We can’t have the MHH’ers cheering for the wrong teams in today’s games. Here’s a guide so you can get it right.
NYR at MON – The true Avs fan doesn’t care about the Eastern Conference, except that they get way too much exposure, and don’t have to travel very far for a game. Both teams are currently in the playoff chase (NYR – 7th, MON – 10th), not that that’s any big deal points-wise. Both teams are on an extended streak of mediocrity with the Rangers going 5-3-2 in their last 10, and the Canadiens going 4-4-2. Go… Oh never mind.
NJD at NYI – A battle-royale on the Island. The Avs fan should watch this to see whether the over-hyped rookie John Tavares makes any advance on top rookie scorer and Calder Trophy favorite Matt Duchene. The result of the game is immaterial as long as Tavares stays off the score sheet. New Jersey is in second overall in the East and the Islanders are fighting for their playoff lives in the 9th spot, falling below the Boston Bruins based on more games played. A Devils shutout is the best result.
PHX at WSH – Yee-haw! Finally, a Game of Consequence™. Phoenix is sitting pretty in the playoff race in the West in 4th. Phoenix will be unimportant as long as the Avalanche stays at the top of the Northwest Division. Washington has some guy named Ov-something. Evidently he can shoot the puck, and does it a lot. Our old buddy Jose (The-Odor) Theodore plays in net from time to time and has actually been playing pretty well. Go Capitals!
TOR at FLA – Two Eastern Conference bottom feeders. Next. OK, maybe a bit harsh. Florida is 3 points from the 8th seed, and Toronto is 7 points from the top of the lottery, but since Boston owns the pick don’t expect Toronto to intentionally tank. Use your remote. I think “Titanic” is on somewhere.
LAK at DET – If I need to tell you who to root for, you are not an Avalanche fan. I wouldn’t care if LA was a point behind the Avs on the last day of the season in a battle for the last playoff spot… Crap, now I’m conflicted. I’ve nearly created a situation where I might be forced to back the Wings. Lucky for me it’s January. Go Kings!
ATL at TBL – Another thrilling matchup of Eastern Conference pond silt. I’ll speak nicely of Ilya Kovalchuk in hopes that he comes to the mountains over the summer and decides to never leave. He’ll want to play here for league minimum for the next 15 years. Anybody got a tissue? I’ve soiled my drawers.
OTT at BOS – Game’s already over. Boston is clinging to the last playoff spot in the East, but it wasn’t enough motivation to get them past the Senators. 2-1 Ottawa, final.
CAR at PHI – This one is done too. Carolina is in free-fall in a race to the top/bottom slot in the lottery. They way they’re losing, they’ll probably lose the ping pong ball draw just out of habit. Edmonton is in hot pursuit, only a point ahead (or behind, English doesn’t handle this situation well). I personally hate Philadelphia (the team, not the city), so it’s hard to say the good guys won, but Edmonton will remain in their current relative position in the lottery sweepstakes. 4-2 Flyers. This is good for the Avs in the future.
ANA at STL – Since everyone but Edmonton is technically still in the playoff chase in the West, this game has significance. Not a ton, but some. Both teams have been on an upswing lately with the exception of their last games, which both lost. The Ducks are closer, and just seem like a more dangerous team. Go Blues (but no exclamation point, too hard to get excited here).
CBJ at MIN - Since everyone but Edmonton is technically still in the playoff chase in the West, this game has significance. I think I heard that somewhere before. Both teams seem to be struggling for identity. Both teams seem to be scoring OK, but can’t stop the opposition. Both teams are destined for early tee times. Yawn!
CHI at VAN – YES! A Game of Consequence™. Chicago is kicking everyone’s ass. Vancouver is really, really, really strong at home. Definitely the game of the night for Avalanche fans. Chicago is in front of the Avalanche in the standings, Vancouver is two points behind and in the Northwest Division. I probably don’t have to tell you that Chicago is the correct team to support here. Go Hawks! NO 3 POINT GAME!
BUF at SJS – Number 3 in the East against number 1 in the West. Could be a fun game to watch if Buffalo wasn’t so defensively oriented. Look for a clogged neutral zone every time the Sharks try to move. I really hate to do this, but we need to pull for the Sabres. The fewer points scored by Western teams (Avalanche excluded, of course) the better.