Monday, April 30, 2018

NHL Monday, April 30

5/1/2018: EDIT - Someone asked me if I could post the image without the drawn-in arrow.  Of course. It's below, the second image (enlarged).

My Sunday Picks

Penguins over The Caps: 3 - 1

Scratched: Jets beat Preds: 4 - 3  
Revised pick:  Preds over Jets: 4 - 2

Actual Final Score:
Caps 4; Pens 1

Preds 5; Jets 4 in 2 OT

My reversal on the Jets/Preds game gives me one more correct game winner that I picked; still at zero on predicting final scores.

Each team is tied 1 game apiece in each of the series except for Boston 1; Tampa Bay 0 with their game 2 tonight at 7PM EST.

Sunday night's double OT game between Nashville and Winnipeg was "insanely good hockey." Sporting News:
"...[this series is] high-level, out-of-this-world hockey from two dynamic and loaded teams that simply don’t want to cede one inch to the other."
Contention surfaced in Sunday afternoon's Pens - Washington game when, what appeared to be a Pens goal, was declared not a goal by the officials. ESPN:
...a rebound of Penguins star Sidney Crosby's wraparound attempt was stuffed into the pad of goalie Braden Holtby by Pittsburgh's Patric Hornqvist. The Penguins began celebrating what they believed to be a goal, although the on-ice officials never signaled for one. The NHL Situation Room initiated a video review. Despite footage that showed white ice between the puck and the red line, the NHL "determined that there were no definitive replays" that showed that the puck completely crossed the Washington goal line.
"It's 100 percent a goal," Penguins coach Mike Sullivan said[.]
What do you think - is the puck, without question, over the red line?

 And enlarged ...

Had it counted, it would have still left the Pens down by 2 with around ten minutes left in the game.  It looks like a clear goal to me, and I'm not saying that because I'm pulling for the Pens.

Tonight: Game 2, Boston at Tampa.

And the first game #3 in this round of the playoffs at 10PM EST with LVegas at San Jose.

Odds Shark has TBay 3.1; Boston 2.6.

Odds Shark has LV 3.6; Sharks 2.6.

My picks - I'm going with "home ice" teams on both games. TBay does not want to go into game 3 down by two, especially when games 3 & 4 are in Boston.  San Jose is making their first appearance on home ice in this series, and I have to think that has them revved up:

TBay 5;  Boston 4

Sharks 5;  LV 3

( See Disclaimer at the end of this post).

Sunday, April 29, 2018

NHL Sunday, April 29

The puck hits the ice twice today, both the second game of each series.

This afternoon is game # 2 with the Pittsburgh Penguins playing at the Washington Capitals and begins at 3PM EST.

The Pens won game one, and the Caps will be looking to even the series. Watch for both teams to put forth a strong defense. The Pens' Evgeni Malkin may or may not play today. His presence was clearly missed in game 1, but even without him, the Pens are capable of winning.

Tonight's game # 2 (7PM EST) has the Winnipeg Jets looking to make their 1 - 0 series to 2 - 0 against the Nashville Predators. If the Preds want to win this game, goalie Pekka Rinne is going to have to get his mojo back after being pulled after the first two periods in game one.  The other move the Preds will need is upping their offense.


I'd forgotten about this site; what are the predictions over at Odds Shark ?

Odds Shark predicts The Jets 3.5; The Preds 2.1

My Picks: 

Penguins over The Caps: 3 - 1

Scratched: Jets beat Preds: 4 - 3  
Revised pick:  Preds over Jets: 4 - 2

Saturday, April 28, 2018

NHL: Sharks Curfew Knights; Bruins Strike Lightning

My predictions earlier today:
Sharks 6 - LV 5
Tampa Bay 3 - Boston 2 in 1 OT

Actual Final Scores:
Sharks 4 - LV 3 in 2 OT
TBay 2 - Boston 6

[3 correct game winners; 0 accuracy on scores or OTs]

I was only able to watch the third period of the Boston - TBay game, so I don't and can't write much about the game. I'm not one to record a sporting event and watch it later. It seems so unnatural. So all I can comment on is P3.

I turned on the television. It was Boston 3, TBay 2. Then it was Boston 4, TBay 2. Soon it was Boston 5, TBay 2. Which then became Boston 6, TBay 2 ...and it was over.

TBay moves to home ice for games 3 & 4 and I have resort to the usual "home team playing on home ice will "amp up" TBay.

Game 2 is Monday, April 30th.

And the Sharks - LV game? Oh, what a game!

The Sharks were noticeably different from the start, more physical, aggressive, much more fueled by adrenaline than in their game 1 loss of 0 -7.  But it took a while for San Jose to unfold their slow domination of this critical game.

LV William Karlsson got the first goal of the game with about 2 minutes remaining in period one.

The second period remained scoreless, each team denying the other equally.

Within 26 seconds of the beginning of period three, Karlsson scored again, making it LV 2 - SJ 0.

The Sharks then took control. Brent Burns popped in goal # 1 at 14:07. About three minutes later, Logan Couture nailed goal # 2. Goal # 3 for San Jose came shortly after by ... Brent Burns giving the Sharks a 3 - 2 lead over LV.

A few closing minutes before the end of period 3, LV's Nate Schmidt scored evening the score to 3 - 3.

OT One: Stayed tough, both teams. A potential goal by LV Jonathan Marchessault was challenged for interference and a review did indeed negate the goal. The LV crowd was not pleased. (Upon review in slow-mo, it was a legit call.)

OT Two: The Sharks' Logan Couture ended the 2nd OT at 5:13 closing the game down with a SJ win over LV by 4 to 3.

The Sharks really worked for this win, proving they have what it takes to beat LV. If they can out-skate LV in speed, and get enough rebound shots from shots-on-goal, LV is beatable. But beating Vegas won't come easy.

The series is tied 1 - 1 with the next game on Monday, April 30 in San Jose. I think the Sharks will be glad to be playing at home.

(See Disclaimer at the end of this post).

NHL: Jets Fly Over Predators

"It wasn't pretty, [but we won the game]." - Winnipeg goalie Connor Hellebuyck on the Jets win last night over Nashville in a post-game interview.

No, it wasn't a pretty win in the first game between these two teams - but it was a win, and that's all that matters.

The Jets defeated Nashville last night  4 - 1.  I had predicted a Jets win of 5 - 3. So, thus far, I've been correct in picking the winner twice, but haven't predicted a correct final score. Meh ... [2 correct winner picks; 0 final score picks].

Both teams had their moments of momentum, and lack thereof.  Nashville was focused and impressive during the first period, but a goal by the Jets Brandon Tanev left the Predators behind by 0 to 1 at the end of period one.

The Preds upped their game a few notches and for the first half of period two dominated puck possession much better than Winnipeg. Nashville's Kevin Fiala and P.K. Suban - and other Preds - managed to have their share of shots on goal, but were denied by Jets goalie Hellebuyck. Preds Filip Forsberg shot-on-goal hit the post and was deflected. Jets Paul Stastny added his goal to the Jets score and period two ended with the Jets 3, Preds 0.

Nashville pulled goalie Pekka Rinne at the start of period three and replaced him with Jusse Saros. Around the 18 minute/37 second mark of period three, the Preds got their only goal by Fiala.

Nashville pulled Saros with a little less than 3 minutes remaining and the Jets  Mark Scheifele nailed his second goal of the game on the Preds empty net 36 seconds before the end of the game, sealing Winnipeg's win.

Game 2 is Sunday, April 29.

Today's games:

Game 1 at 3PM EST between the Boston Bruins and Tampa Bay, with TBay on home ice for the first two games.

Tonight, at 8PM EST, the San Jose Sharks play in Vegas (LV) in game 2 of their series.


After Thursday night's loss of 0 - 7, I have to think that everyone in the San Jose Sharks organization has watched game 1 in frame-by-frame analysis in determining how to counter-attack LV who, so far, seem like they can do no wrong and play error-free.

I'm pulling for the Sharks, but LV is this incredible steamroller.

Pick:  Sharks 6 - LV 5

For Boston and TBay ... we have two determined, disciplined, focused teams although TBay took their series 4 - 1 against the NJ Devils while the Boston - Maple Leafs series went all seven games. Did the rest period affect TBay? It certainly didn't affect LV, who also had a similar rest period after beating the LA Kings in four straight games.

Pick:  TBay 3 - Boston 2 in 1 OT

(See Disclaimer at the end of this post).

Friday, April 27, 2018

NHL Playoffs Game 1 Results: Sharks Toothless; Penguins Strut Back

Last night, Thursday, was the beginning of Round Two  of the NHL Stanley Cup playoffs. And the contrast between the two games starting off Round Two was striking.

My picks for these first games were:

Penguins over the Caps 4 - 3 in one OT.
Final score: Pens 3, Caps 2 in regular game time.

Sharks over Vegas  (LV) 3 - 1.
Final score: LV 7 (yes, SEVEN) - Sharks 0.

[1 correct winner pick; 0 score picks]

The Sharks-LV game was brutal to watch. There were men on the ice wearing the San Jose Sharks' uniforms, but they appeared completely unfamiliar with hockey, despite all their efforts

At the end of the first period, LV had 3 goals, and they continued ferocious, unrelenting top tier play for the rest of the game. It was hard to watch.

Game 2 is Saturday. We'll see what adjustments are made by the Sharks to deal with, what seems to be, an unstoppable LV force.

Initially, the Pens couldn't get their act together. It changed dramatically in  period three, the Pens tied, and then won the game. 

Pens Sidney Crosby and Jake Guentzel are the players responsible for taking this potential win away from Washington.

The incredible Pens goalie, Matt Murray, deflected an onslaught of pucks from Washington, in what has to be seen to be believed.

Game 2 is Sunday.

Only one game tonight, April 27; Game 1 of Winnipeg at Nashville.

My guess:  Jets 5 - Predators 3

(See Disclaimer at the end of this post.)
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Edit: Grammar fix 4/27/2018

Thursday, April 26, 2018

2018 NHL Playoffs; Second Round

The NHL Playoffs for The Stanley Cup are underway, Round Two  begins tonight.  While my updates have been infrequent, I'm doing this for my own fun and prognostications.  It's just my own little world of "Fantasy NHL", (a world where the former Mrs. Drake frequently said is a world I spent too much time in, ...but I digress).

Whether you're a season-long fan, or just interested in watching the road to The Cup, feel free and most welcome to share your thoughts in the comments section below. If you've always wondered what is the big deal of why rabid hockey fans are rabid hockey fans, or want to see what makes it so interesting, tune in and check out the games. There's a whole lot of impressive teams in this season's playoff games.

Looking back to the start of the season, here is where the teams ranked as of September 24, 2017, - with each team having played about 3 or 4 games.

                 Central:                                                  Pacific:
                 Wild                                                      Edmonton
                 Chicago                                                LA
                 Dallas                                                   Vancouver
                 St. Louis                                               San Jose
                 Nashville                                              L Vegas
                 Colorado                                              Arizona
                 Winnipeg                                              Anaheim

                 Atlantic:                                             Metro:
                 Ottawa                                               NY Islanders
                 Boston                                                NJ                                        
                 Tampa Bay                                         Carolina
                 Toronto                                              Pittsburgh
                 Florida                                               NY Rangers
                 Buffalo                                               Philadelphia
                 Detroit                                               Columbus
                Montreal                                             Washington

And here, the rankings as of April 8, 2018:

         Central:                                  Pacific:
         z-Nashville                             y-Vegas
         x-Winnipeg                             x-Anaheim
         x-MN WILD                            x-San Jose
         St. Louis                                 x-LA
         Colorado                                Calgary
         Dallas                                     Edmonton
         Chicago                                  Vancouver

        Atlantic:                                  Metro:
        x-Tampa Bay                           y-Washington
        x-Boston                                  x-Pittsburgh
        x-Toronto                                x-Philadelphia
        Florida                                    x-Columbus
        Detroit                                    NJ
        Montreal                                Carolina
        Ottawa                                   NY Islanders
        Buffalo                                   NY Rangers

x-clinched playoff spot
y-clinched division
z-clinched conference

Below is the current series between the Western and Eastern Conference Games.

Full size HERE

I'm disappointed the Minnesota Wild didn't advance further, but...they had some injuries and the Winnipeg Jets have had a good season.

I don't understand how the new expansion team, the Las Vegas Knights (LV)  - in their FIRST year - play as well as they have and are in the playoff spot they're in. The only explanation I have is that this proves the Vegas NHL is run by (ahem...) La Faimiglia. No expansion team should be where LV is at. It just doesn't happen. I'm also at a loss to understand how they won their series against the LA Kings 4 - 0.  The Kings won the Cup in 2014 and since then have had average and above average seasons; but to go winless in the playoffs against a first-year team...again...hard to fathom.

In game one, the Kings lost 0 - 1; both teams playing hard and tight. Game two was a LV win, 2 - 1 in double overtime, which is the last game LA appeared to have any cohesiveness at all. They dropped the next two games, both at home, and the series was done. 

The Anaheim Ducks also were winless in their playoff series against the San Jose Sharks, 4 - 0.  The Sharks, favored by many to win this year,  have a solid season going for them and have "the bodies", but again, I am surprised the Ducks, Cup winner in 2007, didn't win at least one game.

Nashville took their series against Colorado 4 - 2, and was the most interesting of match-ups to watch in the Western Conference. Nashville lost to the Pens in last year's  (2016) - 2017 Stanley Cup.

On the Eastern Conference side Tampa Bay took their series against 4 - 1 against the NJ Devils, with TBay playing almost flawlessly. Like others, I didn't think NJ would win only one game, but - that's the way the puck drops.

Wednesday night had the Boston Bruins win their series against the Toronto Maple Leafs 4 - 3, in a nail biting seven game series. So far, this has been the only playoff series to go a full seven games.

The Washington Caps took their series winning four games against the Columbus Blue Jackets' two wins.

The Penguins beat Philly in a 4 - 2 series.

The Next Round Starts Tonight:

At some point (and I think this will happen), as long as the Bruins and LV are eliminated, I can mostly live with the results of which team wins the Stanley, although, after the WILD, the Pens are my most favored second team. If they won The Cup this year, they would also become the first team since 1960 to win three or more Stanleys in a row.

Two games hit the ice tonight, each the first game beginning the second-round NHL bracket series.

The Caps vs The Pens and LV vs The Sharks.

Both Washington and LV have the home ice advantage in games one and two;  games three and four move to Pittsburgh and San Jose. 

Prediction time:

Game 1:  - 7PM EST -  Penguins 4; Caps 3 in one OT

Game 1:  - 10PM PST - Sharks 3; LV 1

Disclaimer: The above and future fantasy "final score predictions", are not meant to be, or intended to be, or construed as, or subconsciously suggested as, advice on which to make wagers or betting. It is simply the observation of an NHL fan. If you have even the slightest desire to gamble based on anything written here, immediately seek help from your doctor and/or call 911. You are INSANE to consider my fantasy NHL musings as a basis on which to gamble, “sportsbet” or other type of wager. I am not responsible for any losses, financial, emotional or otherwise. On the other hand, good natured comments of childish taunting, ad-hominem attacks and name-calling by hockey fans and non-hockey fans alike in the comments section is encouraged.
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Very briefly proofread for spelling and grammar; 4-26-2018.