For two days in a row, the Game of the Day has yielded unexpected results as the Chicago Blackhawks were blanked by the Philadelphia Flyers at the Wells Fargo Center last night 3-0.
The two squads played a scoreless 25 minutes before Philadelphia broke the ice (HA! IT’S HOCKEY! THEY PLAY ON ICE! …I will stop now.) with a power play goal by Sam Gagner, his first of the season. Claude Giroux added the first insurance tally at the 16:21 mark in the second period, followed by Matt Read early in the third.
Michal Neuvirth earned his second shutout victory in as many games played by stopping all 30 of the Hawks‘ shots, while Corey Crawford’s record falls to 1-2 after stopping 26 of 29 (89.7%)
The DtFR Game of the Day series is now an even four-all between the home and road squads.
Today is a busy day in the league, with a total of eight games being played, of which only two are north of the American border. Three games drop the puck at 7 p.m. eastern (Nashville at the New York Islanders, Ottawa at Pittsburgh, and Chicago at Washington), followed half an hour later by another set of three (the New York Rangers at Montréal, Dallas at Tampa Bay and Buffalo at Florida). St. Louis and Edmonton get started at 9 p.m. eastern, followed an hour later by the final game of the night: Minnesota at Arizona.
Of that set, there are at least four solid games to choose from (at least in my opinion), but sadly there aren’t any nationally televised games to help make the decision any easier (must be the Game 5 between the Mets and Dodgers…).
There’s a few appealing qualities about this game compared to the other great games tonight: This one is Montréal‘s home opener, looking for their best start ever in an illustrious franchise history. This one is an Original Six matchup. And, this one pits the two current division leaders of the Eastern Conference against each other. All of these should make for a great game.
Some players to watch in this one include Montréal‘s Andrei Markov (+6 Corsi rating [tied for league lead]), Max Pacioretty (four goals [tied for league lead], +6 Corsi rating [tied for league lead] and six points [tied for second in the league]), Tomas Plekanec (+6 Corsi rating [tied for league lead]), Carey Price (three wins [tied for league lead]) & P.K. Subban (four assists [tied for sixth in the league]) and New York‘s Oscar Lindberg (four goals [tied for league lead]) & Henrik Lundqvist (three wins [tied for league lead]).
Given the environment and some of the statistical edges the Habs have (averaging a goal less per game, higher power play and penalty kill percentages and more shots per game), I’m picking Montréal to win this very competitive game.