The NHL steps back onto the ice tonight after a rare day off, playing three games. Of the three contests, the most compelling (in my not-really-all-that-humble opinion) is San Jose's rare visit to Madison Square Garden. The New York Rangers are red-hot, having tied the best record through eight games in franchise history (7-1-0). San Jose's play has been a bit uneven in the early going (as evidenced by their 4-3-1 record), but Dany Heatley (5G, 5A, +3) has been en fuego. The Rangers, of course, have an answer for Heatley in Marian Gaborik (6G, 6A, +8). Coming into tonight's game, both teams are undefeated when scoring first, so...unless this game is scoreless going into a shootout, that stat is going to change for one team. This is the game to watch tonight, provided you don't have DirecTV (like me, dammit). If you do have DirecTV, this is Day 49 of the Lockout, and you'll have to look to the other two games of the night for your hockey fix:
Los Angeles @ Dallas (8:30pm EST): The Kings' wheels-off road show comes to Dallas. This is the final game of a six-game road trip for Los Angeles, and they've lost the last three. Dallas, meanwhile, is 1-1-1 at home and 0-1-1 when Big Tex is in attendance, so expect the Stars to take full advantage of my absence tonight and kick the Kings while they're down.
Vancouver @ Edmonton (9:00pm EST): The injury-depleted Canucks (3-4-0) limp into Edmonton for an intra-Canada skirmish. The Oilers (4-2-1) are reaping the benefits of a rejuvenated Dustin Penner (5G, 4A, +5) (Honorable Mention: Mike Comrie (3G, 3A, +4) ), while the Canucks enter the game with 50% fewer Sedins than normal. Team Captain Roberto Luongo will have to stand tall in the crease if Vancouver hopes to earn a point (or two) tonight.
This looks to be a big week across the league, as On Goal Analysis could POTENTIALLY call as many as FOURTEEN TEAMS either IN or OUT of the Stanley Cup Playoffs by Sunday, 25 Oct. That's right: the fates of almost half the NHL could be decided this week. How do we know what we know? Check out 'The Tao of OGA' for an explanation, and our 2008-09 Report Card to see our results.
Take me back to On Goal Analysis.