LeBrun: This week's games to watch
December, 20, 2010
By Pierre LeBrun | ESPN.com
Monday: Vancouver Canucks at St. Louis Blues (8 p.m. ET)The red-hot Canucks are 8-1-1 in their past 10 games and need to be if they're to battle the equally hot Colorado Avalanche for the Northwest Division lead. That one regulation loss in their past 10 was to the Blues, 3-2 at home on Dec. 5. It's time for revenge.
Prediction: The Canucks beat the injury-savaged Blues.
Tuesday: Los Angeles Kings at Colorado Avalanche (9:30 p.m. ET)The Avs have won six straight while playing some of the most exciting hockey in the NHL. Injuries? What injuries? Meanwhile, it's been win one, lose one, win one, lose one, win one, lose one in the past six games for the inconsistent Kings.
Prediction: The Avs pull it off again in overtime to run their win streak to seven games.
Wednesday: Vancouver Canucks at Detroit Red Wings (7:30 p.m. ET)Possible Western Conference final preview? After exploding out of the gates with a 16-4-2 record through the opening two months, the Wings have stumbled a bit in December, going 4-4-2, including weekend losses to Chicago and Dallas.
Prediction: The Red Wings get back on the horse with a win over the powerhouse Canucks.
Thursday: Tampa Bay Lightning at New York Rangers (7 p.m. ET)Two clubs that perhaps have surprised people by sitting in a playoff spot in the Eastern Conference. The Rangers rank 10th in goals per game and ninth in goals against, showing terrific balance. The Bolts are eighth in offense but can't stop a puck, ranking 28th in goals against.
Prediction: The Rangers edge the Lightning 4-3 in a shootout.
Thursday: Pittsburgh Penguins at Washington Capitals (7 p.m. ET)By the time the puck drops for this one, you'll have been reminded 100 times that both these teams play that night. Let's just call it the HBO Cup, OK? The Caps finally ended an eight-game slide with a win Sunday in Ottawa. Relief. The Penguins have lost two in a row after seeing their 12-game win streak snapped by Philadelphia. It's always a treat when the Caps and Pens hook up, which is why the Winter Classic will be a blast.
Prediction: The Penguins might be tired after playing the night before against Florida. The Caps will prevail in overtime on a John Carlson goal.