Hockey Night in Canada preview Feb 17th.
Generational clash in the Steel City on Saturday night.
Thursday, February 15, 2018
Hockey Night in Canada
Toronto Maple Leafs @ Pittsburgh Penguins
Toronto Maple Leafs
The Maple Leafs have been flying high lately. Freddy Andersen is in the zone, Matthews and Nylander are doing magic on the ice and the Marner-Kadri connection is becoming a thing. After responding very well to a big test when they faced the Tampa Bay Lightning, this Saturday, the Buds will have another measuring stick kind of game against the Cup champions, the Pittsburgh Penguins. Pittsburgh has found some momentum also lately and this match-up could be very well a preview of an incredible playoffs series. Young raw talent vs experienced and seasoned veterans. The Leafs have responded well this season when they faced top teams in the NHL. Statistically speaking, Pittsburgh’s biggest advantage is their power-play efficiency. With players like Crosby-Malkin-Kessel- Letang-Maatta, it is surely not a surprise. Andersen will have, yet again, to be the best penalty killer on Saturday for Toronto. This one will be very entertaining, as both team will be rested up. Leafs keep rolling and win this one, 4-2 empty net.
Coming off a couple of big wins against two Western Conference powerhouses, the Vegas Golden Knights and the St-Louis Blues, it looks like the Penguins aren’t so tired after all. At the beginning of the season, they clearly felt the weight of their 2 consecutive Stanley Cups, but they definitely picked up their second wind and are playing good and entertaining hockey as of right now. On Saturday, they will face a hungry team eager to prove itself, the Toronto Maple Leafs. It will be a fun game to watch as two generations of players will clash. The Pens’ must bring a lot of traffic in front on TO’s Freddy Andersen who’s been lights out in his last 4 starts. Especially with 54 saves on Wednesday in his team’s win against the Columbus Blue Jackets. This one will be a must watch as both teams are playing great hockey lately. Although Pittsburgh will be at home, I feel like the Buds are too confident right now to drop this one. Leafs win.
Boston Bruins @ Vancouver Canucks
The Bruins’ season is somewhat surreal. Nobody expected them to be so high in the standings. C Patrice Bergeron might be skating to his first MVP tittle. The only place where Boston needs improvement, is their power-play. Tuukka Rask looks like he is 23 again and keeps his team in games when they shouldn’t be. The Bruins have a great mix of young players and hungry veterans and everyone accept their role and play inside their limits. This game should be an easy win for the Bs’ who play a fast-paced, quick transition brand of hockey with the good amount of nastiness. Vancouver doesn’t have the depth or experience to match with Boston’s. This one will be an ugly one, where Bergeron’s team pick-up 2 points.
The Canucks will be heavily tested on Saturday when they’ll face one of the best team in the NHL right now. The Boston Bruins are firing on all cylinders and are even considered as Cup contenders by many hockey experts. Vancouver will have their hands full and it will be a good evaluation of the Canucks’ roster. Newly extended GM Jim Benning will have a great idea of what he has built so far and should take a page in Boston’s general manager, Don Sweeney on how to turn your franchise around in less than 3 seasons. Although the future looks bright in Vancouver, the Bruins will get 2 points on Saturday and will remember Nucks’ fans the feeling they had when they left Rogers Arena in game 7 of the 2011 Stanley cup final.