As the NHL's 2009/10 regular season winds down, there is still jockeying in both the East and West for final playoff seeding. On Goal Analysis will provide you a quick summary of games on the schedule leading up to 11 April that should catch your eye and why...
31 March G2W
FLA @ BUF, 7pm ET
FLA, ladies and gentlemen, are done this season. This game is significant, however, for BUF who, with a win tonight and a PIT loss in regulation or OT/SO, would move into the #2 seed in the Eastern Conference.
Last 10: The Panthers are only 3-5-2 in their last 10 while the Sabres are 6-3-1, and more recently, 6-1 in their last seven games.
Who's Hot: BUF's last game - a 3-2 win over BOS - saw goals from rookie phenom Tyler Myers (plus an assist), Gaustad and Kennedy and assists from Grier, Roy and Stafford. Goals for FLA in Monday night's 3-2 OT loss to NSH came from Ballard and Weiss (plus an assist), Frolik had two assists, and the remaining assist was from Garrison.
Prediction: If Miller is hot in net tonight, look for a BUF win at home.
CAR @ MTL, 7pm ET
Le Centre Bell best be rockin' tonight as a Metropolit-less Canadiens squad needs a win to continue to move back into 6th place in the East.
Last 10: CAR has to be the hardest team to play against who has only gone 5-4-1 in their last 10 games. They are done as far as the Playoffs go this season, but do not play like it. MTL is 6-2-2 in their last 10 games, but, distressingly, only 1-2-2 in their last five. They need to pick up the pace or risk snatching defeat out of the jaws of victory as BOS and ATL pass them by.
Who's Hot: In MTL's last game (a 4-2 loss to NJD last Saturday), A. Kostitsyn had a goal and an assist, Cammalleri had two assists, Plekanec tallied the other goal and Gomez notched the last assist. CAR beat ATL 4-1 on Monday with two goals from Jokinen, a goal and assist from Sutter, two assists from Whitney, a fourth goal from Cole, and further assists from Pitkanen, Larose, Staal and Carson.
Prediction: Could go either way.
CHI @ MIN, 8pm ET
CHI needs a win tonight to snap out of their three-game losing skid.
Last 10: CHI has slipped its gears, going 3-5-2 in their last 10 games and netting only three points of their last, possible 10. Their motto tonight should be "No more skid marks." MIN comes into tonight's game out of the Playoff running but playing better than CHI at 6-4 of late.
Who's Hot: In last night's 4-2 loss in STL, CHI got goals from Sharp and Hossa and two assists from Toews, all in the 1st period. In contrast on Monday night, MIN's 3-2 win over the LAK came on tallies by Nolan, Burns and Havlat (plus an assist) with two helpers from Koivu and additional ones from Ebbett, Schultz and Zidlicky.
Prediction: IF the 'Hawks do not play a solid game for 60 minutes, this one will go into the books as a MIN victory. The edge should be given to CHI here, though, as they know they need to break the 3-game losing streak for confidence going into the post-season.
ANA @ COL, 9pm ET
Like CHI, the Avalanche have slipped a gear and need a win tonight for the sake of confidence and to keep CGY at bay.
Last 10: COL has struggled lately going 4-5-1 in their last 10, and more recently, 1-3-1 in their last five. ANA will miss the playoff for the first time since the Lockout but are 6-4 in their last 10 and riding a two-game winning streak.
Who's Hot: In COL's 4-3 loss to SJS on Sunday, Mueller potted two and Porter the third goal as Mcleod, Salei, Duchene, Stewart, Cumiskey and Hejduk provided the assists. In ANA's 3-1 defeat of DAL, Bonino, Perry (plus an assist) and Chipchura scored with Selanne, Beleskey, Eminger and Visnovsky getting the helpers.
Prediction: COL needs the win and will squeak this one out.
PHX @ CGY, 9:30pm ET
Perhaps one of the best potential matchups of the night, CGY needs this game to close their gap with COL.
Last 10: CGY has only gone 5-5 in their last 10 and 2-3 in their last five. Playoff-bound PHX, on the other hand, has gone 7-2-1 and is 2-2-1 in their last five.
Who's Hot: CGY played like a team possessed in the 1st Period of their 5-3 win over WSH last Sunday. Kotalik, White (plus an assist), Bouwmeester, Hagman and Bourque (and two assists) scored with further assists coming from Backland (2), Moss, Iginla, Stajan and Conroy. PHX' only goal in last night's 4-1 loss to VAN by Vrbata from Jovanovski and Michalek.
Prediction: CGY should benefit from PHX's second night, back-to-back, road game play. It must be noted, however, that the worst, two-game play PHX has experienced since the Olympics is a loss in regulation followed by one in a shootout. Look for PHX to pull this out and COL to gain a little breathing room.
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