Saturday, January 19, 2013
Well, boys and girls, today is the day. Saturday marks the opening day of the 2013 abbreviated NHL season.
NBC has the first game between the Philadelphia Flyers and the Pittsburgh Penguins, and the in-state rivalry is one of the best ways to start the season. Following the matinee will be the Boston Bruins hosting the New York Rangers at the TD Garden. Another game that you should glue yourself to the TV for.
Being a huge Bruins fan, and sitting here writing this in my Adam McQuaid home black and gold jersey, I have to pick them in the game tonight. Their exit from the postseason at the hands of Joel Ward and the Capitals was inexcusable, and they look like one of the hungriest teams coming into the season. Bruins win 3-2.
As for the Battle of Pennsylvania? We may see six or seven goals in this one, with both teams sporting the league's best, namely Claude Giroux and Scott Hartnell on the Flyers and Evgeni Malkin and Sidney Crosby for the Pens. Flyers win 5-3.
Of course those aren't the only games on tap for today. The Ottawa Senators take on the Winnipeg Jets, while the Chicago Blackhawks take on the defending champion Los Angeles Kings. The Jets are a strong offense made stronger by picking up the likes of Olli Jokinen and Alexi Ponikarovsky, and they'll need a 100 percent effort to beat all-star defender Erik Karlsson's Senators. Jets win 3-1.
As for the Kings-Hawks game, the Hawks need to score early to put struggling goaltender Corey Crawford at ease. The Kings were the eighth seed in last years playoffs and pulled off a great Stanley Cup run, but playoff Kings hockey can be much different than regular season Kings hockey with coach Daryl Sutter tailoring his lines to have just one scoring line up top. Kings win 3-2 in a shootout.
Those are my top games for opening day, and here are my remaining guesses/predictions.
Toronto at Montreal, Habs win 2-1.
New Jersey at Islanders, Devils win 2-1 in overtime.
Washington at Tampa Bay, Capitals win 5-4.
Carolina at Florida, Hurricanes win 4-2.
Detroit at St Louis, Red Wings win 3-1.
Columbus at Nashville, Predators win 2-0.
Phoenix at Dallas, Coyotes win 4-2.
Colorado at Minnesota, Wild win 5-1.
Anaheim at Vancouver, Canucks suck.
For all the hockey action today, you can check out my Twitter, @JonToddVanDamme, for live updates, fantasy tips and everything else hockey.