Chris' Saturday Selections Part II: Ovechkin Rides Again

Chris GschwendtnerCorrespondent IMarch 21, 2009

Continuing with tonight's NHL action, I look into the other four games on the schedule.

Washington Capitals (45-22-6 - 96 pts) @ Carolina Hurricanes (38-28-7 - 83 points)

A recent surge has the Hurricanes looking at post-season play under coach Paul Maurice.  The last time they made the playoffs under Maurice, they made it all the way to the Stanley Cup Finals before losing to Detroit in five games.  That season they won the Southeast Division, which is held right now by, you guessed it, the Washington Capitals. 

Speaking of the Capitals, Ovechkin and his stick, are on fire.  I myself thought the "hot stick" celebration after Ovechkin scored his 50th of the season was very creative and entertaining. 

Without players as exciting as him, the National Hockey League would dare I say it, be boring.  I hate the fact that critics think of it as hot-dogging, but that's another story.  Tonight's game is a clash of two very good teams, and is very close to call.  I think Ovechkin and Mike Green can continue to carry the team and lead to another victory.  Caps win.

Columbus Blue Jackets (37-28-6 - 80 points) @ Florida Panthers (35-26-10 - 80 points)

For the second straight year, the Eastern Conference requires more points to make the playoffs then the Western Conference (to this point).

After so many years of the Western Conference being "tougher" than the East, the competitiveness in the East is coming out.  Florida is currently out of the playoffs with 80 points, and Columbus is the sixth seed in the West. 

Steve Mason has been stellar this season, and looks to be the early winner of the Calder Trophy for the leagues best rookie.  He has the second best GAA and the most shutouts in the league and from what I've seen from him, he's a solid 'tender.

Peter DeBour guaranteed the Panthers would make the post-season in an ad campaign a few weeks ago.  For his sake, I hope they do.  Florida would be an exciting team to see regardless if they get swept by a higher seed.

Yes, I have jumped on the Florida Panthers band-wagon, but by the end of the night I don't see them in the playoffs yet.  Blue Jackets win.

Atlanta Thrashers (29-37-6 - 64 pts) @ Tampa Bay Lightning (23-33-15 - 61 pts)

When two of the leagues worst teams collide it doesn't usually get much of the spotlight.  But they sometimes are the most entertaining games of the night.  The coaches of the respective teams may not enjoy it, but the fans do.

Atlanta has been playing better as of late winning six in a row before losing to two elite teams in Pittsburgh and Detroit.  Kozlov has points in seven straight games, and the Thrashers as a team are lighting the lamp.  Tampa Bay has the worst home record in the league.  Thrashers win.

Vancouver Canucks (38-23-9 - 85 pts) @ Phoenix Coyotes (29-35-7 - 65 pts)

It pains me to say this, but the Canucks are the hottest team in the league.  They are 16-3-1 in their last 20 games, but 11 of those wins were at GM Place (leave it to me to find something negative about an accomplishment). 

They now close off the season with eight of their 12 remaining games on the road, including a six game road trip.  Tonight they will face the lowly Coyotes to start their road trip.

The Coyotes can hold their own at home, but my money is on the Canucks.  Canucks win.

Thanks for reading my Saturday Selections for this week.  Till next week let the pucks stay frozen and the games be amamamazing!


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