Weekend Watch: Five games you need to see
This is the Weekend Watch. It’s a guide of what to watch this weekend.
Friday: Vancouver at Anaheim, 10:30pm ET
A big “pent-up aggression” game for the Ducks. They’ve been awful lately and just lost to a team they hate (Nashville). To top it off, they had a closed-door meeting yesterday to air their grievances. Thankfully, they get a Vancouver team at the end of a six-games-in-12-nights road trip, fairly pleased with itself after back-to-back wins in Chicago and L.A.
Saturday: Buffalo at Boston, 7pm ET
Question: Has anybody had a better start to the year -- yet received less attention -- than Jason Pominville? He’s posted 6G-12A-18PTS in 14 games (on pace for 105) while assisting on seven of Thomas Vanek’s team-leading 10 goals. Pominville also kills penalties and is pretty solid in the faceoff circle. I say he’s Buffalo’s MVP thus far.
Saturday: Winnipeg at Columbus, 7pm ET
Major car crash potential here. Claude Noel and Scott Arniel are in precarious situations -- Noel can’t stand the Jets (which is unfortunate, given he’s their coach) and Arniel has that whole Sean Penn-in-Dead Man Walking look about him. The players are in equally precarious states: Columbus has made two trades in the last three days and Winnipeg appears primed to blow it up. This game will have more nervous energy than a six-year-old on Red Bull.
Saturday: Minnesota at Los Angeles, 10:30pm ET
We’ve already mentioned three coaches under fire -- Carlyle, Noel and Arniel -- so why not throw a fourth into the mix with Los Angeles’ Terry Murray? The Kings are a mess right now. They’re 3-5-2 in their last 10 and can’t score goals, this despite swinging big in the offseason by acquiring Mike Richards and Simon Gagne. Murray’s tried every trick in the book to kickstart the offense -- jugging lines, demotions to the press box, activating Colin Fraser -- but none have worked. GM Dean Lombardi’s shown plenty of patience, but this is year four of the Murray era. His time might be up soon.
Sunday: Edmonton at Chicago, 7pm ET
Chicago’s about to embark on the strangest stretch of its schedule (keep in mind they played Vancouver on Nov. 6). Here’s what it looks like:
Fri, Nov. 11 vs Calgary
Sun, Nov. 13 vs. Edmonton
Wed, Nov. 16 at Vancouver
Fri, Nov. 18 at Calgary
Sat, Nov. 19 at Edmonton
It’s like a two-week crash course of Western Canadian teams. Weird.
As for the Oilers, I wonder how much more we’re going to see of Devan Dubnyk. The Oilers have liberally worked him into the lineup, and he hasn’t been bad -- but he’s on the hook for four of their six losses this year. Meanwhile, Nikolai Khabibulin hasn’t lost in regulation and has a 0.98 GAA. At some point, you have to ditch the timeshare idea and ride your No. 1 -- right?