Game Predictions – 12/17/2005

The entertaining game of the night has to be Toronto at Ottawa. This is a rivalry that few other rivalries can rival. Although Ottawa is listed as a Strong favourite I expect Toronto to have a decent chance in this game. Why? Well, because rivalry games are usually close games. The key for Toronto is Ed Belfour (or Tellqvist if Belfour’s groin isn’t fully healed). Belfour has had a bit of an up and down season this year and if you aren’t on your game against the Senators, they can really run up the score. The key for Ottawa is to have their top forwards step up and produce more offense than they have in the past couple weeks (Alfredsson – 1 goal, 4pts in December, Spezza – 2 points in Dec., Heatley-3g, 6pts in Dec.). The other key for Ottawa is to stay out of the penalty box.

But Ottawa-Toronto isn’t the only game worth watching tonight. Edmonton at Vancouver should be very entertaining and Detroit at Tampa Bay could prove to be fun to watch as well. Finally, the pick-em games are pick-em games for good reason. They all could go either way and I am having a difficult time making a choice who will win. When I can’t choose I generally take the home team so I’ll go with the Islanders over Colorado, Tampa over Detroit and Los Angeles over Phoenix. I don’t forsee any upset happening in the other games although Pittsburgh at Buffalo could be close likes last nights game was and Atlanta has such inconsistant goaltending that Florida could have a chance if they get good goaltending themselves.

Home Team Road Team Predicted Winner Confidence
Ottawa Toronto Ottawa Strong
NY Islanders Colorado Pick N/A
Carolina New Jersey Carolina Good
Atlanta Florida Atlanta Some
Buffalo Pittsburgh Buffalo Strong
Tampa Bay Detroit Pick N/A
St. Louis Philadelphia Philadelphia Good
Nashville Columbus Nashville Strong
Minnesota Montreal Montreal Some
Calgary Boston Calgary Strong
Vancouver Edmonton Vancouver Good
Los Angeles Phoenix Pick N/A

This article has 8 Comments

  1. We have 12 games on the schedule today. If any of them plays out like last night’s Kings win over Anaheim, there could be some changes in the standings.
    Pittsburgh will look to beat Buffalo after losing 4-3 in overtime last night, so this one could be an upset.
    Nashville, who has the best home record in the NHL is hosting a team who is 9-22, Columbus. I don’t think an upset is likely in this game, but without Tomas Vokoun, Columbus could still make it close.
    Philadelphia’s injury bug shouldn’t hurt them against St. Louis, the worst team in the entire NHL. St. Louis just received bad news as Tkachuk will be out 4-6 weeks. Philadelphia should win this game.
    Carolina and New Jersey could be an interesting game, but New Jersey blew it in overtime Thursday night 5.0 seconds away from sending the game to a shootout against Atlanta. I think Carolina will win this.
    Atlanta, in my opinion, is considered a favorite to beat Florida, but Florida is coming off a huge win against Detroit. Atlanta is also coming off a huge win against New Jersey, a team they are competing for a playoff spot.
    Ottawa and Toronto is undoubtedly the best game today. Ottawa needs some more support from their top line, but I consider them to win because of Belfour’s groin injury. This should be a high scoring game.
    Minnesota and Montreal isn’t what I consider to be an “interesting” game, but Montreal is the better team.
    Calgary hosting Boston could be another high scoring affair, but with Calgary being 2 points away from first in their division, while Boston 7 points away from not being last in their division, Calgary has the upper-hand here.
    Colorado-NY Islanders and Tampa Bay-Detroit are two unpredictable games, but I will take Colorado and Tampa Bay to win.
    Los Angeles might be a little bit weary after their shootout win last night, but since they played in Anaheim and are playing in LA today, they could get plenty of rest. Whether LaBarbera starts today instead of Garon is unknown, but if whoever starts in goal as the kind of game Garon had last night (42 saves/45 shots, 2 saves/2 shots in OT), the Kings could get their first shutout of the year tonight. Phoenix has played good hockey of late, but the Kings power play has been good going back to the game last week against Florida (scoring 5 of their last 9 goals on the powerplay, 7 of 9 at uneven strength), so the Kings should win this one.

    TOR@OTT (Ottawa-Good)
    FLA@ATL (Atlanta-Good)
    NJ@CAR (Carolina-Good)
    COL@NYI (Colorado-Some)
    PIT@BUF (Buffalo-Strong)
    DET@TB (Tampa Bay-Some)
    PHI@STL (Philadelphia-Strong)
    MTL@MIN (Montreal-Good)
    CLB@NSH (Nashville-Strong)
    BOS@CGY (Calgary-Good
    EDM@VAN (Vancouver-Good)
    PHX@LA (Los Angeles-Some)

    Strong: 3-0-1, 87.5%
    Good: 3-2-1. 58.3%
    Some: 2-1-0, 66.7%

    Strong: 2-0-0, 100.0%
    Good: 1-0-0, 100.0%
    Some: 1-0-0, 100.0%

  2. Just for your thoughts, which 6 teams do you predict to be division winners? My division winners are as follows:

    Pacific: Dallas
    Northwest: Vancouver
    Central: Detroit
    Atlantic: Philadelphia
    Northeast: Ottawa
    Southeast: Tampa Bay

    In the Northeast Division, I like Buffalo’s recent play, and Biron has won 12 straight starts (franchise record), but I personally don’t think they can keep it going for 50 more games, with more than 35 games coming against good teams like Ottawa, Montreal, Toronto, NY Rangers, Carolina, Tampa Bay, and Philadelphia.
    Also, in the Pacific Division, it pains me to say that I don’t think the Kings will wind up the division winner. They have the advantage so far against Dallas, scoring 10 1st period goals and outscoring them 17-10 through the first three games played between them (all in Dallas), but Dallas still has a lot of games left against St. Louis, Minnesota, Columbus, and Chicago. I think the Kings will still make the playoffs, but Dallas is the team I think will end up seeded in the top 3.

  3. You can find my pre-season predictions here. Obviously some of them are clearly wrong. In the east my predictions haven’t been too good. The Rangers are doing much better than I, or anyone, thought. Atlanta isn’t doing near as well as I thought due mostly to their goaltending woes. When Lehtonen comes back I expect them to be much better but they probably won’t have enough to get back into the playoff picture. Buffalo is also doing better than I thought, as is Carolina and Boston much worse.

    In the west I’m a bit better. San Jose and Anaheim aren’t doing near as good as I thought but San Jose looks to have some life in them now. Los Angeles is doing better than I thought but said “If Garon has a good year they could be a playoff team” and Garon and Labarbera have been good but whether they can keep it going is still something I would be concerned about. Phoneix is doing a bit better than I thought but no one would have thought Joseph would be as good as he has been.

    At this point my division winner predictions would be:

    Pacific: Dallas
    Northwest: Calgary
    Central: Nashville
    Atlantic: Philadelphia
    Northeast: Ottawa
    Southeast: Tampa

    I think Nashville and Detroit will battle to the end but I like Nashville’s goaltending just a tad more. Pretty much the same story with Calgary and Vancouver. I’m predicting Philadelphia over the Rangers right now but the Rangers have cap room while the Flyers don’t and if they add another quality player or two they could certainly overtake the Flyers. But they can’t do anything drastic because they have to keep it Jagr’s team. Supposedly Petr Sykora is a potential target and he would fit in nicely with them. They could use another defenseman too.

  4. A couple of hours ago, I found out that, due to his mother’s lung cancer, Phoenix Coyotes head coach Wayne Greztky will be out indefinetely. I don’t know who Phoenix will bring in for tonight’s game against “My Kings”, but family is more important than hockey. You can’t blame Gretzky for stepping down, no matter how it effects the Coyotes.
    One other thing I would like to point out is that Joe Thornton has had 2+ points in all 6 games with San Jose, while San Jose has gone 6-0 since the trade. I think San Jose has a good chance for getting into bonus hockey in late April-June if Thornton can continue what he has done in his first 6 games in the Western Conference.

  5. Gretzky leaving the team if anything will have a positive impact on the team as the team will work harder to try to win one for him. Often adversity brings out the better in teams. With that said, I read that Brian Boucher will be playing in goal and that bodes well for the Kings.

    As for San Jose, I am pretty confident in saying they will make the playoffs now. Thornton is a dominant player and the minute I heard about the deal I immediately thought it was a bad deal for Boston. But for San Jose it might give them the best group of 3 centers in the NHL with Thornton, Marleau and MacAuley. They might need to add a defenseman to add some depth and there is a good chance that they will sign Owen Nolan when he gets healthy and resolves his contract dispute with the Leafs. Nolan will be a solid replacement for Sturm on the wing.

  6. The Sharks obviously got the best out of the trade. Although they traded 3 average players for an excellent player, Thornton more than makes up for it. Whoever Boston’s GM is, I can’t even imagine what was racing through his mind when he decided to get rid of his superstar player. Boston benefitted from this trade in the beginning when they shut Ottawa out 3-0, but San Jose, in the long run, will be a dominant team. Before the trade, I was thinking “Is this the same Sharks team that got 104 points and made it to the Western Conference Finals against Calgary last year?” With what has gone on with San Jose in their last 6 games, they could become that championship-caliber team from 03-04.

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