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TGIF: Five NHL games to watch this weekend

Nov 22, 2013, 3:16 PM EDT

Pittsburgh Penguins v Washington Capitals Getty Images

Saturday: Pittsburgh at Montreal (7 p.m. ET)

Question: Has Marc-Andre Fleury played himself back into contention for a spot on Team Canada’s Olympic squad? After 19 games, he’s 13-6-0 with a .924 save percentage. On Wednesday, he shut out Washington, 4-0. At this point, Carey Price and Roberto Luongo are considered the top two contenders for the starting job. As for the third spot? That’s up for debate. Corey Crawford won the Stanley Cup, but he isn’t playing that great these days. Mike Smith is playing OK, but his big-game experience is lacking. Martin Brodeur is playing well, but his time in the international spotlight is likely over. Jonathan Bernier, James Reimer, Josh Harding, and Braden Holtby all have excellent numbers; however, like Smith, what they lack is experience. Fleury has struggled badly in recent postseasons and, as result, wasn’t invited to Team Canada’s summer camp (Crawford, Holtby, Luongo, Price, Smith got the call). At the very least, he deserves credit for putting himself back in the conversation.

Saturday: New York Islanders at Philadelphia (7 p.m. ET)

The Flyers get a great chance to build on their current 5-0-1 streak when they host the disappointing Isles, who’ve lost six of their last eight in regulation and sit tied with Columbus for last place in the Metropolitan. On Tuesday, New York out-shot the Leafs, 37-24, and lost, 5-2. Goalie Kevin Poulin did have a handful of decent games earlier this month, but he’s struggled in recent outings. We know, we harp on the Isles’ goaltending all the time. But this team isn’t good enough to get away with poor, or even average, play from its netminders. We only harp because we care.

Saturday: Dallas at St. Louis (8 p.m. ET)

If not for Henrik Lundqvist, the Stars would’ve won their fourth straight Thursday versus the Rangers. Instead, they lost, 3-2, while outshooting New York, 43-37. Though Dallas has been doing a lot of good things lately, the power play continues to be a concern. It currently ranks 27th in the NHL, at 12.0 percent. In a very related story, Sergei Gonchar has just four PP assists in 21 games. Did Stars GM Jim Nill overestimate how much Gonchar had left in the tank when the Stars signed the 39-year-old to a two-year, $10 million deal?

Saturday: Chicago at Vancouver (10 p.m. ET)

The last time the Blackhawks visited Rogers Arena, on April 22, the Canucks came away with a 3-1 victory and optimism abounded. One of the local newspapers called it Vancouver’s “best game in ages.Daniel Sedin said: “If we play like we did today, I think we’re good.” The Canucks then lost the last two games of the regular season and got swept by San Jose in the playoffs.

Saturday: Colorado at Los Angeles (10:30 p.m. ET)

At least one handsome hockey blog wondered if the Avs were headed for a reality check after they lost three in a row by a combined score of 13-5. Instead, they beat the defending champions, 5-1, and got a 4-3 overtime win at Arena, where the Coyotes had been 9-0-1. Goalie Semyon Varlamov was named first star in both victories, as the Avs were out-shot by a combined margin of 81-53. Chances are good they’ll get out-shot again by the Kings, who have the second-best shot differential in the NHL, behind only Chicago.

  1. hammerhead5573 - Nov 22, 2013 at 3:39 PM

    Not a bad game in the bunch. Everyone worth watching. ESPN will be all over it…..not. Thank goodness for the NHL channel

  2. neilbarne - Nov 22, 2013 at 3:40 PM

    As a Pens fan, I am excited to see Fleury playing so well to start the season. But he has been playing a ton. As such, I hope that he does not get selected for the Olympics. I want to see him sticking around the ‘burgh getting some rest for the stretch drive to the playoffs. Let’s go Pens!

    • rippit2000 - Nov 22, 2013 at 5:13 PM

      I’m a Pens fan but if I’m Yzerman I wouldn’t touch MAF with a 10-foot pole. His last Cup final was in 2009 and that’s ages ago in hockey. The Pens made it to the ECF last year with Vokoun in net – if MAF hadn’t been benched against the Isles the Pens wouldn’t have made it out of the first round. Yes, his numbers are good this year, but let’s see him do something in a high pressure situation before he’s even in the discussion for Team Canada. And since the Olympics take place before the playoffs, Team Canada ain’t happening for him. The 2009 Cup win means nothing with 4 straight playoff flameouts between then and now.

  3. blackandorangeforlife - Nov 22, 2013 at 3:42 PM

    No mention of Mason for team Canada?

    • thailer35 - Nov 22, 2013 at 3:47 PM

      He’s been very good, but a long way from proven enough to stack up against the list that Canada has to choose from.

      • blackandorangeforlife - Nov 22, 2013 at 3:52 PM

        My point is none of them are proven yet…Only Mary, Price and Luongo and MaF have that level of experience!

      • thailer35 - Nov 22, 2013 at 3:55 PM

        Well there’s four names you’ve given already and they have to get down to three, and Marty didn’t even get an invite to camp.

    • curioustraveler13 - Nov 22, 2013 at 3:56 PM

      Canada wants goalie who are proven they can perform on the big stage. Mason has only played in 4 playoff games in his career and those #’s are bad.

      • blackandorangeforlife - Nov 22, 2013 at 4:08 PM

        Is that why MaF gets a mention?…..His numbers have been the worst available….In fact other then Mary none of the goalies mentioned have anything better to offer in their resumes!

      • blackandorangeforlife - Nov 22, 2013 at 4:08 PM

        Mary?….Sorry Marty that was a mistype!

      • curioustraveler13 - Nov 22, 2013 at 4:12 PM

        1 Stanley cup, 2 Easter conference finals appearances. Looks ALOT better then masons 4 losses with horrible stats in his only big situation appearance. Not to mention fleury is 13-6 right now. Mason is what 6-7. Get back to me when mason’s won 1 high pressure situation game.

      • curioustraveler13 - Nov 22, 2013 at 4:14 PM

        Sorry I meant 2 Stanley cup final appearance. Not Easter conference finals.

  4. blackandorangeforlife - Nov 22, 2013 at 4:26 PM

    What has he done since winning the Cup to get a mention?…..3 strait 1st round exits and not even playing in the Conference Finals because he didnt make it out of the 1st round again!……Yes lets look at the far past and not what reality has been….You Pens fans are so arrogant to think that Cup is all one should look at……That Cup even has an asterisk on it!

    • curioustraveler13 - Nov 22, 2013 at 4:37 PM

      Mason has lost the only BIG games hes been apart of in his career. Fleury has at least won on the big stage is all I’m saying. You asked me how fleury resume is better and i told you. Don’t cry because the #’s prove me right. Yes fleury has faltered the last 3 playoff years, but thats better then not getting there at all. Mason struggled during the regular season for 2-3 years, which is worse?

      • blackandorangeforlife - Nov 22, 2013 at 4:42 PM

        Swap the team they were on……does MaF still have better numbers?…..I dont think so!

      • curioustraveler13 - Nov 22, 2013 at 4:45 PM

        Now your playing hypotheticals. Sign of a losing argument.

    • tk1966 - Nov 22, 2013 at 9:51 PM

      “That Cup even has an asterisk on it!”


      • blackhawksdynasty - Nov 22, 2013 at 10:23 PM

        The asterisk is followed by “yes, Philadelphia does still have a hockey team”

  5. penzfan329 - Nov 22, 2013 at 5:00 PM

    Asterisk on the cup? Explain

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