December 8 – Day 57 – Orange you glad I picked two orange teams?

It’s Thirsty Thursday at a hockey rink near you!

*Disclaimer: I do not actually know if it is Thirsty Thursday at your local arena. Please do not assume I know your club’s Thursday promotions.*

The action starts at 7 p.m. with three contests (Colorado at Boston, St. Louis at the New York Islanders and Edmonton at Philadelphia), followed half an hour later by three more (New Jersey at Montréal [RDS/SN360], Vancouver at Tampa Bay and Pittsburgh at Florida). The New York Rangers at Winnipeg drops the puck at the top of the hour, and Nashville at Dallas trails at 8:30 p.m. 9 p.m. marks the beginning of Calgary at Arizona, which precedes tonight’s nightcap – Carolina at Los Angeles – by 90 minutes.

Riding a six-game winning streak, the Flyers are currently playing must-watch hockey. Tonight, they host a good Oilers team, so we’re off to the Wells Fargo Center.

Unknown-5Philadelphia Flyers Logo

 

Edmonton enters tonight’s game on a streak of their own, but it’s as far from Philly‘s as it can be without being a losing skid – they’ve suffered two-straight overtime losses. The Oilers are 14-10-4 for first place in the Pacific Division, and they’ve gotten to that position by playing an incredible offense that has already notched 82 goals, the most in the Western Conference.

Second-year pro and first-year captain Connor McDavid has headlined that scoring effort this season, notching 36 points in 28 games – the highest point total in the league, much less the Oilers. He’s joined by Leon Draisaitl to co-lead the club with 11 goals apiece.

Much of the success is due to Edmonton taking advantage of opportunities that present themselves in the form of opposing penalties. The Oil‘s 20.4% success rate is 10th-best in the league, co-led by Draisaitl and McDavid’s 10 man-advantage points. Draisaitl’s effort with the extra-man has been especially impressive, as his seven power play goals ties for second-most in the NHL.

Hosting them this evening are the 15-10-3 Flyers – a club who has earned 40% of their wins in the past 12 days to move into fifth place in the Metropolitan Division. The reason they’ve been able to pull off this streak is due totally to their offense, which has notched 87 goals so far this year.

Who else to lead Philly‘s scoring effort than Wayne Simmonds? His 26 points are just another line item in the long list of things he does for this club. 15 of those points are goals which – you guessed it – is also the best on the squad.

Edmonton‘s power play is good, but Philadelphia‘s is way, way better. Led by Claude Giroux‘ 14 power play points, the Flyers have connected on 23.8% of their man-advantages, the second-best rate in the league. Eight of Simmonds’ goals have been on the power play, double the tally of Giroux to top the squad.

Some players to keep an eye on this evening include Edmonton‘s McDavid (36 points on 25 assists [both lead the NHL]) and Cam Talbot (three shutouts [tied for second-most in the league] among 13 wins [tied for fourth-most in the NHL]) & Philadelphia‘s Giroux (18 assists [tied for fifth-most in the league]) and Simmonds (15 goals [fourth-most in the NHL] among 26 points [tied for ninth-most in the league]).

Philly is marked the favorite by Vegas with a -130 line, but I like Edmonton to take the victory. My pick is dependent on Cam Talbot having a good game, as he either plays well… or he doesn’t. That being said, the Oil do have the additional advantage of the superior penalty kill in their back pocket, which could still be enough to get them out of Philly with the victory.

Hockey Birthday

  • Red Berenson (1939-) – This center was a longtime Blue, playing 519 of his 987 games in the Gateway to the West. He notched 658 points over his 17 career, but nowadays he’s the head man at the University of Michigan.
  • Ted Irvine (1944-) – A left wing with 11 seasons of NHL experience, he spent most of his days playing in Madison Square Garden. He notched 331 points in his career.
  • Drew Doughty (1989-) – This defenseman has never played for anyone but the Kings, the club that drafted him second-overall in the 2008 NHL Entry Draft. Recipient of last season’s Norris Trophy, he notched 51 points and 105 blocks.

It took 61:36, but the Washington Capitals were able to hold off the Boston Bruins with a 4-3 overtime victory in yesterday’s DtFR Game of the Day.

It took only 23 seconds for the Caps to earn their first lead of the game, courtesy of Second Star of the Game Justin Williams (Evgeny Kuznetsov and Alex Ovechkin). They doubled that lead to 2-0 7:34 later when Williams (Kuznetsov) buried his second of the night with a wrister.

Washington‘s final goal of regulation was struck 5:51 into the second period off a Daniel Winnik (Jay Beagle) wrister. The Bruins waited until 3:25 remained in the frame to begin their impressive comeback with a Dominic Moore (Anton Blidh) wrister. David Pastrnak pulled Boston within a tally with a minute remaining in the second period to set up an exciting third frame.

Only one goal was struck in the remaining 20 minutes, of course belonging to the Bruins. It was Colin Miller (Austin Czarnik and Brad Marchand) who took credit for the game-tying tally with a power play slap shot that eventually forced three-on-three overtime.

Although all momentum was on Boston‘s side, it was First Star Nicklas Backstom (Nate Schmidt and Marcus Johansson) who finished the contest for the Capitals with a game-winning wrister.

Braden Holtby earns the victory after saving 31-of-34 (91.2%), leaving the overtime loss to Tuukka Rask, saving 16-of-20 (80%).

Washington‘s win improves the home sides’ record to 32-19-8 in the DtFR Game of the Day series, a seven-point advantage over the visitors.

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