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With NHL break comes 3 unsung

Jan 27, 2009 5:07 PM
Power Plays by by Mark Mayer |
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As you would expect when a league takes a break, most of the teams are in action the first day back.

The All-Star break provides us with a chance to reflect on the season to date and which teams appear ready to make a run. Here are some under the radar that we like:

Phoenix: The Coyotes are 5-2 in their last seven games. They aren’t going to catch San Jose, some 20 points ahead in the Pacific, but Wayne Gretzky has his guys in second place starting the week.

Columbus: The Blue Jackets are a solid third in Detroit’s division and are 13-7-1 at home. Main reason: They have the league’s top goalie in Chris Mason (2.05 GAA). Good thing because the Jackets need more scoring punch than just Rick Nash.

Minnesota: The Wild just get it done. Their 23-20-3 record is fourth in the Northwest Division, but just two points behind Edmonton and Vancouver for second. And they also have a top goalie in Niklas Backstrom (2.22 GAA).

Now for this week’s pucks:

Tuesday

Detroit at Columbus: We did figure right that the Wings would lose at Phoenix. We also think red hot Blue Jackets goalie Chris Mason will bring his A-game as Columbus will be rocking. Perhaps an upset, but more likely a 1-1 game heading to the third period. UNDER.

Washington at Boston: The B’s have owned just about every team except Washington. The Caps are 2-0 with each victory going under the total. These two teams could meet in the playoffs so the Bruins need to send a message to Washington. BOSTON.

Wednesday

Chicago at Anaheim: The Ducks are just 13-13 at home and lost the previous matchup with Chicago. The Blackhawks may come in at a nice underdog price. CHICAGO.

Buffalo at Calgary: The visiting Sabres have lost six of their last eight. Calgary is 17-5-3 at home. Easy choice here. CALGARY.

Thursday

NY Islanders at Atlanta:: The Isles have won just four games since Nov. 29 and they were all spaced out. But their last win was against Anaheim before the All-Star break. So why not take a shot here? Because Atlanta is 3-0 against the Isles. ATLANTA.

Friday

Pittsburgh at New Jersey: The teams are 2-2 in their four previous matchups. Right now, the Devils are playing better hockey. NEW JERSEY.

Saturday

Detroit at Washington: With the Stanley Cup champs visiting, you can bet on a big performance by Alex Ovechkin. WASHINGTON.

Sunday

Boston at Montreal: One of the great rivalries in hockey. Both teams are on a roll, but Canadiens have the edge at home. MONTREAL.