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2010 Season Series Preview Week III: October 12-18 October 12, 2009

Posted by CapitalSpirit in Uncategorized.
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Well, the Opening Night jitters are now a long-distant memory for most, and now it’s time to get into the grind of the season. You can’t win the Cup in October, but you sure can lose it if you stink it up enough. So some teams will be looking to bounce back from a rocky start, while some teams look to settle into a winning groove.

Anaheim Ducks: ONG VS MIN WED, NEW VS STL SAT. A quiet night at the Pond, as the Wild come down to SoCal for the second game in two weeks. The Blues, who opened the season with a two-game sweep of the Wings, could be a surprise on Saturday. MIN Game 2 of 4. STL Game 1 of 4.
Atlanta Thrashers: NEW AT NJD FRI, NEW AT BUF SAT. By the time they get to Buffalo, the Thrash won’t have played a home game in two weeks. They’ll have had time for a few days at home early this week, but their second actual home game of the season isn’t until next week. NJD Game 1 of 4. BUF Game 1 of 4.
Boston Bruins: ICS VS COL MON, ICS AT DAL FRI, ICS AT PHX SAT. It’s all West, all week for the B’s, as they say hello and goodbye to the ‘Lanche, Stars, and ‘Yotes. Three “series” will be decided in the space of six days. COL Game 1 of 1. DAL Game 1 of 1. PHX Game 1 of 1.
Buffalo Sabres: ICS VS DET TUE, NEW VS NYI FRI, NEW VS ATL SAT. The Red Wings will definitely energize the Sabres’ home fans Tuesday night. The Islanders and Thrash, probably not so much. Friday and Saturday are the Sabres’ first games against the Atlantic and Southeast divisions, respectively. DET Game 1 of 1. NYI Game 1 of 4. ATL Game 1 of 4.
Calgary Flames: NEW AT CHI MON, NEW AT CBJ TUE, ONG VS VAN FRI. The Flames open play against the Central Division with a two-games-in-two-nights swing through Chicago and Columbus. (Good grief, this is so many “C” teams that I can’t C straight.) They then come home for a second home game against Vancouver, and they would need to avoid a regulation loss to maintain their series lead. Huh? How can that be when they lead by 2 points? Because Friday night’s game sets up a potential odd-game-out tie break, in which Calgary’s win on Opening Night would be ignored for standings purposes. If Vancouver wins in regulation, they would own the head-to-head tie break, for now. CHI Game 1 of 4. CBJ Game 1 of 4. VAN Game 2 of 6.
Carolina Hurricanes: NEW VS PIT WED, NEW AT NJD SAT. No, no, not the Atlantic Division again! (See Flyers result 10/2.) The ‘Canes welcome the defending champs to Raleigh for a midweek matchup, and I hope the Caniacs defend their house against any potential Pittsburgh pecadillos. From there, it’s off to The Rock for a Saturday night dance with the Devils. PIT Game 1 of 4. NJD Game 1 of 4.
Chicago Blackhawks: NEW VS CGY MON, NEW VS EDM WED, NEW AT NSH THU, NEW VS DAL SAT. Quite a busy slate in the Windy City this week, as the Hawks host three non-division foes, and visit one divisional rival–this after having hosted yet another game just last Saturday. AT NSH might be won or lost on rest. Fortunately for the Hawks, next week’s schedule is much lighter. CGY Game 1 of 4. EDM Game 1 of 4. NSH Game 1 of 6. DAL Game 1 of 4.
Colorado Avalanche: ICS AT BOS MON, ICS AT TOR TUE, ICS AT MTL THU, NEW AT DET SAT. The ‘Lanche play three games in 4 nights on the road, followed by only one day off before ducking octopi. This week could be an early proving ground for Colorado, or it could be a train wreck. BOS Game 1 of 1. TOR Game 1 of 1. MTL Game 1 of 1. DET Game 1 of 4.
Columbus Blue Jackets: NEW VS CGY TUE, NEW VS LAK SAT. A light schedule at home this week should help the Jackets rest up for another 4-game road trip next week. Calgary’s a solid team, and Los Angeles is on the rise, so this could be a good barometer for the Jackets to see how they match up against the West. Oddly enough, Columbus has yet to play any teams from the Central Division, and won’t open divisional play until Veterans’ Day–by which time they’ll already have faced three teams from, of all divisions, the Southeast. CGY Game 1 of 4. LAK Game 1 of 4.
Dallas Stars: ONG VS NSH WED, ICS VS BOS FRI, NEW AT CHI SAT. Nashville leads the season series by 1, but any win would give the Stars the series edge right now. A regulation win puts them up by 1 outright, while an overtime win would square the series 3-3–at which point Dallas would own the tie break on the odd game out. Boston and Chicago are both powerhouse teams, and having to face them on consecutive nights could be tricky–especially as the second game is on the road. NSH Game 2 of 4. BOS Game 1 of 1. CHI Game 1 of 4.
Detroit Red Wings: NEW AT BUF TUE, NEW VS LAK THU, NEW VS COL SAT. The Wings take a week away from the Central slate, and open open three new series. Buffalo will pay a visit to The Joe later this year, and just as well–HSBC Center is no fun to play in (just ask the Caps.) None of these teams made the playoffs last year, so Detroit could be looking to slow down a bit and prepare for a two-week stretch without a game in their own barn. BUF Game 1 of 2. LAK Game 1 of 4. COL Game 1 of 4.
Edmonton Oilers: NEW AT NSH MON, NEW AT CHI WED, NEW VS MIN FRI. A couple of visits to the Central might not be worth much comment, but a Friday night home division opener might have been–if it weren’t against last-place Minnesota. @CHI will be a good early test against last year’s conference finalists, but other than that, it could be a quiet week for the Oilers. NSH Game 1 of 4. CHI Game 1 of 4. MIN Game 1 of 6.
Florida Panthers: NEW AT TBL MON, NEW VS PHI FRI. The Battle of the Sunshine State is always a fun one, and the Flyers are going to be a tough team this year (as we Caps fans found out last week). Not a lot of games for the Cats–just difficult ones. TBL Game 1 of 6. PHI Game 1 of 4.
Los Angeles Kings: NEW AT NYI MON, NEW AT NYR WED, NEW AT DET THU, NEW AT CBJ SAT. It’s a double dip in the Big Apple to open the week, and I’m wondering which Billy Joel song will describe those games: “Seen the Lights Go Out on Broadway”, or “Say Goodbye to Hollywood”? Then it’s on to the Joe–stay out of the sin bin, guys!–and a Saturday night joust with the Jackets. Quite a busy week for the Kings. NYI Game 1 of 2. NYR Game 1 of 2. DET Game 1 of 4. CBJ Game 1 of 4.
Minnesota Wild: ONG AT ANA WED, NEW AT EDM FRI, NEW AT VAN SAT. The Ducks are going to try to give Minnesota some payback for their extra-session win up North. If the Ducks need extra time to do it, I’ll actually get to use the Even column for the first time this season. Edmonton will make for a good division rivalry, and the ‘Nucks have Luongo–and you can ask Caps fans how he does in divisional play. I remember his days with the Panthers, and not very fondly, let me tell you. ANA Game 2 of 4. EDM Game 1 of 6. VAN Game 1 of 6.
Montreal Canadiens: ICS VS COL THU, NEW VS OTT SAT. A light week for the Habs, in terms of both schedule and competition–at least on paper. Colorado has been hot lately, though, and it’s almost always an interesting hockey game when they don’t have to sing “The Star-Spangled Banner.” This might be a more exciting week for the Habs than it looks going in. COL Game 1 of 1. OTT Game 1 of 6.
Nashville Predators: NEW VS EDM MON, ONG AT DAL WED, NEW VS CHI THU, ICS AT WSH SAT. Not much to say about Edmonton, and Dallas is as noted in their remarks. Chicago should be a good divisional opener, and Washington is looking to prove something this week. EDM Game 1 of 4. DAL Game 2 of 4. CHI Game 1 of 6. WSH Game 1 of 1.
New Jersey Devils: NEW AT WSH MON, NEW VS ATL FRI, NEW VS CAR SAT. New Jersey finishes up with its opening tour of the Southeast Division. Washington will be no slouch in their barn Monday night, and Atlanta and Carolina might be looking for early statements. WSH Game 1 of 4. ATL Game 1 of 4. CAR Game 1 of 4.
New York Islanders: NEW VS LAK MON, NEW AT BUF FRI, ICS VS SJS SAT. The Kings are on the rise, Buffalo is never a fun building, and the Sharks are the defending President’s Trophy winners. Lots of luck, guys. LAK Game 1 of 2. BUF Game 1 of 4. SJS Game 1 of 1.
New York Rangers: NEW VS TOR MON, NEW VS LAK WED, ONG AT TOR SAT. A visit from the Kings interrupts an Original Six home-and-home. Toronto is struggling early, and may want to make some sort of statement against the Rangers before their season gets out of hand. TOR Games 1 and 2 of 4. LAK Game 1 of 2.
Ottawa Senators: NEW VS PIT MON, NEW VS TBL THU, NEW AT MTL SAT. As with the Rangers, an on-paper snoozer interrupts two intriguing bookends. Pittsburgh is doing well early, and Montreal may still be looking for a course correction after a disastrous tour of western Canada. Will there be any enthusiasm available for the Bolts? PIT Game 1 of 4. TBL Game 1 of 4. MTL Game 1 of 6.
Philadelphia Flyers: NEW AT FLA FRI. The Flyers head down to Florida for a week of team-building, before taking on the Cats on Friday night. That’s their only game this week, which frankly confused the heck out of me until I saw the story on the Flyers’ website. FLA Game 1 of 4.
Phoenix Coyotes: NEW AT SJS MON, NEW VS STL THU, ICS VS BOS SAT. Yet another NHL team with a bookend week. Here, the Yotes have a decent St. Louis team coming to town Thursday night, but they also have to play against last year’s top teams in both the West and East–the former, the first game of half a dozen this year. A snoozer of a week for the Desert Dogs this sure as shootin’ won’t be. (I can’t even do a southwestern accent in cold text–THAT’S bad.) SJS Game 1 of 6. STL Game 1 of 4. BOS Game 1 of 1.
Pittsburgh Penguins: NEW AT OTT MON, NEW AT CAR, WED, NEW VS TBL SAT. The Pens wrap up a four-game road swing, and settle in for a leisurely two weeks at home–during which they’ll play just five games. Nice schedule if you can get it. OTT Game 1 of 4. CAR Game 1 of 4. TBL Game 1 of 4.
San Jose Sharks: NEW VS PHX MON, NEW AT WSH THU, ICS AT NYI SAT. VS PHX will be the last game at the Shark Tank until the 28th, so the Sharks need to enjoy that home cooking while they’ve got it. Washington may be in for a surprise if the Sharks mop the rink with the Yotes on Monday, and aren’t that concerned about Saturday night’s fight with the Fishermen. PHX Game 1 of 6. WSH Game 1 of 2. NYI Game 1 of 1.
St. Louis Blues: NEW AT PHX THU, NEW AT ANA SAT. The Blues have a few days to themselves before a two-stop swing through the Pacific. A visit to Pittsburgh looms on the horizon. PHX Game 1 of 4. ANA Game 1 of 4.
Tampa Bay Lightning: NEW VS FLA MON, NEW AT OTT THU, NEW AT PIT SAT. The Bolts are going to get a look at all three divisions in the Eastern Conference this week, and again it’s a bookender: a cross-state rival to start the week, a visit to the champs’ barn to finish it off, wrapped around a midweek visit to…Ottawa? Say this, though: the Sens’ schedule is a mirror image of the Bolts’: they start in Pittsburgh, end the week against the Habs, and here are the Bolts in the middle. AT OTT could thus be very, very exciting…or so boring you could watch your Chia Pet grow. FLA Game 1 of 6. OTT Game 1 of 4. PIT Game 1 of 4.
Toronto Maple Leafs: NEW AT NYR MON, ICS VS COL TUE, ONG VS NYR SAT. You hate to use the phrase “must-win” in October, but if the Leafs can’t take care of the ‘Lanche in their own barn Tuesday night, AND manage at least a split with the Blueshirts, it might be a long, long winter at the ACC. NYR Game 1 AND 2 of 4. COL Game 1 of 1.
Vancouver Canucks: ONG AT CGY FRI, NEW VS MIN SAT. The ‘Nucks can hold the tie break against the Flames with a regulation win on Friday night. Saturday night could be quite a party in Vancouver if Minnesota doesn’t bring their game. (Would that make it a Wild party?) CGY Game 2 of 6. MIN Game 1 of 6.
Washington Capitals: NEW VS NJD MON, NEW VS SJS THU, ICS VS NSH SAT. New Jersey could be brutal–the trap may be back in style in Joisey, and that’s both tough to beat and tougher to watch. San Jose is doing its usual April act in October, which this Caps fan hopes they keep up Thursday night. And if Varlamov gets the start on Saturday night, the Preds may kick themselves: the Caps drafted Varlamov with Nashville’s pick, which the Preds gave away–with Kris Beech, no less–for a rental on Brendan Witt way back in 2006. NJD Game 1 of 4. SJS Game 1 of 2. NSH Game 1 of 1.

INTER-CONFERENCE SINGLES
Boston at Dallas
Boston at Phoenix
Colorado at Boston
Colorado at Montreal
Colorado at Toronto
Detroit at Buffalo
Nashville at Washington
San Jose at New York Islanders

POTENTIAL “ODD GAMES OUT”
Nashville at Dallas. As noted in Dallas remarks.
Vancouver at Calgary. As noted in Calgary remarks.

POTENTIAL SERIES WINS/LOSSES
None.

MAGIC NUMBERS OF NOTE
None.

POTENTIAL CLINCHES/ELIMINATIONS
None.

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