Last night’s opening episode of 24/7 kept hockey fans glued to the TV – the good news is, there’s little reason to turn away from it tonight.
When looking at the schedule and the standings you’ll notice – there are some beauty match-ups coming at us this evening.
Here’s a preview of the three that caught my eye.
When: 8 p.m. EST
Where: St. Louis, MSG, FS-MW (HD)
Why: Simple: The Rangers are currently featured on my favourite show ever, HBO’s 24/7: Road to the Winter Classic. John Tortorella is an intensely interesting guy, and we have access to him for a four-week span like never before. I need to see one John Tortorella blow-up before this thing is all said and done so I have some idea of how fiery the man can get. Therefore, I’m watching and hoping the Blues spank the Rangers.
Prediction: I actually do think the Blues will hand it to the Rangers. Both teams are 7-2-1 in their last ten, which is extremely impressive. But with it being in St. Louis, the Rangers being a little beat up on the back-end, and their slightly over-achieving start to the season, I think they’re in for a mini-slide. Do it, St. Louis. We’re counting on you.
When: 8:30 p.m. EST
Where: Winterpeg, CSN-MA; TSN-JETS
Why: The Washington Capitals – a team many picked to win the Cup this year – are currently sitting 12th in the Eastern Conference, and haven’t exactly sprung to life under new head coach Dale Hunter. I can’t believe I’m typing this given their respective starts to the NHL season (Caps 7-0-0, Jets 2-5-1), but the Jets are a point ahead of the Caps in the standings.
Yesterday I wrote about liking the Jets playoff chances. The one thing that made me hesitant to write that was that the Caps are behind them, and likely to catch fire at some point, at least for a stretch (and they do have a fairly easy schedule coming up). This game is big for the Jets if they hope to hang with the big boys in the long haul.
Prediction: Washington owns Winnipeg by 3 or 4 goals in Winnipeg, a tough place to play. The Caps are desperate, and too talented to roll over. I don’t think Hunter would let them even if they wanted to.
When: 7:30 p.m. EST
Where: Montreal, NHLN-US, TSN, RDS (HD), CSN-PH
Why: As much as I don’t like picking five teams from the East tonight (I’m from BC and live in Phoenix), 24/7 owns me.
The Philadelphia Flyers are without Chris Pronger and the NHL’s leading scorer in Claude Giroux, yet they’re still cruising along, having won six straight hockey games and sitting in first in the Eastern Conference.
If there’s one thing I know about a hockey dressing room, is that winning heals everything, winning masks problems, and winning equals smiles. There’s nothing all that compelling about that. I’m hoping to see the Flyers struggle for a bit. We’re heading into week two of unfettered access - I wanna see the rose-coloured lens get smashed. It’s not HBO’s fault that it’s on, that’s just how it goes on a winning streak. I want to see a loss, and to see the Flyers cope accordingly.
Prediction: A close Flyers loss. Between playing in the Bell Centre and coming off seeing themselves on 24/7 for the first time, I have to believe pulling your focus together wouldn’t be an easy thing to do. Pile that up with their huge losses in the personnel department (consider the danger-difference in Jagr-Giroux and Jagr-Couturier), and I’d say they’re due for a letdown.
I’ll be on Twitter tonight watching the games at home – you can follow me on there so you can call me an idiot/genius as the night progresses.