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  Tag: the-predators-and-penguins-then-came-tuesdays-ridiculously-fun-showdown-with-the-lightning  
  Saturday Storylines: Canadiens, Oilers experience off for two necessary details  
   
 

Tonight delivers a packed schedule featuring the most fifteen online games, as being the league crams in just as much motion as you po sibly can just before shutting down the program for three times more than the vacations. The Flames are the fortunate workforce that receives the extra night time off, though the country’s other 6 teams are in motion, together with just one all-Canadian matchup. We’ll get started there.HNIC Match in the Night: Canadiens at OilersWhen these two groups satisfied in Montreal two weeks back, we wrote about how their respective struggles experienced dominated a lot of from the early season storytelling. That recreation looked as if it would characterize an opportunity for 1 group to make a major acquire, it’s po sible even the kind that could start them down the very long road back again into playoff competition. It was the Oilers who acquired it, thumping the Canadiens by a 6-2 closing to earn their fourth win in 6 video games, when sending Montreal for their 3rd straight decline. And though Oilers sputtered to the 1-0 lo s in Toronto the next night time, they’ve received four of five considering the fact that and therefore are presently using their very first three-game win streak of the year. Meanwhile, the Canadiens received a few in their subsequent four.#Oilers Cam Talbot has now gained 6 straight begins, heading 6-0-0 with a 2.fourteen GAA & .922 SV%. pic.twitter.com/oAn6WW8kw1 Sportsnet Stats (@SNstats) December 22, 2017Two weeks after the meeting, both teams are largely in the same place they were just before, with the Habs chasing the Bruins and the Oilers still looking up at a extensive list of teams out West. So let’s call this take two. Who needs the gain the most? And more importantly, who can’t afford to go into the vacations without a point?On paper, the Canadiens are still in slightly tougher shape. They’ve lost ground to the Bruins lately, partly due to Boston finally make up some of those game titles in hand they’ve been holding over the rest with the division. And when Montreal is sitting in fourth place in the Atlantic, they’re now trailing the entire Metro, meaning the wildcard isn’t in the picture for now. They’re also in the midst of a brutal seven-game road trip, and with Shea Weber’s foot injury seeming more and more like it could be a long-term concern, the immediate picture looks cloudy. It wouldn’t take more than a lo s or two combined with Bruin wins ahead of that third Atlantic spot started to drift out of reach.As for the Oilers, they’d need to play at a 106-point pace around the season’s last 47 games to get to the 95-point mark that we typically think of because the playoff finish line. That would be daunting for any workforce, especially one that’s still plugging along under the .500 mark, but the Oilers have the talent to make it happen. But with six teams to pa s, they’re running out of time to flip the switch. Like the Habs, it wouldn’t take a great deal of a short-term slump to torpedo the long-term hopes.After slow starts, neither workforce has substantially of a margin of error to work with here. It’s clich to talk about online games where both teams need a gain, as if there are many online games where a single workforce would be fine with a lo s. But sometimes, both staff really need a get, and which has a break in the agenda looming, this would seem to be one of those games.Of course, they’re not the only ones NHL on Sportsnet NOWLive stream more than 300 marquee regular time game titles, regional matchups for the Edmonton Oilers, Calgary Flames, Vancouver Canucks and Toronto Maple Leafs, and the entire 2018 Stanley Cup Playoffs.LEARN MOREKey subplot: Happy holidays?The Christmas break provides a welcome opportunity for players to get away from the rink for a bit, spend some time with family, and hopefully enjoy a brief respite from the season-long grind. But for some teams, enjoying that break will be easier than for others. When the period isn’t going well, that cloud can hang about everything. And for struggling teams, the best way to avoid that is to head into the holidays having a win and some momentum.That’s certainly the case for the Senators, who can use every win they can get after a rotten month that’s seen them lose seven of ten, hear their franchise player openly muse about testing free agency, and have their owner’s ill-timed rant spark a fan revolt. A month in the past, you figured the Senators would be heading into the vacations basking in the glow of a succe sful outdoor activity and riding the wave in the Matt Duchene trade. Instead, their playoff hopes are flatlining.The Panthers are right there with them. They cleaned house on and off the ice in an effort to undo last season’s disappointment, only to surpa s it. They’ve been treading water under tough circumstances lately, together with a 2-2-1 highway trip and an embarra sing lo s to the Golden Knights crew they helped build.So there probably aren’t two groups in the East that are more desperate for a get than Florida and Ottawa. As luck would have it, a single of them will get it https://www.stylepanthers.com/florida-panthers-jersey/mark-pysyk-jersey they deal with each other tonight. The Panthers have home ice, but also played last night though the Senators will be rested.That dynamic of two struggling groups facing each other plays out elsewhere around the league, like in Arizona where the Coyotes host the Avalanche, or in Carolina where the Sabres visit the Hurricanes. And then there’s the Canucks, who’ve lost seven of eight though giving up a ton of goals in the proce s. They’d love to head into the break on a winning note, or at least with a defensive effort that doesn’t see them lit up for a half-dozen goals. The timetable doesn’t do them any favours, though, as they host the Blues.Marquee matchup: The Golden Knights vs. realityI give up. Almost. Perhaps not quite, but it’s close. These guys are likely to break me.All year very long, I’ve held off on boarding the whole the Golden Knights are for real bandwagon. They’re obviously a succe s story a far better crew than anyone expected, and a single that’s banked so many early details https://www.stylepanthers.com/florida-panthers-jersey/colton-sceviour-jersey that they’re probably likely to the playoffs even if they play like an expansion crew the rest on the way. So they’re good. But home-ice in the post-season good? Division champion good? Even, just it’s po sible, Stanley Cup contender good? Not yet, I figured. Readers of your Weekend Wrap column will know this, due to the fact I’ve avoided giving the Knights a spot in the top five even as other rankings have given up the fight.But then came this latest stretch, 1 that’s seen the Knights gain seven of eight to temporarily push past Los Angeles for the Pacific lead. The Kings reclaimed that spot with this week’s earn above the Avalanche, but the gap is only two details and the Knights have three online games in hand.And it’s not like Vegas is doing it by beating bad groups, the way they were in the season’s very first month. Their streak has included wins around both of last year’s finalists, the Predators and Penguins. Then came Tuesday’s ridiculously fun showdown with the Lightning, in which the Knights earned a regulation earn which has a buzzer beater goal. What is heading on here?Plenty of smart people have taken a run at answering that question. Gerard Gallant obviously deserves plenty of credit. So does George McPhee, who put together a staff that may skate a lot of opponents into the ground. Their somewhat unique home-ice advantage certainly seems to be coming into play. And while the expansion proce s didn’t leave them with a lot in the way of top end talent, they’re as deep top-to-bottom as any staff in the league.Add all of that up and well, you’ve acquired a team that should be good, not a person that should be pushing for top spot in the league. So this still doesn’t make sense. But like a lot of of what happens in Las Vegas, it may defy common sense, but it sure is fun.So tonight, the Knights get another top group as being the red-hot Capitals comes to town. Based on the standings, we should be calling this a potential Cup last preview. Based on reality, it’s a recreation between an expansion franchise and the Washington Capitals, so uh, no to that. But it should still be a great sport, and given how things are heading, it looks like a coin flip.As for those Weekend Wrap power rankings, is this the week that I finally have to give up and hand the Knights a spot in the top five? No. But that’s because there won’t be any rankings this week, as we’re preempted by the Christmas break. Otherwise, yeah, the Knights would have to be in. They’re not leaving us with any choice. Maybe they string together enough lo ses to drop down to sixth by subsequent week, and I end up dodging the bullet based on timing. But I’m not counting on it. The Knights are running in exce s of everyone these days, and to sing a person slow-on-the-uptake sportswriter onto the pile shouldn’t be much of a challenge. Tape II TapeRyan Dixon and Rory Boylen go deep on pucks which has a mix of facts and fun, leaning on a varied group of hockey voices to give their take on the country’s most beloved match.Listen Now| Subscribe| Boylen on Twitter| Dixon on TwitterPlayer in the spotlight: Mitch MarnerMarner’s had an interesting year. Heading in, he looked like a good bet to build on a strong rookie season, cementing himself as a key piece with the Maple Leafs’ expedited rebuild. But his production has dipped, and his overall recreation has come in for some criticism. At one particular point, he was demoted to the fourth line, and you can imagine how well that went around in Toronto. At times, he even briefly replaced fellow sophomore William Nylander given that the Leafs youngster whose name shows up in every trade rumor.So what’s wrong with him? Well, it’s po sible le s than it seems. Stories about Marner’s slumps tend to focus on his goal scoring he went 17 online games without just one early on, then more recently went another 15 straight. But Marner has never projected as a big-time goal scorer in the NHL. His skills are a better fit as a setup man, and 42 of his 61 details last year came from a sists. This year, his a sists-per-game rate is actually up slightly from last period, so when it comes to what he does best, he’s been fine.#Leafs Mitch Marner now has 9 factors in his last 7 games (2 G, 7 A). He has a team-high 10 factors in 10 video games without Auston Matthews (3 G, 7 A). pic.twitter.com/nwWpu6uGad Sportsnet Stats (@SNstats) December 21, 2017As for the goals, his per-game shot rate is down from 2.3 last year to your bit around 2.0 this period; that’s enough of a drop to be a concern, but not a lot of that it should cause panic. The far bigger problem is his shooting percentage, which has cratered from 10.8% down to 5.4%. Not many players aside of enforcers and Riley Sheehan shoots that poorly more than an entire period, and that’s especially true for players who’ve shot double-digits in the past. We haven’t seen enough from Marner to know where his true talent lies and he’s probably not a 10 per cent guy either, but it’s a safe bet that it’s significantly north of where he is now.So we’d expect to see his numbers rebound. And they’re already starting to, thanks to some four-point afternoon against the Hurricanes on Tuesday. He followed that up that has a goal on Wednesday in Columbus, and looked like the Leafs most dangerous player for a lot with the night time. He was flying both online games, delivering the kind of performance you’d expect to see every now and then to go along with the stretches where the puck isn’t heading in. He’s still only 20 years old, as his coach and teammates apparently love to remind him. Consistency will probably be an i sue for at least a little when, as he adjusts to the NHL (and the whole new family thinglove to remind him). The Leafs should be OK with that, as very long as Marner has those occasional game titles where he dominates.Tonight, he’ll get an opportunity to do it on a large stage, given that the Leafs head to Broadway to visit the Rangers to continue their five-game street trip. From the archivesThe puck-over-gla s rule is a divisive just one. Many fans hate it. Others tolerate it, but don’t understand why the infraction would be treated a great deal of more harshly than firing the puck down the rink for an icing. And still others like it, often describing it as one particular of your only rules in the book that’s black-and-white and called the same way every time. (The customary five-minute conference between officials trying to triangulate the puck’s exit angle that accompanies every call would seem to contradict the black-and-white argument, but we’ll ignore that.)A lot on the debate comes down to how often you remember pucks being intentionally shot into the stands right before the rule. Some insist that it absolutely was an epidemic, slowing the game down and sapping offence. Others barely recall it happening at all. Personally, I’m convinced the whole debate is one of those parallel universe proofs, like the Berenstain Bears or Sinbad’s genie movie.But inevitably, when fans at a sports bar get to arguing about the rule, someone pounds their fist on the table and delivers a threat: Just you wait until an accidental puck-over-gla s decides Match 7 of a playoff series. You’ll change your tune when that day comes.And then, from the end in the bar, a haggard fan in a Sabres jersey spits out: It already did.And it did indeed, as we’re reminded by tonight’s matchup between the Sabres and Hurricanes. Even though both teams are struggling now, back again in 2006 they were two from the best groups in the East, with https://www.stylepanthers.com/ both hitting the 110-point mark. That made them worthy opponents in the Eastern Conference Remaining, and the series was a tight 1, featuring 5 one-goal games which include two that were settled in sudden death. It all came down to your Game 7 in Carolina, that has a trip to the ultimate to facial area the upstart Oilers on the line.Midway through the 3rd period, the recreation was tied at two. And that’s when Brian Campbell chipped the puck in exce s of the gla s in his own end for an automatic minor. The play was clearly accidental, but that didn’t matter anymore. Campbell headed to the penalty box and the Hurricanes headed to the power play, where Rod Brind’Amour scored the winner.The Hurricanes moved on and received the franchise’s initial Stanley Cup; the Sabres experienced 1 more good year, watched their core leave in free agency, and haven’t won a great deal as a playoff round in the decade due to the fact.Given all that, it’s form of weird that the Campbell penalty doesn’t come up more often, due to the fact it seems to be exactly the sort of scenario that puck-over-gla s haters should fear most. Po sibly it would if it happens in a match between the Canadiens and Rangers instead with the Sabres and Hurricanes. Or maybe it’s the timing the rule was still relatively new in 2006, so fans hadn’t had a chance to really develop a disdain for it. Either way, around a decade late the rule is still in the books. And it will stay that way, at least until it costs some team a shot at a Stanley Cup. You know again.Oddly specific predictionThe Jets go into the holidays by using a win, beating the Islanders by a 4-2 remaining.Oddly specific prediction record: 1-for-11.

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