Last Updated Aug 30, 2021, 13:56 PM
In the Crease - Week 5
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Last season the Carolina Hurricanes broke a decade-long playoff drought, so the Buffalo Sabres are next up to try and end their dry spell. The Sabres haven't made the NHL postseason since 2010-11, but if things continue the way they are going, that figures to change this season. Entering play on Tuesday they were 9-2-1-1 across 13 games, leading the Eastern Conference with 20 points. That includes an impressive 5-0-0-1 record at home. In addition, they have a plus-11 goal differential, tied for fourth in the NHL and second in the East.
Tuesday, Oct. 29
Philadelphia at Pittsburgh: The Flyers head into their Keystone State battle against the Penguins with some pretty impressive offense. They have racked up 3.6 goals per game to rank sixth in the NHL, and Philly doesn't get cheated on shots on goal. They have managed 35.9 SOG this season to rank second in the NHL. Philly's power play has been legit, too, hitting at a 28.6 percent clip on the man advantage. People might be surprised to hear C Travis Konecny is the team leader with 13 points, just one behind Pittsburgh's Sidney Crosby (14). The Pens haven't been as fortunate on the power play, ranking just 21st at 17.6 percent while ranking a middling 17th on the jill at 80.8 percent.
Minnesota at Dallas: The Wild have been dismal on the road, winning just once in the past seven away from the Twin Cities. They have a good chance to end that in the Metroplex, as the Stars are dead-last in the NHL with just 2.1 goals per game. They're 29th in SOG (28.0) per game while hitting at just 8.8 percent on the power play to rank 28th. Defensively the Stars have done their goaltender no favors, ranking third in shots allowed (29.0). They're so-so on the penalty kill at 82.9 percent. The 'under' has cashed in each of the past four meetings in Dallas, and is 5-0-1 in the past six in this series.
Winnipeg at Anaheim: Connor Hellebuyck and John Gibson are set to square off in an impressive goaltending duel on 'The Pond'. Hellebuyck is just 5-4-0, but he has an impressive 2.22 goals-against average and .933 save percentage with one shutout. Gibson is just 4-6-0, but he has a respectable 2.52 GAA and .923 save percentage. Unfortunately when Gibson is in between the pipes the Ducks offense doesn't show up. They have scored two or fewer goals in each of his past four starts, and six of the past seven, averaging just 1.25 goals per game over his past four. The Jets were 2-0-1 in the three meetings last season against the Ducks, including a 3-0 loss in Anaheim on March 20 in a Hellebuyck vs. Gibson matchup.
Wednesday, Oct. 30
Tampa Bay at New Jersey: The Lightning head to Prudential Center in Newark looking to take down the Devils. They have had plenty of success on the road, winning their past two in Montreal by a 3-1 score on Oct. 15, and 4-3 in a shootout at Boston on Oct. 17. In the past five on the road they're 3-1-1, with the lone loss an inexplicable 4-2 beating from the lowly Ottawa Senators. To be fair, backup G Curtis McElhinney made that start, and he lost the overtime start at Carolina on Oct. 6, too. Vezina Trophy winner Andrei Vasilevskiy, the projected starter for Wednesday's game, is 3-0-0 in his past three starts away from home.
Vancouver at Los Angeles: The Canucks are coming off a 7-2 beating of the Florida Panthers, cooling off a previously red-hot team. Vancouver has rolled up 3.3 goals per game to rank ninth in the NHL, while checking in fourth with just 2.4 goals per game allowed. A good part of the early-season success of the Canucks has been their ability to kill penalties, ranking third at 88.9 percent. Calder Trophy winner Elias Pettersson is back at it again, leading the team with 14 points. The Kings are dead-last in goals against, allowing 4.0 per game. They're a dismal 28th on the power play at just 9.5 percent, while ranking 25th on the kill. That's not a good recipe for success.
Thursday, Oct. 31
Montreal at Vegas: There are just two standalone games on Thursday, as everyone else is off for a little trick or treating. The Canadiens hope to give the Golden Knights a little bit of Halloween horror. These two franchises have met four times during the regular season since the inception of the Golden Knights, and three games have been decided by one goal -- all wins by Montreal. The Habs have averaged 3.75 goals per game in the four meetings, while the Golden Knights have averaged 3.75 goals per game, too. The past three meetings have each gone 'over', too.
Friday, Nov. 1
Philadelphia at New Jersey: The Devils will host the Flyers, and New Jersey is looking for a little revenge after a 4-0 shellacking in the City of Brotherly Love back on Oct. 9. The Devils are still searching for either G Mac Blackwood or Cory Schneider to step up and be the No. 1 backstop. Lately, it appears Blackwood has taken the lead, as he has been sharp, including a 1-0 shutout win over the high-octane Vancouver Canucks on Oct. 19. The last time the Devils beat the Flyers was Jan. 12, and Blackwood was in between the pipes in that one against G Carter Hart. The 'under' has cashed in three of the past four meetings, including that win by the Devils, and the earlier meeting this season.
Dallas at Colorado: The Stars and Avalanche lock horns, and this series has been dominated by Colorado lately. The Avalanche have won six of the past eight regular-season meetings, including three of four during the 2018-19 season. Colorado has won four of the past five at home against the Stars, too. The 'under' has connected in four of the past five meetings, too, although the 'over' is 6-3 in the past nine in Denver. As mentioned above, Dallas has struggled to score goals, while Colorado ranks just 21st with 2.6 goals per game entering play on Tuesday.