These are my five picks for Mar. 16, 2010.
Buffalo Sabres at Atlanta Thrashers
This game has a lot of issues coming into it. The Buffalo Sabres come into tonight's game with a power play that has only scored twice in its last 43 attempts. Luckily for them, the Atlanta Thrashers are missing three of their starting defenseman due to injury, not to mention the Thrashers are in a scoring drought, only potting eight goals in their last six games. Plus they have given up at least one power-play goal in their last 10 games.
Look for Buffalo to take this one easily. Maybe even by two.
Buffalo over Atlanta.
Phoenix Coyotes at Tampa Bay Lightning
Who would have thought that the Phoenix Coyotes would be in the position they are in right now—almost guaranteed to make the playoffs with over 10 games still remaining in the season? Tampa Bay, on the other hand, has been horrible lately, only winning two of its last 10.
The kicker here is that not only could Tampa Bay be missing two of its best forwards in Steven Stamkos and Ryan Malone, but Ilya Bryzgalov is 4-0-0 with a 0.99 GAA, and has two shutouts in his last four games.
Look for the Coyotes to win a low-scoring game.
Phoenix over Tampa Bay.
Philadelphia Flyers at Nashville Predators
Both teams are fighting for a spot in the playoffs right now with Philly in sixth and Nashville placed seventh in their respective conferences.
Looking at the teams on paper, most would suggest that Philly has the better team. But Nashville has had a lot more consistency while facing tougher opponents in its conference.
This game will be decided on who can dictate the pace of the game. If it is fast paced, then Philly should take it. If it is a shutdown type of game, Nashville will have the better odds of winning.
Look for Nashville to win. Just don't bet on by how much.
Nashville over Philadelphia.
Edmonton Oilers at Minnesota Wild
Talk about a game between cellar dwellers, ay? The Minnesota Wild currently sits eleventh in the Western Conference, eight points behind the Detroit Red Wings. And if you don't know how Edmonton's been doing, well then you really have no reason to read this article.
The facts are simple: Edmonton has won one game on the road since mid-December (1-14-1) while Minnesota currently has a 22-9-3 record at home. Plus, to add on top of it, Josh Harding has won his last two games against much better teams (Buffalo and the road warriors in St. Louis).
Look for Minnesota to take this one.
Minnesota over Edmonton.
Upset of the Night!
Boston Bruins at Carolina Hurricanes