Jan 042006
 

Here are the this weeks NHL Power Rankings. The biggest riser is the Calgary Flames who jumped from 9th into 5th with wins over Minnesota, Edmonton and Chicago. The biggest fallers are the Nashville Predators who dropped from 2nd to 9th. Four losses in a row will do that to you.

Rank Last Week Team Win-Loss Power Rank
1 1 Ottawa 27-10 15.0
2 3 Dallas 24-14 13.0
3 4 Carolina 24-14 12.6
4 6 Los Angeles 26-16 12.5
5 9 Calgary 24-16 12.4
6 5 Buffalo 26-14 12.3
7 7 Detroit 26-13 12.2
8 8 Philadelphia 25-14 12.2
9 2 Nashville 24-14 12.1
10 12 Toronto 23-17 11.7
11 11 Edmonton 23-18 11.4
12 10 Vancouver 21-18 11.2
13 13 Colorado 21-20 10.8
14 17 Phoenix 20-20 10.3
15 16 Tampa Bay 21-20 10.1
16 14 NY Rangers 22-18 10.1
17 15 Montreal 18-20 9.8
18 19 Anaheim 18-21 9.5
19 20 Minnesota 19-21 9.4
20 18 NY Islanders 17-21 9.3
21 21 San Jose 16-21 8.8
22 23 Atlanta 18-23 8.5
23 22 New Jersey 17-23 8.3
24 27 Florida 16-26 7.8
25 25 Boston 14-25 7.4
26 26 Washington 13-24 7.3
27 24 Chicago 13-26 6.6
28 28 Columbus 12-27 6.4
29 30 Pittsburgh 11-28 6.0
30 29 St. Louis 10-27 5.4
Jan 042006
 

We have 5 games on schedule tonight with a couple potentially interesting games. One game to watch is Atlanta at Carolina. Atlanta has been much better of late and will look to make a statement against division leader Carolina after thrashing league leading Ottawa 8-3 on Monday. If Carolina isn’t ready to play hard, as the Senators weren’t, then this could be another easy Atlanta win.

The Vancouver Canucks are struggling big time having lost 7 of their last 8 games including a loss the the leagues worst team, St. Louis, on Monday. They will be in tough tonight against Dallas but what better way to get motivated than to try to make a statement against possibly the top team in the western conference. If Vancouver fails to play a high energy, quality game against Dallas then I think we will have to start questioning whether they should be considered a top tier Stanley Cup contender that many thought they would be.

I am extremely surprised that the Nashville-St. Louis game is listed as a pick-em game. Clearly the Predators have been the much better team this year but Nashville has lost 4 in a row and are playing on back to back nights on the road so who knows, maybe St. Louis has a chance to win this game. Personally, I think Nashville will come away with the win.

A game ripe for an upset is the Islanders-Florida game. Florida, and goaltender Luongo especially, have been much better recently (7-3-1 in last 11) while the Islanders have lost 5 in a row. The Islanders are the predicted winner but this game could go the Panthers way.

Finally, look for the Senators to bounce back after they were thoroughly thrashed in Atlanta on Monday. The only way I see the Senators losing this game is if Kolzig steals the game for the Capitals which of course wouldn’t be far fetched since Kolzig has been known to do this in the past. I don’t expect that to happen and Ottawa should come away with a 5-2 win.

Home Team Road Team Predicted Winner Confidence
NY Islanders Florida NY Islanders Good
Washington Ottawa Ottawa Good
Carolina Atlanta Carolina Strong
St. Louis Nashville Pick N/A
Dallas Vancouver Dallas Good
Jan 032006
 

Six games on schedule tonight although none can really be said to be high quality matchups. The most interesting might be Sidney Crosby’s visit into Montreal. I think several of the games except have the potential for an upset. Montreal has struggled lately and could potentially fall to the Penguins. The Rangers and Tampa are both up and down teams and that game could go either way. New Jersey is also a very inconsistant team and Florida has played a bit better recently (5-1-1 in last 7) so Florida has a good opportunity to win. In the pick-em game I will take Nashville and their better goaltending to defeat Colorado.

Home Team Road Team Predicted Winner Confidence
NY Rangers Tampa Bay NY Rangers Some
Montreal Pittsburgh Montreal Strong
New Jersey Florida New Jersey Some
Detroit Minnesota Detroit Good
Colorado Nashville Pick N/A
Edmonton Chicago Edmonton Strong
Jan 022006
 

Apparently the Toronto Sun’s Lance Hornsby is a pessimist. Just look at how he is viewing the Leafs right now.

And rather than relax a bit as they carry a five-game winning streak into tonight’s game against the Pittsburgh Penguins, the sixth-ranked Leafs see lots of action in their rearview mirror. There are seven teams — five of them out of the playoff picture at the moment — within 13 points of the Leafs.

Yeah, that is a true statement, but it can also be said that the Leafs are just 10 points behind the Senators for first spot. The fact is that the Leafs are solidly in a playoff spot, 7 points and a game in hand over the 9th place Atlanta Thrashers. It is unfortunate that the ever-pessimistic Toronto media always insists on looking back in the standings than forward as the Leafs should soon be passing the NY Rangers in the standings.

Jan 022006
 

Ok, I am starting to get back into a more normal schedule after a busy holiday season which should allow me to provide some more in depth analysis of games beginning tomorrow and hopefully some other stuff aside from game predictions as well. But the work schedule looks busy for the next couple months so it still may not be to the level I would like but I’ll see what I can do.

Before we get to today’s game predictions lets take a look at my success rate so far.

Strong: 56 of 81 for 69.1% success rate
Good: 54 of 81 for 66.7% success rate
Some: 43 of 72 for 59.7% success rate
65 games were too close to call

Several interesting games on the schedule today including a battle of two excellent offenses when Ottawa visits Atlanta in their first matchup since the big off season trade of Hossa and DeVries for Heatley. Ottawa is listed as a “Good” favourite but Atlanta has the offense to be able to compete with Ottawa. The question will be if they have the goaltending to compete. With Lehtonen playing in Altanta’s win over Washington yesterday it seems likely that Garnett will get the start today. While Garnett has been playing better lately (3-0-2 and 2 shutouts in last 5 games) I am not sure he can provide the goaltending Atlanta needs if they are going to defeat a top team like Ottawa. Even wtih Alfredsson missing the game with a cracked rib, I think Ottawa will still win. But it is more likely to be a 5-4 win than a 2-1 win.

Home Team Road Team Predicted Winner Confidence
Boston Philadelphia Philadelphia Some
Calgary Chicago Calgary Strong
NY Islanders Tampa Bay NY Islanders Some
Atlanta Ottawa Ottawa Good
Toronto Pittsburgh Toronto Strong
St. Louis Vancouver Vancouver Good
Los Angeles Dallas Los Angeles Some
Jan 012006
 

Happy New Year everyone. I hope none of you are suffering too much from a late night. We only have 3 games on schedule today. Nashville is a good favourite over Anaheim and I can’t really see an upset in that game. Buffalo is a strong favourite against Florida but I could see an upset here as Florida has played a bit better of late including a win over Buffalo on December 22nd. A Florida win would not surprise me. Finally, in the pick-em game I’ll take Atlanta over Washington. Like Florida, Atlanta has plaayed better recently and are now only 3 points behind Tampa for th 8th playoff spot in the easten conference.

Home Team Road Team Predicted Winner Confidence
Washington Atlanta Pick N/A
Buffalo Florida Buffalo Strong
Nashville Anaheim Nashville Good