looked quite good this year. Dallas being the slight favourite is also a fair assessment of where both teams are right now.

In the other two games, Joe Thornton makes his San Jose debut against the Buffalo Sabres and Nikolai Khabibulin returns to Tampa to face the team he led to the Stanley Cup in 2003-04. While Tampa and Buffalo are the favourites to win, both games have the potential for an upset, particularly San Jose over Buffalo. We saw what a trade can do last night in Boston’s win over Ottawa.

Home Team Road Team Predicted Winner Confidence
Ottawa Los Angeles Ottawa Some
Tampa Bay Chicago Tampa Bay Good
Buffalo San Jose Buffalo Some
Dallas Carolina Dallas Some