Hockey Night in Canada
Friday, February 23, 2018
Toronto Maple Leafs @ Boston Bruins
Toronto Maple Leafs
The Leafs have 9 wins and 2 losses in the month of February, and one of them were when they met the Boston Bruins, on February 3rd. The Buds weren’t ready to work that night and lost countless battles along the boards. Boston speed forced Toronto to turn the puck over in the neutral zone countless times, giving the Bruins a bunch of great odd man rushes. The Maple Leafs will be ready this time for the ‘’ new’’ Bruins, the ones that do not lose. It will be interesting to see if Auston Matthews will be available. He is scheduled for a MRI on his injured shoulder. He left Thursday’s game with an apparent shoulder injury. Mike Babcock’s team must find the resources to create more traffic in front of Tuukka Rask’s net if they want to beat him. 23 shots isn’t nearly enough to expect a win vs the Bruins and Rask.
According to some hockey experts, and myself, the Boston bruins are legit cup contenders and look like the team to beat in the NHL. Currently sitting in 4th place overall in the NHL with 82 points, they also have 3 games in hand on the #1 seed, the Tampa Bay Lightning. The Bruins did a great job, last time these two teams met, to force neutral turnovers from the Leafs and counter-attack quickly. Obviously, we expect Mike Babcock to prepare his group differently and accordingly. Bruce Cassidy’s a good hockey coach and might change is game plan to a more aggressive, in your face kind of game, where the Bruins will try to possess the puck deep in Toronto’s territory, instead of clogging the neutral zone. I would be shock to see the Bruins play the same waiting game they played on Feb. 3rd. If they do, they might get picked apart, or not…
Edmonton Oilers @ Los Angeles Kings
The Edmonton Oilers are the most disappointing team in the NHL and they will have another great pick in this year’s draft. On Saturday, they’ll face a team fighting for their survival in an intense playoff race. The Kings have the 5th best power play percentage and will destroy Edmonton’s strange and league worst penalty kill. At least, the Oilers always have a chance to win, when you have Connor McDavid and Leon Draisatl in your lineup, you give yourself a chance against any team in the league. Unfortunately, the Kings won’t commit the same mistake they did last time these two met and will get 2 points against McDavid and his gang.
Los Angeles Kings
The Kings are chasing a playoff spot and their meeting against the Edmonton Oilers is a must win. They can’t drop that one! Edmonton is looking terrible and their penalty kill is the worst we have seen in decades. The Dion Phaneuf trade looks like a home run right now, as the blue-liner scored 3 goals in his first 4 games with LA. The Kings also added speedy winger Tobias Rieder. The Kings can do all the move they want, they need to win Saturday against the Oilers to stay in the hunt. The Kings have an effective penalty kill, but they have a great chance to improve on the Power play against Edmonton’s pk. The Kings win this one, as they should.