Dec 13, 2013, 2:31 PM EDT
Saturday: Chicago at Toronto (7 p.m. ET)
Just what the Leafs need, eh? A visit from the red-hot defending champs. The ‘Hawks have scored 19 goals in their last three games. Which is a lot. “We have a quiet confidence we can score goals,” d-man Duncan Keith said after Chicago’s 7-2 destruction of the Flyers. “Our talk in the room is more about playing the right way, being good defensively, being hard on pucks, checking well. We know our offense is going to take care of itself if we play that way.” Meanwhile, Leafs coach Randy Carlyle thought his team was “totally brain-dead” against the Blues. So yeah, slightly divergent takes there.
Saturday: Pittsburgh at Detroit (7 p.m. ET)
Thursday in Tampa Bay, the Red Wings lost their 11th straight game that went to a shootout, a run of futility that goes all the way back to March. How unlikely is it for a team to go that long without winning in the skills competition? To the internet calculator! OK, assuming there’s actually something that makes the Wings a below-average shootout team, let’s give them a 60 percent chance of losing each one they enter:
That there super-low number is the probability they’d lose 11 straight. And in reality it’s probably less than that, since the Wings should be more than capable of holding their own in the shootout.
Saturday: Boston at Vancouver (10 p.m. ET)
The last time the Bruins visited Rogers Arena, they won the Stanley Cup for the first time since 1972 and the streets outside the rink turned into a war zone. The two teams have only met once since the 2011 final, in Boston on Jan. 7, 2012. Remember how that one went? Here’s a refresher:
Just don’t bank on a repeat of that intensity Saturday. Because Vancouver general manager Mike Gillis believes that game hurt his team in the long run, even though his team won it, 4-3. In April of 2012, after being eliminated in the first round by Los Angeles, Gillis said the Canucks never “collectively got their emotions together” after the Boston game, which apparently was “almost like playing a Stanley Cup final game in the middle of the season.” Also, there’s this:
Notably missing from this Saturday's B's-Canucks game: Burrows, Lappy, Thornton, Horton, Rome, Thomas, and Dr. Recchi.—
Jason Brough (@JasonPHT) December 10, 2013
Sunday: Calgary at NY Rangers (7 p.m. ET)
Remember, TGIF doesn’t just pick the games with the best teams; it picks the ones with compelling storylines, too. And what’s happening to the Rangers these days is quite compelling, especially when it comes to wealthy franchise goalie Henrik Lundqvist. Yesterday, we mentioned in PHT Extra that King Henrik needed to be better. And what did he do right after we said that? He got pulled after allowing three goals on 13 Columbus shots. It’s already been announced that Lundqvist will start versus the Flames. So allow us to reiterate: he needs to be better.
Sunday: Los Angeles at Chicago (7 p.m. ET)
The Kings were lucky they had Martin Jones on Wednesday, or there’s very little chance they’d have beaten the Maple Leafs. And that, folks, is not something we expected to write a few weeks ago. Mostly because we thought Martin Jones was an accountant in payroll. Turns out he’s a goalie. And a pretty good one. Humble, too. “We’ve got a great team here,” the undrafted 23-year-old said after stopping 38 of 39 Toronto shots. “It’s not like I’m getting called upon to steal games.” Except he just did.
- TGIF: In which we salivate over potential playoff matchups 10
- Backstrom to receive silver medal, IOC says Sweden doctor ‘made a serious error’ 28
- Pens lose Neal to concussion 51
- Here are the top 10 and bottom 10 goalies in even-strength save percentage 21
- Weekend preview: Flyers-Pens rivalry renewed, Bruins look to stay hot 11
- Video: Stamkos scores first goal since returning to Lightning lineup 4
- Sedin backs Tortorella and staff: ‘We love playing for these coaches’ 26
- Here are three ‘major changes’ the NHL should consider 98
- Callahan: I wanted to stay in New York 40
- Playoff bubble watch — Wild edition 18
- Here are three ‘major changes’ the NHL should consider (98)
- Chiasson ‘shaken up’ by Peverley incident, won’t dress for Stars tonight (74)
- ‘It’s obvious Tortorella can’t come back next year,’ writes Vancouver reporter (62)
- Video: Dryden on why hockey should ‘give up the fighting, but keep the fight’ (57)
- Cooke to play 1,000th game tomorrow (56)