- Braden Holtby and Tim Thomas have literally gone toe-to-toe in this series, as they’ve both made some impeccable saves to earn their teams wins. Holtby is a bit of a surprise for some given our familiarity with Michal Neuvirth and Tomas Vokoun, but there were plenty who felt that Holtby was the gem of the bunch when the Capitals had Neuvirth and Semyon Varlamov sharing the load. Tim Thomas has clearly shaken off any difficulty he had during the season and has returned to 2011 playoff form.
Holtby this series: 1-2-0; 1.77 GAA; .942 SV%
Thomas this series: 2-1-0; 1.47 GAA; .943 SV%
- Neuvirth and Vokoun both skated today but have not been cleared to return to the lineup. Neuvirth is expected to be back at some point this series but Vokoun is expected to be a much longer wait. Tuukka Rask made the trip to Washington but hasn’t been cleared to play while Adam McQuaid didn’t make the trip for Boston at all.
- Nicklas Backstrom is suspended for the Capitals and Mathieu Perreault will replace him in the lineup.
Milan Lucic-Patrice Bergeron-Rich Peverley
Brad Marchand-David Krejci-Tyler Seguin
Brian Rolston-Chris Kelly-Benoit Pouliot
Daniel Paille-Gregory Campbell-Shawn Thornton
Zdeno Chara-Dennis Seidenberg
Andrew Ference-Johnny Boychuk
Greg Zanon-Joe Corvo
Alex Ovechkin-Brooks Laich-Marcus Johansson
Jason Chimera-Mathieu Perreault-Alexander Semin
Matt Hendricks-Jay Beagle-Troy Brouwer
Mike Knuble-Keith Aucoin-Joel Ward
Karl Alzner-John Carlson
Roman Hamrlik-Mike Green
John Erskine-Dennis Wideman
Feel free to discuss the game here in the comment section, on twitter using the #BShelf hashtag or on our facebook page.
They have slayed the dragon, so to speak, and who else would you have expected to do it but the reining Western Conference champions as the Vancouver Canucks ended the Detroit Red Wings home win streak at 23 games. Ironically, given all the complaining that Detroit’s record was inflated because of the shootout they lost it in just that. Wait, does that mean it doesn’t count? (Kidding)
The Canucks showed off their resiliency tonight as they came back from three different one goal deficits to keep this game close and send it into overtime against Detroit including a Daniel Sedin point blast with 16 seconds to play in the third. After a few great opportunities in overtime it was off to the shootout where everyone’s favorite player (what? not true?) Alex Burrows went to the ole patented Backhand Shelf move (#BShelf for you twitter users) to break Detroit’s streak.
It’s a homecoming of sorts for Sean Avery, albeit one that Dallas Stars fans probably aren’t feeling overly zealous about. Avery’s time in Dallas was short-lived (23 games and a suspension), but it is “the story” as these two teams prepare to meet for the only time this season.
The Tampa Bay Lightning have cracked Ron Barr’s GOTN on back-to-back nights, lookout! The Penguins take to the ice for the first time since losing the Winter Classic Championship Cup to the Washington Capitals, and Sidney Crosby hasn’t notched a single point in two straight games – is this the beginning of the end for the mighty Penguins? We’re guessing no, but they’re facing one of the hottest teams in the league tonight that’s fresh off a 1-0 win over the Capitals.
Tampa Bay Lightning vs. Pittsburgh Penguins (7:00 PM ET)
There’s only room for one scoring champion this year, and the NHL doesn’t have an Intercontinental title.
Who are we kidding here? We’re all good-natured Canadian boys here at Houses of the Hockey and it’s probable that most of us will have our eyes on the Canada vs. Russia World Junior final. In the event of a blowout or intermission, we’ll be sure to check in on the Lightning and Penguins.
Stamkos Does His Laundry at Steve Downie’s Place?
Our Prediction: Slight edge to Tampa Bay in this one, assuming Roloson gets the nod in goal. Canada takes home the gold in the World Juniors, but Rick keeps a close eye on our game of the night. We’re going way out on a limb here and saying both Stamkos and Crosby register points in this one… we’re crazy like that.
The Washington Capitals have shed the HBO cameras and look to make a statement on indoor NHL ice versus the Tampa Bay Lightning and the newly acquired Dwayne Roloson. The Capitals have outscored the Lightning 12-3 in their two previous meetings this season, but Guy Boucher’s crew is hot with a record of 8-1-1 over their last ten games.
Washington Capitals vs. Pittsburgh Penguins (8:00 PM ET)
It took some rescheduling, but the Winter Classic will go on. The 8PM start time will give us more time to brush off that pesky New Year’s hangover, so call the bootlegger and get your beverages because it’s game time!
Between the Canada and Sweden junior game and the three dozen beer already consumed by HOTH staff – there’s little chance any of us are going to remember this match up of division leaders tonight. Regardless, here’s your HOTH approved game of the night.
Vancouver Canucks vs. Dallas Stars (8:00 PM ET)
The Canucks were a strong favourite for a Stanley Cup final berth coming into the season, while the Stars were thought to be the 2010-11 version of the Phoenix Coyotes at best. Ryan Kesler has been playing some of the best hockey we’ve seen out of anyone not named Crosby this season, and the surprising Stars may meet their match tonight on home ice.
Obligatory Canucks and Stars Nostalgia
Morrow is Tougher Than Most Men, Even With Just One Leg
Our Prediction: We love the Dallas Stars and everything they’ve got going on right now, but the Canucks have been rolling and will continue to do so tonight. 4-3, make it a final.