Oct 1, 2013; Chicago, IL, USA; A general view during the playing of the national anthem before the game between the Washington Capitals and Chicago Blackhawks at the United Center. Mandatory Credit: Rob Grabowski-USA TODAY Sports

Around the League: Tonight’s Matchups – October 9th

There are three games on tonight’s National Hockey League schedule. One is a battle between two Canadian teams looking for their second win. In another, Rink Royalty will be looking to break a two-game losing streak, and the defending Stanley Cup Champions will be staring down an undefeated.

Here is a look at tonight’s matchups around the league.

Game 1: Chicago Blackhawks vs. St. Louis Blues

Tonight, the defending Stanley Cup Champion Chicago Blackhawks travel to the Scottrade Center in St. Louis to go head-to-head with the undefeated St. Louis Blues.

This will be an interesting matchup tonight.

The tale of the tape for these two teams is very similar. This means that this encounter may very well come down to a battle of the goaltenders.

According to ESPN, against the Blues, Blackhawks goaltender Corey Crawford is 6-0-1 with a 1.44 goals-against average in his last six appearances. One the other side of the ice, when facing the Hawks, Blues goaltender Jaroslav Halak is 3-1-3 with a GAA of 2.08 in his seven career starts against the Blackhawks.

However, this season tells of another tale.

So far this season, Crawford is 1-0-1 with a GAA of 2.88 and a Save Percentage of .875. On the flip side, Halak is 2-0-0 with a GAA of 1.00 and a Save Percentage of .959.

The Hawks, coming off of a 3-2 shootout loss to the Tampa Bay Lightning, will certainly be looking to redeem themselves and put another notch in the win column.

It will be interesting to see what happens tonight when the puck drops in St. Louis.

Time: 8:00 p.m. EST

Network: NBCSN

 

Game 2: Montreal Canadiens vs. Calgary Flames

Tonight, the Montreal Canadiens will travel to the Scotiabank Saddledome in Calgary, Alberta to go head-to-head with the Calgary Flames.

Montreal Canadiens center Lars Eller is currently 3rd in the NHL for Goals Scored with 3. He is currently tied with 7 other players for that distinction. Right now, Eller could be on the verge of a breakout season; however, that may run into a bump in the road tonight in Calgary.

You see, according to ESPN.com, the Montreal Canadiens have no won a game in the Scotiabank Saddledome since January 5, 2002. That is a very long time to be shut down.

However, if we look at this from a goaltending perspective this season, it looks like the Canadiens have a few things in their favor.

Montreal goaltender Carey Price is currently 1-1-0 in his two starts with a GAA of 2.52 and a Save Percentage of .918. On the other side of the ice, Flames goaltender Joey MacDonald has  a GAA of 3.94 and  a Save Percentage of .867. Backup goaltender Karri Ramo doesn’t look much better. He has a GAA of 3.69 with a Save Percentage of .897, putting him at 28th in the league.

Both teams are evenly matched on firepower. So far this season, the Canadiens have an average of 3.5 goals per game where Calgary has 4. Both teams average about 35 shots on goal per game.

If nothing else, this will be an interesting matchup to watch tonight.

I think this victory will go to the team whose sheer willpower wins out, and which team really wants the win more.

Time: 8:00 p.m. EST

Network: TSN, RDS

 

Game 3: Los Angeles Kings vs. Ottawa Senators

In the late game tonight, the Los Angeles Kings will host the Ottawa Senators at the Staples Center in LA.

One could only imagine that Kings goaltender Jonathan Quick will be looking to redeem himself for the goal that is going to haunt him for the rest of the season.

In case you missed it the first time, here it is again.

You’ll want to watch it a few more times just so that the sheer enormity of it sinks in.

Now, back to tonight’s game.

As I said, Quick will certainly be looking to redeem himself for that simple misstep that cost his team a goal.

As a whole, the Kings will be looking at the bigger picture, and that is to avoid a three game losing streak. Not to compare apples and oranges here or in this case Kings and Flyers, but we have already seen what happens when your team takes an unexplained dive this early in the season.

The tale of the tape between goaltenders tonight is quite the story of opposites.

Right now, Ottawa goaltender Craig Anderson is 1-0-1 in his two starts between the pipes for the Senators. He carries a GAA of 1.92 and a Save % of .948.

On the other side of the ice, Quick is 1-2-0 in his three appearances for the Kings. He has a GAA of 3.18 and a Save % of .893, putting him at 31st in the League.

This may not bode so well for the Kings tonight. While the two teams are fairly evenly matched on goals per game; Ottawa with 2.5 and LA with 2, the shots on goal are drastically different.

Los Angeles has an average of 27.67 shots on goal per game; however, the Senators have an average of 41 shots on goal per game.

Quick and the Los Angeles defense are really going have to be on their game tonight if they are going to withstand that kind of onslaught.

According to data compiled by ESPN.com, Los Angeles has won seven of the last nine meetings with the Senators, and has an 11-1-0 record with one tie in 13 all-time at home. So that is definitely something in the positive column for the Kings tonight.

The hometown crowd may be just what they need to get back on track tonight.

Time: 10:30 p.m. EST

Network: SNET-E, TVA, FS-W

 

Check back tonight, as we break it down for you and let you know how these games play out as the night unfolds.

Tags: Calgary Flames Chicago Blackhawks Los Angeles Kings Montreal Canadiens NHL Ottawa Senators St. Louis Blues