Hockey Night in Canada
Saturday, January 20, 2018
Toronto Maple Leafs@ Ottawa Senators
Toronto Maple Leafs
It’s Hockey Day in Canada this Saturday and the NHL were gracious enough to offer its fans another round of the Battle of Ontario… Well, what’s left of it. Both teams, Toronto and Ottawa are trending in different directions. Although the Leafs were recently surprised in the standings by the red-hot Boston Bruins, they still are a far greater team then the Senators. The Buds will look to rebound after a disappointing OT lost to the Philadelphia Flyers, after leading 2-0. The Leafs will look to get back in the league’s top 10 for PWP efficiency against Ottawa atrocious penalty kill. Head coach Mike Babcock will also emphasis the fact that Ottawa defeated his team in their last meeting, when the Leafs gave up 4 goals to one of the worst offense in the NHL. Net presence will be important against Craig Anderson who seems to play well every time he faces the Leafs.
You never know what to expect with the Ottawa Senators. They have been terrible this season, after being 1 goal away from the Stanley Cup finale last season. With the season that they’re having, rumors are swirling around star defenseman Erik Karlsson. Pierre Dorion dropped the ball when he traded C Kyle Turris for Matt Duchene and the repercussions have been enormous on his team’s success. At times, Duchene looks like a deer caught in headlights in Guy Boucher’s system. Ottawa’s head coach’s system is relying on all 5 players on the ice to do their job and seems like Duchene as trouble adapting his game. After all, he was a one-man show in Colorado for a couple of seasons. In Saturday’s game, the Sens will be heavily tested and it feels like they don’t care if they fail anymore. Dorion will surely be a seller at this year’s trade deadline and Saturday’s game will only emphasis how far Ottawa is from competing with their natural rivals. Let’s hope this game doesn’t become the Hockey Day in Canada massacre.
Vancouver Canucks @ Edmonton Oilers
The Vancouver Canucks are exactly where they should, near the bottom of the standings. Although, nobody expected the Edmonton Oilers to be right next to them, in fact, Vancouver is trailing Edmonton by a single point, with 2 games in hand. The ‘Nucks received some good news today; Bo Horvat was cleared by team doctors to skate and practice with the team. Expect the Canucks to be a bit rusty as they will play their first game in a week, after winning in Overtime against the Minnesota Wild. Edmonton needs to pay close attention to rookie sensation, Brock Boeser, who’s currently enjoying a 18,2% shooting percentage.
The city of champions... Players in Edmonton are feeling the heat from fans and media and should take a hard look at themselves in the mirror and ask what went wrong this season. Is Todd McLellan time’s up? What will GM Pet Chiarelli do with the team’s high first round pick? Who’s going at the deadline? So many questions in Oil country and little answers… They were suppose to be Cup contenders, now they are the biggest disappointment of the season in the NHL. Let’s just hope that the Oilers will show up on Saturday and give Canada an entertaining game to close Hockey Day in Canada on a good note. Oilers win this game, even if they shouldn’t.