Monday, February 6, 2012

Gainer's Top NHL Games of the Week

February is now upon us in the NHL.  February 27th is the trade deadline at noon.  We'll find out who are buyers and sellers here in the next few weeks.  It's arguably the most important month of the season in that regard.  Hopefully your team is buyers!

Here's a look at the current standings:

Team(s) to keep your eye on:  New Jersey Devils - they got 2 big wins this past weekend over division rivals Philadelphia and Pittsburgh on back-to-back nights.  Kovalchuk is heating up, definitely a team trending up.  Nashville Predators - only 1 thing;  Pekka Rinne is god.

Team(s) to forget about:  The entire Southeast Division (Florida, Washington, Carolina, Tampa and Winnipeg).  1 team in a playoff spot and without a guaranteed top 3 seed, Florida would be in 8th by 1 point.  Talk about disappointing.

Tuesday 2/7

  • New Jersey @ NY Rangers 7pm
    • The top team in the East takes on my "hottest" team in the NHL.  The best goalie in the league for New York up against arguably the greatest goaltender of all time.  Can the Devils keep the momentum going against top division rivals?  I think so...

  • Florida @ Washington 7pm
    • Even though these two teams are a joke.  You can't argue the significance of this one for either team.  The winner will once again take a slim lead in the Southeast (and the 3 seed).  The loser?  Down on the 8-9th "Mendoza Line."  Can the Panthers keep surprising or will the Caps finally wake up?  Go Cats

  • Vancouver @ Nashville 8pm
    • Only a point separates these two studly teams.  Canucks have found their groove in the second half.  The Preds are the hottest team in the West.  Their goalie, Rinne, has won 11 straight and 20 of 22.  Watch for the city of Nashville to be pumped for this one.

Thursday 2/9

  • Toronto @ Philadelphia 7pm on NHL Network
    • The Leafs are riding a hot goaltender in James Reimer.  The Flyers are trying to find their early season mojo and not having Captain Chris Pronger is starting to show.  The Leafs desperately want to get back in the playoffs.  Flyers goalie Bryzgalov is one of the biggest disappointments of the year so far.

  • Winnipeg @ Washington 7pm
    • This is the game for the Jets.  They have struggled as of late and if they want to stay in the playoff hunt, they need to beat playoff teams and ones in their division.  Caps can put them out of their misery or keep them alive.

  • Vancouver @ Minnesota 8pm
    • The Wild once were the power in the West and the Canucks struggling.  The roles have reversed.  The Wild are clinging to a playoff spot in the always uber competitive Western Conference.  I could see the Canucks putting the Wild out of their misery at this point.  Dany Heatley sucks.
Friday 2/10

  • Chicago @ San Jose 10:30pm
    • West juggernauts doing battle.  Too bad this is a late Friday night match up and most people won't see it.  There is most likely to be a lot of goals in this one.  The goalie who makes the big save late will see his team on top in this one.

Saturday 2/11

  • Florida @ New Jersey 1pm
    • My two opposite teams.  Panthers are not hot, while the Devils are on fire, literally.  The Panthers top line leads the league in combined points.  They'll need to bring their A+ game to beat Captain Zach Parise and his Devils.  

  • NY Rangers @ Philadelphia 1pm
    • The Winter Classic teams match up yet again (6 times total for divisional opponents).  Philly fans will be fired up this time around as they look to build some momentum heading into the trade deadline.  The Rangers look to keep pace and stay hot with All-Star MVP Marian Gaborik.


  • Nashville @ Boston 1pm
    • This game looks boring on paper but if you love defense, check this one out.  Rinne and Thomas were 2 of the 3 Vezina finalists last season and both are playing top notch right now.  Preds Captain Shea Weber is back and tries to beat his foe Captain Zdeno Chara of Boston.  This game might end 1-0 in a shootout!
Sunday 2/12
NBC Game of the Week:

  • Washington @ NY Rangers 12:30pm on NBC (yes, the National Television channel)
    • The Rangers are pretty much a lock for the playoffs and can continue to crush the hopes of an underachieving Capitals team.  The Caps desperately need to find some consistency if they hope to even make the playoffs.  MSG will be bumpin' for this one.

  • San Jose @ St. Louis 7pm
    • The Blues are easily the most surprising team this season after hiring Ken Hitchcock back in November.  They are legit Stanley Cup contenders with a great goaltending duo.  San Jose isn't their usual dominant selves but I like what they bring to the table.  Should be a great match up.


  • Philadelphia @ Detroit 7:30pm on NBC Sports Network (the old Versus haha)
    • The Red Wings have shown a sign of weakness and that's in net.  No, not All-Star starter Jimmy Howard but their back up.  Both Conklin and McDonald are getting chances.  This could factor into this game as Howard has been banged up a bit.  Philly needs this one for confidence sakes.