Back at it tonight, the Canucks look to put a disappointing loss to Les Canadiens behind them as they take on the hottest team in the land that isn't currently part of a massive Canadian Media conspiracy to shun and belittle, the Ottawa Senators. Usually in pre-game posts bloggers like to rip on the other team, how much they despise this or that about them, but I have a hard time finding things to dislike about the Ottawa Senators. Just let me grab my Orca-colored homer glasses and I will see you on the other side of the jump...While much of the talk in the league has been about the Washington Capitals and their winning streak, the Sens have gone about quietly racking up some wins of their own, none more impressive than last night's against the Northeast Division leading Buffalo Sabres. Jason Spezza and Daniel Alfredsson both had 2 goals in the win, Alfredsson's game winner looking eerily Sedin-like as part of a tic tac toe that saw Ryan Miller completely baffled, the Sens captain merely needing to tap the puck into a wide-open cage.
The way I see it, the Sens and the Canucks have a lot in common. Getting a lot of production from their top line, some secondary scoring and getting by despite a slow start due to injuries. That being said, the Sens biggest story has been some great goaltending from Brian Elliott, who may not give the starting job back to Pascal Leclaire. Coach Cory Clouston has his team playing some solid hockey right now, as they are proving that losing Dany Heatley to the Sharks is not going to keep this team down.
A lot of interesting numbers to look at for the game tonight, but this one popped out at me, a win with points from Daniel and Henrik will be the 200th career win where both have scored a point. To me though, the biggest number is 2. 2 Points, doesn't matter how they get them... just win, baby. A win will put them back at .500 on the road, 11-2 versus the Eastern Conference and 4 points ahead of Colorado for the Northwest Division lead.
Perhaps you'd prefer kool-aid instead of coffee?
Between Calgary fans having forgotten the obvious parallels to last season, and the Leafs Nation and their mind-boggling logic, there is much hilarity to be had when scanning the headlines lately. Flames fans insist their ship has been righted after wins over Edmonton and Carolina. With games against other Eastern opponents coming up, will anyone know if the Flames are actually better, or just winning games they're supposed to. Either way, they're still knotted up with the Red Wings and Predators, and far from having any kind of a lock on a playoff spot.
Meanwhile in Hogtown, the newest
sow Leaf Dion Phaneuf has obviously taken a cue from his new GM with this gem: "It’s not over yet," Phaneuf said after practice. "There’s a lot of games left. We are where we are, but we have to do our best to get points and make a push for the playoffs. ... If teams lose and you win a few, you’re right there." And he's totally right. I believe with all my heart and soul that the Toronto Maple Leafs will only lose 5 more games the rest of the season. No, really. What? I'm totally serious.
Speaking of dreaming the impossible dream, how about them Oilers last night? Not just content to get a point, a late penalty to Darrell Powe gave them the opening they needed, with Ryan Potulny notching the game winner with 17 seconds left. A 2 game win streak. A shutout over the Flyers for Jeff Rouin-Deslauriers. Given the misery that was the month of January for Oilers fans, I am happy for them. One more win and I might feel good enough to start mocking them again...
Speaking of big upsets, how about St. Louis knocking off Chicago on the road last night? David Backes had 2 goals (but didn't notch the Douchebag hat trick with a fight against a Team Canada member... seriously, this is what passes for impressive lately? Just like the trampled flag in Salt Lake City, we thank you in advance for the karma) as the chinks in the armor continue to show for the Blackhawks. Of course for all we know they will go out and pick up Ilya Kovalchuk and never lose again. Unless they play the Leafs, of course.
Make sure to check out our game preview, as well as our game day thread...