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Sunday, February 10, 2013

Puckmania Weekly Blog: Will Anyone Catch Chicago?

Wild on Sports
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Puckmania Weekly Watch: Will Anyone Catch Chicago?
By WildOnSports NHL Insider Erin Gilman

Another exciting and surprising week of the NHL behind us, a quick re-cap of last week. Chicago remains almost untouchable as they defeat the San Jose Sharks and move to 9-0-2 for the season. Bruins fans were disappointed on Saturday as the weather emergency in Boston caused the Bruins vs Lightning game to be canceled; no date has been announced to make up the game. Fans of the Vancouver Canucks have reason to celebrate their team again as the Canucks have won their last five straight games. While the fans remain concerned about their “goalie” situation the team is seaming to play better then ever behind both Cory Schnieder and Roberto Luongo. If Luongo is convinced he is going somewhere else he is not playing like it. He is playing like he has something to prove to the management of this Cancuks team as well as the fans that have long doubted his abilities. So far this season he is at a .940 save percentage (2nd in the league) and a 1.49 GAA (2nd in the league)
Another surprise so far this season is the Toronto Maple Leafs who wrapped up their three game road trip against the Montreal Canadiens with a crushing 6-0 win. The Boston Bruins said goodbye to long time goaltender and Stanley cup champion Tim Thomas this week as he was traded to the New York Islanders for a 2nd round draft pick. Bruins fans welcome the new “Tukka time” and most relieved to see the cap space open up. With teams on top who haven’t been in years, players moving teams one thing is certain with this shortened season, us fans are in for a great and at times surprising few months.
Top Picks for this week:
Chicago Blackhawks vs Anaheim Ducks
Both of these teams are hot this season, the Blackhawks are at a 9-0-2 record with the Ducks close behind at an 8-2-1 record. As they battle for the top spot in the Western Conference I suggest you keep your eyes on Patrick Kane of the Blackhawks and Teemu Selanne of the Ducks. Both are on track for their best seasons thus far, Kane leads the league with 18 points and Selanne leads his team with 14 points.
Ottawa Senators vs Toronto Maple Leafs
This rivalry is one of the best in the NHL, with these two teams who have been battling each other before the actual formation of the NHL. Since these two teams have been in the same division this rivalry has exploded with bench clearing brawls and vicious playoff battles. This game is always intense and always exciting. Toronto is on a very strong winning streak right now, and Ottawa is looking to end that. My player to watch for this game is Ottawa goalie Craig Anderson. Anderson is leading the league in goals against average and save percentage.
Players to watch this week:
Thomas Vanek of the Buffalo Sabres:  Leading the offensive players with 23 points and 11 goals so far this season Vanek is playing with serious passion and heart. He is averaging at least a point every game with no signs of slowing down anytime soon.
Cory Canacher of the Tampa Bay Lighting: This rookie is playing like a veteran player with his already high 5 goals and a plus minus rating of 6. He is on the road to rookie of the year at this rate, and I expect good things from him this week as the Lighting meet the Montreal Canadiens and the Washington Capitals later in the week.

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